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The First Minute of a New Day

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Title: The First Minute of a New Day  
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The First Minute of a New Day

The First Minute of a New Day
Brian Jackson
Released January 1975
Recorded June–July 1974
D&B Sound
(Silver Spring, Maryland)
Genre Soul, jazz, fusion, proto-rap
Length 47:52
Label Arista
A-4030
Producer Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson chronology

Winter in America
(1974)
The First Minute of a New Day
(1975)
From South Africa to South Carolina
(1976)

The First Minute of a New Day is an album by American soul artist Gil Scott-Heron and musician Brian Jackson, released in January 1975 on Arista Records.[1] Recording sessions for the album took place in the summer of 1974 at D&B Sound in Silver Spring, Maryland.[2] It was the follow-up to Scott-Heron's and Jackson's critically acclaimed collaboration effort Winter in America. The First Minute of a New Day was the first album to feature "Winter in America", the title track of Scott-Heron's previous album which was not featured on its original LP release.[3] The album was reissued on compact disc by Scott-Heron's label Rumal-Gia Records in 1998.[4]

Music

The First Minute of a New Day served as Jackson's and Scott-Heron's debut for the Arista label and featured the eight-piece Midnight Band.[4] With the Midnight Band and better financial support from Arista, the album benefited from a larger supporting cast and slicker production, in contrast to the sparse production on Winter in America.[4] The Midnight Band would later be featured on following Scott-Heron albums, assisting in production and back-up instrumentation.

The songs on The First Minute of a New Day, which feature themes ranging from spirituality ("Offering") to revolution ("The Liberation Song") and oppression ("Winter in America"), contain free jazz melodies by the Midnight Band and funk influences.[4][5] "Winter in America" featured themes of struggle and had Scott-Heron singing of social, geographical and environmental oppression. The album's only spoken word cut, also a live take, "Pardon Our Analyis" was a sequel to Winter in America's "H20 Gate Blues" as a criticism of President Richard Nixon's pardon, though this time the track did not feature a musical backing of any kind.[6]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau B[8]
Houston Press (favorable)[9]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[10]

Following the little commercial success experienced by Scott-Heron's previous LPs, the album had multi-chart success, which seemed promising for their new record label.[11] Even though Scott-Heron's previous albums, in specific Pieces of a Man and Winter in America, featured singles, they did not chart. However, no singles were released for The First Minute of a New Day, off the album or for promotion.[11]

Following heavy promotion by Arista,[5] the album entered the Top Jazz Albums chart at #17 on February 8, 1975.[12] It later peaked at #5 before falling off the charts on July 19, 1975, 24 weeks after its original appearance.[12] The First Minute of a New Day also peaked at #8 on the Black Albums chart and #30 on the Pop Albums chart.[11] While not as critically acclaimed as Jackson's and Scott-Heron's previous effort Winter in America, The First Minute of a New Day gave Scott-Heron wider recognition among fans and critics, due in part to its heavy promotion.[5] Tim Sheridan of Allmusic called it "solid, decidedly left-of-center jazz-R&B" and went on to write:

This output, with the opening meditation of "Offering" and the right-on "Ain't No Such Thing as Superman," solidifies Heron's place in the pantheon of jazz poets.[6]
—Tim Sheridan

Music critic Neil Tesser described Scott-Heron's singing voice for the album as "mahogany, sunshine, and tears."[13] The contributions by the Midnight Band were also praised by critics.[13] Robert Christgau of the Village Voice noted that "the free-jazz-gone-populist band generates so much rhythmic energy that it carries over the weak spots".[14]

Track listing

All songs written by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, except where noted.[15]

Side one

  1. "Offering" – 3:34
  2. "The Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)" – 6:18
  3. "Must Be Something" (Jackson, Bowens, Scott-Heron, Adams) – 5:16
  4. "Ain't No Such Thing As Superman" (Scott-Heron) – 4:13
  5. "Pardon Our Analysis (We Beg Your Pardon)" – 8:01

Side two

  1. "Guerilla" (Scott-Heron) – 7:49
  2. "Winter in America" (Scott-Heron) – 6:09
  3. "Western Sunrise" (Ali) – 5:16
  4. "Alluswe" – 5:04

Bonus tracks

All bonus cuts for the CD reissue were managed and produced by Malcolm Cecil.[2]

  1. "A Talk: Bluesology / Black History / Jaws / The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - Live at The Wax Museum 1982 – 10:41
  2. "Winter in America" - 1978 Solo Version – 6:26

Charts

Billboard Music Charts (North America) – The First Minute of a New Day[11]

  • 1975: Jazz Albums – #5
  • 1975: Black Albums – #8
  • 1975: Pop Albums – #30

Personnel

Musicians

Additional personnel

Notes

References

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