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“Don’t Give Up” by Gil Scott-Heron

So, I’m up early looking for music to play on #JazzChurch today, and I find out it’s a friend’s birthday. I immediately think Gil Scott-Heron because I know he likes Gil almost as much as I do!

I decide to play “Don’t Give Up” and came across this video on YouTube. It’s ethereal. I feel like GSH is one of the spirits calling our names, saying, “Don’t give up! It’s time to stop your falling. You’ve been down long enough. Can’t you hear the spirits calling?”

I love this song! Happy Birthday, Jeffrey!

Lyrics for “Don’t Give Up”

Ahh, lovely day……

I never really thought of myself as a complex man
Or as someone who was really that hard to understand
But it would hardly take a genius to realize
That I’ve always been a lot too arrogant and a little too f$%kin’ wise
That was a combination that made folks feel duty bound
To do whatever they could to try and shoot me down
To head off some of the things I might possibly say
And see if they couldn’t take some of my pride away
To bring me disappointment and teach me to fear it
Obviously, these are folks that just didn’t have no spirit
Spirits say

Don’t give up (spirits say don’t give up)
Yes, it’s time to stop your fallin’
You’ve been down long enough
Can’t you hear the spirits callin’
Yes, it’s the spirits
Can’t you hear iiiiiit
Callin’ your name x 2
Yeah, talkin’ bout spiriiiiiiiiiiits heh

There are people whose lives are so far off the track
That what they like best about life is stabbing’ brothers in the back
And I was obviously too blind and probably too weak
To see who was responsible for my losing streak
The best way to explain it is to say simply because
I was looking around outside, and the truth is I was
The one. So I got locked into all of the analysis
And found myself locked into a kind of paralysis
And something was calling, and I almost didn’t hear it
But I spent a lot of time being blessed by the spirits
They keep saying

It didn’t matter if it was a child or an adult
There was absolutely no one that I could not insult
So that I could isolate myself somewhere off to the side
And continue to juggle all the possible whys
The warmth I once could generate so well
Had turned into a frozen hell
And the discouraging injustices I felt
Had pinned me somewhere inside a drug-infested cell
Where those who told didn’t know and those who knew didn’t tell
And “I could continue to feel sorry for my self” [echo of ““]
And then I heard

Ain’t no way overnight to turn your life around
And this ain’t the conversation of someone that never falls back down
But no matter how long you’ve been on trial
With the days and weeks of self-denial
And no matter how many times you’ve tried to make it
And found out that right then you just couldn’t take it
If you are looking for a loser who found strength and success
Remember the spirit of Brother Malcolm X
And know that you can leave all your mistakes behind
The day that you “really make up your mind” [echo of ““]
Come on, brother… pull on up
Stand on up and say…