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Robert Wyatt - Theatre Royal Drury Lane CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

4.10 | 76 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I dedicate this review to my best friend Dexter, my Fox Terrier who I had to put to sleep on May 25th. While he was disliked by everyone in the house but me(yes he was very annoying at times) I loved him. Only my late Father-In-Law cared for him like me and yet even he could often be yelling "Damn you Dexter!" Until we meet again my friend.

Now to the review. After falling from a fourth floor window and being subsequently paralyzed from the waist down a benefit concert was held for Robert Wyatt to help him get on with life. Thankfully the events were recorded as we get an all-star cast of performers from the Canterbury Scene and beyond. There's quite a Rio/ Avant flavour here as well. I have to say Hugues hits the nail on the head in my opinion with his review. This truly is a must-have recording if your into the styles of music I mentioned earlier. Check out the lineup! Dave Stewart on keyboards, Hugh Hopper on bass, Fred Frith on violin and guitar, Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Gary Windo reeds, Laurie Allan and Nick Mason on drums, Mike Oldfield guitar, Julie Tipetts keys and vocals, Ivor Cutler voice and the man of the hour Robert Wyatt on vocals. Most of the songs are from Robert's "Rock Bottom" album and the first MATCHING MOLE record.

One person I didn't mention yet is John Peel who we have on the first track opening the proceedings with a hilarious speech. He has the whole crowd laughing. "Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening" is one messed up version of that SOFT MACHINE track I'll say that. Very avant-garde piano and vocals throughout. I'm not sure if this was Robert giving a shot at SOFT MACHINE or if he was just trying to freak the audience out. "Memories" has some brief distorted organ to start as a beat with keys and bass help out as Robert sings beautifully. So good. Violin before 1 1/2 minutes along with some vocal melodies from Robert.

"Sea Song" is the first song I heard after Dexter passed and man it was emotional before that but now it's just pure emotion for me. The crowd claps when they know what song it is. Check out the electric piano during the instrumental section 2 minutes in along with the fuzzed out guitar. Distorted organ joins in before 3 minutes. Nice. Robert is back after this amazing instrumental passage after 5 minutes. It feels like hope 6 1/2 minutes in as it turns brighter as we get vocal melodies from Robert to the end. Incredible! "A Last Straw" opens with bass and jazz drumming along with electric piano. Reserved vocals a minute in and check out the vocal melodies before 2 minutes which are so unique and they last about a minute. "Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road" has some energy to it with strummed guitar and organ as drums and trumpet join in. Some dissonance with those trumpet sounds. This is catchy though. Vocal melodies 2 minutes in then he's singing a minute later. Such a great song. Insane vocal melodies end it.

"Alife" features dissonant trumpet and violin as electric piano and drums join in. Amazing sound here. Vocal melodies after 3 1/2 minutes as it winds down and blends into "Alifib" where it's pastoral to start with faint bass and electric piano. Quiet vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. So sentimental and beautiful. "Mind Of A Child" has this warm and inviting intro with electric piano, a light beat and bass. Gentle guitar too as Julie comes in with vocal melodies. She's more passionate 3 minutes in but then she settles back quickly. The distorted organ after 4 minutes is killer! And check out her vocal melodies here. "Instant Pussy" has Julie and Robert doing these vocal melodies that make me feel like I'm intruding(haha) especially 3 1/2 minutes in.

"Signed Curtain" is another one the crowd claps and cheers about once they recognize it. I love this song so much and even my daughter who walked in as it was on sang along as she knows it from years ago when I played it. "Calyx" a HATFIELD AND THE NORTH tune has humerous lyrics with electric piano and bass standing out. Vocal melodies after 2 minutes as the organ replaces the electric piano. "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" opens with Robert singing as the organ and drums support. Check out Oldfield on guitar starting before 1 1/2 minutes, man that sounds amazing. It's powerful 3 minutes in before we get a calm with violin before 4 1/2 minutes. It ends with Ivor Cutler's spoken poetry. It all ends with the cover of "I'm A Believer" a minor hit for Robert but honestly I can only think of Shrek.

One of the best live albums I own without question

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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