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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 908 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The story is told in M. O'Dair's wonderful biography, "Different Every Time" (the title is of course taken from the lyrics of "Sea Song") : when they were on their way to that fateful party on June 1st, 1973, Robert Wyatt, who was more or less chronically depressed since he'd been thrown out of Soft Machine two years earlier, told Alfie something he had not said for a very long time : "I'm happy". That's how he ended his first life, his life as Robert-the-half-naked-drummer, and started his second life as a legend.

Most of the material recorded here was written in Venice, Italy, the previous winter, where Alfie worked as an assistant director to some avant-garde film maker and he spent his days alone on Giudecca Island with a small toy-organ she'd offered him. This is really important, and keep it in mind next time you listen to "Rock Bottom" : It was conceived by a man who could walk, run, and play the drums, and recorded by a cripple in a wheelchair, who had to be carried up to the studio (access ramps didn't exist). If you think about this, you will listen and enjoy the album in quite a different, and probably darker, mood.

Read the other reviews for a description of those 6 eternal jewels. I'll only say a few words about one : "Alifib" is probably the most beautiful love song ever written. Picasso used to say that he had spent most of his life learning to paint like a little child (he finally succeeded, as shown in some of the "Menines"), Wyatt did the same here.

The whole album was played and recorded live by "Wyatt and friends" on the wonderful album "Theatre Royal Drury Lane 8th September 1974", which is also a must for all Wyatt (and prog) fans.

One last word : no serious discography, not only of rock n' roll or pop music, but of the whole 20th century music, will ever be complete if it doesn't include "Rock Bottom".

Kaelka | 5/5 |


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