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Robert Wyatt - Nothing Can Stop Us CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.24 | 41 ratings

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Mick Haldane
4 stars Look at any Robert Wyatt discography and it seems to be the case that he didn't record or release anything between 75's "Ruth..." and this lesser known gem from 1982. It's tempting to think that his confidence and self-belief evaporated completely during this time as the realisation sunk in that he would almost certainly never walk again. While there may be a tiny grain of truth in this, in fact Wyatt was highly active on the music scene in many different ways. One listen to "Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports", for example, which Wyatt performed lead vocals on, proves this - it's just that no-one bought it owing to the usual stigma of being the 'drummer's solo album' (Mason's not Wyatt's). However, it was during these so-called 'lost years' that Wyatt became increasingly involved not just in left-field music but particularly in radical politics, joining the CPGB and campaigning for a range of environmental and animal rights issues as well. These activities were to play a major part in the creation of this extraordinary album. Featuring a drawing of Rolls Royce on the sleeve with the 'silver shadow' replaced by a working class comrade, the centrepiece of this album is the immense "Stalin wasn't Stallin'", a fearsome (and entirely hummable!) riposte to western liberals and capitalists who constantly denigrated Stalin and the eastern bloc at the time, conveniently forgetting that not only was Russia on the same side as the US and UK in WW2, but that Stalin and his counytrymen expended perhaps the greatest effort of all in terms of fighting fascism, Nazism, and anti-semitism. Historical revisionism is attacked on all fronts by Wyatt. "Stalin wasn't stallin'/when he fought the beasts of Berlin/said he'd never rest contented/til he'd driven them from the land/so he called the French and English/and proceeded to extinguish/the fuhrer and his vermin/this is how it all began". But this LP is no mere history lesson. Containing much of Wyatt's trademark humour, his voice is as haunting and beautiful as ever, and the instrumentation is simply superb. This is a remarkable, mighty album which should be indispensable to all Wyatt's fans. It's not easy to find, perhaps due to the collapse of Rough Trade in the early nineties, and I'm not sure if it's even been re-released on CD other than in Japan. Despite being heavily into Soft Machine and all things RW, I was scarcely aware of its existence until I found it on vinyl while trawling through the 'Eighties' section in a second-hand record shop - not a section that many prog fans visit often, myself included. But hunt it down - you won't be disappointed, unless you're a Tory of course.
Mick Haldane | 4/5 |


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