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Robert Wyatt - Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.48 | 113 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars After first listening, this album was somewhat of a disappointment from the marvelous Rock Bottom. Several spins later, this album has really grown on me, but not quite to the level of the previous album. Once again, we have an all-star lineup (but I do prefer the lineup of RB), with many superb musicinas most notably Fred Frith and Brian Eno.

The three Muddy Mouses are examples of Canterbury-styled humor, and pretty good actually. Wyatt's vocals are ace as usual, and you have to love the piano which is played by Fred Frith. After the first Muddy Mouse, we get into Solar Flares, the first *real* song. It's a nice jazzy song very similar to Wyatt's spin off band of Soft Machine, Matching Mole. Another Muddy Mouse interlude and we get to 5 Black Notes and 1 White Noise. This song is a cover of an Offenbach song (I've never heard it though), and a fine tune. It's pretty depressing... instrumental, with great winds playing. Next is Muddy Mouse, which in turn leads to Muddy Mouth. Muddy Mouth is pretty much an expansion of Muddy Mouse, with the strange vocal style of Robert Wyatt you either love or hate (and I love, of course).

Side Ruth (side two) really is stranger than the first side (Side Richard) and also more jazzy. First is Soup Song, which reminds me of a blues version of Sea Song from Rock Bottom. Sonia is another jazzy song, with even some Reggae bits thrown in. It's a very catchy song, and I can't help but to tap my foot while listening. Team Spirit is the next song, and also the longest (8 and half minutes) and probably my favorite song of Side Ruth. This song is very jazzy, reminding me of a mix of two Soft Machine albums, Bundles and Softs, but with vocals of course. Song for Che concludes Ruth is Stranger than Richard. It's a good ambient jazz-type song, a fine way to end the album and leave the listener wanting for more.

Overall, this is very different from Rock Bottom. It's much lighter, more carefree, and an album that is fun to listen to. I would consider this to be an "excellent addition to any prog music collection", and essential for fans of Robert Wyatt.

Mikerinos | 4/5 |


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