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ROBERT WYATT

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Robert Wyatt biography
WYATT must hold a special place in many proghead's hearts as he was at the forefront of the progressive movement from 66 until his grave fall from a fourth story window which has kept him in a wheelchair. Even since then, Robert has been a real prog talent. He had started in the WILDE FLOWERS (which split into SOFT MACHINE and CARAVAN) and held the drum stool and singing mike for years before leaving to found MATCHING MOLE (a pun from the French translation of his former group MACHINE MOLLE) but had also participated to many projects involving many musicians at the forefront of progressive music before his fall.

While at the hospital, he started to write one of the most personal and intimate album ever "Rock Bottom", realizing that he would never walk again let alone drumming. He also took another approach to songwriting as he also realized that he would never be in a band anymore and therefore would not write songs according to the musicians in the group. The following albums will be less interesting for progheads and his discography become erratic. Only in the last years will he come back with new albums, some superb.

WYATT is one of the great musicians focused upon in Prog Archives and every proghead should investigate his oeuvre.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Rock BottomRock Bottom
Import
Domino Records UK 2008
Audio CD$4.91
$12.18 (used)
ShleepShleep
Import
Domino Records UK 2008
Audio CD$4.91
$11.24 (used)
EPs (5xCD) (Limited Edition)EPs (5xCD) (Limited Edition)
Limited Edition
Domino 2010
Audio CD$18.78
$17.99 (used)
Different Every TimeDifferent Every Time
Domino Recording Co. 2014
Audio CD$11.57
$21.57 (used)
Theatre Royal Drury LaneTheatre Royal Drury Lane
Import
Domino Records UK 2008
Audio CD$4.91
$8.70 (used)
Around WyattAround Wyatt
Alliance 2010
Audio CD$40.98
$31.13 (used)
'68'68
CUNEIFORM 2013
Audio CD$9.43
$12.20 (used)
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ROBERT WYATT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ROBERT WYATT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.22 | 107 ratings
The End Of An Ear
1970
4.30 | 680 ratings
Rock Bottom
1974
3.49 | 99 ratings
Ruth is Stranger Than Richard
1975
3.70 | 61 ratings
Old Rottenhat
1985
3.77 | 69 ratings
Dondestan
1991
3.82 | 105 ratings
Shleep
1997
3.53 | 67 ratings
Cuckooland
2003
3.80 | 60 ratings
Comicopera
2007
3.30 | 10 ratings
Radio Experiment Rome, February 1981
2009
3.04 | 24 ratings
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen: For The Ghosts Within
2010
3.80 | 25 ratings
'68
2013

ROBERT WYATT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 55 ratings
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
2005

ROBERT WYATT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ROBERT WYATT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.22 | 32 ratings
Nothing Can Stop Us
1982
2.96 | 4 ratings
Compilation
1986
3.38 | 10 ratings
Mid-Eighties
1993
4.08 | 4 ratings
Going Back A Bit : A Little History Of Robert Wyatt
1994
3.88 | 14 ratings
Flotsam & Jetsam
1994
3.14 | 13 ratings
EP's by Robert Wyatt
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Best Selection: Strange Days
2003
3.83 | 6 ratings
Solar Flares Burn for You
2003
3.30 | 8 ratings
His Greatest Misses
2004
4.00 | 4 ratings
Different Every Time
2014

ROBERT WYATT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
I'm A Believer
1974
5.00 | 1 ratings
Yesterday Man
1974
3.00 | 1 ratings
Arauco
1980
5.00 | 1 ratings
At Last I Am Free
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Stalin Wasn't Stalling (with Peter Blackman)
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Grass (with Disharhi)
1981
3.51 | 13 ratings
The Animals Film
1982
3.28 | 6 ratings
Shipbuilding / Memories of You
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
4 Track EP
1984
4.33 | 3 ratings
Work In Progress
1984
3.11 | 8 ratings
Peel Sessions
1987
5.00 | 1 ratings
Chairman Mao
1987
3.14 | 7 ratings
Short Break
1996

ROBERT WYATT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.12 | 55 ratings

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by 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

 '68 by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.80 | 25 ratings

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'68
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle

3 stars This album is as close as you can get to real Robert Wyatt. This archival release shows some fascinating cuts from the master himself featuring the ultimate guitar god (you guessed it, Jimi Hendrix), Mike Ratledge and Hugh Hopper. Some of the tracks are quite sloppy-sounding, which gives the album a very "home brew" sort of feeling. Some of the tracks, namely well, everything besides "Moon In June" are songs only to be seen on this album. "Slow Walkin' Talk" is that track that features Hendrix on bass and magically, it immediately sounds like something that after a polish could appear on "Are You Experienced?". To me, the coolest thing about the album is a take on what would later become Soft Machine's proggiest song - a multimovement suite "Moon In June". Note that as the name suggests, this was recorded in the year of 1968 (when the group toured USA with Jimi Hendrix) when the piece was to be released two years later on "Third".

Overall, despite holding a strong archival and historical value, I feel like the album is not very enjoyable, because of the poor recording quality as well as the fact that these tracks were not previously released for a reason. However, this is highly recommended to any Canterbury collector and fan. 3 stars!

 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Heaven

5 stars This is one of my favourite disks ever. It's so good, it's so personal, it's so touching. Of course, Robert Wyatt is not everyone's cup of tea. His voice, the way most his songs look unfinished annoys many people. But even all these I find positive. Robert Wyatt is not for everyone, so I can feel part of a group of "chosen people". Rock Bottom is most personal and touching 'lbum. It should be like this because of the accident and evrything that happened to him at the time. One of the most special recordings in history, a real must and my favourite Robert's 'lbum. Really essential, couldn't be be other thing than a five.
 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars (This is my amateurish translation of a chapter from my Finnish-language prog book published in 2013. "Aforementioned" refers to a chapter on MATCHING MOLE. Now I must confront the question of rating. I believe it would be 4½ stars, but because in the end I haven't listened to this album so often, I round it down. To be changed later if I come to realize how wonderful this album really is.)

Matching Mole collapsed after two albums mainly because of the lack of leadership. The winter of '72-'73 Robert Wyatt spent in Venice where his girlfriend participated in making of the film Don't Look Back. Unaccustomed to have nothing to do, he passed his time writing songs with a tiny keyboard, and after the return to London gathered a new version of Matching Mole (featuring e.g. Francis Monkman who had left Curved Air). The day before starting the rehearsals occurred the aforementioned accident, with a consequence of Wyatt being hospitalized for eight months. After three months of lying in bed he was given a wheel chair, and rather than participating in therapeutic activities he spent some time on the piano in the guest room and continued shaping the songs he had started in Venice.

The paralysis from the waist below brought inevitable changes into the musician's career, but the optimistic Wyatt turned them to a freedom: without gigging he could concentrate on album-making and use various musicians on each track if he wanted to. Rock Bottom, recorded early in 1974, was released the very same day when Robert Wyatt married Alfreda "Alfie" Benge, who was also responsible of the cover art. [Side note: there are two versions of the cover, the other one is a colour-drawing of a dive.]

Wyatt's ethearal keyboard and vocal style is accompanied on two tracks ('Sea Song' and 'Alifib') by a bass guitar only, whereas other tracks feature a variable cast of musicians and articulators. Laurie Allan's plentiful use of hi-hat underlines the jazzy esthetics of 'A Last Straw', and the fast-tempo 'Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road' gives a central role to a trumpet. On 'Alife' that starts with slightly dissonant bass clarinet sounds, Wyatt's word play is affectionately answered by the love song's object herself. On the intense final track Wyatt's lyrics are articulated by a Scottish poet Ivor Cutler sounding like a loonie. This album produced by the Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is by far the most appreciated classic in Wyatt's long and respected solo career. it was met with a fairly good reception, even though Wyatt's only hit was the Neil Diamond cover 'I'm a Believer' two months later.

In 1975 appeared rather uneven Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, after which the discography expanded in the 80's with politically coloured albums Nothing Can Stop Us (1982; covers only) and Old Rottenhat (1985). Recommended albums for those who enjoy Wyatt's airy and chamber-jazzy style might include Shleep (1997), Cuckooland (2003) and Comicopera (2007).

 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.12 | 55 ratings

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by rusty

4 stars Yes, that hidden weird backwards then forwards coda (just 2 minutes of it) of looped Alifie, then a very angular guitar (surely fred frith?). what an oddity. the album is - yes I know the sound slips a little... ever been to a rock concert?... but the emotion is all there. Wonderful. Well, I just wnted to add that short piece of info, as I have had the album for 3 years and never heard that hidden track till tonight (after 3 minutes of clapping and 3 of silence... ) I did wonder what the 12 minute running time comprised. Maybe not every CD has this? Be interested to hear which ones do.
 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.12 | 55 ratings

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by jazz2896

5 stars How this album hasn't gotten more attention is beyond me. Released from the archival tapes long thought missing, in my view this is easily one of the top five Canterbury albums ever released. The lineup is utterly mindblowing, including Hugh Hopper, Fred Frith, Mike Oldfield, Nick Mason, Dave Stewart, and of course Robert himself to name just a few. Based on this lineup alone I'm surprised this album isn't more popular, but such is life. On to the music. Rock Bottom itself is a masterpiece in every way imaginable, and every single track from that album is represented in this glorious live set. The beautiful, yet frail arrangements on the studio album would be impossible to reconstruct in a live setting, so a carbon copy of the studio tracks was never going to happen, but how these tracks are transformed is where the beauty of this album lies. The songs are all beefed up with the individual talents of each of the players, who are all able to stretch out during each piece, which adds a new flavor to songs. The largest deviation from the studio album would be in the track Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road, where the trumpet loops are replaced with a jumpy guitar and bass riff, and the result is nothing short of astounding. Wyatt's voice in this live setting sounds as passionate and charged as ever, perhaps moreso than on the studio album. The non Rock Bottom tracks are excellent as well, representing various eras of Wyatt's musical career at that time. One of the largest complaints of this album has been the sound quality. The first 2/3's or so of the album has excellent sound quality, every instrument can be heard clearly. For 1974, the sound quality is excellent. While the last ⅓, yes the sound quality dips, but not to the point of being unbearable. I would say the sound is about on par with Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends, which to these ears is a perfectly listenable album. Overall, this release is an easy 5/5, recommended for anyone interested in Wyatt's music, the Canterbury scene, and progressive rock in general. It may even be a good access point to Rock Bottom for those who find it to be too sparse and bleak. I cannot recommend this album enough.
 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars The next album from 1974 for me to both encounter and celebrate is Robert Wyatt's second and so renowned "Rock bottom". Wyatt had earlier released "The End of an ear" 1970 but this is his witohout competition most known record. The cover hasn't many colours, perhaps the music is so good it doesn't need to sell, it's like The Beatles' "White" album.

The music of Wyatt's "Rock Bottom" is a wonderful mixture of styles and musical expressions. It has a crazy experimental approach with avant-garde influences as well as the calmer soft jazzy Canterbury sound which I love from Caravan's records. Extraordinary compositions together with instrumentality without borders make this such interesting music. The light vocals of Wyatt, the basses of Richard Sinclair and Hugh Hopper and Laurie Allan's drums together with trumpet, clarinet, saxophone and viola of guest musicians of high standard make us understand what a band we are listening to. On one song for example Mike Oldfield plays guitar.

Two songs would I consider ebtter than the others: "Sea Song"(10/10) which made me so astounded when I heard it for the first time and the odd but catchy "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road"(10/10). Three other songs surprises us every second with glimpses of glory: "A Last Straw"(9/10), "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road"(9/10) and "Alifib"(9/10). I haven't mentioned "Alife" yet. It's the album's least intriguing song even it it is very good too(8/10). I won't write so much about the record. So many have done it before me but I can recommend it for very prog lover. An average on 4.58 makes this a five star record.

 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This genre called Canterbury leaves me baffled every time. It is such an askew sounding genre, yet extremely focused and visionary. There's plenty of jazz, plenty of rock and plenty of everything and then stuffed into one big bucket of prog. Actually, I think that Canterbury may well be the prime example of prog in it's most vivid and exploratory manner.

As such it demands something special of the listener. Though melodic it is also, as stated, askew and spinechilling. Prog is by definition something to sink your teeth into but Canterbury, like zeuhl for instance, is really something else. Demanding, yes. Rewarding? Absolutely.

I came across this album having read about it's glory and godliness. At first I found it just a tad too bleak. It is not an uplifting listen, though I would not necessarily say it's a downer either. It is, really, a strange trip. Wyatt manages to create an album of sparsity though really rich in texture and body. I suppose you need to hear it to understand it. To me it is a wonderful example of restraint without holding back. Is that talking nonsense? I think not.

The first two tracks are incredible. "Sea song" is inexplicably beautiful, mellow, melancholic and simple in in it's complexity. "A last straw follows". A bit more rock feel to it, though jazzy. "Little red riding hood hit the road" is effect laden and full lf intricacy in instrumentation. Wonderful. "Alifib" recalls Hatfield & The North, I think, which is great. (Wyatt contributed vocals on the first Hatfield album.) "Alfie" is the strangest song on the album. Really it is scary, with it's half spoken vocals and eerie effects. The album ends with "Little red robin hood hit the road", on which Mike Oldfield adds some distinct guitar playing. An awesome track and a great way to end this gem of an album.

In conclusion, this is one great example of Canterbury but also prog in general. Eerie, demanding, bleak, rich and rewarding. It has everything one could hope for, really. However good, I cannot reward it five stars. This is an amazing album and I think an excellent addition to any collection. Essential? Well... In parts I think so but on the other hand no. I cannot put my finger on it. If you are looking to investigate Wyatt, start here. It is a good place to begin.

Four shining, glorious stars.

 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars I've owned and listened to this album regularly for a few years now but to this day fail to feel the sadness others associate with listening to it. I know the story, and I can imagine Robert's mood and mindset whilst creating this album (how cathartic and, hopefully, healing!) To hear the man's shift in instrumental orientation is quite extraordinary. And the emotion in his voice is quite raw and beautifully, expressively carefree. The contributing band members must have been quite focused in the making of this one. The contributions of Richard Sinclair, Mongeza Feza, Gary Windo and Mike Oldfield's are especially notable, though Fred Frith's viola play in the second half of "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" is exemplarily of the album's seriousness.

1. "Sea Song" (6:32) (9/10) is plaintively beautiful if a bit monotonous.

2. "Last Straw" (5:47) (9/10) is most remarkable to me for Robert's vocalized 'trumpet' play-- something I quite enjoy.

3. "Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road" (7:41) (10/10) is a gorgeous song with amazing piano chord play, bass lines, and multiple tracked trumpets weaving among and beyond the tick-tocking percussive play. The distorted and reverse-effected keys, guitars and vocals are used to amazing effect. The Hedgehog is just weird.

4. "Alifib" (6:55) (8/10) is probably the album's oddest, saddest foray into self-pity and opiate- induced nonsense. Thank goodness it shifts into some more expressive free-form jazz with

5. "Alifie" (6:32) (8/10), an excursion into some deeper, darker expressiveness primarily via the inspired saxophone play of Gary Windo.

6. "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" (6:09) (9/10) is highlighted by some vintage Mike Oldfield guitar work (on multiple tracks) as well as some of Robert's cleverest wordplay.

Definitely a better listen if on headphones and while giving it one's full attention. It has a timelessness to it that makes it rise above the 4 stars it might otherwise deserve. The Hedgehog is just weird.

"Dinsdale!" . . . "Dinsdale!"

 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 680 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

4 stars Intimate, fragile, unstable and delicate - Rock Bottom is a reserved but bustling musical odyssey inwards. A perfect marriage of the personal and the abstract.

While never outright showy, there's just a subdued shimmering and hazy richness and gentle grandeur that make this album positively simmer in a unique and self-contradictory hallucinatory clarity.

A freely flowing, kaleidoscopic enigma of intimate beauty in predominantly colder colours, it's made full by layer upon layer of droning, eerie ambience, psychedelically immaterial or squealing guitars and the entirety of the zany zoological garden of sounds you find on the Canterburian experimental side. Sweetly innocent and clear melodies alongside Wyatt's almost tangible, vulnerable and very personal vocals fuse with darker streaks of wavy and diverse keyboards or a low-intensity jazz glow with gently crackling drums and unpredictable, fiery, but ultimately restrained woodwind and brass. Substantial, melodic, but sometimes detached, freely roaming and wilfully strange piano and importunate, entrancing percussion and imploring saxophone. Viola, concertina...there's room for so much. Every track is a new adventure, rewarding patience and attention in order to fully soak up all the nuances and minute twists and turns in the crisp and clear atmosphere.

The songs drift away into the unknown on a steady, patiently repetitive beat, but soon develop into isolated and hypnotic universes of their own when all the restless instrumental opulence gradually kicks in. It's fractured and jumbled, undependable and shaky, free-form, but often bent towards naked melancholia and sadness or even sinister, looming danger. And there's even room for a twisted sense of fun, creating a schizophrenic tension that never really goes away, and which only further adds to the vibe of uncertainty. But in the end it's always so wondrously, surprisingly, controlled. The emotion and instrumentation are like embers in the dark, with a constant deep red intensity that says it all without ever having to resort to wildly dancing flames.

While the charms of this one eluded me for a long time, the more I've listened to it the more I've come to adore it. It's an intense and intruding, but simultaneously restrained and naked affair, which if you let it in under your skin can cause exhilarating dizziness and lasting shortness of breath. And that's a good thing.

4 stars.

//LinusW

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