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


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.49 | 144 ratings

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3 stars Jazzier, and always innovative.

Wyatt's follow-up to 'Rock Bottom' mixes up the styles, and once again sees Wyatt innovating and taking his music closer to jazz. Of course, 'Rock Bottom' is amazingly innovative and musical, too, and to be honest I am not sure it would be possible to top that. So, instead, Wyatt recorded a more collaborative album, with songs written with Hugh Hopper (the opener, "Soup Song"), Bill McCormick and Phil Manzanera ("Team Spirit"), Offenbach via Brian Eno ("3 Black Notes and 1 White Note"), as well as two covers. For the latter, Wyatt features an instrumental ('Sonia') written by his friend, trumpeter Mongezi Feza, and the classic Charlie Haden song "Song for Che" (written for Che Guevara). There are some great Wyatt songs here. "Soup Song" is a classic, and very catchy. "Solar Flares" and "3 Black Notes and 1 White Note" are excellent instrumentals, as is the cover of Haden's "Song for Che". However, my favourite song here, and indeed one of my favourite all-time Robert Wyatt songs, is the Frith-Wyatt composition "Muddy Mouse". Recorded in three snippets (two very-short, and one longer, part), this song sees Wyatt stretch and squeak his vocal chords to amazing lengths, but in an amazingly musical and jazzy way, accompanying acoustic piano. A truly awesome vocal performance, and really unique. This song totally makes it worth it to the pick up this album. So, even though on the whole, the album is a bit mixed, I would wholeheartedly recommend owning this album if you are in any way a Wyatt fan. On balance, I give this album 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to higher 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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