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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 903 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Wyatt had already written the basic structure of the music for this his second solo album, plus the lyrics for "Alife", "Sea Song" and "A Last Straw" when on the night before the new group was to have it's first rehearsal he fell from a fourth floor window breaking his spine. He spent the first three months in the hospital flat on his back until he received a wheelchair which allowed him in the coming months to play on a piano in the visitors room. This is where he continued to prepare his songs. When he was finally released from the hospital he was ready to record this album. Those on board to help him were HENRY COW members Fred Frith and Mongezi Feza as well as Mike Oldfield, Richard Sinclair, Hugh Hopper and Laurie Allan from GONG and more. Nick Mason from PINK FLOYD is the producer of these pastoral, chaotic, desperate, emotional and at times humerous songs. Robert's vocals seem so vulnerable.

"Sea Song" is one of my favourite songs on here with piano and vocals leading the way. "A Last Straw" has Canterbury written all over it and is another highlight that opens with keys and bass as vocals follow. Another vocal melody from Wyatt as the drums come in playing a more prominant role now. "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road" is more avant with the chaotic sax and percussion. Sadly Mongezi Feza the sax player would pass away a year later from pneumonia. Keys come in followed by a vocal melody then vocals. A monologue from Ivor Cutler late in the song as well as some great bass lines from Sinclair.

"Alifib" and "Alife" are like parts one and two about Robert's wife Alfie. These are amazing pieces of music. The first part has Wyatt's desperate voice saying Alifib over and over again throughout most of the song until we get his fragile vocals before 4 minutes. Keyboard melodies and bass provide the background music to this song. Part 2 is my favourite track and we get percussion, clarinet and vocals leading the way. Sax after 3 minutes and keys with spoken words from his wife Alfie. "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" is in my top three here of favourite tunes. Mike Oldfield really makes his presence felt, and you know it's him right away, there is no mistaking his style and tone. The drums are well done and we get more spoken words from Ivor Cutler before some viola from Fred Frith. There are dissonant sounds to end it.

If I was to evaluate this record on the music alone I might say a solid 4 stars, but this album goes beyond the music doesn't it. Robert Wyatt is one talented and influential man i'll say that much. Even one of my favourite bands ANEKDOTEN lists him as an influence and a friend. The emotion on this album is beyond words.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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