|Previously released material|
|Released on 1993|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
|R2 79488 cover
[high resolution scan]
K ronomyth 7.5: HATS OFF TO ROBERT WYATT. The not-so-Old Rottenhat returns with some friends: Work In Progress, both B sides of the Shipbuilding single (but not “Shipbuilding”) and two compilation contributions: “Pigs” and “Chairman Mao.” If you already bought Old Rottenhat, well, on behalf of Gramavision I’m sorry. Apparently, Gramavision was determined to repackage Old Rottenhat in as many different guises as possible (see the earlier compilation with Nothing Can Stop Us for more on this). Not that Old Rottenhat is a bad album; it’s worth hearing at least once. The Wyatt stuff from this period is pretty consistent: intimate songs as warm and luminous as a lightbulb in a dark place, as likely to be sung in Spanish as espouse some leftist sentimentalism, an English eccentric chipping away at the cold world with a Casiotone and a sharp wit. Some of it’s surprisingly good given its humble origins: “Pigs,” “The British Road,” “The United States of Amnesia,” “Biko.” He’s still an acquired taste, occasionally cryptic (“Chairman Mao,” “Vandalusia”), politically myopic. Only in Wyatt’s world will you find songs about Maurice Bishop and East Timor, conflicts that have long since been swallowed by insatiable time. Yet the Robert Wyatt songbook is an antidote to the overproduced music of the 80s and the crass commercial interests of the major labels. The repackaging of Old Rottenhat suggests that even the lesser labels had their own commercial interests at heart, though you can’t hate them for wanting to get the work of Wyatt into more ears. Its dubious origins aside, Mid-Eighties presents a generous portrait of the artist in mid-career, though it doesn’t resolve what, discographically, is a difficult decade.
ROBERT WYATT --
Hugh Hopper -- Casio keyboard (4)
Dave MaCrae -- keyboards (5,6)
John Fryer -- engineer
John McGowan -- engineer
Bill Gilonis -- engineer
Alfreda Benge -- front cover painting
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