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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 : : :

Robert Wyatt official website

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Rock BottomRock Bottom
Import
Domino Records UK 2008
Audio CD$16.30
$11.41 (used)
CuckoolandCuckooland
Hannibal 2003
Audio CD$39.95
$1.66 (used)
Different Every TimeDifferent Every Time
Domino Recording Co. 2014
Audio CD$12.97
$8.64 (used)
6868
Cuneiform Records 2013
Audio CD$12.98
$14.49 (used)
Rock Bottom [Vinyl]Rock Bottom [Vinyl]
Import
Domino Records UK 2008
Vinyl$23.72
Theatre Royal Drury Lane (LP+CD) (Limited Edition)Theatre Royal Drury Lane (LP+CD) (Limited Edition)
Limited Edition
Domino 2010
Vinyl$23.74
$43.29 (used)
ComicoperaComicopera
Domino 2007
Audio CD$11.04
$5.67 (used)
ShleepShleep
Thirsty Ear 1998
Audio CD$22.06
$2.49 (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)

3.19 | 113 ratings
The End Of An Ear
1970
4.29 | 738 ratings
Rock Bottom
1974
3.48 | 108 ratings
Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard
1975
3.70 | 69 ratings
Old Rottenhat
1985
3.76 | 76 ratings
Dondestan
1991
3.81 | 116 ratings
Shleep
1997
3.53 | 74 ratings
Cuckooland
2003
3.81 | 68 ratings
Comicopera
2007
3.17 | 12 ratings
Radio Experiment Rome, February 1981
2009
3.02 | 27 ratings
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen: For The Ghosts Within
2010
3.74 | 28 ratings
'68
2013

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

4.10 | 61 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)

3.24 | 35 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
3.82 | 15 ratings
Flotsam & Jetsam
1994
3.13 | 14 ratings
EP's by Robert Wyatt
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Best Selection: Strange Days
2003
3.76 | 8 ratings
Solar Flares Burn for You
2003
3.29 | 9 ratings
His Greatest Misses
2004
4.00 | 5 ratings
Different Every Time
2014

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

3.50 | 2 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
3.49 | 15 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
3.13 | 8 ratings
Short Break
1996

ROBERT WYATT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Solar Flares Burn for You  by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.76 | 8 ratings

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Solar Flares Burn for You
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars This is an overlooked gem, and while it contains mostly early BBC recordings, demos, outtakes, long-lost movie soundtracks and private recordings, the pieces are very musical and anyone who likes Rock Bottom (one of my top 10 albums ever, so you know I am a huge fan), or Wyatt's music in general, will find this a treasure. It contains early Wyatt demos and BBC recordings of some of his best pieces, including 'Sea Song', 'Soup Song', 'Alifib', 'I'm a Believer', and 'God Song'. The recording of 'Alifib' here (originally from Rock Bottom) is wonderful. I have always loved that song, one of Wyatt's best - this version is just him at the piano live at the BBC. Very poignant. The title track ('Solar Flares Burn for You') was written as the soundtrack to a short film of the same name by Arthur Jones in 1973, recorded at Nick Mason's house. The album will appeal to RW fans for this piece alone, which is very quirky yet strong enough it should have been released back in the 70s. There are also short Hatfield ('Fol de Rol') and Matching Mole ('Righteous Rhumba') demos, some silly pieces never intended for release (including hilarious grunting through "We got an arts council grahhnt", not so musical but funny and short), and a few Hopper-Wyatt sound experiments ('Blimey O'Riley', and 'Twas Brillig'). The cover of 'Little Child' here (recorded in 1972) is emotionally devastating - it will bring tears to your eyes. Topping it off is the last song "The Verb" recorded by Wyatt at home in 2003, likely from the time of the Cuckooland sessions. It sounds like it belongs on Dondestan and is as strong as any of the other tunes on that album. While as a fan, I can be expected to like this collection, I actually think this is musically stronger and more consistent than a number of his regular albums (I rate it higher than Ruth is Stranger than Richard, Comicopera, etc). Listen to Rock Bottom first, then perhaps Dondestan, and Shleep. If you like those, I am very confident you will love and treasure this. I give it 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.
 The End Of An Ear by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.19 | 113 ratings

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The End Of An Ear
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

2 stars While I love Robert Wyatt's music, including some on this album, and I love jazz (including avant-garde free jazz), it doesn't always work. I admire the spirit of innovation and exploration, and the great thing about improvisation is that it could succeed or fail spectacularly. This album contains some great musical moments, but also a lot of moments that are difficult to get through. It is thus quite fragmented, so although I encourage readers to pick up RW's music, as an album I would not recommend they start with this one. It is really for fans. I give this 5.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 2 PA stars (I had been wavering up to 5.8, but gave this another listen).
 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.29 | 738 ratings

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Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Kaelka

5 stars The story is told in M. O'Dair's wonderful biography, "Different Every Time" (the title is of course taken from the lyrics of "Sea Song") : when they were on their way to that fateful party on June 1st, 1973, Robert Wyatt, who was more or less chronically depressed since he'd been thrown out of Soft Machine two years earlier, told Alfie something he had not said for a very long time : "I'm happy". That's how he ended his first life, his life as Robert-the-half-naked-drummer, and started his second life as a legend.

Most of the material recorded here was written in Venice, Italy, the previous winter, where Alfie worked as an assistant director to some avant-garde film maker and he spent his days alone on Giudecca Island with a small toy-organ she'd offered him. This is really important, and keep it in mind next time you listen to "Rock Bottom" : It was conceived by a man who could walk, run, and play the drums, and recorded by a cripple in a wheelchair, who had to be carried up to the studio (access ramps didn't exist). If you think about this, you will listen and enjoy the album in quite a different, and probably darker, mood.

Read the other reviews for a description of those 6 eternal jewels. I'll only say a few words about one : "Alifib" is probably the most beautiful love song ever written. Picasso used to say that he had spent most of his life learning to paint like a little child (he finally succeeded, as shown in some of the "Menines"), Wyatt did the same here.

The whole album was played and recorded live by "Wyatt and friends" on the wonderful album "Theatre Royal Drury Lane 8th September 1974", which is also a must for all Wyatt (and prog) fans.

One last word : no serious discography, not only of rock n' roll or pop music, but of the whole 20th century music, will ever be complete if it doesn't include "Rock Bottom".

 Different Every Time by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Different Every Time
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars - The first review - The main editor of this 2-CD set is Robert Wyatt's biography author Marcus O'Dair, whose liner notes are included on the leaflet. "Individual tracks were chosen simply on aesthetic grounds, but the compilation also had to work as a coherent sequence of music. Where possible, we also chose tracks that had a particular personal resonance for Robert. The selection was intended to be representative, but only up to a point." It is intentionally an unconventional compilation and as such it reaches its goals excellently.

The first CD covers chronologically the whole career of Robert Wyatt, starting from his SOFT MACHINE membership. There's only one SM track, but it's no less than the 19-minute 'Moon in June' from the double album "Third" (1970). I've always loved this jazzy epic of a charming, improvisation-like nature, starring Lowry organ, delicious drumming and Wyatt's inimitabe voice. The MATCHING MOLE albums (both from 1972) are represented with one track each, 'Signed Curtain' and 'God Song', very nice choices. Interestingly Wyatt's superb Rock Bottom album -- his first work after his physical accident that re-shaped him as a musician -- is represented only by a 1974 live version of 'A Last Straw'.

Here the album info contains the source albums. That's exactly what I miss on the leaflet, which on the other hand even lists the musicians on most tracks. 'Yesterday Man' seems to be taken from some EP; it's IMHO among the worst songs on this disc, whereas the lengthy 'Team Spirit' from Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975) is great especially for the hypnotic bass sound. Sonically spatial and laid-back 'At Last I Am Free' is my personal favourite from Wyatt, in all its naive simplicity. The rest of the solo discography is squeezed in all-too-limited space (that's the price you pay when starting with an album side long epic!) but the choices are done in a very elegant manner, underlining the artist's personality and uniqueness, and payng no attention whatsoever to the commercial potential -- or rather, the lack of it.

But what makes this set very unconventional and adventurous is the 2nd disc, which contains material of other artists featuring Wyatt in a notable collaborator role. These artists include e.g. Scandinavian females JEANETTE LINDSTRÖM, ANJA GARBAREK and BJÖRK. Groups such as HOT CHIP, EPIC SOUNDTRACKS, GRASSCUT and HAPPY END are totally unfamiliar to me. Some tracks are pretty fascinating, others just hard to digest, as surprisingly many tracks sound rather arty-farty in their low-tempo minimalistic aesthetics. Amidst them the classic 'Shipbuilding' that Elvis Costello and Clive Langer wrote for Wyatt, feels like a friend's hand in the crowd of strange people.

'Still in the Dark' by MONICA VASCOLENOS is nice, thanks for her vocals, and the way Wyatt shares vocal duties with two women on WORKING WEEK's cool, lively song (an extended 12" version) is marvelous. All in all the stuff on this disc is not much vocal oriented. This set may be far too difficult for a listener unfamiliar with music of such free and intimate nature (containing more elements from chamber jazz than from pop/rock), but in the world of compilations this is really something special.

 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.10 | 61 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
3.74 | 28 ratings

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'68
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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
4.29 | 738 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
4.29 | 738 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
4.10 | 61 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
4.10 | 61 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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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