on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2013 11 Jul

Russell Richardson on Robert Wyatt’s masterpiece „Rock Bottom“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off

If you haven’t heard this album, just set aside forty minutes, buy it and listen. Aside from Wyatt’s own personal tragedy associated with the record, there is a quality of awake (as opposed to drowsy) magic which makes ROCK BOTTOM probably the greatest record released under the umbrella of pop/rock. Side one on the old vinyl is simply faultless – the first three tracks blend into one, with such beautiful melodies tears come to the eyes. And the singing, often wordless, reaches places that only the most authentic blues singers or flamenco artists reach. Yes, it is that good. It let us all see that you could be white, British and go ‚out there‘. As a result, this record quietly changed the face of British music for ever. Via punk, new wave and the still ongoing work of hundreds of musicians that make up British music’s wealth. The album also shows why snobbism is wrong in music. All the players here were respected jazzy musicians, but none had contempt for pop music or melody. The results are stunning. You can also check out RW version of the Monkees ‚I’m A Believer‘ if you don’t believe how un-snobby he was and is. And, yes, it rocks, as the title would suggest. Totally unique, weird, lovely and as deep as the sirens‘ song, this is the best album to leave England’s shores bar none, including Sgt Pepper (which it’s not that far from in beauty) and its real secret – despite the well-known personal gloom – is its utter free flying joy. As a footnote, Wyatt is still going strong, producing some of his best work 25 years after Rock Bottom. That’s the strength of his spirit – lesser mortals would have given up after such a milestone. That he is still ‚obscure‘ is one of the mysteries of the modern age – this is also one of the most enjoyable albums ever made. Do I sound convinced?

Yes, you do, Richard! I wouldn’t say it’s the best, but it’s definitely one of the best records in modern music history, no doubt about it. It is really on par with Sgt. Pepper. Nevertheless, I love nearly all the albums he’s made since the mid-70s to the same degree. And, yes, it’s so un-snobby!! – me

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