Robert Wyatt is a true hero; always has been, always will be. Despite the fact he once described himself as merely “a very primitive, infantile folk singer,” it’s more accurate to say that he’s got one of the most perfect voices in music -- kind of fragile sounding at first, but emotionally involved and, allegedly, spanning five or more octaves.
Even though most have never heard of him, there are a ton of reasons that make you need to love him. He actually used to be a pretty big star in Britain back in the '70s as the drummer and singer in Soft Machine. He appeared on Björk’s "Submarine" (off Medulla -- TMT Review), which was recorded in his bedroom. Recorded a fucking song with Björk in his motherfucking bedroom! He fought back from falling out of a third-floor window at a party, which left him paraplegic, to continue his musical caree, despite haters like the Top Of The Pops producer in England who felt his wheelchair wasn’t “suitable for family viewing” and tried to get him to sit on a fucking ottoman or something when he appeared on the show. Being a hero and all, Wyatt duly appeared on the show in his wheelchair, whereas the producer hopefully ended up committing seppuku with a ballpoint pen after the show aired. And who else in the world would be totally tight enough to include on one of his albums Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’ (a post-war left wing ballad telling the ungrateful world just how rad the Soviet dictator really was) next to a slowed down, echoing, AMAZING version of the Chic disco ditty At Last I Am Free ? And he did Shipbuilding, which -- no word of a lie -- is just about the best song ever written. You’d think everyone would know about Wyatt and want to do the do with the dude (to me, he was the obvious choice as the replacement for naughty Akon on Gwen Stefani’s current tour).
Thing is, ver kidz just aren’t interested in our man. But that is going to change so fast you’re not going to have time for your morning shit. Indie megasaurus Domino have signed up Wyatt, and incredibly, he’s recorded an album for them! It’s called Comicopera and will be in stores September 24. I suggest we ignore the twin facts that the album is constructed as a three-act ‘opera’ and Paul Weller plays on it. Despite these apparent horrors, I am quite sure that it’ll still be totally worth hearing, so long as that scrawny turd Weller doesn’t give it a go at basso profundo.