One book gives this date to the birthday of guitarist Jimi Hendrix (1942). Happy birthday Floyd Cramer, the piano player (1933, Shreveport, LA). On 11/30 happy birthday to Dick Clark, the world’s oldest teenager (1929, Mount Vernon, NY). Also on 11/30 happy birthday Roger Glover of Deep Purple (1945, South Wales, England) and comedy artist Allan Sherman (1924).
Domino Records in England has began to go some distance regarding Robert Wyatt. There are 2 new double LP’s that have been released, which attempt to cover his entire career; there’s a double CD, too. Slick, new, great sound, decent mastering, these really are a joy to buy and listen. Listen and believe.
“Ex Machina” (Domino WIGLP 347-1 double LP) begins at the beginning; Side 1 is a healthy dose of newly mastered Soft Machine, “Moon In June” from their 3rd album, a Robert Wyatt composition. And we all know they’re taking a closer look at this album, as it has been mastered for BSCD2 (Blu-ray CD) in Japan. Simply put, this track has never sounded better, and it’s all of Side 1!
Side 2 spans CBS Records UK and Virgin Records UK, with Matching Mole goodies (also recently re-mastered for BSCD2 in Japan), moving on to Virgin Records original recordings, “A Last Straw” from Rock Bottom and a 45, “Yesterday Man”, which never sounded better than it does here.
Side 3 spans Virgin Records UK and Rough Trade UK, the highlight of “Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard”, “Team Spirit” absolutely shines, as it has for about 40 years. The years skip by, and Geoff Travis says yes to “At Last I Am Free”, “The Age Of Self” and “Worship”.
Side 4 is as close as one gets to a contemporary ‘best of’ the more-recent works of Robert Wyatt, with glorious-sounding re-masters of “Free Will and Testament”, “Cuckoo Madame”, “Beware” and “Just As You Are”. If this man’s voice affects your life at all, this is such a sweet collection.
“Benign Dictatorships” (Domino WIGLP 347-2 double LP) actually has material sung or written by Mr. Wyatt that I’ve only ever read about, but never heard. So, yeah. New-to-me professional recordings with Robert Wyatt singing! The style of compilation looks to be one song from each project, so if you want to hear more, you’ll have to rush out to your teenaged record store and find your own copy of Nick Mason “Fictitious Sports”, Michael Mantler “The Hapless Child” etc. Mr. Wyatt has also sung for Steve Nieve, Bjork, Cristina Dona, Working Week, Monica Vasconcelos, Happy End, Grasscut, Epic Soundtracks, Hot Chip…all present and accounted for. Lots of great music, listen and believe.