ROBERT WYATT — Theatre Royal Drury Lane

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ROBERT WYATT - Theatre Royal Drury Lane cover
3.56 | 7 ratings | 3 reviews
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Live album · 2005

Tracklist

1.Introduction by John Peel (2:18)
2.Dedicated to You But You Weren't Listening (1:38)
3.Memories (3:58)
4.Sea Song (9:13)
5.A Last Straw (4:38)
6.Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road (6:42)
7.Alife (4:28)
8.Alifib (6:24)
9.Mind of a Child (5:26)
10.Instant Pussy (4:22)
11.Signed Curtain (4:42)
12.Calyx (3:19)
13.Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road (6:12)
14.I'm a Believer (7:36)

Line-up/Musicians

- Hugh Hopper /Bass Guitar
- Laurie Allan / Drums
- Nick Mason /Drums
- Mike Oldfield /Guitar
- Dave Stewart /Keyboards
- Gary Windo / Reeds
- Mongezi Feza / Trumpet
- Fred Frith / Violin, Guitar, Viola
- Ivor Cutler / Vocals
- John Peel / Vocals
- Robert Wyatt / Vocals
- Julie Tippetts / Vocals, Keyboards

About this release

Hannibal Records – HNCD 1507(UK/US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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ROBERT WYATT THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

snobb
Rare live release presenting Robert Wyatt the top of his musical form. Recorded in 1974 and released for a first time in 2005 only, this concert is really wet dream of every Canterbury fan. Robert is in great form just released his Rock Bottom album, and musicians playing are almost all real legends.

Material comes mainly from Rock Bottom plus some Soft Machine early compositions and few Robert future songs. The show is introduced by John Peel (and recorded by CBS), and Wyatt's classic songs are played by Hugh Hopper, Fred Frith, Mike Oldfield and Dave Stuart between others!One song is sung by Julie Tippets even!

Recorded in similar time as his excellent Rock Bottom, this album presents highest intimate level and emotional field Wyatt ever demonstrated. Even if compositions are not so well arranged as on studio release,and sound mix quality is only average, strong point of this recording is its informal atmosphere. Musically compositions are longer than on studio recordings, includes more improvs and at the same time often are of higher (rock) energy.

All venue's atmosphere is relaxed,and even unfocused in moments, but some bulkiness of material is compensable by interesting longer soloing and even free jazz improvs. Melancholic Robert's voice is central accent of all recordings, but the album is no way vocalist plus back-up band's release. All musicians show highest respect to Wyatt's singing, but at the same time each of them have enough space for his own musicianship.

Excellent evidence of live Wyatt's show from his best period, this album is great musical release coming from Canterbury Scene of early 70s at the same time. Must have for any Wyatt's fan.

Members reviews

Warthur
Robert Wyatt has only rarely given live performances since the launch of his solo career, so Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of the few live albums we're ever likely to see from him. It is a shame, therefore, that I can't recommend it as heartily as I would like to. Wyatt is clearly in high spirits during the recording, opening the gig with a shambolic (and I suspect deliberately shoddy) runthrough of Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening before getting to the meat of the matter. Naturally, material from Rock Bottom is present in spades, and whilst Wyatt and his backing musicians make a decent go of rearranging those strange studio nuggets into something resembling a tune a conventional band lineup could play, the process means that some of them lose their magic (though the version of Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road here is decent).

The main problem with the album is the sound quality, which is really rather poor even for the era - and the mix isn't great either, so the joyous cover version of I'm a Believer that ends the album is rather murky and Ivor Cutler's poetry readings are almost completely swamped - a crying shame. I'd say this definitely fits the criteria of "collectors/fans only", since I can't really recommend the album to anyone who wasn't already a huge Wyatt fan; anyone else is better experiencing the music here in the studio album renditions.
Sean Trane
After his fall from the fourth floor from a hotel window while touring with Matching Mole and his sojourn in a hospital, Wyatt released one of the most poignant albums ever, the superb, superlative, ultra-emotional Rock Bottom, whose tracks were mostly written in his hospital bed. On Sept 8 of 74, there was held a support concert (this is almost like a tribute concert) from all of Robert's friends to help him out on the cost of new life. This album had previously seen a few boot releases, most notably on the Archives non-legit label, under the name of Las Vegas Fandango over a decade ago, but the sound is deplorable, proof that modern technology can do some miracles. Until recently, the tapes from that night's concert where thought to be a waste as there was a definite technical problem. The second part of the concert had some major problems ("lost" seems to be the word Wyatt uses) and it was reconstructed from the monitor mixes and the least we can say is that the results are not really convincing. But this "small remark" aside, the rest of the tapes are absolutely brilliant and the sound quality is absolutely mint and quite an essential release for Wyatt fans and, dare I say it, to ALL Progheads. A quick look at the participants that night should convince even the most Wyatt non-fans that this was an absolute and unique night in the annals of rock history. By taking a quick peak at the track list, one will see the majority of the tracks played that night are from Rock Bottom (the whole album actually) and a few more come from Matching Mole (mostly the superb debut album) and almost nothing from Soft Machine - "the band that had made him unhappy" Wyatt was to say later - and only Hugh hopper is present that night on stage. One of the most poignant image of support and solidarity is the picture inside the digipack release showing all participants of that concert posing for a photo in the same position as Robert himself: in a wheelchair coming down stairs.

While I have had this album less than one month by the time I write this review, it has been on almost constant rotation in my deck, and after some few dozens of listens, I still experience back chills and tears of emotion while listening to it, and at some time, I while writing this review my computer screen gets blurry because of some strange occurrence of a mist passing through. If you love Rock Bottom and thought it would be difficult to reproduce the raw, bare, awesome emotions, you must get this album, as I believe that these live versions are even more poignant simply because they are played live and the sound is amazing.

I will not spend time running through the set played that night, but every track is absolutely essential and superb, and the tape-fixing (mentioned above) occurs from Julie Tippetts-Driscoll's track Mind Of A Child (to be released on her superb solo album Sunset Glow) onwards, but the quality stays quite correct at most times and the tampering is only sometimes evident, although there are some glaring problems at times but mostly in the last two tracks during Red Robin Hood and Monkees cover I'm A Believer.

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