Robert Wyatt gets MOJO

Thanks to my friend Brett I heard that Robert Wyatt won this year’s MOJO Lifetime Achievement Award. (It’s about halfway down the page.) That is just great.
I started poking around on the Web after that and discovered that the BBC did a two-part feature on Robert recently, and that he had a new album out, Cuckooland. This is actually nearly two years old, and I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before.
One time when I got a royalty check from the first Web services book a couple of years ago I went to Amazon.com and bought pretty much everything with Robert’s name on it that I didn’t have. Of course once I discovered the existence of the new album I had to do it again ;-).
But as it turns out, if you go beyond Robert’s own albums and the Soft Machine albums (can you believe both Robert and the Softs have Wikipedia entries?!?), it is just amazing the number of other albums he appears on. Among the many Web sites dedicated to Robert, this one appears to be the most comprehensive. If anyone is looking for a good CD/LP collecting challenge, it looks like I’m on safe ground recommending this one.
In my travels through Amazon.com I was interested to read some of the’ reviews of The Soft Machine Volumes 1 and 2 (which by the way I recommend if you don’t have it already).
James T. Jacobs account of seeing them live as the opening act for Jimi Hendrix is something I might have written, except that I thought Hendrix was ultimately better. But my mouth was certainly hanging wide open when Soft Machine finished, and me and my friends all ran right out and bought their album. And the next, and the next. We made it through the Fourth in fact before we lost interest in the Fifth, which (no coincidence here I think) is when Wyatt left the band. This also was my first rock concert, and I can assure you I was hooked on them after that. Unfortunately my parents did not let me go to Woodstock though ;-(
But I would caution you not to infer as Ira Moon did (review on the same page) that Soft Machine is anything like Jimi Hendrix. I do note however that Ira called out the drumming as the best part – again Robert, who somehow always made the drums seem essential to the musical idea. And now of course his it’s his voice and lyrics and melodies that are getting accolades as well.
Following Robert led me to Eno, since the two played together on June 1, 1974. And of course Eno led to Roxy Music, Devo, Talking Heads, U2…
And it turns out Eno has a new album, out too! Another Day on Earth, which is actually new (well since June anyway), and his first vocal album in 15 years. And yes, it is in the Amazon.com order….

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