“Nothing Can Stop Us” by Robert Wyatt - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1982 →Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s →

TJR says

Any Robert Wyatt fans desperate for an all-new solo album (there hadn't been such a thing since 1975) would have to wait a while longer yet, but this got close to it, rounding up 8 of the recent Rough Trade single sides, one compilation track and one previously unreleased cut, a version of the traditional standard, “Red Flag”. Opening track “Born Again Cretin” (the only Wyatt original in the set) had featured on the NME's “C-81” cassette in April, 1981. 1980's “At Last I Am Free” was a surprise Chic cover and “Caimanera”, sung in Spanish, might translate as “Sing when you're winning”, although I might have made that up. 1981's “Grass” was originally done by Ivor Cutler on his 1975 LP “Velvet Donkey” - nice to see these two continue to support each other. The other side of that 45, “Trade Union”, was billed to Dishari, a Bengali group invited into the studio by Robert. Songwriter Abdus Salique had to leave East Pakistan in 1970 because of left-wing political activities, but continued his work in East London, where he became the spokesman for the Bengali community, later to be a Labour councillor. “Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’” is sung a capella. It was originally recorded in that way by the gospel group Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet (of which the song’s writer Willie Johnson was a member) in 1943. Again, the other side of the single is included here, “Stalingrad” by Peter Blackman, a West-Indian poet who reads his own piece, unaccompanied, closing the album thoughtfully. Just before that, with piano, the ever-grim “Strange Fruit” revisits Billie Holiday's timeless anti-racist piece from 1939, whilst “Arauco” is another sung in Spanish. As you can gather from this brief synopsis, there's much to unpack here. Relax, take a sip of something fresh and cool, enjoy.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:10] 6.2.png Robert Wyatt - Born Again Cretin (Robert Wyatt) Alternative Folk
A2 [04:17] 6.4.png Robert Wyatt - At Last I Am Free (Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers) Songwriter
A3 [05:18] 5.7.png Robert Wyatt - Caimanera (Carlos Puebla, José Fernández) Folk
A4 [02:39] 5.0.png Robert Wyatt - Grass (Ivor Cutler) Alternative Folk
A5 [03:22] 6.8.png Robert Wyatt - Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’ (Willie Johnson) Soul
B1 [03:09] 7.7.png Robert Wyatt - Red Flag (Traditional) Folk
B2 [03:37] 5.7.png Robert Wyatt - Strange Fruit (Abel Meeropol) Jazz
B3 [04:35] 6.3.png Robert Wyatt - Arauco (Violeta Parra) Alternative Folk
B4 [03:44] 7.0.png Dishari - Trade Union (Abdus Salique) Asian
B5 [05:46] 5.5.png Peter Blackman - Stalingrad (Peter Blackman) Poetry

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