Saturday, September 07, 2013

Music Library: Robert Creeley, Robert Forster, Robert Fripp, Robert Johnson, Robert Pollard, Robert Quine, Robert Randolph, Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt

Robert Creeley - Four poems from Ubuweb. These are three tracks with four poems as read by the authors, including the sublime "I Know A Man."

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,—John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.

Robert Forster - Danger In The Past (1990), Calling From A Country Phone (1993), Warm Nights (1996), and The Evangelist (2008). The more cerebral half of the Go-Betweens' creative team, Forster spent his solo years making excellent, jagged folk-pop before the G-Bs reformed in 2000. The Evangelist, released shortly after the death of his partner Grant McLennan, features several of McLennan's last written songs, and it is easily the most heartbreaking work that Forster has ever done.

Robert Fripp - God Save The Queen/Under Heavy Manners (1980) and The League Of Gentlemen (1981). Art-noise and guitar loops as the woolliest of the woolly King Crimson mammoths reinvented himself as a downtown no-wave/new-wave pioneer.

Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings (recorded 1936-37). Seminal blues artist Johnson, he of the Faustian legend, was a master of several different styles of guitar, some of which he would demonstrate at the same time, and a fantastic singer and songwriter, to boot. The upside of this collection is that, unlike the King Of The Delta Blues Singers albums (which I have on vinyl), these include alternate takes of most of the songs. The downside of this collection is that they sequenced the tracks with the alternates following the final take, so that to listen straight through is to hear the same song at least twice, which can be quite annoying.

Robert Pollard - From A Compound Eye (2006). Despite the fact that Pollard, the Guided By Voices frontman, has recorded a few dozen solo albums, this is the only one I've ever picked up. It's pretty good, too!

Robert Quine and Fred Maher - Basic (1984). I've covered Quine on this blog in a number of places before. This is an instrumental album he made with drummer Maher. As you might imagine, it has freakin' brilliant guitar parts.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band - Live At The Wetlands (2002). Randolph is a sacred steel player, meaning that he primarily plays steel guitar gospel music that is heavily influenced by the blues and soul music, which actually plays really, really well with the jamband audience. This is basically a jamband album, with the shortest song clocking in a 8 minutes and the longest at 13. It's not bad for what it is, but it's not my thing, either. Notice the abundance of awkward middle-class white person dancing on display in the attached clip.

Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974). Synth-heavy prog-rock that is quite unusual and yet also quite moving. Wyatt, formerly the drummer of Soft Machine, was in an accident while working on this album that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and the result is a bizarre and beautiful work. Highly recommended.


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