Robert Wyatt | REWIGLP42X | Released: 23/10/10
Nothing Can Stop Us (1981)
Signing to Rough Trade in the early 80s, on the understanding from his former label Virgin that he wouldn’t release any LPs for a while, Wyatt released a series of singles of cover versions. The set was recorded with a straight, simple, beauty informed by the experience of geopolitics just as the term was being invented. "Arauco" drew on the street 'mass songs' of a Chile protesting at the imminent arrival of Pinochet. "Stalin Wasn’t Stallin'" was a playful resurrection of a barbershop quartet that sincerely, and unbelievably, aligned the USA with the Soviet Union. Most startling of all was Wyatt’s version of Chic's "At Last I Am Free." Breathless and hymnal it gave pause for thought for anyone who liked to use the words personal and political in the same sentence.
Ensuring the UK was represented in his survey of the New World Order, Wyatt paired a version of his old friend Ivor Cutler’s "Grass" alongside a collaboration with the Bengali group Dishari that encouraged Bengali workers to join a trade union. Whilst his beard and directly to the left stance suggested agitprop and protest, these tracks highlighted his incredible gift as an interpreter of popular modes.