From his days as drummer of the early Soft Machine to his latest album Robert Wyatt has remained loyal to his roots, which lie in the French avant-garde (pataphysics, surrealism, dadaism), jazz, blues, and socialism. Political themes and highly personal songs alternate on his albums: to Wyatt there's no difference between the two. As a drummer Wyatt developed a unique and innovating style in the late sixties during his days in The Soft Machine. When he was left paralysed below the waist after a fall from a window, his drumming abruptly ended and he turned into a completely unique vocalist and composer.
Various projects followed after Wyatt left The Soft Machine, like the early-seventies band Matching Mole ('machine molle' = soft machine), and the surreal solo album Rock Bottom, the first album after his accident. In the projects that have followed since then Wyatt has handled a variety of styles and concepts for his albums, and has produced beautiful combinations of personal and politcal material.
Nothing Can Stop Us is a conceptual album for which Wyatt brought together politically engaged songs. Most of them were sung by himself, except a poem and the song Trade Union. For the poem he recorded a reading by the West-Indian poet Peter Blackman, for Trade Union he invited the Bengali group Dishari in the studio to record their song.
Trade Union is a call to Bengali workers in England to unite under the Trade Union banner. Songwriter Abdus Salique had to leave East Pakistan in 1970 because of left-wing political actitvities, but continued his work in East London, where he became the spokesman for the Bengali community. At the moment Abdus Salique is Labour Councillor for Mile End East. Trade Union is a protest song following the racist attacks on the Bengali community in Brick Lane, London, in 1978. Trade Union is not a missed encounter but - in our view - an example of a successful fusion of music and politics.
* The track Trade Union can be found on Robert Wyatt's album Nothing Can Stop Us, released on CD by Hannibal, HNCD 1433.