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 Everett True

Whitney Houston sings Robert Wyatt (a.k.a. the greatest Whitney cover never heard)

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Material - One Down

I just thought a few of you might be interested.

The song is taken from the 1982 album One Down recorded by the New York No Wave duo of Material (Bill Laswell and Michael Beinhorn). I believe I owned their debut 1979 EP Temporary Music, and might have owned this one as well, but I don’t recall what it was like beyond being a little ‘difficult’. Skronk before skronk was defined. But that was cool: I liked ‘difficult’ music back then, still do when I have the chance to examine it. The album featured a series of guest vocalists and musicians – Archie Shepp plays saxophone on this track – including Nona Hendryx and Whitney. It was her first recorded lead vocal. The song is a Wilde Flowers song: Wilde Flowers became Soft Machine: Soft Machine spawned Robert Wyatt. Strictly speaking, it ain’t a Robert Wyatt song – it was written by someone else – but he sang it, and it was released as the B-side to unlikely hit ‘I’m A Believer’. All this I gleaned from Wikipedia and associated sites: please don’t start thinking I’m any kind of authority on anything.

The Collapse Board reader who tipped me off to this (thanks Astrid Edwards), cites it as “the best and least known song [Whitney] ever sang” … YouTube views of 367, 804, so I guess we’re occupying different worlds here as far as “least known” goes.

It is a great version, though.

Here’s all three – with a bonus version from Damon & Naomi.

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