Saturday, February 18, 2017

World Wide Woozle episode #413

I've had a bit of writers' block lately. I've been listening more to old favourites as well rather than new stuff. There is, however, something to be said for just getting back on the horse so here we are folks.

Jason Isbell - Outfit -

That's an old clip from Jason. He's a lot healthier and slimmer these days but the voice and the passion remain. The song, "Outfit", is from his days playing with Drive-By Truckers and to me has a clear nod to lyricists like Springsteen (The River). This one should be a Southern blue collar anthem. 

Politics across the world is in a dreadful state and it's getting worse. One country has a leader who spends more time watching TV and on Twitter than he does actually thinking about the consequences of his actions. And then there's the spineless, self-serving political establishment who just don't get that their juvenile schoolyard behaviour impresses no-one. Top that off with ill informed racists, bigots and hooligans and it's enough to drive you insane.

Neil Young - After The Garden -

I spent some money recently on a new (second hand) amplifier, CD player and speakers. The amp from 1973 has finally given up the ghost. If you're in Canberra and looking for some decent stereo gear at a decent price then head to Duratone in Phillip. I'd avoided the place for years because it sells seriously high end stuff but that turned out to be a mistake. This track is what I tested the speakers out with.

Dire Straits - Telegraph Road -

Hopefully you've all caught up with the news that Midnight Oil have reformed and are heading out on a world tour. Having spent years now learning, playing and thinking about their music I thought I wouldn't want to go if they played again. Again I was wrong. I can't wait to see them hit the stage. I think the last time I saw the Oils play was in Brisbane on a stinking hot evening (indoors) in about 1999. Power and passion is a good way to describe their show.

Midnight Oil - Armistice Day -

Weezer have four self titled album. One is blue, one green, one red and the latest one is white. Funny guys. The blue one is the classic with the Buddy Holly song on it and after that I guess I stopped paying attention until quite recently. The white Weezer album just sounds fantastic. It's like Weezer made my dream Weezer LP. See what you think...

Weezer - California Kids -

The Dropkick Murphys are an awesome, high energy, celtic punk band from Boston. And although I really like their stuff the shouted vocals sometimes grate. They have a recent release called, "11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory" and I highly recommend it. There's also a really good "acoustic" concert recently released here

Dropkick Murphys - Paying My Way -

Lookout reasonably soon for some original recordings from the band. We've pretty much finished one track and have another four getting ready. We've also been working up some new cover versions with the intent of playing some shows before too long. No-one should be shocked that the range of cover songs is rather wide!

DJ ZedBoots has exited stage left for the next phase on the never ending adventure that is her life - studying to become a Paramedic. One could never accuse her of standing still! She left on Thursday and I miss her a lot. I hope Queensland is ready for her.

Little River Band - Help Is On Its Way -

I'm sitting here in my "studio" just browsing through the CDs thinking of something to close the show. I haven't played you any Steve Earle for a while and this seems like a decent song to leave you with.

Steve Earle - City of Immigrants -

Thanks everyone, I'll be back one day soon with more.


Friday, January 13, 2017

World Wide Woozle episode #412

Welcome back to the WWW for episode #412. Please remember that if you get this the old school way, via email rather than via Facebook or straight to the website, that you can unsubscribe at any stage OK? Just let me know. I won't be offended, I'll just cry myself to sleep tonight on my huge pillow!

So I have survived a week away at Mollymook. Those that know me well will understand that I really don't like the beach at all. I never have and at my advancing age I can't see that changing. As a kid, the beach for me meant sticky black sand, hot car trips and being hosed off in the garden when you got home. However, Alison and I were very fortunate to have the run a friend's holiday house and it was super cool. We did very little and that was the whole point. Other than riding my bike up some rather large hills we read books, did a bit of walking and continued the search for decent cafes. I even walked on the beach a couple of times and it was quite pleasant (no wind makes a big difference). We also listened to a heap of music. I made a point of taking nothing new away with us, just the iPod loaded up with our entire collection to choose from. I spotted an old church for sale in Milton and as soon as we come up with the cash we're making a sneaky purchase and heading there to start a new life with our coffee, guitar and decluttering emporium...ha ha! I needed time away to relax and for the most part it was a big success. 

The Eagles - Peaceful Easy Feeling (live) -

One of the books I read was about Father Bob Maguire. He's an interesting man no doubt and one who speaks his mind in a good way. If you have an interest, as I do, in why and how people do selfless things then have a read of this and you'll be exposed to a man who has made it his life's work. A very good read indeed. The book is simply called, "Father Bob". I particularly liked his philosophy on "BYO DIY religion".

Little River Band - Help Is On Its Way -

One of the bonuses, or pitfalls depending on how you look at it, was that I had no phone/internet coverage whilst I was away. I could get a smattering of a signal if I went into town or up a big hill but that seemed to defeat the purpose of being on holiday. Other than wondering what my kids were up to I must admit that it was pretty good to be offline. I should do it more often. It does seem ludicrous though that 2 hours from the capital of the country and about the same from Sydney that I had no signal.

Travelling Wilburys - Not Alone Anymore -

Cycling adventures at the coast are more suited to the mountain biking fraternity. Since I no longer have an offroad steed I packed the trusty Cervelo anyway armed with the advice of staying off the Princes Highway and being prepared for a lot of hills. And hills there were - in abundance! With no internet signal I was reduced to a real map to plan my rides. This was just as well as Google Maps has an annoying habit of drawing lines over the satellite image so that you have no idea if a road is sealed or not. I don't do off road on the Cervelo! My very average map reading skills did not cause any dramas though and somehow I managed to pick 50km of sealed back roads that were pretty quiet...other than the large number of other cyclists. I'm not sure I'd want to train on those roads all the time as there is very little flat riding to be had but I did enjoy the downhill sections quite a lot and my sore legs told me that the uphill bits were challenging enough. More hills required!

Bruce Springsteen - Stayin' Alive (live) -

People die all the time; I may have said this before and it's a simple fact. But some make more of an impact than others. I could go on and on about those who have passed away recently but others more eloquent than I have probably done that a little bit too much. But I want to mention two. Firstly David Bowie. It's now a year since his light went out and for many it's still raw and very recent. If you haven't seen this entire concert then you must - it's your homework! In terms of live music concerts on film it's second only to Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" in my opinion.

David Bowie - Rebel Rebel (live) -

The other person who went far to early was my mate Glenn. He left us on 14 Jan 2010 whilst out riding his bike. RIP mate; you're missed by so many.

Chris Cornell - Wave Goodbye -

Back to work next week I guess. I think the only thing that I miss now about being a teacher are the holidays!

Hoo Roo,

Hmmm....what to leave here for those adventurous souls willing to click here.....try this. Someone out there will understand why.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

World Wide Woozle episode #411

Gud moning. Olsem wanem? (good morning, how's things?)

Yesterday I had a rather enjoyable trundle around the Cotter/Uriarra loop with Roger and Andy. That is until my gears stopped shifting properly. It's pretty hilly out there and I can't say that I enjoyed not having access to the easiest gear whilst climbing. Apparently bicycles are fairly simple mechanical pieces of equipment. Armed with YouTube tutorials, instructions, tools and a healthy dose of confidence I decided to adjust the gears myself last night. This morning my bike is at the shop for the professionals to deal with it. Will I ever learn? Probably not.

Luxembourg - Sick of DIY -

Going back to work right at the start of January is always interesting. You'd think that there would be a little quiet time that could be used for planning, getting control of the inbox and generally setting up for the year ahead. Not so it seems. Week 1 of 2017 was as busy as usual. Luckily DJ Jewel-E sent me photos from her days at the cricket to make me smile.

Giuda - Working Class Man -

The rock musical, "Rock of Ages", remains one of my favourite films. If you need a laugh and a good singalong then it's tops. There are quite a few cool cameos in it including Debbie Gibson, Nuno Bettencourt and Sebastian Bach. But there was one guy I kept seeing who I was sure I knew. After watching live footage of the stage show, as opposed to the film, I spotted him in there as well. Joel Hoekstra plays guitar in the stage show as well as with bands like Night Ranger and Trans Siberian Orchestra. He's the guy in the next clip with the Les Paul Goldtop guitar. How much fun would it be playing all those classic rock bits in "Rock of Ages"??!

Night Ranger - Knock Knock Never Stop -

Cold Chisel recently released the third in a series of live recordings. This one is from 1980 at the Manly Vale Hotel. The sound is really good quality and Chisel were a great live band who usually avoid the three or four chord repetition that some pub rock relies on. There are some bum notes and rough bits but this is a warts and all live gig played by musicians on real instruments. No-one was turning up to see a guy and his laptop.

Cold Chisel - Home & Broken Hearted (live 1980) -

A few years ago we went to see Russell Morris play. His alsum, "Van Diemen's Land", was a recent release and it was a cracker (and well promoted). Anhyoo, the gig was fantastic and the album remains one of my firm favourites. I spotted the vinyl version on sale yesterday and just couldn't resist. Russell is a great story teller and lyricist and there's always something to think about or look into after listening to his songs.

Russell Morris - Van Diemen's Land -

I have to say that $40 for the latest Billy Bragg LP was a bit steep. It's still on the rack at the shop.

Sting has a new album. Well released in November last year so still pretty new. To tell the truth I'm not sure I even gave it half a moment's thought as I didn't really think I needed to listen to his more recent brand of relatively slow, bland, ethereal music. It's his thing and I get that but it's not for me. "57th & 9th" isn't like that. There are quieter songs sure but Sting lets it rip a few times in a way that really makes me tap my foot and remember his rock and roll pedigree. Lovely blue Telecaster in there as well....

Sting - I Can't Stop Thinking About You -

I sold a guitar. Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wouldn't do it again but I did. The rather gorgeous Reverend V shaped guitar has gone. It has a new home in Geelong and the guy I sold it to, who it turned out that my Dad knew, is very happy with it. So, I've been saving hard as well and it's almost time to start looking for something else and I'm going to be super choosy as I'm in no rush. I love my black Stratocaster so much that it hurts. IT's the best electric guitar I've ever played and my other axes rarely get a look in. But I've always loved red guitars. SGs, 335s, Strats in red or cherry, they're the best. I'm going to hunt down a late 80s or early 90s red USA Stratocaster if I can; pretty much the doppelganger of my original electric guitar. It has to be special, it has to feel right and it has to sound, well, like a Strat should. Strats quack on the bridge pickup and have the famous "woman tone" at the neck with everything in between. Let the madness begin! If you want to know who to blame for this red obsession then watch some videos with Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore, Jimi Hendrix or Hank Marvin in them...

Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing (live 1979) -

Dire Straits & Hank Marvin - Going Home (live 1985) -

That's it for another episode. Keep smiling and rock on brothers and sisters!


Need more? Click this. One of the best versions of this song ever.

Monday, January 2, 2017

World Wide Woozle episode #410

2016 is gone and good riddance I say. On a personal level there hasn't been much more difficult during my 45 revolutions of the sun than the combined events of the last year. 

I was pretty chuffed to reach my target of averaging 1000km a month on the bike. In the end I made it to 12,178km which is a bit less than in some previous years but more than good enough considering I had 3 weeks overseas, some time off sick and it also rained an amazing amount for Canberra! My goal for 2017 is to keep up the distance whilst trying to ride more often with other people. In the last four years I've clocked up just over 50,000km and the majority of it has been by myself.

One of the things I enjoy most about time off work is the opportunity to read. Usually there is so much going on in my head that I can't read for enjoyment and instead throw on some headphones to listen and relax. The local library allows us to "borrow" books electronically so I've read a few ebooks as well as the real thing. At the moment I'm reading the fifth book in Spike Milligan's WWII collection after spotting it on a bookshelf at work. The first three deal with his time in uniform during the war in North Africa and Europe and are frankly hilarious. His descriptions and stories are just priceless. Book four remains a mystery to me as I've never seen it. Knowing Spike it doesn't really exist and this is a huge joke designed to keep me scouring second hand bookshops. The fifth book is about him travelling through parts of Europe immediately post WWII whilst appearing with a band. Probably not as side splittingy funny as the first three but it still has its moments.

I've just finished Duff McKagan's autobiography, "It's So Easy". Duff plays bass guitar for Guns N' Roses as well as Velvet Revolver and Loaded. I'm not a huge GnR fan but I thought I'd give the book a chance anyway and it turned out to be worthwhile. Along with the now seemingly standard 80s heavy rock band antics Duff writes well about his journey to sobriety, family and now success that he actually remembers and enjoys. The story of him destroying his body with drink and drugs and then finally turning all of that around through martial arts, mountain biking and education is pretty inspiring to tell the truth. If you're a Gunners fan then read the book for quite a deep insight into the machinations of the band. If you're just interested in people and the human experience then read it too. I think one of my favourite bits is Dave Dederer (the guitarist from Presidents of the USA - remember them?) helping Duff learn to write essays to get into college.

Presidents of the USA - Peaches -

Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces -

Whilst I sat out the Billy Joel / Elton John show that the band put on for New Year's Eve, George made sure I had plenty of music to listen to. Knowing that I really don't have much time for Phil Collins, the second Genesis album, "Trespass" was included. I'm giving this one a long time to seep into my consciousness though. The few reviews I've read of it are quite divergent and this leads me to believe that it's definitely an LP worth persevering with. Watch this space I guess.

I was saddened by the death of actor William Christopher who was of course most famous as Father Mulcahy in the Korean War TV show M*A*S*H. People die all the time and remember folks, it's natural, but that doesn't mean it's not a downer. Christopher's portrayal of the padre who loved boxing and had a strong sense of what was right and wrong was very much an integral part of M*A*S*H. Whilst Hawkeye was often the outraged, outspoken and over the top anti-war crusader, Mulcahy was the quiet moral compass within us all.

Here's a quick movie review of Captain America: Civil War. In two words, "don't bother". What a waste of screen time and CGI. The film looks great but the storyline is dreadful. Compared to other Marvel films it is a stinker. I just got around to watching Ant-Man and it was a million times better.

I was very fortunate to receive an original vinyl copy of KISS' LP, "Hotter Than Hell", from DJ Al-ee-sunshine for Christmas. What's amazing is that although the cover shows the wear of about 30 years the record itself, seems almost unplayed. It's been played now and it sounds great all these years later. It was interesting to read that in all the cover photos of Ace Frehely his makeup is airbrushed on as he'd injured himself in a motor accident close to the photo shoot.

KISS - Hotter Than Hell (live 1975) -

Neil Finn & Paul Kelly got together a while ago for a live concert where they combined their talents. I was sceptical and I needn't have been. Whilst I understand that Paul's voice and Neil's Beatle-esque songs may not be for everyone, this is a well recorded and enjoyable live performance by a couple of bonafide legends obviously having a good time. The energy and enjoyment shine through in the delivery of the songs. I think there is a DVD of this as well so I might have to track it down. 

Neil Finn & Paul Kelly - Four Seasons In One Day -

According to Jason Isbell, the previous song is about his Netflix viewing habits! The good news is that he's about to return to the recording studio to lay down a new album. Woo hoo!

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free (Live at the Grand Ole Opry) -

Quite a few of my friends have written books and quite successfully at that. A couple of weeks ago I was trying out the ebook app from the library and ended up with. "The Best Music Writing Under The Australian Sun", edited by Christian Ryan as well as, "RockWiz Decades", by Toby Creswell. The collection edited by Ryan was very patchy but a particular piece about a man and his wife at a concert interstate during a family crisis caught my eye. The RockWiz book, however, is fantastic with short pieces about a whole heap of songs that mean something for a huge range of reasons. So I'm inspired and I figure if I put it out there in public that I might just get on and write something about music, gigs and guitars that have had an effect on me. In the end I know that very few people will read it but the fun is seeing if I can cobble something together that is coherent and even half interesting. After writing a few things down I've been fortunate enough to receive some constructive feedback and I'll take it onboard and keep on typing. I'm eternally grateful that, in 1985, my school was forward thinking enough to make us all learn to touch type!

Belle & Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books -

Finally, George Michael; dead at only 53. You may or may not agree with all of his life choices but there's no denying that he had an amazing voice. There are quite a few stories emerging about how he was, very quietly, a very generous man and that's something that really warms my heart at a time like this. RIP George.

And here's George with Queen from a while back. No-one else even comes close to Freddie Mercury but this is sublime.

George Michael and Queen - Somebody To Love -

Have a great 2017 folks.


Friday, December 23, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #409

It's absolutely no secret that I am not a fan of Christmas music. This year, whilst doing some family sanctioned decluttering I did my best to rid us of some Christmas music CDs but was thwarted in my attempt! I'm not fussed about the sentiment behind the song, religious or not, it's just the appalling tunes often murdered by contemporary musicians and singers. If we could just have the Elvis Christmas album all would be right in the world. 

Elvis Presley - I'll Be Home For Christmas -

I'm almost there in terms of my cycling goal for 2016. Just a couple of hundred km left and with relatively good weather forecast for a while I should romp it in. And then I'll clean my bike which is desperately in need of some love! If I can get myself motivated it might get a tub tomorrow. I'm sure to be aided and abetted by the dog. 

If you didn't listen to Giuda from last week's blog entry and watch the video I still think you're missing out. Worth it for the boots and the stomping of said footwear. Noddy Holder would be proud.

Slade - Get Down & Get With It (live) -

I may have played this track already but I really don't care. It rolls around with alarming regularity on my listening devices and never fails to make me tap my foot or hum along. It's a great version of a Springsteen classic.

The Beat Farmers - Reason to Believe -

After last week's comments I had an (unrelated) conversation with someone about their love for Bon Jovi. To be fair, she'd been a fan since the first album came out in 1984. She's still very much worshipping at the altar of Jon Bon and his buddies so more power to her. I remember "Slippery When Wet" being released and playing the cassette over and over (Europe's "Final Countdown" was on the other side!). They wrote some great songs without a doubt.

Bon Jovi - Raise Your Hands -

Everyone has guilty listening pleasures, the bands that you might be a little bit sheepish about listening to but in the car, on your own, you sing along knowing every word. Here are a couple of mine...

REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling -

Poison - Look What The Cat Dragged In -

Feargal Sharkey - You Little Thief -

We went along to see the new Star Wars film this week. I won't post any spoilers for those yet to see it. In my opinion it is running very close to being the best Star Wars film ever. Big call I hear you say! Well that's my opinion. Rogue One is fun, fast and true to the Star Wars universe, look and feel. After the three prequels, which I have little love for and then The Force Awakens being pretty good I didn't know what to expect. If Angus, who is not a Star Wars fan by any stretch of the imagination, liked it a lot then that should give you an indication of how good the film it. Fans, you'll love it and how it links perfectly to the start of Episode IV. For everyone else, it stands alone really well and if this is the first Star Wars movie you see then it's a great place to start.

To my American friends; you voted Mr Trump in, now you have to get on with it. Let's not have 4 years of bitching and moaning about how you did or didn't vote for him; it's a moot point now. We had enough whinging about who did and didn't vote for President Obama and it didn't help anyone. You live in a deeply divided nation that wields a lot of power. You've also got a lot of changes coming that I'm sure will impact the rest of the world too. Play nice and good luck.

Here's two Christmas songs. See, I'm not The Grinch!

Stryper - Winter Wonderland (live) -

Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run -

Bye for now and thanks for reading,


Friday, December 16, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #408

As many of you will have read, my family created a space especially for me to play my guitars, to listen to anti social rock music, to display some of my bits and pieces, to read and to sit and think. It's taken me a while to get used to the idea that I can disappear to what they call my "studio" and just chill out. But as other parts of my life seem to get more complex this space of my own has become more and more important. This evening I'm listening to tracks for this episode. My prized Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC box sets are on the desk in front of me - constant inspiration. There's some Grateful Dead and Beatles branded toy cars, five of my favourite LP covers on the wall and a Star Wars poster that's almost as tall as me. Some of my favourite old Action Man and GI Joe figures are here as well as a heap of books, posters, LPs and CDs. The old 70s stereo that's been in my family since I was very little is cranking out a new album via Spotify through a repurposed old netbook. And there's a guitar on a stand ready to be picked up anytime. Are you getting the picture? This small space is a bit cluttered but it's somewhere I belong. If only the cat would keep off the groovy chair...but then I suppose I can share with her just a little as long as no-one else realises. Especially not the dog.

How long has it been since you listened to an album from start to finish without skipping a track or losing interest? And by listening I mean really listening - not just having it playing along in the background? I'll admit that it's been a while for me. Time is precious and the opportunity to find 45 minutes or so uninterrupted is a rarity. Today I had to drive back from Sydney after conducting some interviews. It was raining and grey and thoroughly miserable travelling weather. After a while the radio faded out so I pulled over and chose something new to listen to. Last week, after hearing one track from a band called Giuda I saved their album to my long list of stuff to listen to. I should point out that this album is new to me but is actually 12 months old. Anyway, I'm labouring the point here....I love this record. It rocks, it rolls, it really speaks to me. Initially I thought Giuda, who are from Rome, Italy, were going to be a ripoff of AC/DC circa 1976. Think the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album and you'll be halfway there. The pounding bass and kick drum drive fat overdriven guitars that sound just like a Gibson straight into a loud amplifier with only a cable in between. It's a very organic sound. After the first few songs I found myself thinking about what their influences would be. To my ears, Giuda are channelling a healthy mix of Slade, Status Quo, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Sweet and Mott the Hoople. Of the 10 tracks there was only one that didn't grab me. They've got a couple of earlier releases that I'll be checking out soon. 

Giuda - Roll The Balls -

I've been listening to a bit of Jimi Hendrix lately. I love his work but it's not everyday fare for me. When I was in high school the local record shop had a copy of the LP "Jimi Hendrix - Smash Hits". My music buying funds were sorely limited, as you'd expect for a kid, but I really wanted this album. I think I must've looked at the sleeve at least once every couple of weeks for maybe three of four months until I had the cash. Yeah....ok all you purists, it's a greatest hits album of sorts but at the time I only had one Hendrix record (Live at Winterland) and it was bang for buck in my opinion. Also the cover photo was, and remains, super cool AND it was released when he was alive (1968) There are tracks on the album that might not necessarily make a top 10 list these days but it was a good selection. What this record did for me was make me understand Hendrix much better than the live LP did. If I could play one Hendrix song perfectly (or even halfway close) it'd be this one....

Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) -

I made a big mistake earlier in the week and sampled some tracks fro the new Bon Jovi album. Good grief, don't waste your time. It's well produced ultra-bland pedestrian pseudo country rock at best. Interestingly enough, the recent Keith Urban concert here in Canberra got a similar review. It sells I guess but not to me.

After what shall be referred to hereafter as the "2016 Bon Jovi debacle" I was in urgent need of something with a beat to cheer me up. At this point I glanced through the list of stuff I still hadn't got to and saw the most recent Stryper album. I did have a very cursory spin of it a while ago and I do remember not being all that excited. Remember that I really, really like the band.... So, I hit play again and listened with intent. I wasn't disappointed in the least. Stryper rocked hard and had brought their trademark harmonies, soaring guitars and 80s metal sensibilities with them. The album, "Fallen", will remain on my playlist for a while and I liked it enough to order a physical copy. At this point I realised that Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar) had very recently released a new solo album. Well hello sailor.....cue it up! I guess it's not all that different to Stryper and if you like one then you'll enjoy the other. It's heavier than the recent Stryper LP and the guitars sound amazing. Definitely one for fans of heavier melodic rock.

Michael Sweet - One Sided War -

As a result of the course I took about music, art and literature of the American South I've been listening to a heap of old recordings. Every now and then someone does a cover version that really shows that they "get" the original. This is one such effort....

John Mellencamp - Do, Re, Mi -

That'll do....the cat's hassling me for her place on the chair.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #407

I'm keenly aware that it has been just over a month since the last instalment in this never ending series of blog entries. Sorry. I'm sure I can make up for it. Are you sitting comfortably? Good; then let's begin.

The first track this week is from Margo Price. I heard it on the radio this week and the groove hooked me in almost instantly. Margo is being touted as the next big thing, and be that as it may, this is a great track. The rest of the album is more traditional than what seems to pass for country music today and that sits well with me. I guess if you were a fan of Dolly, Loretta or Tammy then you might enjoy the LP. If you like good music in general then you should get a kick out of this...

Margo Price - Four Years of Chances -

The Rolling Stones have a new album of blues out. Hooray. I'm sure it's awesome as well as being a testament for their life long love of the music that influenced them. Much more interesting to me was the release of a whole lot of mono original Stones stuff. Clocking in with 186 tracks this collection is aimed squarely at the serious fan. I noticed it when a track popped up on the "Discover" list that the Spotify algorithms put together for me. Mono is a funny beast - with all the fascination surrounding different mixes (did you see what I did there?) sometimes the old one speaker is a lot more powerful. For many people it's how they remember hearing music in the era of AM radio or portable turntables. I haven't got past the first few tracks of this compilation. Even taking account that I'm streaming them in high quality they still sound great.

The Rolling Stones - Carol -

Ryan Adams (not Bryan) is one of those guys who I think I should be a fan of but I'm not. And I don't know why. Something just hasn't happened between us as yet! Having said that, his new song, which could really be a Bryan Adams tune, is pretty good. Ryan sings with feeling and he's got the swirly organ background noise that I really like. This is the single from an upcoming album and if he can back this up with a few rockers and the band sounding this good then I'll buy it.

Ryan Adams - Do You Still Love Me? -

I haven't sent through anything since Rod, Scot and I had our little pilgrimage to Sydney to see The Cult. The short version is that is was awesome. The longer version includes me being deaf in one ear, traffic jams, a youth hostel and a first class gig. There may have been snoring as well despite assurances that there would be none. The Cult have been around since the early 80s and the three of us (who used to play together in The Dark Violence of Beauty) have been fans forever. The support band, "The Art", weren't half bad as support acts go. They would've benefited from a better mix and maybe from the male singer either not singing or not playing the guitar. He was competent alright but it just muddied the sound too much. Their drummer was a dead ringer for a younger Henry Rollins and he probably had as much energy as well. Just tone it down once in a while champ! The winners were the lead guitarist whose sinuous, delay laden work made things interesting and the bass player/singer who had a great Pat Benetar-esque voice. I've seen support bands get a horrible reception and it didn't happen for these guys.

The Cult....what can I say. They surpassed all expectations in a live setting. We'd heard rumours that Ian's voice was shot. It was not! They were loud, they had a great time, Billy had his famous Gretsch guitars out and the keyboard player looked like an unearthly mashup of Bill Bailey and Billy Connolly. The Cult played their hits as well as a good chunk of the latest long player, "Hidden City". The Enmore Theatre was pretty much full and the large crowd had a great time. Well worth the price of admission.

The Cult - Sweet Soul Sister (live Sydney 2016) -

And for those of you not keen on fanshot video -

Metallica have a new album and I've tried hard to love it but I don't. It's not dreadful, far from it, but it's nothing special. Every band with more than one album progresses and changes in some way and Metallica is no different. To all those people who will only listen to the first three or four albums I say "bah humbug". There's good tracks on every album they've released....even St Anger. Well, maybe not St Anger. The new LP, " self destruct" has all the elements of a great Metallica record. It's got good some good riffs, Jaymz can still sing, Kirk can still wail on the guitar, Lars pounds the tubs into submission and Rob is magic on the bass. What's lacking is the songwriting and some of the production. It doesn't sound 'huge' in the way I expect a Metallica album to. The guitars fizz instead of roar and the drums are a bit tinny. And whilst there are some good riffs it seems that in terms of writing songs the band is stuck in a rut. It's Metallica but it's almost by the numbers. I'd rate this one as "for fans only". If you're interested in the band and need an introduction then start somewhere else. Try this...

Metallica - Cyanide -

I've had a bit of a break from playing the guitar recently. There's just been too much other stuff going on. Fear not though, I began the revival of my aural assault on the neighbours yesterday. Admittedly all I did was run through a few favourites that we play in the band, but it was good to feel the music in my veins. This is a not so obvious, and not very happy, track got an airing. 

Jason Isbell - Yvette -

I think I'll finish with the Grateful Dead this week. That's a bit how I feel. I've been sick enough to keep me off my bicycle for three days. Unheard of! Fingers crossed I'll be back tomorrow for the final push towards my yearly distance target. It's suffered a bit with an overseas trip and then a wet winter but I'll do my best.

Grateful Dead - Mama Tried -