Last week I wrote about academic qualifications. This prompted an interesting discussion with DJ DJ. As a result of chatting to him on the telephone I discovered that he has a certain notoriety related to an expensive piece of scientific equipment that no longer works. Even though the incident was many years ago now, some people have a long memory! What this reminded me of was tennis coaching. When I was in high school I was reasonable at the sport and so, along with my brother, I went to some professional coaching. I didn't like the coach and I'm fairly sure he didn't like me. But to be fair to him, my volley improved out of sight. He certainly didn't like me at all when I shoved a tennis ball back down the nozzle of the ball cannon to see what would happen. The machine was never the same and I didn't go back! Tennis is a great sport to play, just don't make me watch it too often.
It's hard keeping up with all the celebrity rock 'n' roll news but a couple that certainly rate a mention are the passing of JJ Cale and Alvin Lee. I became aware of JJ Cale when I was running the school "radio station" in the mid-80s. A friend gave me a cassette and said I'd like it. All that was on the tape was the song "Cocaine". Subject matter aside it's a fantastic track. Laid back guitars with great licks in the background, vocals to match and it's super catchy. Of course Eric Clapton covered it and did a great job but this will always be the ultimate version for me.
JJ Cale – Cocaine – http://youtu.be/sDyAUrE2f5M
Last night, in a moment of madness, I headed out for a ride at about 6pm. It was dark, and cold and there was a definite chance of rain. But you know, I really felt like a ride and I hadn't been that day. Fast forward to about the 20km mark and the rain came down. I was wet and I was cold. Suddenly it was no fun whatsoever! But, given that I had ridden that far, it was the same distance home so I just got on with it. Normally I don't mind rain but last night was miserable. I think that I really like rain…when I'm inside. I'm sure I'll make that mistake again one day. The upside was…actually, I'm not sure there was one!
Eddie Rabbit – I Love A Rainy Night – http://youtu.be/ebt0BR5wHYs
A few weeks ago I told you about a band called Stone Sour. Well, now I've had a few listens to one of their albums (House of Gold & Bones part 1) and I think I'm hooked. They are really for fans of heavier music but there's plenty of melody and musicianship to keep casual rock fans interested. The bottom end thumps nicely, the singer can sing and the guitar player absolutely nails it. Interestingly, although not in the touring band, Rachel Bolan from Skid Row played bass on the LP. There IS a House of Gold & Bones part 2 but I haven't listened to it yet. Maybe in a few weeks.
Stone Sour – Absolute Zero - http://youtu.be/rhFU_F1o4rw
Avril Lavigne has a new video and record out. I'll admit that I've always had a soft spot for some of her tunes. It is hardly challenging listening but as Malcolm Young from AC/DC is reported to have said, if fans want deep lyrics then they should listen to REM! Avril's video is a bit out there but cool nonetheless. Be warned, there's a couple of swear words in there…
Avril Lavigne – Rock 'n' Roll - http://youtu.be/uuNTO31FlY8
In what seems like an attempt to set a world record for the most official bootleg releases, Bob Dylan has another one coming out. Called, "Another Self Portrait (1969-71)", this is volume 10 in his bootleg series. It's not out for a few more days but there are plenty of reviews out there to read. It's more alternate takes, outtakes and unreleased tunes for the aficionado rather than the casual listener I imagine. However, there's something about this release that has me interested. Maybe it's that the original "Self Portrait" album was slammed at the time by critics or maybe it's the rumble about the tracks and their production holding up well. We'll see.
Bob Dylan – Take A Message To Mary - http://youtu.be/bnb7-nVKzLE
Re-issues and box sets are all well and good but some of them seriously under-deliver. Nirvana's last album, 1993s "In Utero" is getting the treatment as a result of its 20th anniversary. The extended version of 1991s "Nevermind" is a real treat with a great list of different versions and tunes. Having taken a look at the list you get 43 tracks, a live concert DVD (17 tracks) and 12 more bonus tracks too not to mention a CD of the concert. That's listed on Amazon for a cool $150 and is released on September 24th. For vinyl lovers there is a 3 LP version as well. It's still a lot of money…
Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box - http://youtu.be/n6P0SitRwy8
Bruce Springsteen is back in Australia in March next year. I imagine the 3 tickets available to the general public for $300 each have already been sold. I'm sure it'll be a great show and I hope that some real fans get so see it rather than folks getting free tickets from radio stations or through their credit card loyalty programmes. As I grow to enjoy his music more and more I'm sure that it'd be worth the money but…
Bruce Springsteen - No Surrender - http://youtu.be/WZ42tp5I5DM
Canberra fans of Iron Maiden should take note that the band Live Evil are doing another Maiden Oz tribute gig at the ANU Bar on November 23rd. Tickets are $20 presale and if you're a Maiden fan (and I am) I can assure you that this is the next best thing to seeing the band themselves (which I have). So, get your tickets from Ticketek, look out your best black t-shirt and come along for a great night.
Iron Maiden – Women In Uniform - http://youtu.be/3jkREP29170
I've never really spent much time listening to Charlie Sexton. I always thought him and Charlie Sheen were the same person. Or was that Johnny Depp? But DJ Dr recommended his work to me. This week I've listened to a few tracks and it isn't half bad. In a coincidence he's also been a regular in Bob Dylan's band for a few years. I'll soldier on with some more tunes but my main issue is that I'm starting to think that I need a listening strategy. The dietitian gave me a good plan and an egg quota, surely someone can do the same to sort out my listening needs!
Charlie Sexton – Beat's So Lonely - http://youtu.be/uCRtHVEroQ0
I'll finish with one of the songs from my Desert Island list. Another couple of people have sent theirs in so look out for tracks over the next few weeks. It's not too late to play – email me a list of up to 12 essential tunes. This one is from Izzy Stradlin. Izzy was the rhythm guitarist for Guns 'n' Roses from '85-'91. On leaving he wrote some tunes and recorded an album with a band he called the Ju Ju Hounds. It's a great record and Rick from the Georgia Satellites is on it as well. If you like Stones-esque music then it's an album for you. This is my favourite track from the record. It's one that never gets boring. I love the grove, the vocal delivery and the guitars. Have a great weekend everyone!
Izzy Stradlin & The Ju Ju Hounds – Shuffle It All – http://youtu.be/TKBgbbFaF2U