There are a few bands that I really want to like but in the end
consistently disappoint. For me, The White Stripes have always been in
this group. The idea of just a guitar and drums is instantly appealing.
The fact that Jack White plays some really cool and odd guitars also
keeps me interested. But, apart from a couple of tracks I just can't get
into their music. My last attempt to like this band involved their live
album, "Under Great White Northern Lights". Aaarrrggggh! It's just
noise. I'm sure they are a much better band than this album portrays.
They really, really murder Dolly Parton's "Joelene" and that's not a
good thing. However, good songs are good songs no matter how they are
played. If they are truly brilliant then something will shine through.
The White Stripes song, "Seven Nation Army" is such a tune. It's
instantly recognizable, catchy and a definite head nodder. Mega thumbs
up to DC KelC over in Canada for shooting me this link which turned out
to be a real treat.Better than the original.
Ben L'Oncle Soul – Seven Nation Army - http://youtu.be/C4XKNNl31Gc
If you want to hear a topnotch version of "Joelene" then search out the
one by Canberra's own Marji Curran.
Funerals are never easy, grief mixed up with a celebration of someone's
life. There's a lot of raw emotion in a room and I'm always relieved
that the whole stupid "boys don't cry" thing doesn't seem to apply.
Wednesday's funeral was different for me though. At the age of 42 it was
the first time I'd been to one for someone who'd died of old age. That
was a bit of a sobering thought looking back. Taking a funeral must be
extremely difficult. I have two friends who have had this experience and
I know it's a real challenge. I was in quite a state sitting in the
chapel on Wednesday and really my link to Jeane was via her son rather
than having had anything to do with her. Having said all that, it was an
honour and privilege to be asked to attend and to sit quietly and hear
about a life well lived.
Perhaps the high point of the funeral was a slide show of photos
accompanied by my friend DJ Joely playing the guitar and a student with
an amazing voice singing this next song.
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow -
Don Walker should be named a living national treasure if he hasn't been
already. Aside from his seminal work with Cold Chisel he is an amazing
songwriter and performer. He appeared last Saturday night on my
favourite TV show, RockWIz, and this led me to find out through DJ Will
that there is a new album available. I shall go looking for it very,
very soon. I guess if you like Tom Waits you might like this.
Don Walker - Sitting In A Bar (live) - http://youtu.be/e9IS45vTFto
I watched the TV in excitement last weekend as a young man won a race
and became World Champion in his chosen sport. He's Australian and at
the moment we need all the champions we can get. I was blown away,
however, when the flag went up, the medal went on and he either didn't
know the words to or chose not to sing the national anthem. Seriously?
If most rugby players can manage the words as well as the Grade 1 class
of every single school then there's no excuse. Sing it loud. You can be
assured that if there's ever a reason for me to be on a podium or even
near one when the anthem rings out then I'll be belting out the words
(that's a memo to DJ HB too, you win - we'll sing). This event led to a
discussion about our anthem. I must say that compared to many it's
pretty good. The tune isn't a funeral dirge and most of the words make
sense. But could we have something better? We Australian's like to make
light of most things so I present to you a couple of (tongue in cheek)
AC/DC - The Jack - http://youtu.be/L3fP18gIoAY
Why "The Jack"? Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than
singing a song with a double meaning? It's a hoot.
Icehouse - Great Southern Land - http://youtu.be/3mkidP2OUCk
Goanna - Solid Rock - http://youtu.be/qjzCDNOBicw
John Williamson - True Blue - http://youtu.be/cohkaLM3AjQ
"True Blue" would have you think that we're all living in the country
wearing RM Williams boots, driving utes and eating Mum's scones - in the
same way that "The Jack" leads the world to think that we're all hard
drinking, card playing womanisers! But again, it's a top tune and John
Williams has a voice so very Australian.
Redgum - I Was Only 19 - http://youtu.be/Urtiyp-G6jY
Redgum's song was the first song from the radio that I really learned to
play on the guitar. Thirty years later it still sends shivers down my
spine. Of course the content is about a particular tie and place but it
does say something about what we like to think is the Australian spirit.
There are a heap more that I could trot out here from bands like Yothu
Yindi, Warumpi Band, Midnight Oil and Hunters & Collectors but I
digress. This is the one I reckon I'd choose. It works on so many levels
as a national tune but maybe we'll leave the anthem be. Australian
politicians may not want to live up to the line, "for those who've come
across the seas, we've boundless plains to share..." unless you arrive
with a suitcase full of cash and a university degree. Most people I know
take a much more humane approach so the pollies should take note.
Paul Kelly / Kev Carmody / John Butler - From Little Things, Big Things
Grow - http://youtu.be/_tHEGo-g3mw
One of my mates on Facebook (hi Tom!) related today that his son is
playing his first rock 'n' roll gig this weekend. In a world of reality
TV music shows and over processed computer music this made me smile.
Kids with guitars rocking out. Fingers crossed for a great gig. I was
reminded of my first real show. DJ DJ was there on sound (and
headbutting) and DJ Dr may have been in attendance as well. The show
went reasonably well until the PA blew up during the third set. Just
like on "The Commitments". We were playing Queens's "Crazy Little Thing
Called Love" at the time. Fun times and the first of a good run of shows
with the band named after the Phantom....Mr. Walker. I've got a copy of
our demo tape somewhere - I'll get it on YouTube sometime soon.
The election....what to say...really I don't know. We've lived with
minority government for the last three years and it has been fairly
average. My hope is that someone has a clear win. That way the
government can get on with the job of governing, the opposition can sort
themselves out and the whole country isn't potentially held hostage by a
small number of minor players with small barrows to push. To tell the
truth, what I'd really like is both major parties remember that we're
people, not numbers. Treating people humanely might cost a few extra
dollars but sitting here in what we like to trumpet as, "the lucky
country", we can afford it. I'm sad that I'm being forced to vote for
the party with the least number of despicable policies rather than the
best one. If you don't agree then that's fine but I'm over arguing about
it. Let's vote and then ride our bikes.
Redgum - Killing Floor (If You Don't Fight You Lose) -
I'll finish with two great Aussie rock tunes. I'm in that sort of mood.
Guitars, volume and a groove.
Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy)
Rose Tattoo - Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw - http://youtu.be/wL4DSLd3KZU
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE.
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