Welcome to episode 400. People better at mental arithmetic than me will be able to work out in their heads that I've been writing this blog on a weekly basis for just over 7.5 years. I've decided that now is the time to take a break. For a long time I wrote as a way to mitigate the fact that there was a lot in my work life that I didn't really like. It isn't that I was bad at my job, but spending all day every day working to help people with grievances, personal issues and the like certainly took its toll. It used to be easy to disappear into my writing for a while if work was no fun at all. I'm living outside The Wall now though and it's a good thing.
I think the best way to sign off for a while is with songs that really mean something to me. I doubt there's anything here that I haven't played before but hey, it's my party....
I'll start with the first song I pushed out on an unsuspecting small email group in episode #1. One of my all time favourite performers. In 1991 someone loaned me two LPs by this guy and it changed my way of thinking about music aand life in general overnight. Mixing pop and politics indeed...
Billy Bragg - Walk Away Renee (version) - https://youtu.be/Am9s85pfH8I
In about 1986 a friend recorded two songs from his LPs for me onto cassette. It was before the days of "cassingles" but the tape was one that was used to demonstrate hi-fi gear in shops. One song on each side....these two. And this is still my favourite band.
AC/DC - TNT - https://youtu.be/yUNNRzAygog
AC/DC - Back In Black - https://youtu.be/pAgnJDJN4VA
I remember trying to explain once to my Mum why I played heavy music like AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The band that took me from Top 40 tunes to hard rock was Queen. And this is how they did it...always at their best rocking out in full flight.
Queen - Tie Your Mother Down - https://youtu.be/LvB2MnIIdMw
Here's a tune that you might not see coming. Lots of heavy music has that low down "chugging" rhythm guitar sound. I love playing that kind of stuff. Here's where I got my inspiration for it from...check out the start of the song.
ABBA - Does Your Mother Know? - https://youtu.be/WkL7Fkigfn8
The first really big concert I saw was Motorhead. DJ DJ and I went along to the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney to see them struggle with technical issues but still put on a show. I also learned the value of earplugs at that gig. It wasn't just the show that was important although the raw power of Motorhead was mindblowing. It was the whole thing; the road trip, the laughs and a weekend away from the everyday.
Motorhead - Angel City - https://youtu.be/K5wmVXQ3V9s
A few years ago I decided to give country music a second chance. I'd become a Johnny Cash devotee and it seemed like a good idea to expand my listening. Sugar coated pseudo country was never going to be my thing so I grabbed a couple pf live DVDs from the specials bin at the record store. As a result I became a fan of both Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks. Whilst they're both quite different, what I like is that they don't really conform to stereotypes. Both are willing to go their own way.
Dixie Chicks - Am I The Only One - https://youtu.be/jbwFf-U3l_U
Steve Earle - My Old Friend The Blues - https://youtu.be/HdTvDQnCqrg
I didn't understand this next band when their best album was released. It wasn't until a few years later as my tastes developed that it all made sense to me. I got into them about the same time as Billy Bragg. If you listen to lyrics then it may make sense on some level.
Queensryche - Revolution Calling - https://youtu.be/CNdOsL4Xe7Q
Unless you've been ignoring me for 12 months or have lost the ability to read then you'll understand that I'm a huge Jason Isbell fan. It's great to know that he's having major success now. As a songwriter and a live performer he's really at the top of the tree. It was also pretty cool to watch an hour long video of him talking all about his guitars, amps and associated gear. He does a lot more than walk onto stage and get handed a six-string.
Jason Isbell - Palmetto Rose - https://youtu.be/p63Ylg2kTww
We're almost there folks, only two songs to go.
Henry Rollins; power, muscle, music, intellect. The modern day road warrior with a microphone in one hand and a pen in the other. You should read his books, listen to his radio show and check out his music. Movies too these days. Under work ethic in the dictionary it says Henry Rollins.
Rollins Band - Civilized (live) - https://youtu.be/EF5qnwtPKMQ
Lastly, a band that I can't play enough. If one more person realises as a result of my writing that The Proclaimers are so much more than 500 miles I'll be happy. This song never fails to send a shiver down my spine. As our government continues to avoid any semblance of humanity towards refugees this song hits home. We're all immigrants of one kind or another.
The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story - https://youtu.be/K_ekIS9QWSA
That's all folks. Thanks for listening and reading. See you another day.
Time for one more? Maybe this?