Friday, July 23, 2010

Song of the Week 100!

100 episodes. Who would have thought I could stick at this? I guess it is my stubborn streak showing through.

When I started Song of the Week it was a quick email to a few colleagues with an mp3 file attached. And it sort of grew from there. Now there is an internal email at work and an external one as well as the blog posting which also gets a promo every week on facebook. Friends and colleagues are forwarding the email to others as well as suggesting new people for me to add to the list. Some people even comment via email which I think is a real treat.

Before we start I HAVE to play you this song. Slayer is one of the most aggressive thrash metal bands ever. They have always stuck to their guns and they are great at what they do. But this is a cover of one of their best known songs. It was on a CD that came free with MOJO magazine and it has totally blown me away. I’d say it is almost the complete opposite of the original! If you only listen to one song in this week's episode then choose this. I'll list the original as well in case you need a comparison.

Hellsongs - Seasons In The Abyss:

Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss:

So, there are 100 unique songs that have been chosen as well as others that I thought might pique someone's interest. I've done my bet to avoid the most offensive tracks as well as those that might only appeal to a couple of people. Personally I like to think that I have a wide ranging musical palette but I understand the need to cater for a largish and diverse audience.

I wasn't really sure how to celebrate the 100th episode. Later on I will post a list of the 100 songs on the blog but that's probably not all that interesting! Then I thought I might go for a top 10 list but frankly that is impossible.

In the past I have detailed some songs that have been particularly influential for me in one way or another. I think that this seems like a reasonable theme this week.

But, before we get into that - why do I do this at all? Simple really, I love music. It has always been a huge part of my life whether it was listening, writing or performing. Music gets me through the day and I always find myself relating events to one song or another. I love to read about music and musicians and I am fascinated by the effect that music can have on people.

In 1986 I was lucky enough to get a week's worth of work experience at our local AM radio station. I loved every minute of it - especially working in the record library. I sat in with the DJs, went out selling advertising time and pretty much did everything. I'm not a huge fan of this next song, but for years after I reminded people that I had labelled the cartridge for this track!

America - Ventura Highway:

I always thought that was the Eagles – woops! Working at 3UL for a week prompted me to start a student radio station. I ran it by myself for two and a half years. Luckily there was a teacher who was pretty supportive. He was into amateur and shortwave radio and I got into that a bit as well. I was the master of my own playlist often ringing the local FM station, requesting songs and then recording them on tape so I could use them on the show. I was a bit of an Elvis fan back then and this track got a regular airing!

Elvis Presley - Burning Love:

I really, really like the bass line in that song. You might not hear it on your computer speakers. It is one of those songs best listened to on vinyl.

I've related previously the riff that really got me into electric guitars and rock music. It seems so clichéd now but really, it must rate as one of the best song intros of all times. Three big, open chords, E, D and A. The simple things in life and all that.

AC/DC - Back In Black:

Someone told me once that I'd leave school and at university I'd find people who had musical tastes like mine. I didn't. But I did get into my first band a learn a hell of a lot about playing in a group. Everyone else in the band was a much better musician than me and the result was a fairly steep learning curve. We played a lot of fun gigs and the money was pretty good all things considered. This was always our opening song. It was easy to play, and crowds seemed to love it without fail. Remember, it was featured in the movie "Cocktail" which was fairly recent back then!

Georgia Satellites - Hippy Hippy Shakes:

And this was always the last song of the evening. From what I consider to be one of Australia's two best ever rock bands:

Cold Chisel - Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye):

Recording with a number of bands was excellent fun and now great to listen back to. The first demo I did with Mr. Walker was as simple as recording on a boom box carefully positioned in the middle of the band. We then moved into 4-track recording and honestly, it was pretty successful. It was 4-track with my next band as well - and those recordings are some that I am most proud of. Of course, then it was into real studios and some digital recordings. And with technology ever improving, my last band was able to sit around in silence, with headphones on and jam and record with computer interfacing. Pretty damned cool. This next video features yours truly on the guitar. From what I remember, the sound (which is live) was cobbled together by Scot from whatever he managed to get on the camcorders. I think he did a pretty good job. This is an unashamedly anti-war song. You're entitled to your opinion too but I'm not posting this to get into a debate. Maybe another day. I just reckon it is a great version of a Neil Young song. As Scot says, not a cover, more like a sequel. I'm in the white t-shirt.

DVoB - Rocketing the Free World:

King of the bass guitar Chris saved my life at one time by insisting that I join him in a band for a musical production. Again, it was a steep learning curve. I was forced to use sheet music, learn songs I would never have considered and play with excellent musos. It made me rethink my gear setup as well - I needed to be a lot more versatile than I had been in the past. We did this next song and, while learning it drove me mad, it sounded great in the end.

Tina Turner - What You Get Is What You See:

Often I use music to put me in the mood for my triathlon training - especially on the way to swim training. We have riders in the bunch who have been known to burst into song which can be a lot of fun. The iPod has made all the running training easier but I'm always wary of traffic so I don't wear it on the bike. If I had to choose a song that psyches me up then this is one of the main ones. It is a cover of a Thin Lizzy song and it never fails to get me going.

Rollins Band - Are You Ready:

This next one Zoë loves and Angus thinks is annoying. There is a message in there but you have to listen to quite a lot of music to get it! One of my faves as a kid. The entire song is pretty long and this is just part of it from the movie of the same name. Arlo Guthrie is Woody’s boy.

Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restuarant:

But my favourite songs are those with some kind of message. I like songs that mean something. I guess that is why artists like Billy Bragg, Johnny Cash & Steve Earle are among my favourites. Steve has two songs that never fail to put a lump in my throat. And Billy, well, I think I've said enough about him in the past but he is pretty much the complete artist to me. Billy was the feature song in my first ever installment. There probably isn’t a day goes past where I am not listening to a Bragg tune or one isn’t in the back of my mind. My favourite quote from Billy is, “if I only listened to ideologically sound pop music I’d pretty quickly get tired of the Red Army Choir”. My brother asked me to sing this next track at his wedding. To my eternal shame I wasn’t confident enough to do it. Sorry.

Billy Bragg – The Milkman of Human Kindness:

And Johnny…I love this one:

Johnny Cash – Cocaine Blues: – that makes any gangster rap sound like a nursery rhyme.

I’ll finish with Steve Earle. If I had to choose my one favourite song of all time this would be it.

Steve Earle – My Old Friend The Blues:

So. Thanks for reading this far if you made it. And thanks to everyone who has commented, emailed or spoken to me about the music. We’ll be back next week with more!

DJ Rob

No comments:

Post a Comment