Friday, March 25, 2011

Song of the Week #135

If you’ve been reading Song of the Week for a while you’ll know that I have some left-ish political views. I’m not a “raving, loony, left-wing hippy” (to quote Billy Bragg) but for whatever reason, that’s the way I lean. And whilst not wanting to cause an argument, I do find it slightly ironic that a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner is involved in bombing the living daylights out of Libya. I acknowledge that force may now be required to safeguard innocent Libyans but it is a shame that it had to end up at this point.

I don’t know any Libyan songs, although I do have a live Painters & Dockers LP where they claim that one of their tunes is a “Libyan love song”. It isn’t. But I do know plenty of songs about changing the world.

Steve Earle – The Revolution Starts Now

Steve has a new album coming out later in the year. You can bet you’ll hear about it from me. I reckon he does a great job for a former heroin addict who’s been married seven times! I guess that gives him plenty of starting points for songs.

I found out last week that my daughter likes this next song. Maybe there is hope for Gen Y after all. Great song.

The Eagles – Hotel California

Check out that twin neck guitar. I toyed with buying one a few years ago but good sense got the better of me. These days I don’t care as much, I’m happy to be a poser!! I promise that if I ever get one I won’t be playing Stairway to Heaven on it.

The triathlon season is almost at a close. For me there is one race left in a week’s time. That’s probably a good thing as parts of my body are starting to protest and I could do with a sleep in! It seems a very long time since I began training for Ironman at the end of April 2010. I did have a week off in December after the race though!

If anyone out there can help me with a method of deciphering what opera singers are actually singing (when it’s in English) just let me know. And if no-one can then leave me and my very heavy metal with guttural vocals alone! I can understand them just fine.

This next tune has one of my favourite guitar solos in it. You might be surprised.

Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling

Angus’ cricket team won their grand final last weekend. The season is over and they are the champions. It was fabulous to see a team gel so well, especially when they are all about 12. When I look back on my childhood, none of my friends or I were nearly as skilled as what I see at rugby and cricket with Angus. Hopefully his beloved ACT Brumbies can pull off a win tomorrow night against NSW.

There was a guy who lived next door to me at university who was very much into the next band. I didn’t realise how much of it had seeped into my sub-conscious until I heard a track the other day. The vocal delivery is fantastic and there is some great guitar work as well.

Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – What I Am

Let’s finish with something fairly recent. I wouldn’t want you to think that I was stuck in some kind of musical time loop. I first made a conscious effort to listen to this band a couple of weeks ago. After a few listens their music began to grow on me. A new Seattle sound maybe. You be the judge.

Band of Horses - Laredo

Where do paw-paws come from? Dog-dog plants.

Have a good weekend,

DJ Rob

Friday, March 18, 2011

Song of the Week #134

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio. But, as usual, there wasn’t any station playing music worth listening too so I was making the grey cells work a bit harder with updates from the BBC World Service. Anything is better than the drivel on the local ABC at any time I’m in the car. To cut to the chase, they played a track by an old Czech progressive rock band called “Blue Effect”. It was pretty cool and with knowing nothing else about the band I present this tune for your listening pleasure!

Blue Effect - Lucerne

With the addition of a cassette player in my office I’ve been working my way through some old tapes. I always used to fill up the end of tapes with random tracks and some of these have been a nice surprise. This version of a Little Richard song reminded me just what an awesome band Creedence were…that voice, wow!

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Good Golly Miss Molly

This track popped up as well. From the best free album I ever got! Jenny Morris’ “Shiver” came free with a subscription to Rolling Stone. Just as well as the publication itself was a huge disappointment. This song also fits nicely with a theme I seem to have picked up – that of songs written by Paul Kelly and sung by others!

Jenny Morris – Street of Love

Now, here’s a blast from the past. Gone from the charts but not from our hearts. Bagpipes, I love them so turn this one up! At about 1 minute into this clip there’s a farm house that reminds me of a holiday my family took when we lived in Scotland. I was not very old and I assume the place looked nothing like that but memories are a funny thing.

Wings – Mull of Kintyre

From bagpipes to the singing budgie. I didn’t always have a soft spot for Kylie but I do now. Great energy, canny image management and a lack of tabloid scandal has contributed to her fame. This is a great track that has what a lot of her tunes are missing….guitars!

Kylie – Some Kind of Bliss

The best rock band ever have a live DVD coming out later this year. AC/DC recorded three shows in Argentina and slapped it together for our consumption. I’m not sure I’ll be pre-ordering a copy but it should be great. Angus and I couldn’t get tickets to their latest tour so when this finally arrives I’ll be rigging up the mother of all sound systems to play it on! Shame they can’t adjust the setlist a bit though, there are so many good songs that never get an airing.

But, for those of you who think that I’ve gone soft with my looming old age, I’m going to finish with a burst of pure aggression and energy. An exploration of modern throwaway culture from the master himself….

Neil Young – Piece of Crap (it’s worth the wait while they get themselves sorted at the start!)

Rock on brothers and sisters,

DJ Rob

Friday, March 11, 2011

Song of the Week #133

A high profile sports team here in Canberra recently sacked their coach only three games into the season. This really seems like a recipe for disaster. What really worried me was that ‘inside information’ would have us believe that he was sacked, for some part, as the result of a player revolt. What is going on here? What has happened to the almost godlike persona of professional coaches and the amount of respect afforded to them? My personal belief is that the big salaries on offer have made some players think that they should decide how they are coached. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As a player you have every right to talk to your coach about his/her methods but in the end they are the coach for a reason. I’m quite disgusted that the organization of this particular team didn’t tell the players to do their jobs or find another but it isn’t the first time for this lot. And it isn’t like they are winning any games as a result.

Players should play, coaches should coach. That’s the natural order of things. I can imagine the response if I turned up to training and said, “actually Coach, I don’t want to do this set of 100m reps in the pool, I think that is a waste of my time”. I’d be looking for a new Coach within minutes!! But then no-one is paying me a LOT of money to train and compete. Should it matter, I don’t think so. The old grumpy man that dwells in the dark recesses of my being sees this kind of thing becoming more and more common and anarchy being the end result!!

But then, apparently anarchy has been coming for a while… at least from 1976!

Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK – a manufactured group but an important tune in the history of music.

There’s a CD out of songs that were banned by the BBC. I must remember to track down a copy and report back.

Culture is a funny thing. In the early 1980s my family, with me in tow, moved to Australia and to country Victoria. Having come from Scotland via New Zealand I was a big fan of Rugby Union and Soccer. But in the 80s, in country Victoria, these sports simply did not exist. Australian Rules Football dominated the landscape. I remember turning up to school in Australia and being asked on the first day who I supported. Apparently Dundee United wasn’t an acceptable answer and I was given strict instructions by a group of girls and boys to choose a team over the weekend or get a bashing. Well I went home and did just that. I saw Collingwood win a match which must have been a fluke at that time so I chose them.

The fashion at the time was to have a duffel coat that had your favourite players number and name on the back as well as a whole swag of badges. I remember being told that duffel coats were “not waterproof” and “not practical”. Didn’t matter, I was never a cool kid anyway. But I would’ve given my eye teeth for a jacket with “Daicos 35” on the back.

Australian Rules Football quickly became the kind of football that I liked the best. It is fast, skillful and there isn’t a lot of stopping and starting. My opinion is that it is the best kind of football for spectators as there is always something going on. But don’t take my word for it. I was looking for a music clip the other night by this group and I stumbled across the song being used as a promo for Channel 7 Football in Melbourne. Check out some of these characters who were all around in the 80s. Top song too.

Little River Band – Playing To Win (Ch 7 Promo)

Little River Band were a great band. I was listening to a few tunes last night and, sure they are Australia’s answer to The Eagles but they did it well. This song may have made an appearance before but not this clip. Really it is the intro that impressed me. I like a band that can sing. Just check out the first 30 seconds.

Little River Band – Lonesome Loser

Now, on a totally unrelated note: my friend, DJ Raktakular aka Craig, won Triathlete of the Year in his age group recently. Pretty good considering he only trains when he can get a tan or will be seen by the right people. Surely international press coverage will follow, but here’s a song just for him.

Basement Jaxx - Sweat

Alison gave me Paul Kelly’s book, “How To Make Gravy” recently. It’s the companion to his current concert tour and is a collection of stories and anecdotes about his songs and life. It is great to dip in and out of. What I discovered is that he wrote the hit single “Treaty” along with Mandawuy Yunupingu along with input from Peter Garrett! While the original version was remixed before it went Top 10 it is a great song and well worth searching out. What hadn’t clicked with me is that the young blind guitarist I saw in Yothu Yindi is Gurrumul Yunupingu who has been critically acclaimed recently. I must be slow. This is a truly beautiful voice and song.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – History (I Was Born Blind)

That’s all for now folks,

DJ Rob

Friday, March 4, 2011

Song of the Week #132

On Thursday this week I attended a funeral of a friend. She was 42 and died as a result of cancer. For me, this is the third person I've known who has suffered this fate in the last few months and it's tough. Seeing her husband and three young boys say goodbye to the most important person in their lives was pretty confronting. The media often bemoans the lack of "community" in our society. And maybe this is true in regards to everyday life. But in times of trial and crisis, I have seen so many people act, as part of communities, to help, support and show concern to others. That's a shining light for me, something to hold on to in a dark, dark time.

It seems almost disrespectful to follow up those comments with my usual irreverence but, the funerals I have attended recently remind me that life is something to lead to the full. None of the people I knew who have passed away would want the rest of us to give up, slow down or be morbid. Being sad and grieving is important. Wallowing is not an option. And on that note, and in memory of Rach who was farewelled today, this episode will "kick arse".

I think a couple of happy songs are in order. Here are some that usually cheer me up.

Crowded House were (or maybe still are) on of Australia and New Zealand's best ever bands. This is my absolute favourite song of theirs. It has an intro that begs to be sung along with at the top of your voice. And, especially when played live, some awesome guitar work. I drove through Te Awamutu once - should've stopped to get my photo taken with the sign at the entrance to town after all. One day it will be as important as Graceland.

Crowded House - Mean To Me

The next track is from a band that were pretty special. They played beautiful quiet songs as well as knowing how to inject plenty of energy an noise into a tune when it was required. This is Hothouse Flowers and their version of the Johnny Nash tune, "I Can See Clearly Now". It is a great uplifting song. Almost a secular version of "Morning Has Broken". Man, I must have had some real hippies and trendsetters as primary school teachers as I remember singing this a lot. Come to think of it, we sang a LOT at Primary School! Jimmy Cliff does an excellent version as well.

Hothouse Flowers - I Can See Clearly Now

Here's a real toe tapper that never fails to make me smile. Most of you will know it from the Blues Brothers, but this is Solomon Burke. It's his song, and given that he passed away in late 2010 it seems the right version to play.

Solomon Burke - Everybody Needs Somebody

To finish up, a young man sang a beautiful version of this next song at Rach's funeral. It was her choice and you can probably work out why even if you didn't know her. I recall some cynical music journo once writing something about Billy Joel along the lines of the fact that no-one would be singing "Piano Man" in 50 years time. Billy is undoubtedly popular but is that a bad thing? I wouldn't play his music all the time but there is no doubt in my mind that he's written some classic lyrics and music. Some that will stand the test of time. This one certainly will in my opinion. I guess it will be Rach's song from now on and the tears will always well in my eyes when it plays.

Billy Joel - Only The Good Die Young

Hug your loved ones,

DJ Rob