Friday, April 29, 2011

Song of the week #140

I’m upright. Just as well, lying on my back for nearly 6 days was dead boring and a waste of perfectly good holiday time. Reading books and watching movies is only fun for a limited amount of time while my bikes gather dust. I’m allowed to walk now, swim next week and ride soonish. Many thanks to my fab physio, Cassie, for all her hard work.

I’ve put a couple of my own songs from days gone by up on YouTube after transferring them from various media.

First up is this track:

Lovesmudge – Another Day

This is a song I wrote back in 1992 after being given a riff to work with by our usual songwriter. It came together in about 10 minutes and all these years later I still like it – a lot. We recorded it on a 4-track in a garage and a bedroom and all things considered I reckon it came out OK. The rest of the demo is pretty cool as well.

And now we’ll fast forward a few years, to a different band, but another song of mine. This made an appearance when Song of the Week was a small email list so apologies to those who’ve been subjected to my singing before. And there’s one potentially offensive word in there…

Push Grunt Shove – Riff Stealer

That was a fun band to be in. Plenty of loud rock n’ roll! Stupidly I sold the guitar I wrote that song on…

But that’s enough of me for now, I might post some more in a few weeks. I’m still getting some old demos onto the computer from cassette.

Last week I mentioned that Steve Earle’s new album was due out on 26 April. Well it was released then in the USA and elsewhere but not in Australia. For some reason we had to wait until today, and even then the record store I contacted had only a couple of copies and they sold immediately. Argh! Here’s a track from it via YouTube that is just fabulous.

Steve Earle – Gulf Of Mexico

Bob Dylan headlined the Byron Bay Blues Festival this week. And the reports are dreadful. DJ Hopper was there and he is a huge fan, who now says that the relationship is over. Hopefully he’ll write a few lines about his experience for a future Song of the Week.

I’m always keen to listen to new music. Angus has me listening to RAW FM in the car which is the local hip hop/techno/electronic/dance music station. And some is OK. I just wish someone would play a guitar over the top once in a while!

But, how often do you hear one song from a band and your jaw just hits the floor. That happened to me this week. DJ Douglas sent me a link to a live performance from the next band. As a result of hearing this one tune I have ordered their debut album and 45rpm single direct from the band. I’ve also contacted them begging them to come to Australia…and received a response. The only time that I may have been so excited about a band was when I heard the Black Crowes doing their cover of “Hard to Handle” from the “Shake Your Moneymaker” LP. I bought that one on the strength of one song as well.

So, this band is called Vintage Trouble. If you like soul, blues, rock, real r&b, rave-up or just great music I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are out of the USA but this TV performance has made them a big name in the UK in the last few weeks. Get on board folks, they are going to be, deservedly, H-U-G-E!!

Vintage Trouble – Blues Hand Me Down

I’m off now to avoid the television saturation of a wedding I am not interested in.


DJ Rob

Friday, April 22, 2011

Song of the Week #139

School holidays got off to such an excellent start. We had Angus' 13th birthday party at a skate park - and we didn't need an ambulance. I got a few good rides in during afternoon sunshine (and one early morning), met friends for coffee, had a birthday and then I made a big mistake. I cleaned up the garage just a bit. And my back didn't like that, decided to twist nicely to one side and I've been pretty much flat on my back since Weds afternoon. Great.

However, I'm not going to dwell on it. It'll get better and I'll get out of this drug haze soon!

Turning 40 is meant to be some kind of big deal but I'm not sure I know why. It's inevitable. I don't feel any different but people did say nice things about me so that's cool. My family made me feel pretty special. An R2D2 cake might be the height of geekiness but I loved it. And as soon as I'm back on the bike I'll strap the cool video camera they gave me to my helmet and hit the mountain bike trails. My bro and his family gave me Star Wars LEGO - they understand.

DJ Dom is off to Germany shortly for a season as a pro triathlete. A great achievement and even though we give him heaps we'll miss him. Here's a German band for him to get into:

Regular readers will know that I'm a keen triathlete. I've been lucky to be involved with the Tridents Club here in Canberra for a number of years now. Our coach, Ben, has been the heart and soul of the club for 16 years. This week he's decided to coach no more. He's not one for fanfare or seeking attention but rather someone who goes about his business with a quiet and confident air of professionalism. Ben's successes with elite and age-group athletes speak for themselves. I feel privileged to have been coached by him, especially through my Ironman journey. I used to send him a text at the end of each race that often read "Rob was not last". I've come a very long way under Ben's guidance. So, with a bit of a heavy heart, this next song is for him.

I just watched a documentary about Guns N' Roses (thanks Mum). It was pretty good really for an "unauthorised" DVD. What was interesting was the mention of bands who came up around the same time or who were thought to be similar. A lot of "hair metal" bands were spoken about and the reasons for their success or failure. Having talent, good songs and luck are all great but without a frontman with a big voice and attitude to match it seems that there was little chance for a band. I always found the Gunners a bit patchy, even their seminal work "Appetite for Destruction". But when playing a few related songs I came around to this one. Great voice, great song...the band that bought their name from Gary Moore:

I was reading about the guitarist from this next band in MOJO magazine this week. I laughed when he wrote that his father, no longer living in Scotland, had become more Scots than the people who still live there. In Australia I see this happening to people from loads of countries. I guess I'm lucky in that I have three countries whose culture and heritage I draw on. I'll be the old guy in the retirement village telling Maori legends to my grandkids while wearing a Collingwood Football top and listening to bagpipes!

This is a song from the aforementioned guitarist, Richard Thompson. Pretty cool.

I was fortunate enough to have my friend DJ Gar-E-17 play me some of Genesis' early material. It certainly was a lot more interesting than their later stuff (in my opinion). Not really my bag but a good listen nonetheless. That got me to thinking about other bands and their origins.

So, here's how Fleetwood Mac started out. So much better than anything on Rumours!

I'll finish with a great band and a song that's right for this weekend....

See you all next week.
DJ Rob

Friday, April 15, 2011

Song of the Week #138

Some weeks you just have too much to do. This is one of those weeks and it isn’t over yet.

Should I be worried as a parent when my child’s teacher says that she doesn’t know if students know how to study? I think so. I walked away from that particular interview completely befuddled. Luckily the rest were really good. And my kids seem happy and are working hard so I can sleep a little better hopefully.

Musically I’ve got a couple of songs to learn over the next two weeks – and I might do a bit of home recording so stay tuned. I may have to search around for someone with a better singing voice though.

As a former student of ADFA, I must say that I’m a bit over the media coverage. I wish they’d just get on and do their reviews and make the changes they need. A fair bit of unsavoury stuff happened to me there as well although nothing quite like the current claims airing in the media. It was over 20 years ago now but it is interesting that events like that can still get you down. ADFA wasn’t a bad place, but it certainly had its own particular issues. For me the lack of balance between military life and tertiary study was the problem – my results bear that out. I was really good at shining shoes and scrubbing toilets, and my series of bare passes in a number of subjects has a direct correlation in my opinion.

John Fogerty – Violence is Golden

I’m about to start a two week break. It should be great. I have Angus’ birthday as well as mine coming up next week. He’s happy to become a teenager and I’m unsure about hitting 40.

Here’s two songs all about the future.

Billy Bragg – Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Hang on to your hats because Song of the Week tends to get a bit wordy when I’m on leave…

Cheers Big Ears!

DJ Rob

Friday, April 8, 2011

Song of the week #137

One of my favourite artists, Steve Earle, has a free download available of a new track. This comes via a link on his facebook page. And it sounds like a good way to get some new music out there to the public. But when you click on the link, you’re asked to approve that the company involved get access to your personal information and your list of friends. That’s no good. I’ll find another way to get the tune.

Racing last weekend was in Batemans Bay. The weather was perfect and I raced well, probably one of the best ones I’ve had. The bike course was really tough though with plenty of hills. But that suited me just fine! It was great to see about 700 people racing throughout the day.

I guess the big news for me personally was Angus getting top marks for a letter to the editor he had to write at school. The really neat thing about this, apart from the mark, is that he has decided that he can succeed in that particular subject. Pretty cool for a kid that Primary School failed to engage really.

A while ago DJ Dongles gave me an iTunes voucher which was very nice of him. I spent some time choosing tracks to buy and I’ll play a couple now.

First up is a song from a UK band I saw live here in Canberra in the 90’s. Jesus Jones blended pop with some electronica and were also a bit trippy. I remember their keyboard player was insane. I also remember that they were MUCH better live than on record. One of the few non-rock concerts I have seen that exceeded expectations.

Jesus Jones – Right Here Right Now

I also got some tracks from the Godfather of Soul himself, Mr. James Brown. The issue here was that there were so many albums to choose from that I really didn’t know where to start. And I’m not sure the one I got was the best. However, it is full of energy – even if ZoĆ« thought that dancing to it at 7am was a bit early!

James Brown – Say It Loud

That was the missing track from the soundtrack to “The Commitments”. Someone out there will get that reference I hope.

I also managed to get a hold of an old Black Sabbath tribute album that I’d only had a cassette copy of. There are some excellent interpretations of classic tunes on there and hardly a dud in earshot.

And I know that I’ve played this next song sometime in the past but I got a great live version of it from iTunes. I can’t quite find the same version but this is close. My vote for a new national anthem perhaps…if we needed one.

Warumpi Band – Blackfella Whitefella (live)

My students always seem to get a laugh out of the fact that I’m an Elvis fan. Apparently I’m not old enough. I’ll take that compliment every day! But I do like The King. You can think what you like about his hips, sideburns and lifestyle choices but there’s no doubt that he had a great voice. This one is almost as good as the one that Cartman sings on South Park!

Elvis Presley – In The Ghetto (live)

I think I’ll write a book sone day called, “I was a teenage metalhead”. That’s if I ever grow out of it! Some time on the net lead me to an acoustic version of a classic tune. I wouldn’t have thought it would work but I was pleasantly surprised. And as DJ FatBoy pointed out, look closely and you’ll see Def Leppard’s one armed drummer playing a standard acoustic kit. Yet another band from the Queen school of backing vocals – awesome.

Def Leppard – Armageddon It (acoustic and live)

If you listen carefully you might agree that the backbeat in that track was from any number of T-Rex songs.

On the way home from the coast, DJ Feltlaw and I stopped in Braidwood. In the park there was a man playing a guitar and singing up a storm. He used an excellent lyric which I hadn’t realised was a Hendrix quote:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace”. I like it. That’s a good place to stop this week.

Remember, dogs are people too!

DJ Rob

Friday, April 1, 2011

Song of the Week #136

It has rained in Canberra more in the last 9 months than I can remember since I landed here in 1989. I’m not complaining in that our dams are full and the drought has finally broken. However, it would be nice if it just rained at night. Scooter riders and cyclists would rejoice. On Wednesday the radar showed that a storm was coming through so I jumped on my mountain bike with the hope of getting home before it hit. It wasn’t to be. I got hailed on and it hurt so much that I had to hide under the edge of the pavilion at a local sports ground. Those holes in bike helmets that act as air vents are just the right size to let the hail hit your head. And when you are blessed with as little hair as me it is a painful problem!

But in more exciting cycling news, I set a personal best in what was the last time trial of the season for our triathlon club. Some days everything just clicks. And the combination of a rather solid training base (thank you Ironman) along with some fast wheels and a special helmet got me over the line quicker than ever before. If I can pull out a good performance in Sunday’s triathlon I will be well pleased with the season in total. And I’ll be ready for a rest!

I’ve had a pretty quiet week musically. Riding the scooter or my bikes only has one real downside and that is that you can’t listen to a few tunes during the daily commute. I’ll amuse you with a random selection from my iPod. Hang on and I’ll hit the shuffle button…

Rhino Bucket – I Was Told

Wow, this is a band I haven’t listened to in a very long time! And this is an acoustic track so perhaps a bit more accessible. Basically they are a pub rock band with a singer who sounds a bit like Bon Scott. They knock out some excellent guitar grooves and for fans of bands like The Angels or Rose Tattoo more than worth checking out. Rhino Bucket is a fabulous name for band too!

The Black Crowes – High Head Blues

The Black Crowes became firm favourites of mine in the early 90s with their cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle” and their debut album “Shake Your Moneymaker”. Tasty guitars and drums that roll along like a train. This is one band I would really like to catch live.

Ipi Ntombi – Mama Thembu’s Wedding

This is from a musical I saw in NZ as a child. It was my first exposure to gumboot dancing and the cast using garbage lids for rhythm. The creators of “Tap Dogs” must have seen it too!

Guns N’ Roses – Raw Power

Originally by Iggy and The Stooges this is a faithful cover version done by the Gunners before they collapsed into what really became a shambolic excuse for a band. Very much a song I use to psych up prior to a race.

And for the final song in the iPod shuffle edition of Song of the Week.....drum roll please...

Crooked Fingers - Under Pressure

This is a great cover of the Bowie/Queen classic. If you're looking for the ultimate version of this song then it is on the Reality Tour DVD from Bowie.

I'll think of you all when I'm at the coast this weekend (insert evil laugh here!)

Suggestions and comments are always welcome. Some even get published and you get paid twice what I do to write this.

"It's a musical journey...."

DJ Rob