Friday, June 24, 2011

Song of the Week #148

I like cycling. I remember the thrill of learning to ride a two wheeler, my Dad painting a bike silver for me, my first 10-speed racing bike and of course the love affair that I have with my Cervelo road bike. I like reading about cycling too; books, magazines, websites, the lot! I’m happy on my mountain bike, time trial bike or even riding some hills here in Canberra. I’m excited when new season bikes are released and always wish I had unlimited funds. And I’ve certainly spent a fair bit of time online at the Trek Website customizing a dream bike over and over. I really need to get on with learning to ride my unicycle. But what I can’t stand is cheating. It already looks like this year’s Tour de France will be overshadowed by the Contador doping circus. All I can do is cheer for the riders that I hope are clean and pray that one day the UCI will see the light and get really serious about sanctions for doping.

Sadly the big music news this week was the death of E-Street Band member, Clarence Clemons. I’m only a fan of selected bits of the Bruce Springsteen discography but there’s no doubt that The Boss’ music just wouldn’t have been the same without Clemons’ saxophone. I didn’t realise until this week that my favourite Springsteen song is actually written about him meeting Clarence. And in retrospect I realised how many songs that I like featured the Big Man. I’ll dedicate this episode to him.

This is my favourite Springsteen tune. From the Born To Run album (1975)

Bruce Springsteen – Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

I remember thinking that I had finally got the better of a jazz snob when I was at school when I found out that Clarence was playing on this next tune. A helluva lot of fun and also featuring Alice Cooper, Billy Joel and Brian Setzer. Of the guest stars, only Alice is in the video.

Twisted Sister – Be Chrool To Your Scuel

The next song was a hit for Clarence along with Jackson Browne in 1985.

Clarence Clemons – You’re A Friend Of Mine

And this cheesy number with legend Aretha Franklin was a chart topper also in 1985.

Aretha Franklin – Freeway Of Love

Clarence also appeared on Lady Gaga’s most recent album. She must have at least one redeeming feature I suppose.

Before I finish, I feel the need to plead with just about every TV news service. The images of cruelty to animals in Indonesian slaughterhouses are probably unnecessary in every report that has a tenuous link to the story. At the very least, a warning that the images may be disturbing would be appreciated.

This morning Alison took pity on me and I was spared a ride to work on the scooter in -4 degrees. As a result I grabbed a random CD from the racks to listen to while negotiating the polar bears and penguins who are here because it is colder than where they normally live. I’m glad that this particular CD came with me because it made me laugh all the way to work. That can’t be bad!

Billy Connolly – Last Train To Glasgow Central

This is odd. Very odd. But the album is strangely almost compulsive listening….see what you think:

Luther Wright & The Wrongs – Comfortably Numb

See you on the flipside.

DJ Rob

Friday, June 17, 2011

Song of the Week #147

In this week’s episode it’s pretty much all music. Apart from maybe an attack on the Tobacco Lobby! We’ll see.

Ozzy’s re-mastered CDs and vinyl arrived in the mail yesterday. Along with the music and DVD was a pretty cool coffee table book filled to the brim with photos. I won’t dwell on this box set but will post a separate review on the blog in a few days. This track is an instrumental that guitarist Randy Rhoads wrote for his Mum. He used to disappear from the tour bus and take classical guitar lessons. Pretty cool.

Randy Rhoads - Dee

Since I’m on a bit of an acoustic guitar trip here’s a true master.

Paco Peña - Soleares

So, here we go with a bit of a rant. Bypass it if you like. The tobacco industry has terrible TV ads on at the moment attacking the government for bringing in legislation to mandate plain packaging for cigarettes. Personally I am all on the government’s side. Smoking is dumb. I also read that smoking is about to be banned in a number of prisons. That’s going to be tough but will the end result be worth it? I’m happy for my taxes to go on nicotine patches rather than the cost of treating smoking related illness. The tobacco industry wants us to believe that we can’t live without the taxes imposed on their products. Well, without their products surely the savings in health care would even it out. Remember all the moaning when tobacco companies could no longer sponsor sport in Australia? What a furphy. Smoke at your own risk, not near me and don’t expect me to be happy about funding your treatment for a related illness.

And just to show that I do have a sense of humour…

Motley Crue – Smoking In The Boys Room

With the arrival of some replacement gear from the insurance company (finally) I had to pretty much configure my iPhone from scratch. This was good and bad. Bad in that some tracks I had purchased are no longer, and good in that I loaded on a whole swag of different tunes. I’ll play a couple now…

First up is The Darkness from the UK. They were a great rock band with soaring guitars, cat suits and some wicked falsetto vocals. Standard story – they are no more.

The Darkness – Love Is Only A Feeling (anyone pick the location?)

And one from maybe the best stage musical ever…

Ipi Ntombi Cast - Shosholoza

Last weekend I went to see X-Men: First Class. I’m not a hardcore fan of the comics or anything like that. But the movie was very cool. Plenty of action, some in jokes and a whole lot of fun. You don’t have to look too closely to get the anti-discrimination message either. It was worth the price of entry. One of the actors was Zoë Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. In 1991 Lenny released the groovy album “Mama Said”. I got it on cassette free with a 12 month subscription to Rolling Stone. Just as well because the magazine was and is dreadful. But the album rocked. Here’s a track from it written for his daughter Zoë who would have been 3 or 4 at the time. Now she’s on the big screen!

Lenny Kravitz – Flowers for Zoë

But I don’t want to finish on a quiet note. Here’s another track from my current playlist of current. You can just rock out to it or have a think about the lyrics if your brain cells are still functioning this late in the week.

Bad Religion – 21st Century Digital Boy

People, get ready!

DJ Rob

Friday, June 10, 2011

Song of the Week #146

Hello Winter! Suddenly it’s cold here in Canberra. I’m not sure we got much of an Autumn either which is very unfair. Getting ready to go out cycling now takes a lot longer with layer upon layer of clothing to be applied as well as lights on the bike. Brrrr is all I have to say!

Here’s a song to warm you all up. Not the original but a good effort nonetheless.

Joan Osbourne - Heatwave

Dr. Who has been back on TV here for a while and I think it just keeps getting better and better. My only gripe is that we really don’t need the bit at the start of every episode explaining who Amy and the Doctor are – the BBC doesn’t need to dumb it down. This next song was featured on last week’s show. A classic that now probably freaks a few Dr. Who viewers out!

Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

In Heavy Metal news, the enhanced versions of Ozzy Osbourne’s classic albums, “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman” are now available. Remastered CDs, vinyl versions, the obligatory coffee book and a replica of Ozzy’s gold crucifix are included. In my humble opinion, “Blizzard of Ozz” is one of the greatest metal albums of all time. I remember being given a copy when I was about 15 and being mesmerized by the guitar work. I’m looking forward to hearing the remastered version soon – the original lacks a bit of bottom end. This track is an extra on the new enhanced edition. It only has guitars and vocals and I think it sounds great. There are delicate touches in the verses as well as the opportunity to hear the classical influence in the screaming guitar solo without distraction. Awesome.

Ozzy Osbourne – Goodbye To Romance

I can’t let talk of all things Heavy Metal pass without a quick discussion of the Soundwave Revolution festival which will hit in September. The number legendary acts is sure to have most rock fans salivating. Alice Cooper, Bad Religion, Steel Panther, The Sisters of Mercy, Machine Head, Danzig and Devin Townsend just to name a few. The big ticket item though is Van Halen. It might be cheesy, but I’d love to see them live! Especially with Diamond David Lee Roth singing – what a treat. VH have to be the ultimate party band. I spent a while finding a good version of this song, possibly my fave from Van Halen. It’s worth waiting through the 42s of introduction.

Van Halen – Unchained (live)

Maybe we need to chill a bit after Ozzy and Van Halen. I don’t want anyone out there in radio land getting over stimulated. Here’s a special version of a classic track. What a voice!! I remember wondering as a kid which member of the Music Department was responsible for bringing a “capella” to the rehearsals because they always left it behind. I get it now.

Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (a capella)

On Sunday I played with some colleagues at a show here at school. Tons of fun! But I was asked to play this song for someone else to sing to. I’d played bits of it in the past but never the full song – and it was in a different key of course! After three quick run throughs on my own it was time to play. Any opportunity to play live is great and this time I got to debut my newest guitar. I’ll admit it was far from perfect on my behalf but it was still a hoot!

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Under The Bridge (Acoustic)

Searching out good music is made easier and probably harder with the help of the internet. Before we had that I guess I relied a lot more on radio. But here’s one that came to me from the local library in my pre-internet days. I saw a CD with a funny blue cover and picked it up on the off chance it might be good. It was. Here’s Gillian Welch with great picking and insanely good vocals. Thanks to DJ Tel4 for jogging my memory as well!

Gillian Welch – I Want To Sing That Rock ‘n Roll

If it’s too loud, you’re too old.

DJ Rob

Friday, June 3, 2011

Song of the Week #145

Guten Tag, Bonjour, G’Day, Haere Mai, Shalom, Hello!

Welcome back for another installment in the blog that just refuses to go away. And sorry that I’m a bit late this week. I know that so many off you wait beside the computer jonesing for your fix of musical mayhem.

The insurance debacle caused by our break-in carries on like a juggernaut with hiccups. Who knew that we were the ones that had to phone the insurance company back when THEY had finished the quote? Add to that a 7 week wait for a new door. I think that frustrating would be an apt description. Does anybody out there remember “The Comedy Company” TV show? Well I do and I reckon our insurance company is just another product from “Bastards Incorporated”.

Just in case you need your memory refreshed: Bastards Incorporated

I was a bit grumpy when I got home. But the combination of pasta bake on the dinner menu and a quick blast from a comedy CD as I drove home from taking Zoe to youth group seems to have improved my mood. You can be assured that I’ve left the thrash metal out of this episode.

Here’s one of my favourite rock tracks. I discovered this band a few years ago when I heard a snippet on the radio. They took me a while to track down but after conversations with too many record store employees and numerous internet searches I got the CD. Cool lyrics, beautifully driven guitar and a singer who looks like Lister from Red Dwarf.

Danko Jones – Living In The City

Readers of the news will have heard this week that all the remaining Borders stores in Australia are closing. Personally I think that their actions in the gift card debacle put them in the Bastards Incorporated league. 317 people will lose their jobs. I was in Borders on Saturday with Angus. We were reading all their magazines in an attempt to get some value out of our useless gift cards. On the way out I noticed that they has Ramones coasters and Star Wars torches on clearance – and who can resist such a top bargain! I like books so I’m sad that the shop will be gone but there are a few other good options in Canberra. Of course, there’s always the amazingly awesome Book Depository website as well. But, here’s a Ramones tune for you. I always think that if I’d heard this band as a teen when I was right into AC/DC and Iron Maiden that I might have turned out differently!

The Ramones – The KKK Took My Baby Away

Getting into punk via The Ramones led me to a number of other bands. I realise that YouTube will do that for you now but what it meant for me back in the day was venturing into different parts of the record store. While The Lemonheads are not a punk band per se, I got into them about the same time. They do a really, really good cover of Suzanne Vega’s song Luka. I like either version. Such a sad song, breathless voice and tasteful guitar. A very left field hit in my opinion.

Suzanne Vega - Luka

Earlier on I referred to the TV show Red Dwarf. A classic. And the theme song is excellent. Grab a glass of fresh mango juice and sing along!

Red Dwarf Theme Song

I continue to be astounded and disappointed by sports administration at all levels. Check my earlier blog post if you want details about junior rugby. But really, the Contador drugs sham and the joke that was the FIFA elections are enough to make me spew. Here’s a track for all the drug cheats, liars and corrupt sports folks.

Beck - Loser

This next tune was on a cassette that I’d only listened to a few times. It came around the other day and this song floored me. I won’t shy away from the fact that it is a pretty confronting few minutes. From the album “Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury”. You’ve been warned. Don’t listen if you’re feeling down today.

Language of Violence – The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

So, let’s finish with something a bit more upbeat because, personally, I’m looking forward to an awesome weekend of family time interrupted only by marking a few assignments!

It’s an evil sounding tune that I’ve been in love with since I was a bairn. But this is a newer version. Rock on.

Apocalyptica – In The Hall of The Mountain King

That’ll do. Avagoodweekend.

DJ Rob