Friday, October 28, 2011

Song of the Week #166

This has been an AWESOME week. I’m not really sure why. So you’re probably only going to get any slow, sad songs in this episode.

First of all, the wedding we went to in Port Mac was awesome. People should be happy when they get married but Will and Jacqui were beyond that and it was fabulous to be there. Port Mac is a pretty cool town. Good weather, good coffee, Ironman banners everywhere and big groups of cyclists. Can I move there now? At least for the Winter. I got a magic 9km run in up and down the paths that hug the coast. I haven’t run up and down so many steps for a long time. Did I mention the gorgeous lap pool on the roof of the hotel?? The only drag really was 13 hours of driving to get there and back.

Today I was fortunate enough to be working away when I heard Tom Waits speaking on the radio. He was being interviewed about his new album and playing some of his favourite tunes. I hit record on the cassette deck so that I can listen to the whole thing later on. But I did hear him playing this song and it is well worth a listen…

Jim Reeves – Put Your Sweet Lips Closer To The Phone

Here’s a track from Tom. The album, “Bad as me” was released on Monday. I’ll track it down this weekend. Here’s the title track.

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

I looked for this next track a couple of weeks ago but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Thankfully the band themselves have uploaded it! The song has been getting a lot of radio play and the chord sequence has a great hook. Nice 80s vibe with the clapping as well. As for acting one's age…we’ll see.

Bluejuice – Act Yr Age

The piano at the start conjures up memories of Ben Folds for me. I heard him interviewed recently, he must have a box set or demos or something similar available. Once I was in a show where we played “Rockin’ The Suburbs” by Ben. Anyone who references Quiet Riot in a song is OK by me.

Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs

Now, I’m not a fan of manufactured pop stars and teen idols but every now and then one of them surprises me. Def Leppard were in town this week and you all know that I though $150 to see them was too much – I still do. So, to drown my sorrows I had a few tracks of theirs playing in the background. YouTube allows people to set playlists and this came up. Who knew? It’s pretty cool.

Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Love Story (that’s her song)

Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Pour Some Sugar On Me (their song!)

Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend in Noosa as well as here in Canberra at the Sri Chinmoy Tri Festival. I hope the weather is good. I’ve never raced in Noosa but it might have to go on the ‘must do’ list!

To wrap up this week I want to remind you of a band that I keep coming back to. The Proclaimers have been around for years and if I am to believe information gleaned from Twitter then they have a new record coming out. They sing songs about real people and real places in a style mixing pop, country and folk music.

The Proclaimers – Everybody’s A Victim

Have a great weekend folks. Mine’s looking sweet with some cycling, time as a parking attendant here at work and then avoiding some of Angus’ cricket!


DJ Rob

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Song of the Week #165

Unlike the last few weeks, this is a really, really, really early edition!

Why? Well, on Friday Alison and I will be on the road to Port Macquarie. Why? Well it’s Will and Jacqui’s wedding on Saturday and we’ll be there for the occasion.


I met Will when we were both new staff at St Eddie’s a few years ago. We both played guitars and loved music. We’ve been good mates ever since.


Here’s a song I know Will thinks is pretty damned good. Me too.


Stevie Ray Vaughan – The House Is Rockin’


Elvis and Bruce do a pretty good job on this next song…until they can go no further!


Costello & Springsteen – Pretty Woman


And that sort of leads to this version which I’m really not sure about. In interviews with the band they claim that David Lee Roth made them do it!


Van Halen – Pretty Woman (fast forward about 1:45 into this to avoid the boooooring intro)


Now, Alex Van Halen’s outfit and bare chest brought me to this next song. An 80’s cheesy classic!


Baltimora – Tarzan Boy


And when we hit the 80s there are just way too many dodgy songs that come to mind. The original version of this next one is a classic but I’m happy to admit that when I heard this cover in the 90s on the radio I thought it was Lemmy from Motorhead singing!


Lawnmower Deth – Kids In America


And I know that I heard this song about the same time. The original is beautifully produced, heartfelt, well played and the vocals are sublime. The Lemonheads roughed it up perfectly but it just goes to show that good songwriting transcends genre.


The Lemonheads - Luka


Canberra readers please don’t forget to check out George & Junk Sculpture’s Springsteen tribute show. Details – click here.


It’s been more music than general mayhem this week. I’m avoiding some controversial issues until maybe next week. But the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are here in Canberra right now. Hooray. How exciting. It’s a shame you can’t really hear my sarcastic tone. I’ve got nothing against the Royals personally but I think it can’t be long before Australia moves down the republic road. At least we haven’t got Charles here with his ears interfering with everyone’s radio and TV reception! Oh, that was mean. Oops.


Motorhead – God Save The Queen (I LIKE the video – the Queen driving a bus!)


If you’ve got a spare moment please have a look at . It’s a movement to provide working watches to health workers in developing nations. What an awesome idea. I’ll be ordering.


Right. I ‘d better pack my bags. What will I need for a wedding at Port Mac? My Funky Trunks and sunglasses? Oh, and a hat I guess.


Cliff Richard & The Shadows – Summer Holiday


DJ Rob

Friday, October 14, 2011

Song of the Week #164

Today I finally finished watching a TV documentary about Jimi Hendrix. I've mentioned it before and I especially liked it because Jimi was the narrator. I remember buying my first Hendrix LP when I was about 16 and being really quite disappointed. It was "Live At Winterland" and it really took me a long time to 'get it'. And by a long time I mean years. There really isn't that much Hendrix that rates a casual listen, you have to take some time and think a bit about it. In the doco Jimi is being interviewed about his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and the host tells the audience to consider that Jimi served in the 101st Airborne before they write in to complain!
Here's an accessible Hendrix tune, and funnily enough the first track on that album I bought back in the dark ages.
Last weekend I heard Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy" on the PA system at the 24hr mountain bike race. It stuck in my head and I asked DJ Mikki if she'd seen it in the movie "Stripes". I guess it was before her time! But here's a clip from the film and also the original tune. Classic!
It always disappointed me that the Australian Army didn't keep us marching in time with cadence calls the way the Americans do. I remember one of my friends starting it up when we were at Tully and him being told to "cut out the Seppo bullshit"!
There must've been something about nonsense lyrics into songs back in the day. Try this one as well, another gem! Driving beat, pretty girls AND the Phil Spector wall of sound – this song has it all.
Flogging Molly are a band I got into after listening to The Pogues (for years) and The Dropkick Murphys (for 5 minutes!). They have a newish record out. The review in R2 Rock'N'Reel Magazine (which is a fab publication by the way) says that their sound is now more Detroit than Dublin and also channels Springsteen. Good enough for me. Here's the first single from the album "Speed of Darkness".
I've also played Seasick Steve before. I come back to his tunes quite regularly as they are honest, uncluttered and sometimes amusing. He's also got a new CD out. This track was on the sampler CD from R2 magazine which I threw on in the car. I was certain that this was being sung by Kris Kristofferson. But I was wrong and it's a great song from Steve. I can imagine Kris, Johnny Cash or even Nick Cave singing this one.
Fantastic news is that Billy Bragg has a new disc out. Called, "Fight Songs", it is a collection of non-album tunes with a common theme. As far as I know it is only available from his website – I'll be ordering as soon as I finish boring you all this week!
One of my best friends and Song of the Week regular, DJ FatBoy, had a birthday this week. I've been lucky enough to know him since we were thrown together by the Army in 1994. Three long months at the School of Signals forged a solid friendship that remains even when he tells me I'm soft with some of my musical choices! This one's for him, I know he's still spewing that he missed seeing this band with me all those years ago. It was a life changing moment for me and for him as well as I forced the cassette on him later on! Happy Birthday mate.
I hope you'll take the time to check out this next song. It's by a friend of mine, Marji, and her band. Also, the film clip was put together by another friend, Ed. Pretty fantastic stuff. They are a great live band and they also do a wicked version of Dolly Parton's "Joelene". Leaves The White Stripes for dead. Lovers of good guitar should run, not walk, to iTunes to pick up some tracks.
Zoë bought some tracks from iTunes this week. Nothing too unusual in that. But some ended up on my iPod and this one played while I was running the other day. Apart from the fact that the band sounds exactly like Good Charlotte or Guttermouth, the song is hilarious! I love it!
Guttermouth? Who are they I hear you ask dear listener. Well, I caught this music video years ago after taping an all night video show. Taping folks, old school. The track is a bit crass but they looked to me like a band that knew how to have a good time. Extra points to anyone who can spot how I know this band has been to Australia for a visit...
DJ JoJo was telling me during the week how she used to record songs from the radio to help decipher the lyrics. Of course, this was before the internet made life way too simple. What's funny is that JoJo is from East Gippsland and I was surprised that they had electricity that long ago! Here's one that confused me as well. It wasn't until I was playing in a band myself that the lyrics to this one became clear! I had no idea at all that James was singing, "beau-tiful people"!
Is that enough? Can you handle more? Does anyone read this far??
Well, with the Rugby World Cup drawing to a close it was pretty awesome that England lost to France. I hope my boss isn't reading this far! England have been almost as tragic in the competition as Australia. All that remains now is for Wales to beat the French and setup a win against the underperforming Wallabies. New Zealand? The All Blacks? Not a chance. With Richie's sore foot and two kickers out with groin tears they are a lost cause. I'll probably be eating my words next week!
Let's finish with a band that could be Australian and could be from New Zealand depending on your point of view. They're playing here in a couple of weeks and while I was initially tempted nothing will compare to seeing them in the 90's at the Yass Soldiers Club. There were about the same amount of people in the audience as there were on stage. But the band still rocked.
That's it. With any luck the magpies won't swoop me in the morning!
DJ Rob

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh come take my hand...

...and get to this gig any way that you can manage it. Travel down the Thunder Road, through Darlington County, Nebraska and the Streets of Philadelphia if you must. You have to be there live as it won't be on Radio Nowhere. Take your Sherry Darling, Drive All Night and avoid a Tenth Avenue Freeze Out. Don't get waylaid by Outlaw Pete and finally, remember that You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch).

Seriously folks, George and the crew from Junk Sculpture ALWAYS put on a great show.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Song of the Week #163

A late issue this week. I'm on school holidays and somehow it slipped my mind that it was Friday. Oops!
When it comes to inventions, I have an open mind. That is apart from vocal autotune technology, boy bands and Lady Gaga! But the trackpad that sits on a laptop for us to use instead of a mouse does my head in. I hate those things. Give me more keyboard space and I'll plug a mouse in – anytime.
That brings me briefly to Apple. You can read in my previous blog post about me and computers but let me say this. If you're an Apple hater or a PC derider then get over yourself. For most of us they do exactly the same thing. I'm a big fan of my iPhone but all my computers are PC based. Who cares?
I finally got around to purchasing one of the Cold Chisel remaster CDs. "You're Thirteen, You're Beautiful and You're Mine" was a limited edition vinyl live EP back in the day. It has been out of print for a very long time and something of a holy grail for record collectors and fans. I tried to buy one on eBay a few years ago but I'm not that rich! The title is a reference to Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin.
This week, being holidays and all, I picked up some CDs to immerse myself in. One was "The Promise" from Bruce Springsteen. It's a double CD of tracks that weren't released for one reason or another when he recorded "Darkness On The Edge Of Town". It's a killer set. There is a fair proportion of Bruce's work that leaves me cold but this certainly does not. After my first listen I penned an email to a friend I know is a huge fan of The Boss. I told him that listening to these CDs made me feel like I was standing in middle America in the snow with my workboots and a heavy coat on waiting to go to work. The songs draw you in and make you a part of them. That's a rare talent for a songwriter. Here's disc 1, track 1 – what an awesome starting point. If someone played this to all those poor kids learning scales on the piano they might stick at it longer...
I also picked up the new Kasabian album on the strength of the song "Re-wired" that I played a while ago. If you mashed up The Beatles, Supergrass, Herman's Hermits, Oasis, Blur and any other English pop band you can think of you'd approximate their sound. But it works. I've run the CD through a few times and I think it was money well spent. I keep hearing bits of other songs mixed in to Kasabian's work and trying to pick their influences is half the fun. Here's the first track and I think the melody line from about 48s in is a dead ringer for that from the vocal in "Rising Force" by Yngwie J Malmsteen – you be the judge!
Right, a quick political rant. Surely everyone knows who Desmond Tutu is. And the Dalai Lama as well. If you don't then Google is your friend and you should be ashamed. And did you realise that Dr Hibberd on "The Simpsons" has the same laugh as the Dalai Lama? Check it out, I'm serious. But what is important is that the Dalai Lama was invited to speak in South Africa and attend Tutu's 80th birthday. But the government there refused him a visa. Wow. That just blows me away.
At one place I worked the students weren't allowed to wear heaps of jewellery which is fair enough. But they were allowed to wear "a small religious icon". I always wondered what would happen if someone turned up wearing Archbishop Tutu. That's a joke folks.
Bert Jansch died this week. He was a sublime guitarist and this is probably his most well known piece. Crank it up, it doesn't get much better.
There have been a few jokes about Steve Jobs potentially rising from the dead in three days. Tasteless yet amusing to a point. There's no doubt that he was a very successful visionary whose impact is huge. But have you read about the $35 computer tablet being rolled out to kids in India? Now THAT is visionary.
And that's about it from me. I'm off to the Australian 24hr Mountain Biking Championships to be the support crew for Team WMGS (AB and Shelley) who are racing the whole thing as a pair. Ouch, ouch, ouch. It would be awesome if it doesn't rain.
I'll leave you with a track from an album I expected to be a load of drivel. Anthrax have been around for ages. They ditched their singer, got a great one called John Bush and then got the old one back. It shouldn't be allowed. Watching him on DVD at "The Big 4" concert was just cringeworthy. But then they released this album and it is just great. The guitars are driven hard without being harsh and the vocals, well, I'm impressed! Perhaps the metal release of the year.
DJ Rob

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The death of Steve Jobs got me thinking about my involvement with computers.

In 1984 I was fortunate enough to be allowed to 'play' with one of these at school on a regular basis. I had to hang around for a while to catch a train home and the Principal thought it might be a good idea. Guess he was right!

The VIC20 was fun. Of course you plugged it into a TV and any programmes were loaded from cassette.

Shortly after I was allowed to spend the absolutely massive amount (and it was!) of $200 on one of the below beauties for myself. I learned some rudimentary BASIC programming and lusted after the 16kb RAM expansion module! Foolishly I gave this computer away. It was an MC-10 which was made by RadioShack.

My school got into computers in maybe 1986. We had some Apple IIe units as well as a lab of IIc computers later on. I think we did some basic word processing and publishing using AppleWorks and PrintShop. And we'd moved on to 5.25" floppy disks!

For a while I wasn't all that interested in computers. I tried a unit in Information Systems at university and was disappointed when it was pretty much all maths that I couldn't do.

But then I ended up working in IT in the Army. By mistake. In 1992 was lucky enough to work on PR1ME minis as well as Wang. They were dumb terminal systems. We also started rolling out the first XT, 286 and then 386 computers. The first PC I built myself was a 386DX-40 with 2x 120Mb hard drives and 4Mb of RAM. Man, that thing flew!! We also worked on the first laptops that didn't even have batteries. Heavy! We got into networking using Novell which was the bomb for a while. I didn't really enjoy working in civilian life though - the lack of a common purpose apart from earning money was a real drag. And that's when I got into teaching.

Although my degree is in Politics I had more than enough work experience to be able to teach computing. And it is a hell of a lot of fun. We try and cover the whole gamut of IT from basic word processing and spreadsheets through to animation, video, databases and various programming languages. And, really, the platform or flavour of software doesn't matter at all. It's all about being able to use whatever is put in front of you.

When I look now at my iPhone, laptop and all the various pieces of technology lying around we really have come a very long way since that VIC-20 in 1984.

I really couldn't give a hoot these days about the Apple vs. PC debate - just choose whatever works for you - they all do roughly the same thing for the majority of users.