Friday, November 25, 2011

Song of the Week #170

This week I’ve got a few cool songs and three important events to discuss.
But before we start, if you’re a fan of Henry Rollins’ spoken word stuff then run, don’t walk, to the internet and book some tickets as he is heading down under in 2012. I already have my tickets to see him here in Canberra (thanks DJ FatHenry for the heads up). I reckon I’ll be sitting enough that he might sweat on me. I plan to bottle said sweat, put it in a pill and sell it to anyone who I think needs to toughen up!

Event #1 is my Dad having a birthday. And it’s a biggie. He might not think so but reaching a milestone between 60 and 80 is a fair effort really. I have my Dad to thank for my love of guitars and endurance sport as well as my lack of hair. Here’s a song for him that you can all enjoy as well.

Event #2 happens on Sunday. If I can count then that will be the day that Alison and I have been married for 18 years. Egads! Quite frankly I’m amazed that she puts up with all my nonsense but I’m glad she does.

Oh my, Lou Reed and Metallica have got together to put out an album. Why? Who knows. I like some of Lou’s stuff and most of Metallica’s but the collaboration is really, really hard listening. In fact I just can’t bring myself to listen to anymore and I like to think my musical tastes are reasonably eclectic. Here’s a rather amusing reaction to the album that you might get a chuckle from…

Foreshore is a music festival that is on this weekend in Canberra. The weather looks like it will be good and wet for all the revelers. I’ll admit that usually none of the music on offer makes me that excited but it would probably be worth the price of admission to see these two…

When I played in my first band in Canberra we were friends with another band called ASAP. They had better haircuts than we did and I’m pretty sure their guitarist had a real Fender! I first heard this track when they played it at the Canberra Uni Bar. It’s a song I still like – a lot!

That’s so much better than their Under The Milky Way tune, that’s one that really grates on me.

One of my good friends became a Grandpa this week. And with the technology the way it is, I was able to get regular updates on what was going on in the USA as the baby came into the world. Massive congratulations go to Lizzie and Bradley on the birth of their daughter. And in terms of proud Grandpas, DUG, you take the cake! As you may know, sometimes Facebook tells you where a person is posting their updates from. Well, DUG was posting from “near Tacoma”. That means that this song is for all of you in the Ames/Kennedy family.

Bye for now,
DJ Rob

Friday, November 18, 2011

Song of the Week #169

Hooray, the weekend is here. I think I could sleep for the whole 48 hours without too much trouble.

Good news is that after an amazing palaver involving the Hospital, the Doctor and the X-Ray Clinic it seems that Angus’ arm is not broken. Poor kid, he had to wear a cast for over a week and I think Alison is ready to declare war on the medical profession. I think the final insult was being given some paper scissors and being told to remove the cast herself for x-ray. Here’s an appropriately titled tune. Great vocals too!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be involved with some colleagues in performing to around 1000 people this morning. It doesn’t matter what kind of musician you are or who the audience is, performing live is a real kick. And when almost all of them sing along it’s a real treat. I’d love to play to a crowd like this next one…

And yes, I’d wear the makeup too. You betcha!

DJ GarE17 put me onto the CD that this next track is from. The album is growing on me slowly. A must if you need to chill out to some serious musicians playing soul and blues. Probably a really good Sunday morning listen.

Georgia Fair are an Australian band that got a leg up when one of their songs was featured in a commercial. I know that other bands object to this but you’ve got to get a start somehow…and it’s a great catchy tune.

An artist who certainly wouldn’t want his songs used to advertise anything is Neil Young. I guess this next tune puts his views forward quite clearly!

OK, so I’ve had some quality time with the new Tom Waits LP at last. It’s great. But describing it is a bit of a challenge. It’s accessible to most people and I’m sure his fans still love it. Possibly the best way to imagine it is having an old fashioned carnival playing in your lounge room. It’s a hoot. Spend your hard earned cash on this one – but not the expanded edition that comes with a “40 page hard cover book”. It’s a rip-off. You get three extra tracks and the book just has the lyrics. I was disappointed to say the least.

I guess it would be remiss of me to mention a visit to our fair city by President Obama and his hundreds of minions and hangers-on. Personally I like the man. He seems personable, he hugged a school kid when she asked, and he smiles a lot. Unlike a lot of other US politicians at the moment he also seems to be able to string a coherent sentence together. Dubya always looked like someone was prompting him or he was under the weather. But that’s just my opinion. There was hardly any traffic chaos caused and really, living in the National Capital, we should expect a little when dignitaries come to visit. But I must say, despite my love of American music and the fact that I have quite a few American friends, I wish they would sort their country out. Really. When you have to be a millionaire to be the President something is wrong. Sometimes if you pay peanuts you get more than you expect…

This week I will have been to see Zoë perform in two concerts. Once in the concert band and tonight in jazz. It really makes me very happy to see so many kids enjoying playing music, and playing it well. One of the bands played this next tune…and I knew all the words! I surprised even myself. The only thing they missed was the funky guitar at about 1:20. Does anyone else see the link between this and Tenacious D? And there’s a guy with a broken arm in this clip!! Who knew?

Sometimes a melody is so well crafted that it just sticks there in the back of my mind and sails in and out of my consciousness. This is one of those tunes. Play it a few times and see if it does the same for you. So much better than “Slice of Heaven” and that’s a big call!!

Rock on folks.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 11, 2011

Song of the Week #168

Today is 11/11/11 – Remembrance Day. Whoever you are, whatever you believe I urge you to stop for a moment and think about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice or who have served or are serving in the armed forces. I can guarantee that the vast majority are hoping never to have to fight. Our guest speaker today quoted von Clausewitz; "war is a continuation of politics by other means". Remember that your elected representatives aren't the ones in harm's way.
Bruce has been a bit of a theme for the past few weeks. Blame DJ H for that!

Pink Floyd released a double live LP when I was at the end of my last year in High School. The TV marketing and the title got into my subconscious and I ended up buying it. "The Delicate Sound of Thunder" opened my ears to Floyd who I'd previously had trouble getting into. The opening track, all 12 minutes, is my favourite and I was reminded of it this week. This is the version from that album and despite what some Floyd purists might say, I still think it is awesome. Spacey intro, soaring lead guitar and a gritty sax. Give it a go, it's only 12 minutes and it is oh so worth it!

One of the bands I saw last week had this next tune as their intro tune. It's my favourite song from the Blues Brothers soundtrack album. But here's Taj Mahal. It's his song after all. Righteous!

Taj Mahal made me laugh with his song "Big Legged Mommas Are Back In Style Again"!

REM are calling it a day. I've only really been a casual fan of theirs but this is a very, very cool track. Peter Buck's guitar has a great sound and the echo is used to great effect.

A picture of DJ Randwick asleep with his head on an angle whilst wearing headphones led me to remark that he was doing a Steve Wonder impression. But since he didn't get ther reference here's a tune. Young people these days!

And I'm not making fun of Stevie – he rocks.

I've been listening to a fair bit of Motown and soul music recently. And of course I stumbled on an unexpected cover version. This is groovy in all the right ways, even if the bass line is a bit overdone!

Billy plays this next song on a dodgy live recording I have. I'm guessing he was influenced by the Bowie version but maybe not. I'm happy to admit that I thought it was a Bowie tune until very, very recently.

MC AB and I headed out last Saturday night to see King Cannons play here in Canberra. We were pretty keen as they had ripped it up supporting The Living End not all that long ago. They didn't disappoint. If you like punk, ska, reggae and a good beat then these guys (and girl) are worth checking out. In a small venue they worked hard to get the smallish crowd excited. And their few bars from Fleetwood Mac went down a treat! There's no doubt that they give it all when they perform and I'm surprised that they could even stand afterwards. I guess for me one of the great things about this band is that with two guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion no one overpowers the mix. Here's their latest single which I can assure you, sounds so good on vinyl.

Ah, what the hell, this is a cool song. It reminds me of the Little River Band. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Song of the Week #167

Here we are again folks at the end of another busy week. I haven’t managed to get to the shops to buy the new Tom Waits album so I’ll hold that over for another time.

So, what’s news? Well I’m VERY proud of Zoë who got two distinctions in a French competition at school. Tres Bien indeed! I’m also impressed that Angus did the extra part of his Maths homework that was optional. Good kids – certainly better than I was at their age. While I always got my schoolwork done I was a last minute kind of guy. Somehow I still got good grades. But then I think that so much more of our work was done in school time.

I like guitars – if you hadn’t already guessed. Almost as much as bicycles! This week’s episode is all about my guitars. If that doesn’t interest you just pop down to the end for this week’s featured tune.

Guitar #1 – Eko Acoustic – this was my Dad’s and it’s older than me. It weighs a ton and has a big sound to match. A great guitar for open chords and strumming along. As a teenager I loved the way that the headstock looked like a Gibson one. This is the guitar my Dad would play and I would play along following his fingers. On songs like this…

Tom Paxton – The Last Thing On My Mind

We saw Tom playing in 1988 – he has such a light touch on the strings. A great player indeed.

Guitar #2 – Fender Stratocaster copy – it’s a red one! I bought this in NZ in December 1987 and it changed my life. Along with a small practice amp this guitar let me play rock music as a teen and it was the ultimate release. I still have the guitar and although it’s had a fair bit of work done to it I think it’s the most comfortable guitar ever. I played my first rock gigs with it and I’d struggle to find a show I’ve played where it wasn’t at least there as a backup. I chose it, not knowing much about guitars, on account of two great players. Here they are:

Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing (live)

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (live) (the album cover has a red Strat on it)

As Bono said, all you need is red guitar, three chords and the truth.

Guitar #3 – Gibson Melody Maker (Joan Jett Signature Model) – I’ve had this a couple of years now. I always wanted a Gibson as so many of my heroes played one. But, the couple I had in the past really didn’t suit me. This one was going for a song so I bought it on impulse. For a “cheap” guitar it sounds fantastic. It’s a real rock and blues machine that is best when simplicity is the key. Melody Makers were student guitars back in the day but you see them a lot being used by a wide range of players. The pickup is particular to this guitar and smooths out distortion and overdrive so that it growls rather than bites.

Green Day – Jesus of Suburbia (Billy Joe plays a Melody Maker here)

Guitar #4 – Tanglewood Resonator – sometimes the old Eko is a bit huge and heavy for me and I was looking for something different in an acoustic guitar. I hadn’t really considered one of these until I saw it hanging in the guitar shop next to all the expensive Matons I had been trying out. Most players would use a slide and play in an open tuning but I just tuned it up to regular and bashed out a Neil Young song – and I was hooked. It’s twangy, it’s LOUD and it’s a small body and comfortably slim neck. This is the best guitar just for sitting around on the lounge with.

Bob Brozman is the king of resonator guitars…check this out CLICK HERE

Guitar #5 – Burns Steer – there’s a big story behind me getting this guitar. After deciding to buy one I couldn’t find one here in Australia. But a guy in NZ imported them. So, he imported it from the UK and shipped it to my Mum in Wellington. Then my brother picked it up and my Dad brought it back to Australia after a visit. The final delivery leg was undertaken by DJ HB who braved the excess baggage scales to get it to Canberra! Was it worth it? YES! It’s an extremely versatile guitar. I could probably leave all the others at home and play almost anything from any style on it. It’s a guitar synonymous with Billy Bragg and I’m happy to say that’s the reason I bought it. The versatility was an unexpected bonus.

Billy Bragg – Help Save The Youth of America

That’s probably enough about all of that.

The problem with trying to get my training schedule back into some sort of groove is that I’ve been really tired in the evenings. Usually I retreat to bed and I reckon I’m snoring the place down by 9.30pm! Listening to a few tunes helps me chill out usually. Here’s two tracks that work and one that didn’t! You can probably work out which one woke me up!

Elvis Presley – Always On My Mind

Dixie Chicks – Travelling Soldier

Dragonforce – Through Fire And Flames

Have a good weekend y’all!

DJ Rob