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

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