Sunday, December 30, 2012

Part 1 - The Blues...

Welcome to the first of what will be a very irregular series of me exploring different musical genres.
As Muddy Waters said, "the blues had a baby and they called it rock 'n' roll". I'm no expert on the blues but after listening to Lead Belly in the latest "Song of the Week" entry I moved on to a few other artists.
Lead Belly and many early folk blues singers were recorded by a very famous man called Alan Lomax. You can look him up easily but to cut a long story short, he did many, many field recordings of music being played and sung by sharecroppers and prison inmates from the early 1930s. He then carried this on across the USA, Spain, UK and Italy. I've just ordered a book about his life and there look to be some really good collections of the recordings so I'll seek out a few. Apparently there are over 17,000 tracks available online. I'll report back.
Here's a track from 1933 recorded in a prison in Texas.
Lightning Washington & Prisoners – Good God Almighty (1933) -
I like the story that Alan went looking to record Robert Johnson, found out he'd died, and as a result recorded Honeyboy Edwards and Muddy Waters.
Honeyboy Edwards – Spread My Raincoat Down (1942) -
Muddy Waters – Country Blues (1941) -
Another story that tickles my fancy is the reason that Honeyboy started with the electric guitar in 1946. His National acoustic got stolen!
Son House is another famous bluesman. And I just love the Wikipedia entry about his life; "After years of hostility to secular music, as a preacher, and for a few years also as a church pastor, he turned to blues performance at the age of 25." ( ). He must've been hostile since he was quite young! My introduction to Son House was via an American band called Gov't Mule who covered the song "John The Revelator". It's a popular tune also recorded by John Mellencamp, REM, Nick Cave and lately Steve Vai.
Son House – Delta Blues (1941) -
Nick Cave – John The Revelator -
So what is it about the Blues that makes it interesting to listen to? You hear the same riffs, shuffles and time signatures over and over. The answer is delivery, emotion and authenticity. It's real music sung by real people. Of course there are pretenders in the mix but they're not that hard to spot. Or so you might think. Who would've thought that two Englishmen and a Scot would help bring the blues into the consciousness of a very, very wide audience.
Cream – Crossroads (1968) -
I remember hearing Billy Connolly saying that he saw a blues caravan come to Glasgow and suddenly everyone was growing their hair and buying cowboy boots. One artist he mentions is Big Mama Thornton. Aptly named no doubt but have a listen and I'm sure that you might agree that "Big" refers to her voice. That's Buddy Guy on the guitar – reminds me very much of Robert Cray.
Big Mama Thornton – Hound Dog (1965) -
Just as an aside, here's Billy with some blues...
Billy Connolly – Stainless Steel Wellies (1972) -
You can hear the blues influence in so much rock 'n' roll even if you discount the obvious stuff like the Stones, Led Zeppelin and Hendrix. I remember at the age of about 15 being shown how to play a 12-bar blues shuffle in A or E. In any band it's a life saver. Here's a couple of variations on that theme. Simple yet so effective.
Little Richard – Long Tall Sally (1956) -
Georgia Satellites – Keep Your Hands To Yourself -
Bo Diddley and Tom Petty – Mona -
I guess anyone can use the riffs but the lyrics to that Georgia Satellites song would work just as well with something from the 30s or 40s.
A few years ago I had a chance to by an oblong guitar like Bo Diddley's – I'm still kicking myself that I didn't.
And then I guess there's guys who kept the blues alive. Not that it ever really died. Maybe it just went underground for a while. Artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan opened it up to a wider audience as did U2 when they widened BB King's audience. There's also a little band from Texas called ZZ Top who play some pretty fine blues as well – when they leave their synthesizers at the door.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Mary Had A Little Lamb -
BB King (with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Jimmie Vaughan) – The Thrill Is Gone -
ZZ Top – Jesus Just Left Chicago -
There's a thousand blues players and singers that I've left out and I make no apology for this. As I said at the beginning, I'm no expert.
In terms of Australian blues, it's hard to go past this...
Chain – Black & Blue -
Or perhaps this...Bob is American but lives here some of the time I believe – a virtuoso who plays the whole instrument!
Bob Brozman – Crossroads Blues -
I'll finish with a modern take on a musical genre that has been around since the early 20th century, and ageless lyrics that pre-date this version. I picked this song up years ago on cassette when they were being cleared out of a record store to make way for CDs. Pure genius. The keyboard sound really makes this tune.
Robben Ford – Born Under A Bad Sign -
That's it folks.
DJ Rob

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Song of the Week #227

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you survived the experience and it was meaningful to you in some way. I learned a life lesson a few years ago now that Christmas is what you want it to be. It needn't be massive and overblown either. This year I spent valuable time with family, gave and received some gifts and had some fantastic meals. We steadfastly refused to go to the Boxing Day sales and laughed at the dog and cat in their Christmas collars. Good times.
I've ridden my bike a lot so far these holidays (you can follow my progress on if you want). The nice thing is that I've ridden both by myself and with a range of people. Yesterday we rode from Tharwa and did the 9km climb up to what used to be the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station. It was one of those rare climbs where everything just felt right. Of course, being (relatively suddenly) 10kg lighter probably means that it is a whole lot easier. If you're here in the nation's capital then it's a beautiful drive up there. The air is clear and the view down the valley is fantastic. If spaceships are your thing then take a look around where they were once tracked from.
On to some music. I've been looking through my record, cassette and CD collection for inspiration. This week you'll get some relatively obscure tracks but I hope you give them a chance. I was the DJ at my school radio station for 2.5 years. It was only a one hour weekly show but I loved it. When I started playing songs I liked rather than replicating the local commercial stations I loved it even more.
For many years, unless you lived in a capital city here in Australia, you were stuck with commercial AM radio and the dusty playlists that they had. We loved out of town and FM reception was patchy at best. If there was someone good on the community radio station you might jag a few good songs but you had to be lucky. "MTV" and more so ABC television's "rage" changed all that. Rage played bands I had never heard of if you were prepared to be up in the middle of the night. This is one track that came via late night TV. I did buy the album that it came from but really, the single is the only strong track in my opinion.
Metal Church – Badlands -—tlSW4BqAA
When I moved to Canberra at 17 I arrived with a cassette walkman, my precious cassettes and two 1 watt plug in speakers. Tinny would be a fair comment. Soon enough my Dad came to visit and took me out to buy a stereo. It's still pumping out tunes in the lounge room. My subsequent purchase of a CD player meant that I found Impact Records. It was a mecca for all types of music enthusiasts. Staffed by knowledgeable folks and with a huge range of vinyl, CD and cassettes. Impact is no longer here but I did my bit to keep them in business for years!
One day I heard this CD being played in the store and I bought a copy based on hearing two or three tracks. It was, and still is, fantastic. I remember feeling a little put out when a few months later success came to the band and they weren't just a secret that I'd shared with Alison and my band!
The Lemonheads – Confetti -
This next one isn't so obscure but I hasn't heard it for years. It's a track, and a band, that should be played a lot more. I love the jangling, crisp guitar in the verses. I'll have to track this one down on CD. I think the only copy I have is on a compilation cassette I made for DJ Al-Ee all those years ago.
Maybe Dolls – Nervous Kid -
Years ago now, DJ SAB tried to get me into this band. It didn't really work. I liked a few of their songs but found much of their catalogue impenetrable. I know that they're a band with a large and devoted following but try as I did, I couldn't bring myself to be more than a casual listener. I dipped in and out of their work for years. And I realised recently that I still do. I guess that if I've been pulling out tracks for nearly 20 years I should count myself as a fan.
Sisters of Mercy – Dominion -
Yesterday I had some time to myself. Christmas guests had departed, Angus was at work and Alison was out with friends. I took the opportunity to check out the Iron Maiden DVD I was given for Christmas. "En Vivo" is a lavish concert production with great sound. It certainly shows a band who have been around for a long time and who show no signs of slowing down. The more recent songs are just as well received as some of the classics. I was prepared to be disappointed or at least underwhelmed by this DVD but it really blew me away – UP THE IRONS!
I also began watching a movie about the life of legendary singer/guitarist Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly). Once I got past the fact that his character is being played by TC from Magnum PI the film looked OK. I'll finish it later on. Lead Belly is a huge influence on rock 'n' roll and blues. Listen to Creedence, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and you'll figure it out.
Lead Belly – Rock Island Line -
Last week I wrote a full album review for a Brisbane band called "Thirteen Seventy". Thanks to DJ DaddyRollins for sending me the CD and putting me on to the band. It's a great rock record with moody lyrics. If you're interested in something new and independent then the review is here:
Here's a track from one of my favourite cassettes. It's by a guy called Mojo Nixon and it's a complete hoot. I think I bought the cassette because it was in a clearance bin – and now it's almost work out. See what you think...
Mojo Nixon – Don Henley Must Die -
To finish, here's a track from an Australian artist I've just discovered. You can bet he's listened to Lead Belly in the past. Oh my, this is just sublime!!
CW Stoneking – Jungle Lullaby -
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a ukulele to learn some tunes on! I wonder how it will sound through my Marshall amp....
DJ Rob

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Album Review - Thirteen Seventy – Arrest The Slide (2012 independent release)

(Please note that I wrote this review before I read the band's biography – probably a mistake!)
It's been forever since I've sat down to write more than just a few lines or a paragraph about a new album release. So bear with me as I could be a bit rusty!
I've listened to this album a lot over the last month. In the car, on the stereo, on the iPod, on my PC and in my office.
Thirteen Seventy are, according to their internet presence, a "noise/rock band from Brisbane".
I happened across them when my very good friend, and fellow music lover, DJ FatBoy sent me a link to listen to one of their tunes. He works with Clint who is the guitar player, vocalist and main writer for the band.
I was pretty impressed with the track and before too long a CD arrived from DJ FatBoy. I resisted the iTunes download option. I like the hard copy in my hot little hands – and the sound quality is better anyway.
For your hard earned dollars you get eleven tracks of rock music with a distinctly Australian flavour. Not Australian in an AC/DC, Angels way but with a mix of flavours. The band list 90's Seattle as well as Australian underground music as their influences and that's a fair description. The guitars are dirty and grungy without being harsh – more Tumbleweed than Soundgarden. There are rich harmonic tones which suggest a love of bands like Dinosaur Jr.
In terms of the song writing, these are mostly songs about relationships in different stages, songs about pain and of helplessness. The album title is "Arrest The Slide" so you could see this album as someone's musical line in the sand.
Whereas with any number of uber-popular bands you know that most of the tracks on an album will be similar, it is not the case for Thirteen Seventy. They always sound like themselves and have a definite and recognisable sound, but there is depth and difference in each track.
The album opens with "Labour In Vain". It's a Radio Birdman / Stooges / Bo Diddley mashup sound which works a treat. And they're into the chorus in about 30 seconds which makes this a great track for radio in my opinion. The song has an urgent beat, tasty guitars and a great vocal performance. And for an indy release the balance in the mix is great. The drums and bass cut through clearly with everyone having their own place in the audio spectrum. ( )
Track 2 is called "F*** Up Again". (the asterisks are mine). With a quiet Nirvana-esque opening followed by the guitars cranking up for the chorus this one is more mainstream than the album's opener. It sounds like the vocals are double tracked in places (or some kind of effect is used) and this adds great texture. ( )
Next up is "My Lover Loves Everybody". With an insistent single chord introduction this track is very, very catchy and I can see any huge festival crowd pogo dancing to this one. The guitars here sound heavily compressed and driven hard (while retaining an all important warmth that is a feature of the record) – it's a real wall of sound which is sublime to my ears. I think you can probably work out the lyric meaning from the title although there's a twist. ( ) Check out this live version too -
"What You Know" is a slow, minor key moody number that's maybe reminiscent of Type O Negative.  There are subtle background noises that give this track an eerie feeling – and there's an epic guitar solo that sits far enough back in the mix to blend perfectly with the song instead of assaulting our senses and leaving the band behind. It's a horror movie of a song. Great stuff; Nick Cave or the Sisters of Mercy would love it.
"Lost In Translation" starts in a fairly similar vein to the previous track and I was concerned that they would be too similar. But then a great major key riff kicks in with some big drums and a raw vocal delivery to set a very different scene. There aren't a lot of lyrics to this song but it sounds like an "up yours" type of song.
Track 6 is entitled "Medusa". The opening guitars have a rather groovy dripping sound as the notes ring probably as a result of whatever delay/reverb/phasing/chorus effect they have employed. It sounds fab. This song makes good use of quiet and loud parts. The guitars are much more overdriven here but well controlled. Maybe a Sonic Youth type sound but the melody is more mainstream – in a good way. And in the middle of the 8 minutes of this track you suddenly understand why the band describe themselves as noisy. It's a wonderful psychedelic maelstrom that The Doors or early Pink Floyd would be proud of. It's easy to make a lot of noise, but it's hard to make it sound good and this does.
For "Missing" the guitars are cleaned up and shimmering. The vocals are almost spoken and are definitely dark! Even when the band eventually kicks in there's a quiet grace that they manage to maintain despite sounding really, really loud. There's a spot where the rhythm guitar has a ripped speaker sound that Neil Young would covet.
Track 8, "Blood Is Red", should be listened to on a good sound system or through headphones. There's been some thought been put into where the vocals appear on the stereo spectrum and it really sounds good. It's almost a call and response effect. I really enjoyed the drumming in this track – there's a fantastic staccato or almost military snare fill that really hits the spot (that's a horrible pun – sorry). And there's a real anger to the vocal delivery which is very compelling.
"Sheep" is next up. I'm reminded of a few Lemonheads songs by this one – or maybe a heavy version of You Am I. You could even imagine silverchair ripping their way through this one. For sure the band hasn't lost their momentum as we near the end of the album – they're still rocking hard.
The penultimate track is called "Breathe". The guitar sound at the start of this track is straight out of the Ric Ocasek handbook – but The Cars were never so close to shoe gazing. We're treated to an almost whispered vocal introduction before a cleaned up version of the band join in. As the song goes on the spoken word parts are reminiscent of tracks from The Mark of Cain and again, The Doors. It's another long track clocking in at 9m 45s and it never gets old. Not many bands can carry on for more than about 5 minutes without getting boring or self-indulgent so hats off to Thirteen Seventy! The lyrics are spooky – there's an early Black Sabbath feel that creeps in. Don't skip past this song.
Lastly is the song "1370". Beginning with an acoustic guitar recorded to sound far away this track has a hidden or demo feel about it. Lyrically this number fits well with the album but with only acoustic guitar and vocals I found myself waiting for the band to start playing along. The fact that this didn't happen in the end wasn't an issue – the song works well by itself and you feel that you've had a little taste of something very personal.
To sum up – should you buy this album? I reckon it's well worth a few dollars. It's well recorded, the song writing is solid and the musicianship is very good. It's certainly an album that I'd want to listen to again.
Thanks for reading folks,
DJ Rob

Friday, December 21, 2012

Song of the Week #226

Those of you reading this will have realised that the world hasn't ended. Is anyone really shocked by this news? In my round about tribute to this non-event all this week's tunes will be live versions. Get it?!
Let's begin with the master, James Marshall Hendrix. I'm loving this particular version because Jimi is playing a Gibson SG rather than the Fender Stratocaster he's most famous for. Sure, this is a reasonably standard 12 bar blues but it's all in the delivery.
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Red House -
Staying with the blues for just a minute, here's Stevie Ray Vaughan ripping it up with Albert King. Mentor and pupil! Note that Albert plays his Flying V left handed but it's strung for a right hander – so the strings are upside down.
Albert King / Stevie Ray Vaughan – Born Under A Bad Sign -
Rock 'n' roll is littered with stories of bands and performers who shone very brightly only to be destroyed by drugs and alcohol. I watched a documentary today called "Thank God for Ozzy Osbourne". How he's still alive we'll never know. Throughout the show there's a camera permanently mounted in his tour dressing room wherever he happens to be touring. We see Ozzy going through his vocal warm ups, riding the exercise bike, skipping, on the phone and just about anything else you can think of. But, right at the end of the documentary, as he's about to go onstage he closes the door and gets on his knees in a corner and prays quietly. Now THAT, from the Prince of Darkness, was unexpected. This is one of Ozzy's solo tracks, written about TV evangelists...
Ozzy Osbourne – Miracle Man -
I always associate this next song with AM radio and with the Simpsons. Homer singing this track always gives me a good laugh.
Steve Miller Band – The Joker -
Some songs get into our psyche for all the wrong reasons. After hearing this next tune on every crime TV show the intro became my phone ringtone for ages. Great song, but you have to listen to the whole thing not just the first minute or so!
The Who – Baba O'Reilly -
Elton John isn't someone I really associate with rock music. He's a great writer and performer but a rock star? This song proves me wrong. It's got everything; great beat, fabulous dynamics and swagger.
Elton John – The Bitch Is Back -
And I've been busy this week. Learning songs on the guitar, a quick 300km motorcycle day out with DJ Bennee, riding my bicycle up too many hills and being totally impressed with Angus and Zoe's school results. It's amazing how much you can fit in when you don't have to go to work! Ha!
Next week I'll review some new albums. I know I've already played one track from Ian Hunter's (Mott The Hoople) latest offering. However, the full album arrived in the mail yesterday and it's been on high rotation all day. It's a great rocky, country style album with enough hooks to land a whole school of fish. I haven't been this impressed with an album as a whole for quite a while.
Ian Hunter & The Rant Band – Comfortable (Flying Scotsman) -
Note that this week I have avoided the US gun debate. That's while I work out something coherent to write. I seriously doubt that anyone on any side of the gun debate wants kids to die.
So, have a great Christmas – celebrate in style and think about why you celebrate at all.
Today in a store they were playing the Glee versions of Christmas tunes. It made me want to spew. Here's the antidote...
Stryper - Winter Wonderland -
Ho, ho, ho!

DJ Rob

Friday, December 14, 2012

Song of the Week #225

The working year drew to a close for the majority of people where I work today. I'll be in and out for a bit but I'm glad we've made it to the end. To say that it's been a challenging year would be an understatement.
But, I rode my bike this afternoon and that always puts me in a good mood. Twice up Black Mountain blew any lingering stress out the window. And the rain (not too much) just brought out the smell of the bush around me and made everything look and feel fresh.
This track is laid back and has a great groove. The guitar is extremely tasteful too. In fact the whole band has it locked together tighter than a tight thing. The whole album from a long while back now is a treat but this is my favourite track from it...I think. Lyrics that mean something. Groovy baby.
The Badloves – Green Limousine -
Since I've started in a 90's vibe I'll keep it going for a little bit. This one's for DJ DJ...Alison and I saw this next band with him at the ANU Refectory. DJ DJ's knee had some issues and he ended up lying on the stage at the singer's feet – I'm pretty sure that despite the pain he wished he could stay there. It was a cracker of a gig. I lost my watch in the mosh and Alison lost an earring and some buttons! The band should've gone on to bigger and better things but I guess it wasn't meant to be.
Baby Animals – Early Warning (live) - (if that's not a classic voice for rock'n'roll nothing is)
My brother, DJ SamSpam, came to visit us in the 90's. We got him off the plane or the bus or something and took him straight to see this band. Not sure he'd heard of them before but he seemed to enjoy himself. Grungy pop fun.
Ratcat – Baby Baby -
Later in the 90's this stellar band came out of Melbourne. Fusing reggae, ska and punk rock it was a winning formula for me. Of course they became quite huge and released a swag of good songs but their early stuff had a bite that really resonated with me. Chris' guitar work is fantastic and clearly influenced by Brian Setzer. DJ AB took me out to see these guys not that long ago and they still brought the house down. Again....lyrical content that is more than yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Living End – All Torn Down -
We've had some very exciting text messages from Zoe in Paris. Although it's obviously very cold it sounds like she's having a total blast. I'm really glad even though I'm missing her. She sent us a message from the Eiffel Tower telling us that she'd seen Santa Claus riding around on a motorbike – hilarious! She moves to her host family shortly and stays with them for the remainder of her time away.
Nothing like a few words in French so here we go....
Blondie – Denis -
So Springsteen is coming back to Australia. He hasn't been for a while. I sat and watched as DJ HeyJude tried to get tickets online – what a drama! I hope he announces extra shows so that those who missed out get to go. Me, I'm passing – I like his stuff quite a bit but it's a LOT of money. I'd want him to play's not his but he plays it with conviction. Support your country's troops – bring them home folks.
Bruce Springsteen – War (live) -
DJ Mic raced and finished Ironman Western Australia last weekend. It's a huge achievement and I'm ecstatic that she could join the IM finishers club. We're just waiting to see when she gets the tattoo!! Props to her support crew who went to WA with her as well – nice work!!
Today I sat in our end of year service and the Rev (Paul – he's a great guy) asked us to reflect on things that had mattered to us this year. Things we might not have had time to think about lately. Religion isn't my bag but quite often introspection is so it worked for me. Among all the things that I haven't really thought about for a while with so much going on is my mate Garry who died a while back. I miss the regular email banter, the quick link to a song and his classic anonymous emails to his local paper. I won't play a sad song, but I will play one he'd approve of. Wherever you are my friend, I hope the tunes are good!
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll -
DJ Steev did me a great deal on a vinyl Neil Young album this week. It's almost in mint condition. The bass on the first track just hit me when I played it – just so unlike CD it's hard to explain.
Neil Young – Motorcycle Mama -
I think I made a big mistake last week. I spent $10 on a live Rolling Stones DVD. It's a great stage show, great tunes and of course the band are legendary but something is just missing. That and the fact that I could swear there must be guitarists behind a curtain playing for Keith and Ronnie at times because what their hands are doing doesn't match the sound. Anyway, I went back in time thanks to YouTube and watched some live footage from 1970 – much, much better. The lesser sound quality is more than made up for by all the energy and great playing.
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (live) -
But if there's a band I can't recommend highly enough it's the love child of James Brown, The Rolling Stones and Ike and Tina Turner. Ladies and Gentlemen, I've said it before and I'll carry on until I'm blue in the face; you must listen to Vintage Trouble. Here they are ripping it up on US television a week yourself a favour.
Vintage Trouble – Blues Hand Me Down -
That's probably enough for one week. With Christmas coming don't forget those less fortunate that you might be...
DJ Rob

Friday, December 7, 2012

Song of the Week #224

Ever had a week where you feel you missed out on something special? I just did. But then, on reflection there were some pretty good things that happened as well so I'll do my best to focus on the positives.
Music generally picks me up when I'm done. It fuels my soul, makes my foot tap and my fingers tingle. I know which songs work. And so this week I present to you some tunes that are good for my mental health.
First thing in the morning I like to clamp my Marley cans around my head and listen to music while I eat my (dietician approved) breakfast, check my mail and catch up on all that's happened overnight on my news feeds and Twitter. Can I say here that as an aside, breakfast is by far the best meal of the day for me. It can be relatively filling and tasty compared to anything else. DJ BenEe introduced me to lemon polenta porridge. It sounds awful but it's not bad at all. Anyway, if I'm heading out for a morning ride (cycling) then I like to listen to either one of these tunes in the breakfast mix. They wake me up, get my heart started and sharpen my senses so that I can push those chain rings hard.
D.A.D. – Jihad - (from an album that mixes surf guitar twang with hard rock – a great listen and my favourite Danish band!)
Jim Steinman – Love, Death & an American Guitar - (not really a song but pretty cool)
I have a cool old ghetto blaster on my desk that no-one wanted. It's got twin tape decks, a single CD, 3 band tuner (long wave baby) and a pretty decent set of speakers. With a small graphic eq and a bass booster as well I think it's the ducks guts. My workday tunes are usually reserved for the beginning or the end of the day – I need to concentrate usually. But this week I've needed songs to keep me going and these two have featured quite a bit.
Spy vs Spy – Hard Times - (Australian rock with a conscience)
U2 – Jesus Christ - (written by Woody Guthrie)

The other time I get to crank up some tunes is if everyone is out and I'm cooking dinner. At these times it's rock and roll and air guitar!
Cinderella – Gypsy Road -
Vintage Trouble – Blues Hand Me Down -
Thanks to everyone who contacted me last week after my Led Zeppelin comments. The "UnLedded" stuff that I listened too was not bad. DJ AlBundy came through with this track though and it's ace. The intro is almost like Stevie Wonder and then Led Zep kick in. Give it a spin.
Led Zeppelin – Trampled Under Foot -
Last night to get my mojo back I had some of Grandma's rhubarb, walked the dog with DJ GotAPromotion and then threw my favourite ever live music DVD on to play. It always puts me in a good mood. Here's two tracks that you might like. I spent maybe $15 on this DVD in money I've ever spent on music.
Steve Earle and the Dukes – Guitar Town - ("with my back to the riser I make my stand" – great lyric)
Steve Earle and the Dukes – Sweet Little '66 - (always reminds me of DJ DUG and his cool car!)
There you go – let me know what songs lift you up...
And if you're a Johnny Cash fan you won't want to let this pass you by: I'm not sure my family could cope.
Zoe flies out to France on Monday so next week will probably be all sad songs!
Au revoir,
DJ Rob

Friday, November 30, 2012

Song of the Week #223

There’s a couple of things that I’m really sick of at the moment. One is the idea that shows like “Idol” and “X-Factor” can manufacture superstars. While I have no doubt that many of the performers on those shows are talented there’s something wrong about not paying your dues. Also, the lustre of instant stardom certainly does have a tendency to fade rather quickly. I went to see the Black Sorrows last week. Joe Camilleri has been playing rock and roll since 1964 – now that’s serious credibility! He had a new lineup in the band including a drummer playing his first gig with them – it was a great show. Joe will be reforming Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons to support Elvis Costello here in Australia next year.

The Black Sorrows – Nothing Lasts Forever -

The other thing I’m sick of is cooking. Usually I really quite enjoy it but having to keep coming up with new stuff to stay within my dietary parameters is doing my head in. I’ve had a few wins though and the “Vegetable Hot Pot” was a winner with everyone. I’ve shed 8kg now, surely this can’t go on!! Personally I think it’s a conspiracy to make me buy new clothes.

ZZ Top – TV Dinners -

Alison and I had our 19th wedding anniversary this week. By my calculations we’ve been together more than ½ my lifetime now. There’s lots of soppy anniversary songs but I doubt Alison would like them. It hasn’t been the easiest journey and at the moment some parts of our lives seem pretty challenging, but we’ve made it this far! This isn’t soppy but it probably is cheesy! I don’t care, I bought the 45 when it was first released. I’m not a Farnham fan at all but this is a great song.

John Farnham – Two Strong Hearts -

I’ve been back on my road bike for a couple of weeks now. It’s very different to mountain biking and my body seems to be getting used to it finally. I do miss the plush suspension and the disc brakes though! I know I didn’t miss all the hoons yelling at me from their cars or the glass all over the roads…grrrr!

The Decemberists – Apology Song -

I got an early Taj Mahal album for $10 a few weeks back. Taj is a very cool bluesman who’s been around since the late 60’s. I first heard him when he covered Leadbelly’s “Bourgeois Blues”. What I didn’t realise, and shame on me, was that Taj wrote this next song – a stone cold classic….

Taj Mahal – She Caught The Katy -

The whole Taj Mahal album (The Natch’l Blues) is a real treat. Give it a spin sometime.

Mia Dyson has released another single from her album, “The Moment.” It’s called “Jesse” and covers the sad topic of forced adoption in Australia. I like songs that mean something and I like Mia’s blues so it’s a winner in my book.

It’s only two weeks until my daughter is off to France. She’s excited and organizing everyone around her so the natural order of the world seems about right. She isn’t amused at my French jokes though. Apparently “Baguette” is not the answer to anything she says.

Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – Trains & Boats & Planes -

Led Zeppelin…I’m really not sure what to write about that band. As a young man I tried really hard to get into them. I remember the first set of remasters I ever bought was theirs - $100 was a lot of money back then! It was late 1990 and I really thought it would be awesome. But it wasn’t and I don’t listen to them all that much. And I don’t know why. They’ve got it all going on; a fabulous drummer, charismatic vocalist, godlike guitarist and a bass player who is hard to top but it doesn’t move me in the way I think it should. Maybe it’s like my love/hate affair with The Beatles and the “Sgt. Pepper’s” album in that you had to be there. Anyway, Led Zep have a new live DVD called “Celebration Day” and I’ve checked out a few tracks. Some are great and a couple made me cringe. I’m a bit sorry that I missed the opportunity to see this on the big screen – I’m sure the experience with a huge sound system would be worth it. Here’s an old track, and video, that I really like. For me Led Zep are much better when they strip it back and songs like this…

Led Zeppelin – Over The Hills And Far Away -

Every now and then I hear a band, grab an album and then wonder why I haven’t got their whole back catalogue, t-shirts, keyrings  and a poster or two. This happened to me recently with a group called “Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes”. They are very much contemporaries of Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band with a number of members playing in both. Jon Bon Jovi toured with them in 1990 and he’s on some recordings too. They sound not unlike Springsteen but a lot of their stuff is more straight ahead and gutsy compared to The Boss – if that’s possible. Anyway, I’m going to be exploring their music this summer – I have one album via eBay (Better Days) and there is not a dull moment on it. If you like guitars, horns and strong vocal delivery then you could do a lot worse. Try this one….it’s close to becoming my new theme song – and I think I’ll have a crack at recording my own version in the holidays. I just love the line, “I played the fool, I played the soldier, but now my struggling days are over…” (note that this isn’t Southside Johnny singing as I can’t find a decent recording on YouTube – Little Steven sounds pretty similar and this version is great!)

Steve Van Zandt – All I Needed Was You -

Oops, this episode is getting a bit long – you can probably tell that I’ve spent time over a few evenings getting it together.

So, time to finish up. But before I do here’s what’s coming up in the next few weeks…

  • Review of the bodacious new album from The Mark of Cain
  • Review of Neil Young’s Psychedelic Pill – the first track is 27 minutes long so bear with me
  • Something unexpectedly cool from Ian Hunter
  • Review of the new album from Brisbane band Thirteen Seventy (thanks to DJ FatHenry for this)
  • Tales of muddled up fingers as I work my way through trying to learn around 20 Midnight Oil songs!;

I couldn’t resist this next song to finish up. Last Saturday I was at the guitar shop buying some new leads prior to the gig that evening. On the counter was a box of kazoos and I had to have one…and here’s why kazoos will always have a place in my heart…covered later on by Clapton very well but the original is a cracker…

Jesse Fuller – San Francisco Bay Blues -

Rock on Brothers and Sisters,

DJ Rob
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Song of the Week #222

Recently I’ve been involved in setting up a website for a very good friend of mine. Ben Gathercole was my triathlon coach and mentor for a number of years. He got me through a very successful Ironman campaign in 2010. Apart from coaching legends like me, Ben was an elite level coach. He’s written a book about his experiences coaching Simon Thompson. They went all the way to the Athens Olympics so it’s a fairly amazing story. The book is called “Better Than Winning”. What I’ve taken from the book and Ben’s coaching philosophy are two things. One is consistency of effort. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to achieve – if you work in fits and starts then your results will be patchy at best. The other is that the journey is what really matters. I made the Ironman journey with four other guys who were training for the same race, Coach Ben, Coach Davey, my whole triathlon club, my colleagues and of course my family. Crossing the line was momentous don’t get me wrong, but all the effort and sacrifice leading up to that day built bonds that will last a lifetime. You can check out, and buy Ben’s book at .

Last week I wrote about going to see a local band, “Live Evil”, play some music. Well I went along with DJs MCG and SAB to see the show. It was pretty good indeed. Two and a half hours of almost nonstop rock with a lot of classics thrown in. They played both songs that I predicted last week which was cool. As Matt the vocalist pointed out, it’s great to see people rocking out to the classics. This was their encore choice…

Deep Purple – Highway Star –

In other music news, I’m playing a gig tomorrow night. It’s officially sold out which is pretty cool. To be fair, selling out a gig at H’s house probably isn’t that huge an achievement but we’re happy with it. Angus came along and heard our final rehearsal last night and admitted that we were pretty good! This song is in there….good times…

Midnight Oil – In The Valley -

There’s an album by Australian Crawl which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for a while. It’s called “Phalanx” and it’s a live LP. The reason I wanted it was that it’s the only place that I know of where their song, “La Califusa” is available. I used to play that one in another band; back when I had some hair and a Telecaster. Anyway, it arrived yesterday via eBay for the bargain basement price of around $10. I’ve played the song I was looking for before so here’s another cut from the LP. I guess I’ll be listening to it a few times on the turntable this weekend as well as transferring it to MP3 for my iPod.

Australian Crawl – Unpublished Critics (live) -

Alison will be home later today as well. I’m glad she’s back from one of the world’s terrorist hot spots in one piece!

Radiators – Comin’ Home –

DJ DeKneez has been rather unwell this week and last. Here’s a track that I hope will cheer him up. Get well soon Grandad Mango!!

The Shadows – Apache -

Back to “Live Evil” for a minute. Originally the show was meant to be a Judas Priest tribute but time got the better of them. They still played a heap of Priest songs though which was pretty cool. But, my musical education continued later on. This track was only released on the US version of the “Killing Machine” album (released in the USA as “Hell Bent For Leather”) – it’s a Fleetwood Mac cover – that I didn’t know! Here’s both versions…

Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) –

Judas Priest – The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) (at Live Aid) –

DJ DGradeWinner has been blogging about top sporting films. And it’s been pretty good reading. I’m hoping he’ll post it all on the web sometime soon so you can all read it. Years and years ago I saw a film called “The Jericho Mile”. It’s about a guy in prison who runs, and runs fast. Now I can’t find a copy anywhere so if anyone out there on the internets can locate it I’d love to see it again. Speaking of films, I watched “Prometheus” this week; boooooooring! Seriously, the story is solid but it just takes too long to get anywhere. I watched “Snow White & The Huntsman” too – that was pretty cool – especially the dwarves.

Finally it’s a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad. I know he’ll like this track as he’s the reason I like it! We saw this played live in 1988, it was a magic moment for me. I’m still listening to this band quite a lot all this time later.

Battlefield Band – Bad Moon Rising / The Rising Moon Reel -

Have a great weekend folks – thanks for tuning in.

DJ Rob
(you could unsubscribe but I’d have to cut off your grace notes)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Song of the Week #221

A week has flown by and I feel like I haven't had time to scratch myself! It's been flat out and I feel as though I've managed to half finish almost everything I set out to do.
I've got a stack of CDs I haven't really had a good listen to, work piling up, kids going everywhere and now DJ Al-ee-sunshine is overseas for a week!
But let's cut the nonsense (I would never say crap on the internet) and get on with some music.
This one is for my international can guess where she's gone, it's mentioned in the song...
Redgum – I've Been To Bali Too -
If you were looking for the quintessential Australian voice then John Schumann would be a good choice.
I'm out tomorrow night to see Canberra band "Live Evil" play a night of classic metal. They put on an absolutely fantastic Iron Maiden tribute a while ago and I've been hanging out to see them play some other stuff. It'll be 'horns up' from 8:30pm tomorrow night at the Transit Bar. I reckon there's a fair chance I'll hear this...
Judas Priest – Delivering The Goods -
And given the name of the band I will be rather upset if this one isn't trotted out...
Dio – Holy Diver -
Just before I move on from the heavy stuff, Soundgarden are back. In what I think is their first album for 15 years they sound absolutely fantastic. Thanks to DJ McG for giving me the heads up. Of course, the day he mentioned this I heard their single being used on the TV show "Sons of Anarchy". Great band, great guitars and Chris Cornell's voice still sounds magic.
Soundgarden – Been Away Too Long -
If you're interested in guitars then some Soundgarden is essential listening. They were/are legendary for using a wide range of different tunings. Usually I'm just flat out tuning mine.
When I was much younger and a devotee of what were very expensive American guitar magazines I read an article about a guy called Jerry Garcia and his special axe. Years later I listened to a few Grateful Dead albums and really didn't get much out of them. But I was reading a book today and the author wrote about going to a Dead concert and meeting Jerry. This is Jerry without the Dead but it's a rather cool song and more jazzy than the original...some of you will know it well.
Jerry Garcia – Tangled Up In Blue -
Elton John was in town this week. From all reports he put on a good show. From my perspective it was nice of him to play outside so that I could hear him loud and clear when I was out mountain biking ont he ridge behind the stadium. I doubt I'd listen to whole album of his but there's no doubting his talent as a songwriter and performer. Could lose a few pounds though...I can help him with a diet.
Elton John – Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting -
Today was pretty cool as I got my yearly fix of playing guitar to a large and appreciative audience. 900 people make a lot of noise and it's pretty cool when they sing along. Having said that, playing to 12 people in H's lounge room is as much fun and almost as loud at times.
People often ask me who my favourite band or guitarist it. Really, it's too hard. I doubt I could manage to compile a desert island disc because there's just so much to listen to and it all depends on my mood. Really AC/DC got me into guitars in a major way. I still listen to them a lot but are they my favourites? Some days. Other days I can't get enough of Johnny Cash, Slayer, Steve Earle, Dixie Chicks or Steve Wonder. And if you're around when I'm having a bagpipe moment I'll be prepared to be embarrassed. These moments always happen when I'm alone...I've caught myself marching around the house as some pipes and drums blast from the stereo. It's uplifting. But not always.
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards -
I watched a few videos of British soldiers marching up and down and it beats me why they only swing their arms forwards and not back. Quite different to the way we were taught here. Probably the same amount of shouting involved in the training I imagine.
I'll close this week with Archie Roach. His album "Jamu Dreaming" had a profound effect on me a few years ago. It's one of those records that really gets under your skin. It makes me sad, angry and happy all at once. Archie has had a rough few years and to see him with a new album and a song like this is uplifting.
Archie Roach – Song To Sing -
That's it. Send me a recommendation to something cool sometime. Please, no artists with a $ in their name.
DJ Rob