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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Song of the Week #220

Suddenly there is a long list of particularly fab and groovy musicians planning to grace our antipodean shores. 2013 sees Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Metallica, Dropkick Murphys, Neil Young, The Darkness, Presidents of the USA, Dinosaur Jr., Robert Plant, Bob Mould, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Hodgson, Slayer, Elvis Costello,  Anthrax, Mavis Staples, Alabama Shakes and Wilco are all coming. That’s not bad! And then of course there’s Black Sabbath – wow! It’s the Sab’s first tour down here since 1974. And that list doesn’t even include top shelf local acts like The Mark of Cain, Paul Kelly and Neil Fin. But wait, there’s more…AC/DC…! I hope I can get some tickets to them this time around. I really want to take Angus to the gig. I’m sure some of you can work out why.

Pianoman H, my CD pusher man, gave me a couple of CDs to listen to recently. I must admit that he surprised me with Ace Frehely’s album, “Anomaly”. You all remember Ace right? He was the lead guitarist for KISS from ’73 – ’82 and then again from ’96-’02. You can believe who you like about the infighting in KISS but the fact remains that their seminal work was recorded and played live with Ace (and Peter Criss). But I digress. Ace’s album, from 2009, was his first solo release in 10 years. I expected it to be pretty average and boy was I wrong. It’s more KISS than KISS is these days – a solid rock ‘n’ roll effort which has kept me returning to it over and over.

Ace Frehely – Outer Space -

I’ll talk more about the new KISS album, “Monster”, another time but after a couple of listens I am far from impressed.

Alabama Shakes have had an airing here before. I heard their new single on the radio yesterday and I have no idea why I haven’t bought their album yet. I hold out a faint hope that their Australian tour dates will include the national capital. My goodness their singer has a great voice!! If you like soul music or Creedence style stuff then give this a spin.

Alabama Shakes – I Found You -

This next song worked its way into my psyche because it was used on a TV advertisement when I was a kid. I got a huge shock when years later I was told to learn it for a band I was in. It’s got a good groove and was a lot of fun to play. Probably a hangover song too!

Jimmy Barnes – Daylight -

In what was big news for me, a double CD of Armoured Angel remastered demos has been released. It’s called “Hymns of Hate” and I’ve only just ordered a copy. If you’ve heard me wax lyrical about this band before then I apologise in advance! They were a Canberra band who came damned close to making it very big. While their style of brutal heavy metal certainly isn’t for everyone, in 1991 it certainly made me sit up and take notice. I was fortunate enough to be friends with DJ DJ (and I still am!) who was involved with the band taking photographs among other things. We saw them on quite a number of occasions here in Canberra as well as in Sydney and Melbourne. Considering their lyrical material and image people are often surprised that  the guys in the band were always more than friendly towards me and their fans. I’ve had a couple of these demos on cassette for years and I’m glad they’re getting a CD release. I don’t know the full story of why the band folded but I think it’s a real shame. I’ll also never forget people’s faces (especially sound guys) when they realised that there were just three guys making all that noise and the only vocal microphone went to the drummer. I remember when they split that some of their Marshall speaker boxes were for sale. They were probably well and truly worn out but I still kick myself for not picking one up!

Armoured Angel – Enigmatize -

If that was way too heavy for you, and I recognize that for most listeners that may be the case, then this next track may appeal. I was at my Dad’s place last weekend in Geelong. He’s a keen music fan and guitar player – just in case you’re wondering where I got it from! He played me a CD by a Scottish group called Breabach. If I’m correct then I think that the word breabach refers to a way of transcribing pipe music. Anyway, the CD is great and there’s even a song inspired by Dr. Who on it!  This is an older track – YouTube hasn’t caught up yet!

Breabach – Greenfields -

I guess I’ve shied away from a lot of more personal insights in favour of music for a few weeks now. Probably because I’ve been a bit inclined to feel sorry for myself. I guess I’ve got a lot of what people would refer to as “first world problems” to deal with. However, I’m taking steps to get out of the funk I’m in and back into the kind of funk that James Brown would approve of. A new diet for health reasons and a busted foot really have got me down. The diet, which will be professionally reviewed very shortly, is such that my clothes are loose and I’m ready to use a new belt loop that’s never been bothered before. And it isn’t like I had weight to lose. The foot means I can’t run and that is doing my head in. The upside is that my mountain bike is getting a pounding and I’m building a heap of fitness and endurance there. This video says it all…but like I said, watch this space as I get myself sorted out!

Queen – I’m Going Slightly Mad -

In breaking news, congratulations to Granny Annie on the birth of a beautiful granddaughter!!

Have a great weekend.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 2, 2012

Song of the Week #219

In an effort to jazz up this weekly missive and appeal to a broader audience I’ve taken the family on the road. Not so much in the Jack Kerouac or Woody Guthrie sense but who knows, a different locale may inspire me. Or you might get the same old left leaning rock ‘n’ roll nonsense as always. Read on and find out!

Australia is a big place. People from other countries often don’t get it. I remember my Granny visiting from Scotland and thinking that she might pop up from where we lived in country Victoria to Lithgow to visit some friends. That’s a 980km trip or 10 ½ hours of solid driving. And really that’s not a great distance here. I think they went for a bit longer than just for lunch!

What is different is the state of roads (and driving skills) from state to state. In the trip we’ve just done we went from the ACT, through New South Wales to Victoria. And the state of the roads got better and better as we went on. The courtesy of the local drivers was the inverse interestingly enough.

Tomorrow we’ll be at a wedding in arguably Australia’s surfing capital of Torquay. Angus is convinced he’ll be in the water at some stage.

On to the music now I think.

Tex Perkins and his band have a new album out. I stumbled across a (legal) streaming pre-release of it during the week. I’ll probably get a few backs up by saying that whilst I really enjoyed seeing The Cruel Sea (one of his previous bands) live that their albums never did much for me as a whole. This new platter certainly had me coming back for a second listen to it’s really worth a go in my opinion.

Ry Cooder is a bonafide guitar legend. While most people have heard him because he played the slide guitar parts in the movie “Crossroads” there is so much more to his discography. I got a CD from a magazine that had this next track on it. It is taken from a new album “Election Special” which Uncut Magazine described as, “an impassioned screed against the dumbing down of America” (vol. 184, Sep 2012). Aaarrgggh! The album must be too new for anything from it to be on YouTube – bugger. But look out for it soon, I’ll keep checking.

Ry Cooder – Vigilante Man –

On the way here we passed a couple of iconic Australian locations. Most notably the “Dog on the Tuckerbox” which is of course, 5 miles from Gundagai. And then Glenrowan, scene of Ned Kelly’s last stand. There is something rather amusing about a road sign that exclaims, “Dog on Tuckerbox, next left”!

Redgum – Poor Ned –

Since we’re having protest style songs, here’s a band I love that I haven’t played for a month or two. Mainly because I was hoping you’d all rushed out and bought their debut album. But just in case, here’s a slower number for you…

Vintage Trouble – Not Alright By Me –

I think I’ll finish, for a change, with three tracks from one band. Although this is a “super-group” they don’t seem to be getting much airplay down here and I think that’s a shame. I guess commercial radio would rather play stuff from their other bands and youth radio is much too cool to play tunes by some older guys rocking out. Chickenfoot is the name of the band and they have Sammy Hagar (ex-Montrose,ex- Van Halen) on vocals, Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen) on bass, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums and guitar hero Joe Satriani.  They’ve released two albums of fairly straight ahead rock music. But if you listen more closely there’s some pretty cool lyrics to top of the very polished musicianship. Try it out folks; catchy melodies abound with a great beat.

Chickenfoot – My Kinda Girl –

Chickenfoot – Three & A Half Letters –

Chickenfoot – Dubai Blues -

That’s it folks! Have a great weekend.

DJ Travelling Rob