Saturday, December 28, 2013

Song of the Week #278

Here we go with the last episode for 2013. Thanks to everyone who has commented on this meandering blog, suggested tunes, engaged me in robust discussion or just quietly enjoyed the tunes. I rarely have trouble coming up with something to write but I will admit that sometimes I consider the wide demographic of the audience and leave some comments and songs out. It's not censorship; it's just common sense.

Christmas Day was pretty good here at HQ Woozle apart from the strange requirement for dodgy Christmas music to be played. Thankfully the Elvis Christmas LP and Bad Religion's new Christmas CD were on high rotation. That coupled with the realisation that any movie with snow in it qualifies as a Christmas movie improved the ambience no end.

Elvis Presley - Winter Wonderland (1957) -

Bad Religion - Hark The Herald Angels Sing (2013) -

Stryper - Winter Wonderland (live)(2007) -

We headed to the movies yesterday to see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". For someone who usually stars in fairly lightweight movies (I'd say dumb but it's the season to be nice to people) Ben Stiller does a great job. I'll admit that I didn't pick that Sean Penn was in the film too. However, it's another one of those "seize the day" films which is all well and good for people without kids, mortgages and other responsibilities. I did like that the lead female wasn't all airbrushed and made up, she was just normal and therefore very beautiful. Don't miss this on the big screen though. It doesn't matter how big your TV is, this movie needs plenty of screen space!

The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death (1987) -

My family knows me well and gave me the latest Cold Chisel live CD/DVD combo. Imaginatively titled, "The Live Tapes vol. 1", it's a recording of a show played at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on my birthday last year. Chisel are underrated. It's too easy to write them off as just another Aussie pub rock group. If you listen a little more closely you'll hear a band who are very good musicians and lyricists. This live album suffers from some issues with the speed of some songs - too slow, which I will admit is unusual for a live outing. But it's a solid reminder of a band that really should've been international superstars. Given that drummer Steve Prestwich died in 2011, Chisel play this show (and others) with Charlie Drayton. He's a fantastic drummer having played with the Stones, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock and of course The Divinyls.

Cold Chisel - My Baby (live)(2012) -

In 2014 I'm trying something new. Teaching Geography. And I can't wait. A long time ago I studied "geoggers" in my degree and I really enjoyed it after a little false start. I'm not much for rocks and soil but I am interested in why people live where they do and the effect that place has on them. But of course, every Geography teacher needs a healthy supply of coloured pencils and so I was pretty chuffed to get a whole heap for Christmas. I'm set for life in terms of diagrams and maps. Here's a song from a fantastic LP about a place and its people...

Redgum - Gladstone Pier (1984) -

There are plenty of songs about places and the people who live there. They always seem cool. I tried to write songs about where I live a few times but comparing "Garema Place" with "Taylor Square" or "Barry Drive" with "Gunbarrel Highway" never seem to work. Here are a couple more that are worth more than a cursory listen...

The Men They Couldn't Hang - Industrial Town (1990) -

Billy Joel - Allentown (live)(2011) -

Check out the lyrics for "Industrial Town" sometime. It's original release was by Weddings, Parties, Anything and the song is about the town of Yallourn which is right beside where I used to live in Victoria. Yallourn was removed on trucks and relocated to make way for an open cut brown coal mine. When I was a kid you could go to the town and the streets were all still there but no houses - spooky.

Last night we introduced Grandma to one of the best movies of all time. Given that we'd already subjected her to "Up" and "Walter Mitty" these holidays she coped very well. To be fair, she laughed along with the rest of us at "So I Married An Axe Murderer". The need to watch this film was brought on by me receiving an "orange on a toothpick" in my dessert at our favourite restaurant. Very, very funny.

Scene from "So I Married an Axe Murderer" (1993) -

I'm about to start in on Bob Mould's autobigraphy which H gave me for Christmas - cool! Even the title has me excited, "The Trail of Rage and Melody" sums up his music so well. And that really speaks to me...volume, melody and anger...that's what so much music I like is all about. Without melody it's just noise.

Bob Mould - Star Machine (live 2013) -

That'll do. I've got a Christmas gift voucher that I need to go and turn into LEGO. Let's sign off with a cover that no-one except me seems to like...

Guns N' Roses - Raw Power (1993) -

Enjoy 2014. Things can only get better.

DJ Rob

"Singing hey, we're all just earrings to the left of our parents
They're all just haircuts to the left of theirs
And we all wonder
Why do Nazis grow like wildflowers?" - Things of Stone and Wood, Wildflowers, 1994.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Song of the Week #277

Hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in for another weekly episode full of music, cycling, music and the odd rant.

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band - Comfortable (2012) -

Given that I'm on holidays this week Zoë took the opportunity to spend some time with me. She did well; taking me to see "Ender's Game" at the movies and getting a new phone organised as well as a few bits of Christmas shopping. "Ender's Game" was a pretty good film. I'll come out and say that I enjoyed it more than either of the two recent Star Trek films. The only real issue I had was Ben Kingsley's attempt at a New Zealand accent. It wasn't dreadful but it was far from convincing. Surely there are a few good NZ actors who could've been cast in the role. Regardless, the film was excellent and as soon as I can get the book away from Zoë I'll read it.

The Vietnam War - Heavy On My Mind (2011) -

Interestingly, Zoë has chosen a phone running the Windows operating system. I'll report back when we've spent some time with it but it looks pretty good to me. And the price was right compared to the cash swallowing iPhone or Android options.

Also as a result of not having to go to work I thought I'd have a crack at cycling further than I ever have in a week (Mon-Sun). I managed 351 km earlier in the year so I thought that aiming at 400 km would be fair. Luckily I had a few friends who rode with me or I think I may have gone insane! Heartfelt thanks to Andre, Kieran, Shell and AB for their company and also understanding when I couldn't go quite as fast as I might have liked to. Also thanks to Alison, Shelley, Liam and Zoë for meeting me at various coffee shops to keep me going! I rode past 13,000 km for the year this morning and I have 49 km to go to reach the 400 km for the week. I'll knock that off tomorrow I think and then cruise towards the end of the year. No Dom, I will NOT be shooting for 14,000 km. Not this year anyway.

Cosmo Jarvis- Spinning Around (2011) -

It's that time where every website and probably radio station start churning out lists of their "best albums of 2013". I won't do that. The Desert Island Disc series that I did earlier on has more than enough good music to keep anyone going all summer (or winter if you're a foreigner). There's too many to choose from anyway. I'm pretty partial to the new Stryper CD though. It rocks a lot harder than I'd dared to hope for. Less bubblegum, more attitude.

Stryper - Sticks & Stones (2013) -

I do wonder about audiences at live gigs though. It's time that they left their mobile phones at home. As I type I've got Def Leppard's "Viva Hysteria" DVD playing in the background. I'm at home too so the sub-woofer is getting a workout! But the audience (filmed in Las Vegas) are seriously comatose. This is a great band giving it absolutely everything on stage and the crowd are just standing there nodding. I'm old and admit that at concerts I like to stand near the soundboard and watch but there's usually at least a few energetic souls up the front. Certainly when I saw The Living End, King Cannons or Live Evil this year that was the case. And H's mate Louis went OFF when we saw Bob Mould.

Bob Mould - Steam of Hercules (live KEXP)(2013)-

That'll do for this week. I've got some Midnight Oil songs I need to dust off on the guitar. I'm also going to throw the World Wide Woozle laptop out the window. Seriously, it'd be quicker to send this via carrier pigeon. Watch this space.

Jim Steinman - Rock 'n' Roll Dreams Come True -

DJ Rob

"It feels so good, it ought to be illegal,
I got my vaccination from a phonograph needle,
I'll never grow up and I'll never grow old,
Blame it on the love of rock 'n' roll" - Bon Jovi "Blame It On The Love of Rock 'n' Roll" (1992)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Song of the Week #276

Have you ever listened to an album, an old one, one you've listened to on numerous occassions and thought to yourself; "wow, that is AWESOME"? Well maybe you haven't but I had a similar experience this week. I've never really been a Sex Pistols fan. After all, it's just one album and a lot of rehashed stuff after that. But for some reason I threw "Never Mind The Bollocks it's The Sex Pistols" on this week and it just blew me away. I've no idea why this happened but the energy, the guitars and the snarl just hooked me in. If you haven't heard the album right through in a long time (or ever) then get to it. Somewhere I've got this next clip on a VHS tape...not bad for the first song of a live show.

Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant (live 1996) -

This week DJ Umbridge gave me a really, really cool book. It's called  "The Man Who Cycled The World". It's written by Mark Beaumont who did as the title suggests and rode a very long way. He averaged about 160km a day and smashed the world record. Interestingly enough, he grew up not far from where I went to primary school in Scotland. I guess it's lucky that he's done the ride already so that I can concentrate on other things! Great read indeed.

Perry Como - Round and Round (1957) -

Work wrapped up for the year today. If you were an alien and didn't understand calendars you'd know that something was up because small things start to upset normally rational people. This week there was outrage directed at me as a result of a lack of tea bags! You have to laugh.

Ink Spots - Java Jive (1940) -

DJ RozLin has just returned from the USA. I think the shops there are empty as a result. While she was there she got to visit cool places like Sun Studios. And she brought me back an Elvis guitar pick - seriously cool. I'm not much of a tourist but Graceland and Sun Studios are two places I'd love to go to. If you like Elvis and you're in Canberra then make sure you check out the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I've got to get a visit in there as well as to the Maps exhibition. Hopefully I can fit them in next week when I'm not smashing myself on the bike.

Elvis Presley - Baby, Let's Play House (1955) -

If you're a Star Wars fan then like me you might be a bit overwhelmed by the number of books out there other than the ones from the films. There are so many and the quality ranges the whole gamut from awful to pretty stellar. I took a punt and started reading a new series of Star Wars comics that are set between episodes IV and V. Basically it's the search for a rebel base which as we all know ends up being on Hoth. Apart from Asterix and Oor Wullie I've never been into comics but these are pretty well written and the illustrations are great. I did wait until I had more than one at a time to read though I must admit.

Weird Al Yankovic - The Saga Begins (1999) -

I decided last week that I'd finish each episode with a quote I liked. Last week's got a comment on the blog (wow!) and a few email responses. Yep, Henry Rollins does have quite a bit to say that is worth listening to. Here's the tune that the quote was from...

Rollins Band - Shine (1994) -

Remember the Midnight Oil gigs that I played in? Well H, whose band it is, has been spending some time working with indigenous kids in northern New South Wales. He sends pictures and updates now and then and the smiles on the kids that he is working with are magical. I know that he's keen for us to head up there one day to put the show on for the locals. It's a hell of a drive but personally I think it would be a real treat. And to see those smiles in the flesh would be amazing. Here's hoping!

Midnight Oil - One Country (1990) -

Marriage equality is very much on the agenda here in the national capital. As you may or may not have heard, the High Court of Australia ruled that new ACT legislation allowing marriage equality could not stand. They ruled on the law, not on morality. To me it seems simple - it's time for a new law. Let's get on with it.

Billy Bragg - Sexuality (live 2013) -

Let me finish off with a huge vote of congratulations. DJ HB started her sporting career in athletics and then moved into triathlon. She's now a road and track cyclist and has worn our country's colours a few times now. Very recently at a World Cup meet in Mexico she won bronze in the team pursuit and then followed it up with GOLD in the individual pursuit. That's just awesome. There's an off chance that I might get out for a ride with her in the next couple of weeks. It isn't every day that you get to ride with a champ!

BB King & Eric Clapton - Riding With The King -(2000) -

See you on the road,
DJ Rob

"No more pencils,
no more books,
no more teachers dirty looks" - Alice Cooper "School's Out" (1972).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Song of the Week #275

I'd planned an early night but our windows are being shaken by the "Vans Warped Tour" which is on not far from World Wide Woozle's secret HQ. I must admit that I'd seen a couple of posters for the show but there are only a couple of bands that interest me so the gig had quickly slipped out of my head.

The Offspring - Self Esteem (1994) -

Reel Big Fish - Don't Stop Skankin' (2012) -

I'm sure every TV, radio and online source of information is all over the very sad passing of Nelson Mandela. At 95 you'd have to say that he had a fair innings especially when his time in prison is taken into account. I sincerely doubt that the world will see such an influential person for a very, very long time if ever. Let's hope that his family can decide to play nice and the end of this statesman and legend is truly dignified.

Hugh Masekela - Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)(1987) -

If you're shopping for anything these days you can find someone on the internet reviewing it or talking about it. This is especially true of guitars and guitar gear. It's no challenge at all to watch a whole heap of video reviews of say overdrive pedals and then walk into a music shop with an idea of what you want to try. You also get to hear and see some pretty good guitarists in action. Recently I was looking into a few pedals and one reviewer played the riff from this next song. It's a ripper so I thought I'd treat you all to the song...

Reef - Place Your Hands (1996) -

Zoë went, along with 40,000 others, to see Taylor Swift play in Sydney this week. I've got a soft spot for "T.Swizzle" because she writes a lot of her own stuff, plays the guitar live, has 2 hour concerts and of course did a gig with Def Leppard. From what I've heard it was a fantastic spectacle. Plenty of merchandise came home too! It's cool to see big name artists working hard for their fans rather than being aloof gits.

Def Leppard & Taylor Swift - Pour Some Sugar On Me (live 2011)  -

Thanks to DJ DJ for letting me know about the Beastie Boys continuing to refuse to have their music used in advertising even if it is a parody. It's an interesting case but good to see that they stuck to their guns. More information here if you're interested in reading more. Here's the song in question...very un-PC.

Beastie Boys - Girls (1986) -

Cyclists love coffee. For many it's the chance to chin wag with friends after working hard on the bike. And for some it's essential so that the ride can continue. One morning I was sitting at my third favourite coffee shop enjoying the early morning sun and great company when Tom Petty came on the radio. Such a cool riff and vibe. Rock on!

Tom Petty - Mary Jane's Last Dance (live 1999) -

After a bit of a backwards and forwards email chain this week with some very thoughtful friends I'm looking for thoughts from my listeners on their favourite debut albums as well as the first singles from them. We've already discussed quite a few but feel free to hit me up with yours... you can get in contact using robwoozle at gmail dot com. Here's a couple to get you thinking...

Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun (1977) -

Crowded House - Mean To Me (1986) -

The Killers - Mr Brightside (2003) -

The Strolling Bones have let us know how much they will charge for concert tickets here in Australia. Prices range from about $200 up to $600 a pop. Ouch. The shows will sell out. The Stones will make money. But will they rock and roll?

Jane's Addiction - Sympathy For The Devil (2012) -

I heard a short piece on the radio this week about the famous film that introduced reggae to the world (apparently). I certainly don't mind some tunes from Bob Marly, Peter Tosh or Jimmy Cliff so I think I'll check out "The Harder They Come" over the holidays. Stay tuned for a review. DJ Al-ee-sun got me a Jimmy Cliff cassette once when she went to Jamaica.

Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come (1972) -

That's enough for this week.

DJ Rob

"No such thing as spare time,
no such thing as free time,
no such thing as down time,
all you got is life time..." - Henry Rollins, "Shine", 1994.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Song of the Week #274

(Sorry this is very late - the World Wide Woozle laptop had a nasty malware infection which has now been sorted out. Also Bigpond mail is useless so Song of the Week has migrated to Gmail. Grrrrrrrr.)

"The Conversation" is a great website. If you're sick and tired of your news and current affairs coming from media aimed at the lowest common denominator and the talkback radio hate jocks then head over and start reading. But it's more than news, there are plenty of articles to activate your grey matter before it implodes as a result of the constant barrage of social media, text messaging and cold calling call centres.

This week I read a couple of articles written by a man called Adrian North. He's an academic from Curtin University in Western Australia who often writes about popular music. What interested me was one piece that related recent research about suicide and listening to Heavy Metal music and another about what makes a tune likable in the short and long term. I've linked both of those articles so feel free to check them out. If Adrian happens to stumble across what I've written on the blog then can I just say thanks for firing up a few of my synapses!

As a teenager and now as an adult I've been a big fan of Heavy Metal music. I like the volume, the guitars, the energy and sometimes the aggression. It's a release and it's also a bit of a community.  But it isn't music that makes me want to kill myself. As the previously linked article points out; parents can be up in arms about Marilyn Manson's stage antics but remember that Puccini's Madame Butterfly features a young woman disembowelling herself with a sword! That might look like a bit of a throwaway line but the point is well made. To cut a long story short; country music is related closely to the suicide rate amongst white males in the USA and teenage metal fans are drawn to things like self-harming for reasons other than the music. Things like being disaffected and having a less than ideal home/school life. I'd rather my kids listened to bands that at least make them explore their feelings, emotions and the world around them than the inane lyrical garbage of try-hard gangsters smacking up their bitches and waving their drug money around. But rap music is a whole different story. Maybe another time.

Motley Crue - Shout At The Devil -

Staying with heavier music for a minute; finally managed to deliver a couple of CDs that have been "in the mail" for almost a month. I could've walked to America and flown them back myself in that time. However, Def Leppard's "Viva Hysteria" live CD/DVD and Stryper's "No More Hell To Pay" were worth the wait. Great listening for the hard rock fan. "Viva Hysteria" is a live recording of Lep's classic 1987 album and it's pretty good. I do wonder how much post-production was done on all the vocals but regardless, it's a lot of fun. As for Stryper; this CD is probably the most consistent album they've ever made. It's non-stop guitars and melodic rock and is a great album for in the car. This track is a great song with a dreadful, dreadful video!

Stryper - No More Hell To Pay -

For ages now I've been trying to track down a song about being worried. On a CD that came free with a magazine recently I heard the song and laughed out loud. I'd misheard the lyrics which explained why I couldn't find it. It's "wanted", not "worried". Oops. Great song nonetheless and I must've listened to it a hundred times!

Johnny Cash - Wanted Man -

For people reading this in Australia, SBS TV has the film "Springsteen and I" being broadcast on Sunday evening. Although I think it should probably be titled "Springsteen and me" it promises to be good viewing as most of the show is put together by his fans. I was only ever the most casual fan until fairly recently. I did read last week that there is a university level course in Theology based on his lyrics.

Bruce Springsteen - Adam Raised A Cain -

I've had more than enough of the Windows operating system. Back in the days when I had hair it was relatively easy to customise and keep it running well. These days it is bloated, resource hungry and just annoying. The world of Mac still attracts a premium price and so I'm not all that keen on that path either. So I've been looking around for an alternative. The Chrome OS lookks interesting but I really don't want to buy new hardware at this stage. So, I stumbled across an OS called Elementary. It's built on top of Linux and looks like it will run on most types of hardware. So, later on I'm going to put it on an old netbook and see how it turns out. Watch this space.

U2 - I Threw A Brick Through A Window -

This week Alison and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. Not bad eh? On 27/11/1993 it was stinking hot day and I remember almost expiring in the non-air conditioned church waiting for Alison to arrive! The biggest shock was that her dress was pink; I really was expecting green! Anyway, we seem to have done OK to have made it this far. Here's a song that was on the first cassette I ever made for her...

Maybe Dolls - Nervous Kid -

A couple of weeks ago I played a song by The Saw Doctors. After a quick look on eBay I managed to pick up their album for less than $10 - bargain. I'll finish with this track and if you've been paying attention then my choice should seem fairly obvious...

The Saw Doctors - Only One Girl -

Hoo Roo,
DJ Rob

PS: well done and thank you to the one listener who noticed that this week's episode hadn't arrived - hi Dad :-)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Song of the Week #273

Some people have way too much time on their hands, or maybe they just prioritise differently. I’m sure that plenty of people out there would think that spending 12 hours a week cycling is a bit excessive. I can tell you that now and then it feels that way but not often! But what I’m referring to in the clumsy beginning to this week’s ramble is the following website:

Whilst trying to gain a better appreciation for Bob Dylan I stumbled across this site. As a result I’ve organised a mono copy of “Highway 61 Revisited” to check out. I’ve been listening to the stereo mix this week but I’ll let it stew in my brain a while longer before reporting back.

The exciting news this week is that H found his Desert Island Discs list (the one that I lost in a fit of laptop rebuilding). Now, H couldn’t survive with just a CD of his favourite tunes so he delivered a list of essential albums! Fair enough, I can work with that. After all, with today’s MP3 technology you could fit them all on one CD anyway. So here we go, 10 albums.

Glenn Campbell – Ghost on the Canvas. I couldn’t agree more. I read about this album and just had to buy it. When it arrived I was astounded at how good his voice sounded as well as at the poignancy of the tunes given his Alzheimer’s. Even if you’re not a country music fan it would be hard not to be both impressed and moved by this album. This next track is right up there for me with Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt”.

Glen Campbell – A Better Place (2011) -

Johnny Marr – The Messenger. Many of you will know Johnny from his rather famous band, “The Smiths”. I don’t like them. But I do like the work he did with Billy Bragg. The Messenger is his first solo album and all the reviews I have read are quite positive. I’ve played one of his tracks before on the show here and I’ll go back and listen to the whole album before too long. Here’s some guitar Brit-Pop for you all…

Johnny Marr – Upstarts (2013) -

Peter Hammill – Fireships. Peter should be familiar to any prog-rock fans out there as a member of Van Der Graaf Generator. Given that I know next to nothing about his work I’ll defer to the internets for my research. He’s certainly prolific with 35 studio album from 1971 till the present. Check out a track with me and see what you think…

Peter Hammill – I Will Find You (1992) -

Hole – Celebrity Skin. Courtney Love does write a good tune and she isn’t scared of a little publicity. This track has a great rock and roll guitar sound as well as a healthy dose of attitude. Joining the writing team of  Love along with her guitarist Erik Erlandson is the Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan.

Hole – Celebrity Skin (1998) -

Ronnie Wood – Got My Own Album To Do. Ronnie has been a Rolling Stone since 1975 and he’ll be here in Australia touring with them in 2014. As I’ve mentioned before one of their more recent DVDs has either a very strange mix and video timeline or there is someone else out the back playing the guitar that we can’t see. Would I go and see them? Probably not. Should Stones fans go? Absolutely. Mick is 70 so you have to wonder how long they can keep it going. But, back to Ronnie. This album is his first solo outing and being from 1974 it is pre-Stones. Some great musicians appear on it including Keith Richards, Ian McLagan, George Harrison and David Bowie. Jagger’s on there too as is Rod Stewart.

Ron Wood – Far East Man (1974) -

Verbow – White Out. H introduced me to Verbow earlier this year. Jason Narducy who plays in the band also plays with Bob Mould so that’s the link used to get me listening! If you like Sugar, The Lemonheads  or cellos then this should be on your list.

Verbow – New History (2000) -

Foxy Shazam – Welcome To The Church of Rock n Roll. This one is my fault. I gave H the CD and I’m really glad he liked it. I’ve featured Foxy Shazam before and no doubt I will again. It’s a wonderfully fun blend of Queen, The Darkness, Elton John, KISS, Iggy Pop and Meatloaf. The only thing that annoys me about it is the cigarette on the album cover. Rock on.

Foxy Shazam – I Like It (2012) -

Cheap Trick – Rockford. This is a 2006 outing from Cheap Trick named after their hometown in Illinois. H reckons it is arguably their best album. I’ve always thought that Cheap Trick were pretty cool. They have tons of groovy guitars and they write a good rock ‘n’ roll song. When I was younger I used to mix up Robin Zander and Tom Petty though. And whilst it’s cheesy I’ve always been a big fan of their cover of Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel”. This is the single from “Rockford”..

Cheap Trick – Welcome to the World (live)(2010) -

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away. Yeah, I really don’t know about this one. I like Nick and his schtick but this album left me feeling a little, well, blah. Maybe it’s one I need to spend more time with. If H likes it then it’s worth another try without a doubt. Certainly a quick read of snippets from reviews reveals that “it is not a work to  be appreciated casually” (Randall Roberts in the LA Times). Time for a serious listen…soon. This song is dark and brooding but there’s a light touch in the instrumentation which resonates with me.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street (2013) -

So there you have it, an eclectic mix for a desert island from my good friend H. I’m looking forward to discussing some of these in person with him as well as playing a few in the band….you never know!

To finish up, it’s a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad. He’s my major musical influence so I better play a tune just for him.

Tom Paxton with Pete Seeger – Ramblin’ Boy (1965) -

DJ Rob

Friday, November 15, 2013

Song of the Week #272

This week I read a few articles on the NPR website ( National Public Radio out of the USA is a pretty good source for music news and also for getting exposure to a wide range of artists. They stream and podcast a lot of stuff as well which is cool. When you add a pretty good Twitter feed to that then it’s a bit of a one stop shop for music.

Recently they posted a list of “most loved” albums (  I shared this list with a range of friends who I know have good musical taste but also different opinions. Reactions ranged from “I don’t like lists” and “proof that most over-rated band of all times is… The Beatles”, to discussions about what albums we’d choose. “Most loved” is different to “best”. I think that “Powerage” is the best AC/DC album ever because it has great songs, riffs and attitude but I’m sure that “Back In Black” would the most loved one if you polled a reasonable sample of people.

AC/DC – Cold Hearted Man (1978) -

As H pointed out, lists can start conversations and that’s what I like about them. NPR’s list has Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” at number 4. My good mate Glen was a big fan of this. When he died I got myself a copy to play to remind me of him. I don’t like it much but I did discover “Sketches of Spain” as a result.

Miles Davis – Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio) (1960) -

Another friend and I decided that there was a big hole in the list that needed to be filled by the Rolling Stones. But then we agreed that they really never made a great album. “Exile” and “Sticky Fingers” probably come close but there are duds on each. Here’s one from “Sticky Fingers” which was released in April 1971…just like me!

The Rolling Stones – Bitch (1971) -

I’m assuming that greatest hits albums were excluded from the most loved list because it’s unusual to go to someone’s house and not see a copy of ABBA’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (the one with the silver cover) there. It’s the omnipresent LP. I wonder if there’s a volume 1? Here’s my favourite ABBA track perhaps with the exception of “Waterloo”. This one really rocks.

ABBA – Does Your Mother Know (1979) -

DJ NotSoFatRollins asked me what my 5 most loved albums were. He thought it was a fair challenge that would have me in agony. He was wrong. I bashed out this list in about 2 minutes and I still stand by it a couple of days later. These are all records that work as a cohesive collection of songs in my opinion and that’s what an album should be about.
  • The Wall – Pink Floyd
  • If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) – AC/DC
  • Weight – Rollins Band
  • Mama Said – Lenny Kravitz
  • Comes A Time – Neil Young 

Lenny Kravitz – Always On The Run (1991) - 

I’d swap AC/DC’s “Powerage” in at number 2 if live albums weren't allowed.

Angus has been on work experience this week at RMC Duntroon. That’s where the Australian Army trains all of its officers. To be fair to Defence Recruiting, they’ve put together a fantastic array of activities for the 35 or so kids that attended. They’ve handled weapons, been on obstacle courses, had tons of lectures and done more PT than is probably recommended! Who knows what this will lead to as Angus is only 15 but I will admit that I’ve found it difficult to deal with at times. My time in the Army was OK in the end but, in retrospect, it really wasn’t the best career choice I could have made.

The Clash – Career Opportunities (1977) -

There’s a copy of John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” LP in my office at the moment. It’s a bit hard to get it home on the bicycle so it might sit here for a while. What’s interesting is the fact that it’s been a bit of a conversation starter. Yesterday a colleague looked at it, told me he’d never heard any of the songs but assumed they were all about love. Since the cover has a picture of John and Yoko kissing I suppose that’s a fair assumption. It’s a good album, well, the Lennon songs are, and lyrically I really like it. It’s his last one before he was murdered and it was released only three weeks prior.

John Lennon – Watching The Wheels (1981) -

So, at the end of NPR’s blog post that we started with is a list of the top 10 least loved albums. Interesting. I agree that we can do without Lil’ Wayne, BeyoncĂ©, Usher and probably most of Whitney Houston’s recorded output. There are, however, a couple of entries that I certainly do not agree with. Let’s examine a couple.

Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” is in there. Interestingly it’s apparently a concept album about social justice issues. There were 8 singles released from it with 7 of them ending up inside the US top 5. Regardless of what you think about music charts that’s not a bad effort. I’ll admit that it’s a long time since I listened to the album all the way through but I know I didn’t hate it. It had one of the best rock singles of 1990 on it along with a killer video clip…

Janet Jackson – Black Cat (1990) -

The other album in the least loved list is Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”. Wow. I remember when this hit the airwaves in 1986. It was a cassette I played non-stop. Although there are a couple of slower tracks on the LP it really is 42 minutes of solid gold rock and roll. Bon Jovi’s biggest hits are all here; “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”. It’s an album that is all killer and no filler.

Bon Jovi – Wild In The Streets (1986) -

Right at the bottom of NPR’s blog post is a list of the 10 least heard albums that apparently everyone should listen to. Here’s Isaac Hayes from “Hot Buttered Soul”…

Isaac Hayes – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1969) -

Today I was lucky enough to play the guitar behind a group of really good singers here at work. Playing to almost 1000 people is a real treat and a privilege too. Thankfully I was well away from all the vocal microphones. Every time I’m asked to perform and it might involve singing I think of this track.

Billy Bragg and Wilco – Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key (1998) -

You’ll note that I haven’t commented on Australia’s 44th Federal Parliament which has just commenced. I think I’ll keep it that way to preserve my sanity.

Cold Chisel – Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)(1980) -

Have a good weekend.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 8, 2013

Song of the Week #271

If Saturday night’s alright for fighting then Friday night is definitely good for collapsing on the lounge with a book, some good music and/or a movie that isn’t too mentally taxing! But I guess that wouldn’t make a good song title.

Last week I mentioned The Cult and their album “Electric”. I was pretty excited to get the vinyl version (including the unreleased original recordings) at Landspeed Records here in Canberra on Saturday. It was also a relief to buy a record that hadn’t been shrink wrapped and therefore warped in the process when the cellophane is too tight. Another album that I took delivery of the week came with a download card so that you can bung the MP3s on your iDevice. Now THAT’s the way to sell music. Give me the security blanket and warmth of the vinyl but also the on the move version – great!

Cliff Richard - Wired For Sound -

I played Cliff as much for the Walkman he's wearing as for the song.

I think I’ll give up on Bob Dylan. I’ve tried and tried but he just bores me to tears. There are, of course, moments of brilliance, but a whole album is a bridge too far. My latest attempt was the remastered “Self Portrait” album and the demos and outtakes that go along with it. On the original it’s almost impossible to get past the grinding drudgery of the opening track. Yuk. I’ll admit defeat safe in the knowledge that Bob won’t mind! At least he was good in this one…

Traveling Wilburys – Tweeter & The Monkey Man -

Super heroes are all the rage at the moment. It’s almost as if someone decided that it was okay to be a little bit nerdy and admit that Superman or the Green Lantern is cool. There was a time when there certainly wasn’t such a broad appeal. I’ve been meaning to watch the new “Man of Steel” cinema extravaganza but it’s quite long and I don’t want to fall asleep during it. Falling asleep in the movies is bad whereas on the lounge at home is just amusing. There are a couple of great songs about super heroes though that come to mind…

Spin Doctors – Jimmy Olsen’s Blues (1991) -

3 Doors Down – Kryptonite (2000) -

3 Doors Down are from a town in  Mississippi called Escatawpa. Why am I telling you that? Well because I think it sounds cool; wrap your lips around Escatawpa a few times!

I think that the lack of a live action Wonder Woman movie is a travesty. That was an awesome TV show. I do realise that a pilot was made for a new TV series but apparently it was so bad that it was shelved.

Wonder Woman Theme (1978) -

I did venture back to criterium racing this week. And I did a lot better than last time. Hanging onto the bunch for the whole race was an achievement. The average speed for the race of about 35 minutes was 41 km/h – that’s not slow for an early middle-aged bloke like me. I imagine I’ll go back for another go before too long. I was thankful for DJ AB and DJ HamerTime looking out for me.

Usually by Friday I need some louder and faster music to get me through but today is a bit different. I doubt that I’m mellowing with age, I think I’m just tired. So let’s have a few laid back tunes.

I’ve listed to some Bryan Ferry recently after rediscovering the “Country Life” album by Roxy Music. I got an old copy on vinyl a few years ago and it is very, very cool. I know this isn’t on that album but it’s a great song.

Bryan Ferry (live 2012) – Song To The Siren  -

Ever since I saw a live Sheryl Crow DVD I’ve been a fan. Some of her album tracks are a little bland for me but in general they are a good listen. Playing live though is where she shines. 

Sheryl Crow (live 2013) – Easy -

Wynton Marsalis is an amazing musician. This isn’t the most laid back track I suppose but the smoooooth playing is worth a few minutes in your busy day.

Wynton Marsalis – Carnival of Venice (1984) -

As a result of my musical background I’ve always listened to acoustic music, folk music and some bluegrass too. A few years ago these guys appeared and they are firm favourites. Not only do they do great tongue in cheek versions of so many rocking tunes, they are great musicians.

Hayseed Dixie - War Pigs (live 2006) -

This week we'll finish with The Saw Doctors. Back in the day when Triple J radio played a wide range of good music I heard this. I've got the album somewhere on cassette. Excuse me now as I'm off to eBay to find it on CD. This is the biggest selling single in Ireland of all time if you believe the internets. Enjoy!

The Saw Doctors - I Useta Love Her (1990) -

DJ Rob

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Song of the Week #270

Hello out there all you radio fans! Radio Woozle is coming to you again from the nation’s capital via bike paths, roads, the shower and all locations in between. If thinking about music was a sport then I’d easily have my 10,000 hours in to be considered elite.

RIP Lou Reed. Another legend gone. I'll freely admit that I'm not a massive fan but his "New York" album is one that I listen to a lot. You have to hand it to Lou; he never really cared what others thought about his music and he kept churning out albums. I'm still not sold on his work with Metallica but then he made music for himself!

Lou Reed -  Dirty Boulevard (live) -

As I mentioned last week, DJ H sent me a list of 12 albums rather than 12 songs. Obviously he’s got more room in his life raft than most people but I’m sure I can play along! The sad fact is that when I had to rebuild the World Wide Woozle laptop most of my personal email files were lost and H's list was amongst those. I've been in contact with him via the rock 'n' roll grapevine and I'm sure he'll be a lot better organised than me and will resend the list.

This week my good mate DJ BluesManDubya sent me his list. To tell the full story, he did send me a list earlier but I asked him to be more ruthless and cut it down a bit. The BluesMan and I go back to 2005 when we were both new to a teaching at a school. On the first day we connected as a result of guitar playing and never looked back. I have him to thank for reminding me that Cold Chisel was a good band and should not simply be the property of beer swilling, flag wrapped bogans. He also turned me on to a whole lot of cool blues that I hadn’t paid much attention to. It was a bit like having a decent tourist roadmap where you can avoid the rubbish and the toursist hotspots to ensure you see the really cool stuff. A couple of years ago now DJ Al-ee-Sun and I went to his wedding. It was great, his wife DJ JacEe is awesome and now they have a healthy bouncing boy to keep their hands full and to indoctrinate into the world of rock ‘n’ roll. DJ BluesManDubya chose songs by artists including Cold Chisel, Don Walker, The Offspring, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Norah Jones. Here’s couple off his list that I think you’ll enjoy. 

Del Shannon – Runaway (live) –

The Descendents – Silly Girl –

Don Walker - The Good Book -

Don Walker is an interesting guy. Watch that video, perhaps listen to a few more of his tunes and then remember that he's the guy that wrote "Khe Sanh". I've seen him live here in Canberra playing with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owens (DJ BluesManDubya took me) and he's great!

I had an interesting time with a company called Wahoo Fitness over the last couple of weeks. Wahoo make products that can link your iPhone into heart rate monitors, cycle computers, home trainers and the like; it’s good gear. What they had was a product on Kickstarter that used Bluetooth to link heart rate strap, cadence sensor and other stuff straight into your iPhone. To cut a long story short, I ordered the product and after it had been funded and released I read on another website that it would only work with new iPhones. So, I emailed them and asked what they could do. Wahoo were fabulous and offered me my money back or their entire suite of gear made for my iPhone. So I’ll report back when that package arrives. It’s so refreshing to get good customer service these days!

Back to the music and one of my favourite bands, The Cult. They're an English group who morphed from goth music to a more straight ahead rock band with some goth influences. The first album I had of theirs was "Electric" which came out in 1987. It's a stripped back affair that sounds not unlike a raw AC/DC album. What I didn't know at the time was that they had made the album with one producer and not liked it. At this point they brought in Rick Rubin (you know him from production stints with Beastie Boys, Slayer and Johnny Cash). Rick threw out all their reverb processors, guitar effects and wind tunnels and made them record the album as a rock band. The results were great and it was a huge success that really made the band a big name. Fast forward to this week and I found out about the unreleased version of "Electric" which is called "Peace". The band have finally made it available and I had a listen this morning. Wow! The sound is massive and the songs still stand up. I'll be tracking down a copy on vinyl to add to my collection. For your listening pleasure here is the original and unreleased version of Love Removal Machine followed up with the version I've loved for years. Different but both pretty cool! You can hear the riffs and flourishes that they saved up from the original version in later albums like Sonic Temple.

The Cult - Love Removal Machine (Peace version) -

The Cult - Love Removal Machine (Electric version) -

In TV watching news we’ve started at the beginning with the X-Files. As soon as I can stop falling asleep at 8.45pm we might get to watch a few. The stories still stand up, the acting is good and the fashions are amusing. It does seem a little slow paced though compared to current shows. Episode 1 which is the pilot doesn't have the iconic theme music. It's amazing how many memories a TV show and its music can bring back. Listen to this and see if you're transported back in time...

The X Files Theme -

The next tune follows on from the Blues Brothers number that I played last week. I'll admit that I've had "Made In America" playing very regularly all week. I know that the songs are all cover versions but the Blues Brothers band is just on fire! This is track 2 on the album but I'll play the original version rather than Jake and Elwood. If the song was any funkier...well I just don't know how to describe what might happen. Listen carefully to the bass line and the cool guitar work.

Johnny Taylor - Who's Making Love? -

Johnny Taylor put that tune out in 1968. In 1984 we saw this next song in the movie "Purple Rain" (one that everyone should watch at least once). The musical link and influence is clear to me.

The Time - Jungle Love -

My sister in EnZed alerted me to the fact that Eminem and Rihanna had released a single. To be totally honest I'd be unlikely to listen to either of them. But, I did listen to the song. It's not bad but I don't think it's anything special. You can make up your own mind. It's called The Monster. But here's a tune that DJ MadCatLover should enjoy...

The Fauves - Dogs Are The Best People -

Halloween has been and gone. Whether or not you think it's a good thing or not I have to admit I've seen some pretty cool costumes out there. Seems like mostly harmless fun to me so I think some people need to lighten up. The recent media beat up that we shouldn't celebrate Halloween because it is an American tradition is a joke. Shall we also ignore Mothers' Day and Christmas? I'm not sure either of those originated down under. If there's a Halloween version of The Grinch then they've been out in force lately - booooo!

I'll finish with some Halloween themed songs. The first is from a rather good B-grade teen/horror/rock movie from 1986. "Trick or Treat" was a lot of fun and had a cool soundtrack. If you liked the whole "coming of age teenage angst" genre but also enjoyed films like "The Toxic Avenger" then this movie might be for you.

Fastway - Trick or Treat -

Then of course there's this classic...

Bobby Pickett and The Cryptkickers - Monster Mash -

MJ is too obvious but it's a cool clip.

Michael Jackson - Thriller -

But what would Halloween be without the Prince of Darkness himself...

Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon -

And finally, my favourite ghoulish track...

Alice Cooper - Teenage Frankenstein -

DJ Rob

Friday, October 25, 2013

Song of the Week #269

Every now and then I write other stuff on my blog that isn’t “Song of the Week”. Here’s a link to a little piece titled, “Is Apple on borrowed time?”
The two junior DJs in my house have sent me their Desert Island Disc lists. Thanks to DJ NotSoFatboy for prompting me to ask them. The lists are both good listening and I think the fact that they were happy to share is a great thing. I guess sometimes I wonder if I have any influence on what they listen to. I’m proud to say that they both have quite broad tastes but they know what they like. I do remember them knowing a lot of the lyrics at last year’s Midnight Oil tribute show.
I’ll begin with DJ Bogus. He’s named this way because that’s what the mobile phone predictive text used to turn his real name into. Bogus’ list includes selections from Vance Joy, Rudimental, John Newman, Flux Pavilion and Passenger. There’s a fair bit of dance oriented music in there and given what pumps out of his bedroom I’m not surprised. Here’s a couple with fairly wide appeal.
Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven -
Passenger – Let Her Go -
Personally I think that Bruno Mars ripped off every Sting/Police song there is to come up with that melody but it’s not a bad song. And the song by Passenger reminds me of old school Cat Stevens it’d be my favourite in his list. You can check out all the tunes chosen by DJ Bogus on the blog in the next week or so.
On to DJ Boots and a very different list. It’s eclectic in a way that makes me very, very happy. I guess when the first rock song you used to sing along to is “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” then the signs are good. Boots chose a wonderful selection including The Killers, David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Elbow, Midnight Oil, The Perry Band and Script. Did anyone mention that she has tickets to see Taylor Swift in Sydney and it’s not all that far away? The countdown is well and truly on. Judging from the live footage I’ve seen it should be a fantastic show. I reckon it’s a great choice for a first “big” rock ‘n’ roll outing. Here’s a couple from DJ Boots that I enjoyed too…
Alex Day – Here Comes Trouble -
Elbow – One Day Like This -
DJ Boots chose Alex Day specifically so that you all can hear the trumpet line. The Elbow song is one that she’s singing in a performance. It reminds me of U2 mixed up with Coldplay.
Next week, if I can get it finished, is the Desert Island Disc to end them all. H provided not 12 songs, but 12 albums. Watch this space!
Today I spent $3 and got some fine music. John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” on vinyl, The Blues Brothers “Made in America” on CD and the 45rpm single of Redgum’s “Caught In The Act”. For no other reason than that I present these next three tunes…
John Lennon – Just Like Starting Over (stripped version) –
Blues Brothers – I Ain’t Got You –
Redgum – Lear Jets over Kulgera –
When I was new to Australia I learned a lot about towns no-one ever hears of by listening to Redgum’s music. It was also another push to the left side of the political spectrum.
The other news from me this week is that, along with DJ AB, DJ HamerTime and DJ Cakes I raced my first criterium race. It was out at the Stromlo track here in the ACT and it was heaps of fun. You certainly have to ride fast right from the start and being at all timid soon sees you being spat out the back of the group. I enjoyed my first experience and learned a lot. I have the fitness to compete (well duh!) but the tactics and accelerations are things I need to work on. Fun times indeed! My legs are very, very tired today.
I was going to finish up with a David Bowie song. I was just in that kind of mood earlier in the day. But then I discovered the song I had chosen was a cover version. I like Bowie’s effort (who doesn’t!) but I found so many different versions I had to track down the first one. So here you go…
The McCoys – Sorrow -
Personally I like The Merseys and the Bowie recordings much better.
The reason I had got around to listening to Sorrow was that I have a recording where Billy Bragg plays it and then segues into another song. Billy surprises me. On his current tour he’s begin releasing his “guilty pleasures” – songs played at soundchecks. This is the first one and I wasn’t expecting anything like this!
Billy Bragg – Desperado -
This next one is very much a song from my childhood, an AM radio hit. I didn’t hear FM radio or have access to it until I was about 15. MTV was around (and playing music rather than what it has become these days) in Australia before FM radio came to the Latrobe Valley!
Charley Pride – Mountain of Love -
Finally, I’ll play a tune for my mate Garry who died a year ago this week. He’s very much missed. I know the last concert he went to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He’d just lost his job, which he hadn’t been in for long, and was ruing the expense of the ticket. But, the show was terrific and he sent me some photos, video and a t-shirt to mark the occasion. Not long afterwards he anxiety and depression got the better of him and this, along with some other medical issues contributed to the end of his life. Look after your friends folks. This one’s for you my friend…
Tom Petty – You Don’t Know How It Feels -
DJ Rob