Friday, February 22, 2013

Song of the Week #235

Welcome back readers and listeners.

Lately I've been getting up at 5am, on the bike by 5.30am and riding quite a few kilometres before work. It's been working pretty well and I really enjoy the early morning climb out of Canberra up the highway. If I manage 40 or 50km before I ride into work then I can get up to 70km in a day without too many issues. And I'm really hoping that all those kilometres in the bank will help me out on 23/24 March in the 24 hr mountain bike race here in Canberra. I'm in a team of 4 for the first time so there is an expectation that I'll ride quite a bit. Can't wait!!

Not long ago a friend asked me if I'd like to do a long ride and foolishly I agreed. So assuming it isn't raining cats and dogs on Saturday morning we're off for 180km in the saddle. Road cycling is often said to be about managing how much you can suffer and this will prove it. I haven't done this ride in full since I was working up to Ironman in 2010.

In preparation I've had Thursday and Friday this week off the bike and that's meant I've slept in until around 6.30am. It's amazing how refreshing it is to get 90 minutes extra shut-eye. The dog is a bit confused though. Maybe he misses his 5am tummy rub before he bolts upstairs and hops into my side of the bed.

If I make it on Saturday - and I don't have much choice really - that'll mean just over 350km for the week - my biggest ever. After that I'll be reducing the distance but not the time - you can't go as far on dirt tracks on a mountain bike!

My copy of the Alabama Shakes album on vinyl arrived - with a bonus 7" disc of b-sides and a voucher to download MP3s for the iPod. Now THAT is the way to sell an album. The vinyl sounds wonderful - a big organic sound that jumps off the platter - and I don't have to fiddle around copying it to digital to play in the car.

Alabama Shakes – I Ain’t The Same -

Speaking of vinyl, I was in Landspeed Records with Zoe last weekend and spotted some of the new release Iron Maiden picture discs. The sound is remastered as well and so I was seriously tempted. But I'm struggling to find a review on the re-mastering. Most people seem to be buying them to collect or to stick on the wall. Iron Maiden also have the third instalment in their DVD series of the band's history coming out soon called "Maiden England". I better save more pennies.

Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son -

The host of one of my favourite TV shows always asks her guests what the first music they bought with their own money was. I did a quick bit of investigation today to find out what some colleagues and friends had spent their dollars (or pounds) on back in the day. Of course there are a few that cringe at the thought but most had good taste. Here’s a bit of a selection.

DJ DJ bought Suzi Quatro’s “Your Mama Won’t Like Me” on cassette. Not a bad choice really for a first go. I wonder if his mama indeed did like it?

The Chief relates that he bought the Rolling Stones LP, “Get Yer Ya-Yas Out” and then played it every evening of his last year at school. No wonder he knows all the good Stones songs backwards! Here’s Midnight Rambler from that set:

DJ OrphanA has heaps of street cred as her first purchase was “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles. Personally every time I hear “picture yourself on a boat on a river…” I think of Wind in the Willows!

DJ AK owned up to buying this classic piece of music but then discovered a 45rpm of Hendrix that belonged to his Dad. He’s never been the same – another worshipper at the altar of Jimi.

Perhaps the most obscure response was DJ McG who spent his pennies on The Jags doing “Back Of My Hand” on a 45. Bit of an Elvis Costello vibe going here.

DJ FatHenry coughed up his cash for Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”. I’ve come full circle recently and have been listening to a bit of their stuff.

DJ Heeler certainly wins the prize for the biggest giggle after revealing this as his first purchase - - and the sad thing is that I know all the lyrics thanks to the sing-along song book at primary school.

Two trendoids (H and DJ KOT) admitted to shelling out for Skyhooks singles. Probably unknown to my overseas listeners, the Skyhooks were an essential part of Australian rock music. Check out Horror Movie: , Living In The 70s: or my personal favourite for an hilarious song title: You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good In Bed:

DJ Al-Ee like a few others purchased a compilation album. After that she chose well though with Midnight Oil. That’s a bonus as she’ll be able to sing-along with H and the band at the tribute show.

Uncle Sam also made me smile when he revealed his love for this next artist - I agree though as it’s a top song and Kenny has a great voice and team of songwriters.

Of course, I wasn’t all that specific when I asked these folks and DJ McRoundTable related that the first music she bought was sheet music for this classic:

Boy, if you don’t find something worth listening to in that lot I’m not sure I can go on!

It took me a while to remember the first album I bought with my own money. And I’ve narrowed it down to a couple. It was either the soundtrack to the movie “The Jewel of the Nile” or AC/DC’s live album “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It”.

I probably bought the soundtrack because I liked the movie and it had this song on it by Billy Ocean -

But I distinctly remember getting the AC/DC live disc because the woman working in the Sports and Record Shop remarked to my Mum that she would be sure to enjoy my purchase! It’s a great album that stands the test of time and is better than any subsequent live recordings they’ve put out. Pure energy recorded onto vinyl.

AC/DC – Riff Raff (live 1978) -

Lastly, it’s DJ MySis’ birthday today. Here’s one for her; The Runaways – Mama Weer All Crazee Now -

That’ll do for a week. With a new Billy Bragg AND a new Steve Earle album not far off life is good.

DJ Rob

Friday, February 15, 2013

Song of the Week #234

Apparently the Grammys were recently. I had a look at the winners list and I can guarantee that it was yawn-worthy. That is it almost put me to sleep. Let’s see if I can put together some good tracks to round off the week.

The big excitement for me recently is that we’ve finally made the move to Blu-Ray. Players have come right down in price and that always sits well with me as a Scotsman. It shouldn’t shock anyone out there that the first disc I watched was “Rock of Ages”. Too much fun. Now I’m on the lookout for a deal on the 9 disc Star Wars collection. Next up I’ll see if I can find the film “Baraka”. If you haven’t seen it then rush out now and grab a copy. It’s like nothing you’ll ever see and I can’t describe it.

There were a few comments about my choice of ten top metal albums last week. Not really any controversy, just a couple of suggestions. I agree that it was a tough call to leave out Dio but I’m not sure what I would cut from the list to add him?

Dio – Rainbow In The Dark -

If the Grammys did remind me of one cool thing then it was Jimmy Cliff. DJ Al-E almost visited Jamaica a few years ago and I got a Jimmy Cliff cassette as a gift. Funny. He’s awesome.

Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers To Cross (live) -

Billy Bragg is one of my heroes. And he has a new album coming out in March. The first single was released this week and I’ve listened a couple of times. I’m not sure what to think. I want to love it. I like the lyrics. But the video is really lame and adds nothing. I’ll listen a few more times without watching. Are we sure that it isn’t another Wilco collaboration??

Billy Bragg – No One Knows Nothing Anymore -

Billy’s song certainly has some solid country and western undertones but on my live bootleg of his from a gig in Sydney in the late 80’s he was talking about his enjoyment of that type of music.

Cycling this week has been pretty good. After a trundle tomorrow I should hit 300km for the week. That includes me providing much early morning amusement to a mini-bus full of Japanese tourists as I changed a flat out on the side of Lake George. I’ve got a couple of more weeks of long distances planned before I swap to the mountain bike in preparation for the MONT 24hr race. I might go over 1000km in February so I’m thinking that endurance shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Motivation to ride at 3am is more difficult!

DJ FatRollins alerted me to the fact that there was a documentary on the telly recently about Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” LP. I finally managed to watch it this week. And it wasn’t too bad. The band weren’t at each other’s throats the whole time – either that or time has dulled their memories! Following up “Dark Side of The Moon” must’ve seemed like a hell of a task and the pressure to succeed was clear in what the band had to say. It’s an album that I really like, much more than Dark Side. There are some stellar versions of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” where you just experience a massive emotional release when the band kicks in. It’s worth the long listen.

Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond -

I hadn’t realised that Venetta Fields had sung backing on the Floyd album. Now I know about her varied and very successful career. She’s most famous here for singing with John Farnham of course.

John Farnham – That’s Freedom -

On a more serious note I was absolutely disgusted to read about the treatment that ABC newsreader Jeremy Fernandez and his daughter were subjected to whilst they travelled on a bus in Sydney last week. They had to endure a racist tirade from another passenger. And to top it off the bus driver told him he should’ve moved. It’s horrible. You can read more about it here if you want. Be informed. And then don’t stad ny and let this kind of thing happen.

To finish off this week here’s two songs I’ve had in my head. And for no other reason than that the tunes are catchy (in my opinion).

Soul Asylum – Somebody To Shove -

Debbie Harry and Kermit – The Rainbow Connection -

Smile and have a good weekend folks.

DJ Rob

Friday, February 8, 2013

Song of the Week #233

Last week I played a new(ish) song by Nena. I’ll just pop back in time for a minute…

Nena – Rette Mich -

For fans of the TV series, “Once Upon A Time”, I hope that you’ve realised why the Mad Hatter is called Jefferson. If you haven’t then check this out…

Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit -

Years ago I bought a Frank Zappa greatest hits CD for two reaons. One was because I thought I needed to try his music out and the other was because it was a cool cover photo! I really like this song…anyone who rhymes with Winnebago rates a second listen!

Frank Zappa – San Ber’dino -

Look, I may have played this guy before, I can’t quite remember. But I stumbled across this during this week and as a guitar player just watching his fingers is mesmerizing. Wow!!

Thomas Zwijsen – The Trooper -

The internet has spawned a gazillion armchair critics and experts – I guess I spend my fair share of time writing down what I think for anyone to read.

DJ DJ sent through a few links to articles where people had tried to list the top 10 metal albums of all time. Interesting – and if metal is your thing then reasonably controversial. I dug deeper and found top 10 lists of almost everything! I may explore these in later weeks. My top 10 ways to avoid university homework should be a bestseller. But you won’t get top 10 ways to lose weight as there is only one solution: willpower, exercise and a good diet all mixed up with brutal honesty. I’m at the point of trying to maintain weight or even gain a little even though that’s a real challenge mentally.

I tried to put my own list of metal albums together which was challenging but the big decision when making such a list is are they records that were very influential, or just the ones that I like the best. There’s a big difference. And then there’s the whole, “is AC/DC heavy metal or not” debate. For my money they are just a loud rock and roll band – who I happen to like a lot.

So, if you’re interested then here are my top 10 metal long players along with a track from each (in no particular order)…

Those of you with a sharp eye will note that there are 11 albums listed above. Metal ALWAYS goes to 11. Also Stryper is very much an acquired taste…I like the fact that they can really sing and play even if the message isn’t quite my bag.

Now, to finish off here’s something that came around on my iPhone the other day when it was on shuffle. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. If you’ve laid eyes on me recently you’ll understand why.

Jack Kerouac – I’d Rather Be Thin Than Famous -

And on that note, with the entire world elite sporting population on the juice I’m off to ride home fuelled only by DJ Al-E-Sun’s Thermomix Pasta and an apple. Have a good weekend folks. Thanks for listening.

DJ Rob

Friday, February 1, 2013

Song of the Week #232

Back at work. will I fit all my cycling in??
Joe Jackson – Time -
Seriously though – I set myself the target of cycling 1000 km in January and I made it. I got to 1113 km after my ride on Thursday morning. There were a couple of moments in the middle when I thought I wouldn't get close but there you have it. I reckon I rode about 90% of the distance on my own which made it pretty tough mentally. Out on the Breadalbane road, alone and with a headwind is a hard thing to deal with! My weight loss and diet also meant that I have had to rethink my hydration and nutrition strategies even on shorter rides. I used to head out early in the morning on an empty stomach and ride, usually only drinking water, for up to about 60 km. Any further than that and I needed some food or sports drink. These days I need those a lot earlier and I eat something before I head out. It works.
AC/DC – Ride On -
So, Alison got a new car. The old one had a few niggles and needed to be moved on. Given the dreadful, dreadful service from the bank we are glad and frankly rather amazed that the car is finally here. The first thing I saw was Alison and Zoe driving away with Zoe waving out of the sunroof! All of our cars have had names in the past. But this car is proving hard to apply a moniker to. Apparently it needs to be a name befitting a German girl. My suggestions of "Stanley" and "Sporty Spice" have not been at all well received. Some people just can't be pleased. Nena is out as well. Sigh.
Nena – Du Bist So Gut Fur Mich -
I thought that was a pretty cool song. Nena (of 99 Luftballons fame) is a pretty versatile singer.
Now I'll attempt to suggest a solution to the gun debate in the USA. I'm a realist, America has millions of guns out there and disarming the population just isn't something that can be achieved. And it really doesn't address a big part of the problem which is guns in the hands of criminals. Now, my solution may seem simple and I'm sure right wing gun loonies and left wing pinkos can pull it to bits – but it's my idea. Read on if you dare...

America is pulling out its war machine from parts of the Middle East. If, for just a moment, Mr Obama and his mates can cease and desist from policing the rest of the world there will be a lot of bored armed services personnel sitting around, or worse, unemployed. Well, it seems to me that this causes opportunities. How about some of the billions that are no longer being spent on the Middle East war machine be channelled into serious law enforcement to target and disarm criminals. Not a few bucks here and there but a massive injection of funds? If manpower was an issue then troops no longer needed overseas could have the option of working alongside law enforcement to help them out. That's a start to one side of the problem. With more war bucks and some political courage a national firearms registration database can be set up. Americans can have their guns as guaranteed by their Constitution, but they'd need to pass some kind of handling competence test and have adequate storage in place. You have to pass a test to drive a car so why not a gun?
To me this doesn't seem too radical. But politics, greed and one eyed ideologies will no doubt get in the way. It won't solve little Jilly or Johnny using firearms from the cupboard at home to shoot someone but it should reduce criminal shootings and therefore the perceived need to sleep armed to the teeth. Money, yep more money, will be needed to provide adequate education about guns as well as to monitor mental health issues.
Johnny Cash – The One On The Right -
I'll save my comments about Australia Day for another time.
After reminding everyone how cool I thought "Rock of Ages" was I've been listening to the soundtrack as well as the some of the original versions of the songs from the musical. Cheesy rock is cool.
Quarterflash – Harden My Heart -
Journey – Any Way You Want It -
I attended a presentation about cyber safety today which I thought was pretty good. The message really is the same as it is for a lot of problems; common sense prevails. It's such a shame that society at large thinks that someone else is responsible for everything.
The Proclaimers – Everybody's A Victim -
And then there's this fabulous piece of propaganda supplied by my good friend DJ DUG....
The Honest Coca-Cola Obesity Commercial -
Fans of a good belly laugh could do a lot worse than to check out the US TV series, "Community". Each episode is only about 20 mins long and DJ Al-Ee and I spend almost the whole time in tears. Chevy Chase is in it but don't let that put you off – he's funny in this one.
"Community" trailer -
Eh, that's probably enough for this week. Here's a tune to play you out. Pianoman H was talking about Iggy the other week and it reminded me of a cool live DVD I have. Originally I had an old VHS copy from DJ McG but the DVD release for $9.99 is a must have. There's a strong language warning on this track.
Iggy Pop – Raw Power (live) -
Have a great weekend and watch out for Zambonis.
DJ Rob