Let's do things differently this week and have a tune first. Everyone remembers Dexy's Midnight Runners for their smash hit, "Come On Eileen". It was a great track. But check this one out. Not only is it a fantastic song that's full of energy but the clip shows off their "Oliver Twist" meets street urchin fashion sense. All we need is Fagin to walk into shot at some stage.
Dexy's Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said - http://youtu.be/k3SdCQ5Ns8w
In case anyone out there in blogland doesn't remember Jackie Wilson here's one of his best. It's worth watching the movie "La Bamba" as he's featured in there as well. Not only that, the movie is pretty awesome in my opinion. Surely Jackie has one of the smoothest voices in rock 'n' roll.
Jackie Wilson - That's Why (I Love You So) - http://youtu.be/9POh4ATtuBw
Of course, the band Los Lobos had mainstream success when they recorded the Ritchie Valens tunes for the "La Bamba" movie and soundtrack. It should come as no surprise therefore that they are an excellent rock 'n' roll band. Here they are playing a Grateful Dead tune...
Los Lobos - Bertha - http://youtu.be/1CDuQmhTyD4
R.E.M. are a band that, a bit like Pearl Jam, I always feel that I should like a lot and then end up changing the CD for something else. Years ago whilst on holiday in New Zealand I purchased their then new album "New Adventures in HiFi" and after a couple of listens relegated it to the bottom of the CD stack. I put it on the other day for another listen and was pleasantly surprised. If you believe all you read on the internets it was a critically acclaimed LP that flopped commercially. Given that it took me almost 17 years to enjoy it then it would most likely qualify as a "sleeper"! This song is probably the rockiest of the lost - they're a moody bunch after all. It has one of my favourite ever lyrics in it..."practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene".
R.E.M. - The Wake-Up Bomb - http://youtu.be/9JAP15fXKXE
The search for a new guitar has ended. Zoë and I played many, many guitars and ended up with something most unexpected. None of the Stratocasters really did anything for me and we were ready to call it a day. I decided though that since we'd made the effort to go to the guitar shop that we should make the most of it. As a result I tried a Gibson "LPJ" model Les Paul which, apart from weighing a metric ton, sounded like a dream. The neck wasn't too bad either and considering that it was heavily reduced I was seriously tempted. However, I had a guitar to trade in so I thought I'd try a more expensive Les Paul just in case it felt and sounded as good. Wow...I picked up a Les Paul Studio Deluxe which apparently has a "60s style neck". It was the slimmest neck I'd ever played on a Gibson - remember from last week that the fat necks were what always turned me off these guitars. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the crew at "Davis-Wheeler Music" here in Canberra offered me an awesome trade on my guitar and I'm now the proud owner of the Les Paul (click here for a picture). Every guitar has songs that just beg to be played on them. For my green Burns it's anything by Billy Bragg as well as "Joelene" by Dolly Parton! For this new axe the song that keeps rolling around is this next one. DJ Al-ee-Sun says that I can't have her as well as a guitar called Alice. So, we'll call the guitar Vincent - some of you will know why.
Alice Cooper - School's Out - http://youtu.be/XbNEOJMGFAo
DJ SAB and I went along to see Alice Cooper play a few years ago now. If you ever get the chance then take it. It's so much more than a concert, he's the consummate showman and always has a first rate band.
I've ranted and raved (and grumbled) about our politicians on any number of occasions and I can't see that stopping anytime soon. But I'll be brief here. We elect them to represent us, not to line their pockets, grandstand or act like children. In my humble opinion it is time that they got one with the job. I've already been fairly clear that I refuse to vote for a political party that plans to strip funding to tertiary institutions to pay for primary and secondary school education reforms - my local member and senator have been told! But the alternative side fills me full of dread as well, they have no policies other than disagreeing with just about everything the Government has to say. What's the solution? Don't vote? That really doesn't help - it's the democratic equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and saying, "la-la-la". Generally amusing at the ballot box but not a good way to make a point. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser may indeed have the answer. You can read all about what he has to say here. Personally, I'd love to be a politician but there are a couple of things holding me back. One is the reality of giving up your job for what may only be 3 or 4 years - it's hardly a stable occupation. And another is that I think I'm too honest - even bending the truth makes me uncomfortable. So, you won't be able to "Vote 1 Woozle" anytime soon.
Ho, ho, ho - here's another Alice tune. It fits in nicely.
Alice Cooper - Elected - http://youtu.be/Fs6AExtcNEQ
DJ FatBoy and DJ Duck sent me a few Aussie tune suggestions recently. Of course, listening to them meant that I ended up with a whole lot of other ideas. First up is a song from 1984 that I loved when I was at school. Does anyone else think that the singer looks a bit like Mike Myers?
Dynamic Hepnotics - Soul Kind of Feeling - http://youtu.be/gk0tkZrPxks
One of the suggested bands was "Mental As Anything", an Australian rock music institution. DJ Al-ee-Sun and I saw them many years back at Uni of Canberra. I remember being unimpressed that they didn't come on until midnight!
Mental As Anything - Too Many Times - http://youtu.be/2bC3ppyJgSk
I was never much of a Mentals fan, too pop for me at the time. Martin Plaza, one of their guitarists released this track in 1986 and it's always appealed to me. Today I found out it is a cover version!
Martin Plaza - Concrete and Clay - http://youtu.be/I83nc2IlSKg
I don't normally push websites here but this is one you should check out. "No Sweat Fashions" is a Canberra based organisation working to assist newly arrived refugees and migrants. Have a look through their website and if you like their idea then buy something to support them. I reckon it's a great cause and it's local too.
The other website that I found out about this week is SANE Australia. I checked it out as a result of hearing a rather good piece on the radio. SANE is an organisation that helps people affected by mental illness. Statistics tell us that 1 in 5 people will have some kind of mental health issue in their lifetime. Get four of your friends in a room - if they're all fine then it's you. Reducing the stigma attached to mental illness, managing it at home, in the media and in the workplace are all things that SANE does. Have a look sometime.
Well, that's been a reasonably eclectic mix of songs. Just to keep you all on your toes I'll finish with three more to keep your toes tapping...
Laura Branigan - Gloria - http://youtu.be/355Fk8drgZE - for reasons that were unknown to me at the time, my entire Year 8 class at high school decided that this song was about me.
Gorky Park - Peace In Our Time - http://youtu.be/eTf7WlH4xBk - much underrated Russian metal band (similar style to Bon Jovi)
Glasvegas - It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry - http://youtu.be/fR-g4ZfuNQs - this is a band I need to listen to a lot more, they're moody and noisy in all the right ways.