Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rob's Mum's Desert Island Discs

Even though as a teenager I was a hard rock and metal fan I was never embarrassed at my parents' musical tastes. They never made me cringe and there was, and always has been, a large amount of common ground.

So, I was pretty chuffed when my Mum sent in her list. I've included some of her comments as well.

Cliff Richard - Living Doll - (the first 45 I bought when we eventually got a record player. This is noteworthy since we had no mains electricity till I was 15 or so)

Simon & Garfunkel - Cecilia - (I played this album endlessly when I was living alone in Nairn early 1970)

Don McLean - American Pie - (my baby son learned to “sing” this when we lived in Germany)

Ella Fitzgerald - Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye - (saying goodbye seems to have been a fairly major part of my life in some ways)

Anne Murray - Could I Have This Dance -

The Commodores - Three Times A Lady -

Anne Murray - You Are My Sunshine - (fond memories of calling out chord changes while Rob practised guitar. Probably the Anne Murray version since Rob hasn't recorded it.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising - (this is one of the few songs that compels me to turn up the volume – even when I was driving to work this morning…)

Split Enz - Six Months In A Leaky Boat -

Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go -

The Corries - Flower of Scotland - (This is important for several reasons – I have seen this performed live before it became the Scottish “anthem”, I still miss Scotland, and during and after the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Meg sang her own special version of this from the back seat of my car while I was doing the school run!)

The Proclaimers - Letter from America - (Can’t choose one easily so maybe I can have at least one album?)

Clan McA's Desert Island Discs

Clan McA were featured in Song of the Week #264. Below is their complete list. It's mellow and perhaps the perfect list for a lazy Sunday afternoon or to wind down with after a hard day. Great selections!

For me, the Neil Young tune is already one of my personal favourites despite the fact that it is a cover version. I've been lucky enough to play it live a couple of times too. It's also very enjoyable to listen to the pre FM radio version of Fleetwood Mac.

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street -

Bread - If -

Fleetwood Mac - Albatross -

Jim Croce - Time In A Bottle -

The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother -

The Hollies - Gasoline Alley Bred -

Moody Blues - For My Lady -

A-Ha - Stay On These Roads -

Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights -

Neil Young - Four Strong Winds -

Dead Can Dance - Rakim -

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Song of the Week #265

Song of the week is usually written in my head in the shower, on my bike and as a response to email traffic. I try to write bits and pieces all week and then cobble them into something semi-coherent to send out on a Friday afternoon or evening. This week I had plenty of good ideas but when Friday rolled around it was all still in my head and I had other things to do. That's why you're getting this on the weekend.

As I type, I'm bravely going where only millions have gone before me and I'm upgrading one of our iDevices to the latest version of iOS (7.0.2 today). Let's hope it's worth it. I know that Angus is rather cross at the cost of the new iPhone 5C - he certainly fancied one for himself but it's far from affordable for most people - even those making huge wads of cash by working at McDonald's. I read this morning that Apple says that the 4S is its "cheap" iPhone. And whilst it is a great piece of kit, bear in mind that it was released in October 2011.

Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone -

Righto, let's have some music.

Thanks for the feedback about last week's "Desert Island Discs", it's nice to get an email here and there even if not all my readers are happy with my musings. To those who don't like it on a regular basis I do wonder why you continue to read or why you don't at least write something in response.

DJ FatRollins and I have been mates for a long time and he's sent me plenty of recommendations in the past for songs to play here. His "Desert Island" selection is a pretty loud list which suits me just fine! I like the fact that he chose 10 tracks in just a couple of minutes without agonising over his CD collection. I guess that means that these are tracks that mean a lot to him. As with last week, I'll play a couple of highlights and publish the entire list on the blog.

First up is a track from Helmet. If I had to describe their music it would be "heavy" and "mathematical". They are the masters of things like odd time signatures and syncopation (I think). This track is one of their more accessible ones - a straight ahead beat. It's always funny going to a gig where the band is playing some off kilter rhythms and no-one can really groove to them!

Helmet - Wilma's Rainbow -

DJ FatRollins also included tunes from Pink Floyd, Buckethead, Neil Young, Gary Numan and Korn. The next tune stood out for me though. Why? Well it's popular, well known and I hadn't listened to it for a fair while. It's from an album that I really don't rate highly at all for a number of reasons - but that's just my opinion and that's for another day. I really like this song. Thanks Laff!

The Beatles - A Day In The Life -

Also feeding my plea for "Desert Island Discs" was DJ SamSpam. His list included Cab Calloway, Billy Bragg, Redgum, Shaggy and Samuel Barber; it's a good mix. DJ SamSpam also recognised the fact that there was so much missing from his selections. Here's a couple I really liked.

First up is Paul Young doing a great cover version with lyrics that really mean something to a lot of people.

Paul Young - Love Of the Common People -

Try as I might, I've always found that the next group chosen by DJ SamSpam grates on me just a little. I've got series 1 of the TV show here on DVD (thanks Bro!) and I'll go back and have another go at it over the next two weeks because to be fair I'm in a much better frame of mind for comedy these days! I also know that DJ SamSpam was at university with one of the performers here...

Flight of the Conchords - Carol Brown -

Please come back for more "Desert Island Discs" next week. I'll be featuring music chosen by DJ DJ who sent me a carefully sequenced double album list! There will also be tunes from MC Macca. And there are still quite a few others to work through.

I've already written a fair bit this week and with school holidays having just started you can expect the next couple of episodes to be bumper editions. One thing that I will be spending some time on this week is preparing for a return to radio. DJ AB and I will be fueling up on coffee and jelly beans and attempting to broadcast for about 7hrs straight at the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race - yep, you guessed it - the graveyard shift. We'll be on from about 11pm until 6am whilst the riders churn out their night laps. It's going to be great - jokes, live interviews and a ton of music and commentary. Watch this space for a rundown. HUGE thanks to DJ GUZBox for organising this and getting us in!

I'm a bit slow. I've only just realised that Metallica have a live concert movie out and it's in 3D. I'll check it out as soon as I can and report back. The last concert film I watched at the movies was Neil Young's stellar effort "Heart of Gold". This is from the film...

Metallica - Master of Puppets (live) -

OK then. Before I head off to the social event of the year, otherwise known as DJ COJ's Grand Final Brunch I'll play a couple more songs.

Firstly here's one from from my exercise playlist which got a lot of airtime this week. It's not a small list and I have it set on shuffle. This track was one I hadn't heard in ages but made me smile! Cheesy!

Mel & Kim - Respectable -

Next up is a song that I'd call a guilty pleasure. Music snobs and hipsters wouldn't like it but I've always found it to be a real toe tapper!

Bryan Adams and Mel C - When You're Gone -

DJ H introduced me to the next track. We played it at one show and it's a lot of fun. It's another track with a catchy tune. Maybe I'm in a toe-tapping mood. I also increased my vocabulary by one word as a result of the track - essential for all you Words with Friends players!

Bright Eyes - Jejune Stars -

And finally, it's a while since I played a Steve Earle song. Maybe at least one whole week. Steve is one artist that I keep coming back to. His music inspires me. And his life story does as well. It's like a cautionary tale on steroids.

Steve Earle - Christmas in Washington (live 2008 at Farm Aid) -

Be kind to animals and middle aged men in lycra.

DJ Rob

Friday, September 20, 2013

Song of the Week #264

It was inevitable after last week's "Desert Island Discs" that I'd remember a track that absolutely, positively has to be in the list. Removing one to fit it in would also be a chore but I think I'll ignore that little piece of angst. I've said it before, if you think The Proclaimers are only about "500 miles" then you're missing out. They write poignant and moving songs about real people. This one sums up so much about Scotland but also Australia. Listen carefully.

The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story -

I think what I'll do with all the "Desert Island Discs" is post them in their entirety on the blog ( As well as that I'll throw some highlights in here over the next couple of weeks. Again, thank you to those who spent quite a lot of time in some cases putting their lists together.

The latest list that came in was from my Mum. It's a cracker. I found out some cool things as a result. For instance, where she grew up in Scotland there wasn't mains electricity until she was 15. Therefore I think that the first single she ever bought is noteworthy - it was when the family finally got a record player. Interestingly, my brother and I have the same single - but a slightly different version. Cliff had (has) such a smooth voice and the guitar solo from Hank Marvin is sublime.

Cliff Richard - Living Doll -

Mum chose great songs from Ella Fitzgerald, Simon & Garfunkel, Anne Murray, Creedence, Split Enz and Wham! as well. Almost all of them are songs I grew up to listening to and therefore evoke strong memories for both of us. I guess I've chosen this one to highlight for a couple of reasons. One is because it's a truly fantastic song. Another is because I have the original vinyl record that my parents would've bought when we lived in West Germany when I was very little. And the thing that floored me was that Mum wrote that I "learned to sing" this as a very small child - that's something I didn't know. I was only a wee bairn at the time. It's a song that's been with me forever it seems. Thanks Mum - your list made my day in more ways than one.

Don McLean - American Pie -

DJ McA sent me a wonderful list compiled by her and her husband. I'm worried that they thought their choices might all be too mellow for me! Life isn't all Slayer and Motley Crue you can be assured. Along with inspired selections from Gerry Rafferty, Jim Croce, Neil Young and Bread came this gem from 1988...a majestic offering from an underrated group.

a-ha - Stay On These Roads -

Look out for the full lists from my Mum and Clan McA next week on the blog.

Big news musically for me and DJ Al-Ee-Sun is that we purchased a new stereo amplifier. Whilst I love the one we have (from 1972 I think) it needs some TLC and probably to be retired to the guitar room! After a relatively easy time in the stereo shop we have a new amp that is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, it has highlighted some serious shortcomings in my little speakers so I'm reading about options and researching a new set in my spare time. Life is too short to listen to good music on crummy gear!

Turning up the volume for a minute; Swedish hard rockers Sabaton have a new live DVD about to be released. About 550,000 people attended the 2012 Woodstock Festival in Poland - that's where the DVD was shot. Wow, looking at the footage I'm sure you'll agree that it is a massive crowd!

Sabaton - Uprising (live) -

Let me take a quick break from the music to give a shout out to my friend DJ HB who is racing this weekend in the National Road Series here in Canberra. You can see Beck at the bottom of this page:

There's been a lot of rain this week which has kept me off my bike. That's really annoying and I was glad to be able to get out last night for a head clearing 50km jaunt around Canberra. The upside, and it took me a while to find one, was that I listened to some cool music whilst caged in the car! Here's two tracks that got me to work the other day. Firstly, a rocking little number from a band called D.A.D. out of Sweden. I bought this CD in maybe 1990 and it remains a firm favourite - especially the surf-tinged lead guitar work. I'll dedicate this one to our new Prime Minister...

D.A.D. - Girl Nation -

The other track I may have played before - sorry - but it is beautiful. I got caught out at the lights this morning singing it quite loud!

Eddie Vedder and Tim Finn - Stuff and Nonsense -

I had a good old chinwag with my mate DJ SoapOnARoper outside the supermarket recently. He was pleased to find out about Billy Bragg tickets and we talked about bootlegs and the like. He's my go to guy for questions about the Beatles and Dylan unofficial tracks! Anyway, he was unaware of the stripped down version of Lennon's Double Fantasy LP. Once you delete all the Yoko Ono tracks it's a great listen - she just doesn't do it for me, sorry to all the fans. So, Steve, happy 60th as it is coming up very soon and check this track out...

John Lennon - Just Like Starting Over (stripped down) -

My Mum's list transported her here and there on her life's journey thus far. Music does that to me all the time and there are a couple of songs that I associate with particularly sad times. But today I'm feeling particularly resilient so I think it's a good thing to play them as they are great songs regardless of what they drag up for me. Music is so powerful, DJ DUG took me on his aircraft carrier a couple of times. I remember him telling me that no-one was allowed to play sad songs as the 5,500 strong crew just didn't need that vibe as they were away from home for so long. Here's my sad songs.

REM - Leaving New York -

Dixie Chicks - Cold Day In July -

Arrrggghhh! I lied, I can't listen to the REM tune!

I obviously need an upbeat song to end with. Here's one that never fails to get me tapping my feet. It's silly, the clip is silly, the whole band is silly but you know I think that's the whole point.

KISS - Crazy Nights -

Have a great weekend. GO BECK!

DJ Rob

Friday, September 13, 2013

Song of the Week #263 - Rob's Desert Island Discs

Update: if you just want to listen to this week's songs then click here for a playlist that'll run through them all.

Bear with me dear listener, this week's episode is quite long and was put together over a number of evenings. Hopefully it runs together seamlessly. I almost crashed my bicycle this week because I was singing one of the tunes below in my head and got a bit lost in the moment!

A while ago I put out a call for listeners interested in letting me know the tracks that might make up a "Desert Island Disc" for them. Many thanks to all the respondents. I must say that the wide range of tunes suggested has enthused and entertained me a great deal. This week I'll reveal the 12 tracks I think I probably couldn't live without if I had a choice and in future weeks I'll comment on those of others.

Before I start I must acknowledge the BBC who have been broadcasting a Desert Island Discs radio programme since 1942. Check them out online - I'm listening to John Peel talking about his faves as I'm typing. The BBC also asks their "castaways" for a book they'd take and a luxury item. I'll do that too.

Choosing 12 favourite tracks is hard. My initial list had 21 gems on it! But, do I select the ones to sing along to? Are they the ones that make me happy? Do they need to meld together in an all encompassing playlist? In choosing mine I've made my selections based on the fact that they are songs that I'm happy to hear over and over and also that have had a significant impact on my musical palette. They are in no particular order other than the first one which is far and away the most important slab of rock music to me.

I could've put almost any AC/DC track on this list and been a happy camper. But this is the song that turned me into the rock and roll tragic that I am today. The power of those first E, D and A chords is unstoppable.

AC/DC - Back In Black -

I wasn't an early convert to Metallica. It wasn't until I was at university and playing in a band that I really gave them a chance. This track comes from their first album and it is just amazing. An instantly recognisable introduction sowed the seeds for me to become a fan. I played this song on guitar with a bunch of students a couple of times and it's a heap of fun.

Metallica - Seek and Destroy -

Billy Bragg's music has been with me for a long time now and I can assure you that it's not getting old or stale. Lyrics written almost 30 years ago still resonate with honesty and authenticity. I guess that Billy would be the artist I'd most like to sit down with for a chat. Although given my experience with Julia Zemiro I'd probably be tongue tied and say something dumb like, "I'm your biggest fan". This particular recording was made on an Australian TV show where Billy had been part of a panel along with a number of our politicians. The next night he played here in Canberra and was quite obviously drained and probably saddened by the experience. He's coming back in March 2014 so I hope that circumstances are such that he's able to be in a different frame of mind than he was.

Billy Bragg - Ideology -

I've always had a soft spot for country music. But the cliches of wives, dogs and girlfriends leaving on the road to Amarillo get boring fairly quickly. In 2004 I thought that I should check out Steve Earle on the strength of the "Copperhead Road" single. For once in my life I started with a greatest hits collection. It was $12 well spent. I like the Springsteen-esque lyrics combined with the hillbilly sound. Since that day I've collected all of Steve's recordings - there's quite a variety in there of rock, country, bluegrass and folk. I chose this particular song because it's one I like a lot in the car. Also it haunts me. It was the song playing as I drove to the hospital when one of the students in my care had attempted suicide (she was in an ambulance, not in my car). It was pretty hard to focus on driving with the dreadful events that had just occurred racing in my head and this song, cranked up to maximum volume, banished those demons for the 5 minutes it took me to get to the Emergency Department. Thankfully the girl lived.

Steve Earle - Good Ol' Boy (Gettin' Tough) -

At high school I was very much not a Kylie fan. I regarded her music as processed, manufactured, candy pop. And to an extent I still do. But the album that this track comes from is very different. Kylie assembled a "real" band and the songwriting is quite different. This concert was broadcast on TV and I had it on VHS for ages (I probably still do) and was a revelation. Guitars and Kylie - woo hoo!

Kylie Minogue - Some Kind of Bliss -

Seeing Henry Rollins play in Melbourne in 1994 may be as close to a religious experience as I'll ever get. After excellent support acts (Kim Salmon and then Tumbleweed) the Rollins Band hit the stage. All the lights were turned up full and just left to burn white hot. And Henry, a seething mass of muscle, tattoos and aggression sang his heart out for 90 minutes. I knew none of the songs but it didn't matter. I was speechless and thankful for the earplugs! Henry is an interesting guy; an author, speaker, actor, commentator and also a radio show host. I read his books and listen to his radio show as well as seeing him do his spoken word thing any time he's in town - it's all great and keeps the old grey matter ticking over. This song was played at that show, I think, and is one of my favourites from the band. I always describe their music as heavy jazz with a very angry poet shouting over the top but this one is a bit more straight ahead.

Rollins Band - Tearing -

I was turned off Bob Marley as a kid because a certain group claimed him as their own. I remember being told at quite a young age that Bob wasn't for white boys. Times change and so did I. I'm still a white boy (whiter than white with my Scots suntan) but Bob is important to me. This song, and I may have the concept all wrong is about the fact that we should sing about the future rather than always paying for past sins. Looking forwards I guess.

Bob Marley - Redemption Song -

On February 1, 1991 I missed out on seeing the Ramones in Melbourne. Why? Because no-one I was in town with wanted to go and at 19 I wasn't confident enough to go on my own. Aaarrrggghh!! It was a toss up between this song and "The KKK took my baby away". In the end this is the song for the desert island because it's fantastic but also reminds me of so many other bands as a result of the lyrics. It makes me think of how much time I did spend listening to the radio - scouring the dial for cool songs and interesting stations. I'm sad that for this generation that really no longer happens. There's an Australian version of this song by Painters and Dockers too - check it out sometime.

The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? -

The first Johnny Cash CD I bought was a compilation cheerily titled "Murder". Yep, it's all songs about killing and most of it is fairly dark and morbid. But don't think that Johnny is encouraging you to go postal on your wives and girlfriends because he's certainly not. It's more a study or commentary about the darker side of life. He's got other compilations called "God" and "Love". The "Murder" CD isn't one to listen to just before bed or if you're in a bad mood. It is, however, one that really gets me thinking about justice and the situations that people end up in.

Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone -

Neil Young is awesome. The grungy electric guitar, the elegant acoustic finger picking and everything in between. I almost chose "The Needle and the Damage Done" but for a desert island it was a bit of a downer. Also in contention was "Welfare Mothers"; a cool song with a groove I like. But in the end F!#*in Up fits in with my mindset quite often. I'm more of a "don't mess it up, don't mess it up, d'oh!" kinda guy but the sentiment is similar.

Neil Young - F!#*in Up - (language warning on this one)

I have a live concert DVD of Tom with The Heartbreakers playing the next song. It's the first tune in the show and I'm not sure how they go on as it is such a great version. Another simple and cool riff. He's my favourite Wilbury too.

Tom Petty - Jammin' Me -

Tom Waits can be funny and sad at the same time. His descriptions of the American urban landscape draw me in. It's beat poetry with seedy whiskey soaked jazz and I love it. Tom also pens the best song titles in the business. "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" was a close second to this one.

Tom Waits - Eggs and Sausage (In A Cadillac with Susan Michelson) -

It was extremely unfashionable to be a hard rock and heavy metal fan in the mid to late 1980s. That's when I was at high school. I had my mind blown by bands like AC/DC, Motley Crue, Stryper, Iron Maiden, Suicidal Tendencies, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, WASP, KISS and anyone else with an acronym and a logo. It made me yearn for long hair, a leather jacket, a Marshall amplifier and an electric guitar. I got three out of four eventually. I'd love to tell you that my parents happily fed my addiction but I'd be lying. Mum was a bit bemused but took me to the record shop to pore over LPs I couldn't afford. And when I could she smiled and nodded. I remember clearly buying the AC/DC live album "If You Want Blood You've Got It" and Mum laughing with the shop owner at Maxfield's Sports and Records in downtown Moe about how much the family would enjoy it! But she let me be. Dad was different. You have to understand that I learned the guitar mostly from watching my Dad's fingers as well as from a few lessons. He was, and remains, my biggest musical influence. But he didn't understand why anyone liked electric guitars and certainly didn't like rock music at the time. He comes from a folk tradition that to me was all encompassing. If he'd been a Dylan fan then the move to the electric guitar would've been a sacrilege to him too! To his credit, however, he agreed to let me have the old stereo system in my bedroom and whilst I knew that he was fairly disapproving of the popular music I liked, he didn't stop me listening to it. There was a pivotal moment though when Mum took me to buy my first electric guitar. Initially skeptical my Dad later told me that when he saw the joy it gave me and how much time I spent playing that he understood. And he did.

This last track was my theme song for so long and not as a result of the long form music video. Indeed, I just wanted to rock too. Twisted Sister look funny - they're almost a parody of the whole glam rock movement but this song meant so much to kids like me in their bedrooms playing through small practice amplifiers.

Twisted Sister - I Wanna Rock -

I've played in quite a few bands and with a variety of styles. They've all been a lot of fun and some more serious than others. But when it comes down to it nothing beats a simple rock song played with a tight band. Steve Earle sings, "with my back to the riser I'll make my stand". It's a great feeling.

Well, a book and a luxury item...the book is a no brainer for me. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" is the best I've ever read. It's about a prisoner in a Soviet labour camp in the 1950s. It's a brutal depiction of what passes for Ivan's existence over just one day. Solzhenitsyn himself was in a gulag from 1945-53 for daring to write a derogatory comment about Stalin. It's only a short book but if you take the time to read it you'll feel the grind of the existence of the prisoner and be chilled to the bone.

For a luxury item I'd take my resonator guitar. There's really no point in taking an electric guitar to a desert island! With the guitar I can play all the songs I've left off the list and probably write some more as well. I bought the resonator on a whim and it's my go to instrument. It's twangy, loud and subtle all at once depending on how you play it. I can sit quietly playing that guitar and imagine I'm on a stage playing to thousands - that's how it makes me feel.

There you go. If you've read all that then well done! Feel free to send me your list of tracks if you'd like to. You don't need to provide commentary if you choose not to.

As I've written and edited this over a few weeks I've listened to a heap of music. I stumbled across footage of Neil Young inducting Tom Waits into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame which is pretty cool. Tom, in his thank you speech, describes his wife Kathleen as an incandescent light that guides him and keeps him alive and sparkling. I'm not sparkling so much these days but Tom's words sum up very well how I feel about Alison.

Have a great weekend,

DJ Rob

Friday, September 6, 2013

Song of the Week #262

There are a few bands that I really want to like but in the end
consistently disappoint. For me, The White Stripes have always been in
this group. The idea of just a guitar and drums is instantly appealing.
The fact that Jack White plays some really cool and odd guitars also
keeps me interested. But, apart from a couple of tracks I just can't get
into their music. My last attempt to like this band involved their live
album, "Under Great White Northern Lights". Aaarrrggggh! It's just
noise. I'm sure they are a much better band than this album portrays.
They really, really murder Dolly Parton's "Joelene" and that's not a
good thing. However, good songs are good songs no matter how they are
played. If they are truly brilliant then something will shine through.
The White Stripes song, "Seven Nation Army" is such a tune. It's
instantly recognizable, catchy and a definite head nodder. Mega thumbs
up to DC KelC over in Canada for shooting me this link which turned out
to be a real treat.Better than the original.

Ben L'Oncle Soul – Seven Nation Army -

If you want to hear a topnotch version of "Joelene" then search out the
one by Canberra's own Marji Curran.

Funerals are never easy, grief mixed up with a celebration of someone's
life. There's a lot of raw emotion in a room and I'm always relieved
that the whole stupid "boys don't cry" thing doesn't seem to apply.
Wednesday's funeral was different for me though. At the age of 42 it was
the first time I'd been to one for someone who'd died of old age. That
was a bit of a sobering thought looking back. Taking a funeral must be
extremely difficult. I have two friends who have had this experience and
I know it's a real challenge. I was in quite a state sitting in the
chapel on Wednesday and really my link to Jeane was via her son rather
than having had anything to do with her. Having said all that, it was an
honour and privilege to be asked to attend and to sit quietly and hear
about a life well lived.

Perhaps the high point of the funeral was a slide show of photos
accompanied by my friend DJ Joely playing the guitar and a student with
an amazing voice singing this next song.

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow -

Don Walker should be named a living national treasure if he hasn't been
already. Aside from his seminal work with Cold Chisel he is an amazing
songwriter and performer. He appeared last Saturday night on my
favourite TV show, RockWIz, and this led me to find out through DJ Will
that there is a new album available. I shall go looking for it very,
very soon. I guess if you like Tom Waits you might like this.

Don Walker - Sitting In A Bar (live) -

I watched the TV in excitement last weekend as a young man won a race
and became World Champion in his chosen sport. He's Australian and at
the moment we need all the champions we can get. I was blown away,
however, when the flag went up, the medal went on and he either didn't
know the words to or chose not to sing the national anthem. Seriously?
If most rugby players can manage the words as well as the Grade 1 class
of every single school then there's no excuse. Sing it loud. You can be
assured that if there's ever a reason for me to be on a podium or even
near one when the anthem rings out then I'll be belting out the words
(that's a memo to DJ HB too, you win - we'll sing). This event led to a
discussion about our anthem. I must say that compared to many it's
pretty good. The tune isn't a funeral dirge and most of the words make
sense. But could we have something better? We Australian's like to make
light of most things so I present to you a couple of (tongue in cheek)

AC/DC - The Jack -

Why "The Jack"? Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than
singing a song with a double meaning? It's a hoot.

What else....

Icehouse - Great Southern Land -

Goanna - Solid Rock -

John Williamson - True Blue -

"True Blue" would have you think that we're all living in the country
wearing RM Williams boots, driving utes and eating Mum's scones - in the
same way that "The Jack" leads the world to think that we're all hard
drinking, card playing womanisers! But again, it's a top tune and John
Williams has a voice so very Australian.

Redgum - I Was Only 19 -

Redgum's song was the first song from the radio that I really learned to
play on the guitar. Thirty years later it still sends shivers down my
spine. Of course the content is about a particular tie and place but it
does say something about what we like to think is the Australian spirit.

There are a heap more that I could trot out here from bands like Yothu
Yindi, Warumpi Band, Midnight Oil and Hunters & Collectors but I
digress. This is the one I reckon I'd choose. It works on so many levels
as a national tune but maybe we'll leave the anthem be. Australian
politicians may not want to live up to the line, "for those who've come
across the seas, we've boundless plains to share..." unless you arrive
with a suitcase full of cash and a university degree. Most people I know
take a much more humane approach so the pollies should take note.

Paul Kelly / Kev Carmody / John Butler - From Little Things, Big Things
Grow -

One of my mates on Facebook (hi Tom!) related today that his son is
playing his first rock 'n' roll gig this weekend. In a world of reality
TV music shows and over processed computer music this made me smile.
Kids with guitars rocking out. Fingers crossed for a great gig. I was
reminded of my first real show. DJ DJ was there on sound (and
headbutting) and DJ Dr may have been in attendance as well. The show
went reasonably well until the PA blew up during the third set. Just
like on "The Commitments". We were playing Queens's "Crazy Little Thing
Called Love" at the time. Fun times and the first of a good run of shows
with the band named after the Phantom....Mr. Walker. I've got a copy of
our demo tape somewhere - I'll get it on YouTube sometime soon.

The election....what to say...really I don't know. We've lived with
minority government for the last three years and it has been fairly
average. My hope is that someone has a clear win. That way the
government can get on with the job of governing, the opposition can sort
themselves out and the whole country isn't potentially held hostage by a
small number of minor players with small barrows to push. To tell the
truth, what I'd really like is both major parties remember that we're
people, not numbers. Treating people humanely might cost a few extra
dollars but sitting here in what we like to trumpet as, "the lucky
country", we can afford it. I'm sad that I'm being forced to vote for
the party with the least number of despicable policies rather than the
best one. If you don't agree then that's fine but I'm over arguing about
it. Let's vote and then ride our bikes.

Redgum - Killing Floor (If You Don't Fight You Lose) -

I'll finish with two great Aussie rock tunes. I'm in that sort of mood.
Guitars, volume and a groove.

Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy)

Rose Tattoo - Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw -


DJ Rob

Not sent from my iPhone
Twitter: @robwoozle