Friday, January 31, 2014

Song of the Week #283

Back to work this week. It's always a bit of a shock after the long Summer holidays. My legs are taking a pounding getting used to cycling twice a day even though this is meant to be an easy week!

I'm not sure that there are huge advantages to all the weight I lost but I can tell you that hot weather really doesn't bother me anymore. In days gone by when the temperature got into the 30's I really used to struggle but yesterday I was riding home and the bike computer declared that it was 38 degrees - I felt just fine.

Angus is back from his 'adventure' at the coast. We had to take him straight to the hospital to have his foot sorted out. A 10mm puncture wound into a nerve has certainly slowed him down a little bit. It was amusing with me in the ER waiting room and Alison sending me text updates from where the doctor was using implements of destruction on Angus' foot. Everyone agreed that they didn't need me in there because they would've ended up with another patient.

If you didn't know already Pete Seeger died this week. It's hard to know what to say about him. His influence is so broad and so many people know at least a few of his songs. Let's just play a couple.

Pete Seeger - Turn, Turn, Turn -

Pete Seeger - If I Had A Hammer -

BBC item with Billy Bragg talking about Pete Seeger -

I went to see the latest Coen Brothers film, "Inside Llewyn Davis" the other day. It's not a fantastic movie but it's far from dreadful. I think that it's one that actually gets better a few days after you've seen it and bits sink in. Essentially it's about a week or so in the life of a struggling folk singer in the early 1960s. It has a great soundtrack and a cat steals the show. But, for me, there were too many things left open ended or undeveloped. This is a song from the film that is also very much one from my childhood. It's originally by Tom Paxton. The guy who sings it in the film has his character loosely based on him.

Stark Sands and Punch Brothers - The Last Thing On My Mind -

To be totally frank with you all dear listeners I am worn out. I'm not usually one of the TGIF brigade but today I certainly am. I'll be riding home the short way and probably falling in a heap. I very rarely sleep in but this would be the ideal moment!

Divinyls - Sleeping Beauty -

This next song I may have played before but I can't remember. DJ Broose and I played it a long time ago in a covers band. Australian Crawl were a fantastic band who, not unlike Midnight Oil, deviated far enough from the pub rock sound to make it interesting without alienating their mainstream audience. My favourite line in this song is, "we went a-walking down on Rodeo Drive, saw Barry Gibb he was stayin' alive".

Australian Crawl - La Califusa -

And of course "Stayin' Alive" has just one of the coolest riffs ever. It would be remiss of me not to play it.

Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive -

Yesterday I wanted to listen to a new DVD I have. But I forgot that new laptops don't come with optical drives anymore. It's not outdated technology in my book. Here's the band I thought would keep me going through a few admin tasks!

Hayseed Dixie - I Love Rock 'n' Roll -

Let's finish with a band that I listen to sporadically. To me they are much better live and their performances that I've seen are a lot better than the majority of their contemporaries.

Aerosmith - Walk This Way (live) -

I still maintain that I could be a huge rock star if I had some hair! Ha ha!

That's it folks.

DJ Rob

"Rock and roll is here to stay" - Neil Young (My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the blue) 1979)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Song of the Week #282

It's been an interesting week. My son (15) is on holiday at the coast with another family. On Monday Angus and his friend went out for a short walk. And they didn't come back. What transpired was that they'd gone along the beach but had been caught out by the tide coming in and had been unable to retrace their steps. The result was that, sans shoes, phones and any water they got lost in the bush for 8 hours trying to get back home. To cut a long story short, after drinking from puddles, getting covered in leaches and cutting their feet to shreds they were found. The family that Angus is on holiday were fabulous and continue to be so we're very lucky there. Although Alison and I didn't know for the whole time he was missing I can assure you that it's a truly horrible feeling. Anyway, he's OK apart from his feet.

The Badloves - Lost -

In exciting news, the band is back for 2014. We're booked in for two Midnight Oil tribute shows on 3rd and 10th of May here in Canberra. Even bigger news is that we're going on the road in the middle of the year to play some tunes for the people of Tingha. There are some big non-Oils gigs as well for 2014 so watch this space. If you want to come to either of the Oils shows then you need to book fairly soon. Last year's performances were sold out. Get some friends and call Teatro Vivaldi's on 02 6257 2718 to reserve a table. I can guarantee no lip sync and no autotune. Just real rock 'n' roll.

Midnight Oil - The Real Thing (live) -

As I was putting the finishing touches to this week's episode Cousin Trish popped up on Facebook with a note about her love of Scottish band Del Amitri. They are definitely one of my favourites as well so it seems like a good idea to play one of their tunes. I feel that they are cruelly underrated and deserved a lot more success than they got. Great guitars and melodies. This is the first track from their 1992 album "Change Everything". Another cassette I wore out.

Del Amitri - Be My Downfall -

Keeping it in the family for a moment, the next tune is for my sister. She's having some issues with stand-over merchant tradesmen...not fun.

The Cruel Sea - Better Get A Lawyer -

Argh! This is turning into the family episode. In the immortal words of John Bird..."I can't see no going back now"! My fantastic daughter Z-boots has had enough of working for the multinational cholesterol, sugar and burger joint starting with M. And she's taken action - getting a job at my favourite coffee shop on the spot and therefore starting tomorrow. Not to mention that DJ Ben-E has been kind enough to train her up as a swimming instructor and she'll be drown proofing kids in a few weeks -that's a great skill set. So, she got a new job and on Thursday she had a haircut...then she made a joke about this song. Z-boots is awesome!

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - Get A Haircut (live) -

Grandad Bill loves cars. A few years ago now his pride and joy, a Mini Cooper S (rescued from Australia, flown to NZ and lovingly restored) was badly damaged on the race track. Bill and his car loving network put it back together over a long period of time and then decided that someone else should have a chance to love it. I've driven said Mini and it was wonderful. Imagine sitting on top of a jet engine and that's the feeling you got. Anyway, the restored and better than perfect Mini was sold. Sadly, it was involved in an accident a couple of weeks ago in the pit lane and Bill was there to see it. Very sad indeed. We're thinking of you Grandad Bill!!

John Fogerty - Hot Rod Heart -

Finally there has been resolution in the great amplifier trade in debacle of 2014. I went to another guitar shop (hello Better Music Canberra) and after a stalled start they got themselves sorted out. A young man (I can say that now that I'm old) called Alec showed me a heap of amplifiers and left me alone to try them out. Then he offered me a great deal on my Marshall. So it's gone and I am now the proud owner of a Mesa/Boogie guitar amp that is loud and that I can lift. If you're interested in amps then shoot me an email or a message via some other platform and I can tell you all about why it is so cool. It's a shame that after 15 years I don't have my name on my amplifier but it's the sound that counts.

John Lee Hooker - Boogie Chillen -

To answer last week's quiz question...and only DJ Dr came close...the link between Nightwish, Green Day and The Who is the bass guitar that Marco Hietala is playing in the live clip. It's a "Buzzard" bass which was designed and made famous by John Entwistle of The Who. Click here for a picture.

I'll finish with this next song. Why? Why not. I Was reminded of this excellent track whilst watching "American Horror Story". Weird show but worth watching.

The Ramones - Pinhead -

Back to work shortly...

DJ Rob

Friday, January 17, 2014

Song of the Week #281

Another week and another guitar shop. This one was better. Great guitar selection and no hassles about letting me try anything and everything. Then when I'd decided on a really, really nice amplifier I was told that the guy who does all the deals on trade ins is away until February. That's just great. There's still one more guitar place left in town so maybe I'll be brave and go there next week. Just in case anyone is interested in the guitar that both Zoë and I fell in love with and managed to walk away from click here!

Manowar - All Men Play On Ten (live 2008) -

Of course we all know that Spinal Tap famously played on 11 but that's music for another day.

DJ Pastry Chef very kindly gave me an iTunes voucher recently. The process of choosing something to buy was agonising and fun all at once. I selected an album that I'm extremely unlikely to ever see in a record shop; Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes live in 1978. The band are contemporaries of Springsteen and you can hear clear influences both ways. It's a raucous and fun live album full of what others call "blue eyed soul" but I just think of as good, honest rock 'n' roll.

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes - Without Love (1977) -

Springsteen has a new LP out right now called "High Hopes". The reviews are very, very mixed. Check back in a couple of weeks and I'll let you know what I think.

With the vagaries of iTunes pricing I had enough credit left over to buy a single song. I chose this next one from Nightwish. I love the studio version and I've also very much enjoyed their recently released live DVD. You need to see the keyboards setup to believe it! Also, the bass player has a rather special bass guitar; points to anyone who knows who made that particular style of guitar famous.

Nightwish  - Storytime (live 2013) -

Lemmy from Motorhead is an interesting character. In a magazine I was reading this week he selected a whole lot of tunes that come on the "free" CD. And they are great - classic rock and roll from the earliest days when life was apparently much simpler. Here's a couple that he chose that really made my toes tap. Listen for the chika-chika guitar in this one - you'll also hear that style in many of Johnny Cash's tracks.

Eddie Cochran - C'mon Everybody (1958) -

And then there was this classic. I enjoyed it so much that I dragged out the greatest hits LP that I got for Christmas in maybe 1986!

Buddy Holly - That'll Be The Day (1957) -

All you listeners out there should've twigged by now that I enjoy a fair amount of heavy rock and metal. But the genre known as "Black Metal" never interested me. I tried and just never really got it. Maybe it's the shrieked vocals or the low quality recordings or just the whole idea but it isn't for me. Darkthrone are one of the most influential bands of this type. If you try their albums such as "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" or "Transilvanian Hunger" you might, like me be turned off the band. But, they are interesting in that their sound develops and changes over time. They aren't stuck wailing the same thing now that they were in the 90's. I was convinced to listen to their latest album on the strength of a review and I'm glad I did. Darkthrone have evolved into a band that sound like a mix of Slayer, Motorhead, King Diamond and perhaps Duran Duran. OK, one of those is not quite true. Their album "The Underground Resistance" is 42 minutes and 6 tracks of really, really good metal. If you like the aforementioned bands or those that came out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest and Venom then this is worth a listen. It's also scary to me how close a lot of the LP is to sounding like Australia's own Armoured Angel. All in all, an album that is a huge surprise to me. It's quite a while since I've wanted to listen over and over to an entire LP.

Darkthrone - Lesser Men (2013) -

Finally, Green Day. I chanced upon a live CD/DVD set of theirs for $12. Given that I think that they are a good fun band who write punk style songs with great hooks I was parted from my money. Great record, great concert (live in Tokyo). I wouldn't mind going to see them one day. Not everything needs to be hipster cool or serious.

Green Day - My Generation (live 2011) -

Mega bonus points if you can work out why I chose that song instead of a Green Day original. Surely someone is paying close attention this week...

The guitar that Billie Joe Armstrong is playing in that clip is a Fernandes Strat copy that his Mum bought him when he was 11. That's cool.

That's all for this week. Yeah, it's been hot, I've been cycling and I've been trying to liquidate my action figure collection but that's not all that interesting.

DJ Rob

Friday, January 10, 2014

Song of the Week #280

I hate guitar shops. They are populated by young men who polish guitars and can play Van Halen's "Eruption". And I can never think of anything to play.

Van Halen - Eruption -

Today I visited to try out some amplifiers. My Marshall is just too big (physically) and it annoys me carrying it around. I'd done my research and I had a couple of amps I wanted to audition. The first step was good; they had what I wanted to test. And the second step was OK too - they lugged it into the test room and plugged it in. But then things went downhill. After being quizzed about my current guitars and amps I was handed a cheap electric to try the amp out with. I was a bit shocked but decided just to roll with it. The amp was good so my research was worth it apparently. But when I asked to demo something different (a Vox) the store guy recommended something else. Fair enough, he's the expert I guess. So I plugged in and turned up. Again the amp was good. I agreed to bring my Marshall in next week for some trade discussions as well as to try the amps with my own guitars. When I got home I nearly fell off my chair - the second amp that was recommended to me is more than double the price of what I had been trying out. All I can say is that they better have a very good price for my Marshall. Wow. I'm open to suggestions for amps to try out. I'm looking for something all valve, up to 50 watts and with separate eq settings for each channel. And next time I'll be grabbing a nice guitar.

Englebert Humperdinck - Ten Guitars -

Just quietly, I think I liked the cheaper amp better anyway. Maybe it's my Scottish ears.

Last week I sat down to watch a few movies and to read a few books. Other than riding my bike those are pretty much my favourite holiday activities! "The Big Red One" is the story of part of the US Army all the way through WWII. It's a long movie but then I guess it was a long war. Lee Marvin was in it and was very well cast as a grizzled Sergeant. Mark Hamill is there as well and he plays the innocent young soldier quite well. But Lee is the best.

Lee Marvin - Wandering Star -

I also watched "Red" and "Red 2" which have Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren starring in them. These are great movies! If you like a good action movie that actually has a story as well as a few laughs then these come highly recommended. Did you know Bruce could sing? No, neither did I.

Bruce Willis - Devil Woman -

I was really hoping that he'd covered Cliff Richard but it's not to be!

Cliff Richard - Devil Woman -

DJ SamSpam gave me "AC/DC: The Ultimate Illustrated History" for Christmas. Books about AC/DC are usually very patchy and full of conflicting information. Some of this is a function of the fact that then band really don't give much away. However, this book is really very good. It actually covers the whole history of the group rather than fizzling out in the mid 1980's. There are essays on each album by different writers. It was a bit disappointing that these conflicted in places with the main author - surely someone edited the book?? But, all in all it's the best book I've read on the band and I've read quite a few. Hopefully the band will release an authorised biography at some stage but I'm not holding my breath. The good thing about reading this was that I went back and listened to albums and tracks that I might usually avoid. With 16 studio albums there are bound to be a few duds but when you consider that these span 33 years it's not a bad effort. I'd listen to a less popular AC/DC track rather than many other bands best work. Here's a couple worthy of a listen that you won't hear on the radio or a greatest hits compilation.

AC/DC - Overdose (1977) -

AC/DC - This House Is On Fire (1983) -

The other book I read of note is "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith. It's a solid piece of crime fiction with a good storyline and, if you're like me and not all that good at guessing "whodunnit" then the ending is well crafted. Oh yeah, it's really written by JK Rowling. It's nothing like Harry Potter.

Stray Cats - I Fought The Law (1990) -

The other day I revisited the "Rock of Ages" movie. Now that we have a bigger TV coupled with the sound system I could see, hear and feel the quality that comes with BluRay. Such a fun movie and a great soundtrack. Along with "So I Married An Axe Murderer" it's guaranteed to make me smile.

Journey - Anyway You Want It (1980) -

Another film I finally got around to watching was the Coen Brothers, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Essentially I picked it because I had heard rave reviews about the soundtrack. The movie is strange. But strange in a good way. George Clooney plays a kook pretty well. For fans of this film there is another Coen Brother film about to open. "Inside Llewyn Davies" is about a New York folk musician. Given that the soundtrack is again being done by T-Bone Burnett it should be worth a look.

The Soggy Bottom Boys - I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow -

I'm a bit worried about our neighbours. They've just had their first child and today when I was working in the garage I heard this next song being played at quite significant volume. Maybe they're closet hippies and I haven't noticed. Cool song though even if I did play a different version last week!

Peter, Paul and Mary - Leaving On A Jet Plane (1969) -

Tune in next week for a band that I'm working on presenting to you. At the moment it's a bit like a cross between Zappa, Jon Lord and Iggy Pop. Bonus points if you can guess who it is (you can't play H).

Frank Zappa - My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama (1970) -


DJ Rob

Friday, January 3, 2014

Song of the Week #279

Welcome back brothers and sisters to the rock 'n' roll journey that may
twist and turn but never ends!

This week's episode is coming to you from Australia's Snowy Mountains.
We're here for a little bit as the area surrounding HQ Woozle have been
invaded by people pretending to be car enthusiasts. The cars are fine.
The noise is bearable. But the human traffic is not.

We only arrived here this afternoon so I haven't got too much to report.
However, Angus has been in the lake on a stand up paddleboard and a
kayak already. Tomorrow we've got some off-road Segway riding to look
forward to and then there are 25km of mountain bike trails to check out.
It's good to have a few days off the road bike. I had a 90km ride
yesterday that felt rotten.

It's a new year as well just in case anyone hadn't noticed. I don't do
resolutions for a number of reasons. But I did choose a theme song.

Glen Campbell - Try a little kindness -

I don't think I'm lacking in kindness really but it's more about how I
think about people. The bit in the song about not letting narrow minded
people ruin your day also resonates with me.

2014 holds two potentially fantastic gigs that I already have tickets
to. Billy Bragg at home in Canberra and Steve Earle in Sydney. Both of
these artists continue to have a significant influence on my musical
tastes so I can't wait to see them.

Steve Earle & The Dukes - Good Ole Boy (Gettin' Tough) -

I'm also very, very, VERY much looking forward to getting my guitar
chops back and playing some tunes with H, Chief and the rest of the
band. I started some rehearsing at home recently and I was pleased that
my playing wasn't too rusty. I've got some gear modifications to do in
terms of amplification so watch this space!

AC/DC - Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution -

I must admit I felt slightly lost this week. Zoƫ has been away at camp
and Angus has been working. Suddenly I felt a bit like I was surplus to
requirements. Luckily, DJ Al-E-Sunshine pointed me in the right
direction and I'm on more of an even keel I think!

Billy Bragg - To Have And To Have Not -

Hmmm, that's probably enough for this week as I'm on holidays from work,
home, social media and the washing!

John Denver - Leaving On A Jet Plane -

DJ Rob


I WANNA ROCK! - Twisted Sister - I Wanna Rock