Saturday, April 26, 2014

Song of the Week #295

On Wednesday night I was fortunate enough to see one of my all time favourite performers for the first time. Steve Earle played at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney and H and I were there in the fourth row for what turned out to be a memorable evening. 

Kasey Chambers opened the evening. I expected her voice to annoy me and it did. She sings in tune, plays well, has a GREAT band, writes good songs but, to quote H, "she sings like a Dalek". I'm sorry but that's a fair call in my opinion. The put on uber twangy American accent gets harsh and metallic very quickly.

Steve and his band played for just over two hours and were fantastic. They must've played almost all of their current LP "The Low Highway" as well as a solid mix from his back catalogue. Highlights for me were "Billy Austin" - a song about prison and the death penalty in the USA, "Guitar Town" - it's just a cracker of a song and then "My Old Friend The Blues" which has a permanent spot in my Desert Island Discs.

Steve Earle - Billy Austin -

Steve Earle - Little Emperor -

Being in the fourth row was a surprise, all I'd done was sit online when the ticketing opened and booked two seats. The only real issue was that I expect some of the seats around us were freebies so it wasn't until Steve played "Copperhead Road" that a number of people came alive. Having said that, maybe it's just that H and I were, apart from Kasey Chambers' 21 year old banjo.violin player, the youngest people there!

Steve's guitar player (Chris Masterson) and violin player (Eleanor Whitmore) play in their own band called "The Mastersons". If you like rootsy Americana music then check them out. You're sure to enjoy it. After listening to a few tracks online I shot an email off to Chris about his guitars and also ordered their album.

The Mastersons - One Word More -

Every year, well for the last 5 at least, I've written something brief about ANZAC Day. It's about honour and respect and a simple thank you to those who deserve it. It's not a celebration and it's got nothing to do with glorification of war. With the rate of mental illness and suicide among our returned service personnel on the increase you'd be mad to think that ANZAC Day is a party. For those who serve, have served and their families it's a solemn occasion where they can pause to reflect on history, their mates and what it all might mean.

The kids got me Metallica's latest live DVD, "Through The Never", for my birthday. Being the considerate person that I am, and also taking into account clear instructions from DJ Al-ee-Sun, I waited until I was home alone to play it at significant volume. For Metallica fans it really is a no-brainer - buy it. The production values are impressive, the band play well and if it's your thing there is a back story running through the whole concert which isn't bad. The version I have is in 3D and 2D bluray but I'll admit that I've only had it on in 2D so far. 9/10 rating for fans. For casual listeners, all the hits and classic tunes are here with a top notch performance and package.

Metallica - Creeping Death (live) -

DJ TC from the USA sent me vinyl copies of two albums from "The Dollyrots" as well as some digital downloads. He was awesome too in that he got the band to sign one of the LPs. I've had a couple of listens so far and my feet are still tapping. Look out for a full review in the next couple of weeks. If you like The Ramones & Saturday morning cartoons then this is for you.

The Dollyrots - Come and Get It -

The last song this week comes from a guy that I heard of after cheking out recommendations from Little Stevie. You know him right? The guy from Bruce Springsteen's band who is also in Lilyhammer? I figured he should know a good tune if he heard one and I think I was correct. Try this from Kurt Baker. There's a definite Elvis Costello influence but that's not a bad thing.

Kurt Baker - Don't Go Falling In Love -

I need a couple of volunteers to trial my new Song of the Week project. It's a secret for now. But, if you're NOT a music tragic like me and fancy expanding your musical horizons please drop me an email. All you need to be able to do is agree to listen to 6 songs and get back to me with what you thought. Dot points is fine!

That's all this week. I've got a bike to ride now.

DJ Rob

This space intentionally blank this week.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Song of the Week #294

Song of the Week comes to you on this auspicious occasion from Port Macquarie on the New South Wales coast. It's a top spot for a bit of a break. DJ Al-ee-sun and I were here in 1993 on our honeymoon. This time it's most likely our last family holiday before DJ Z-boots leaves home.

Let's get the occasion out of the way first. It's my birthday. That's 43 laps around the sun completed. Frankly I feel a lot younger than I did a few years ago and that's a good thing. I think the upside of giving away triathlon and especially running in favour of so much cycling is that my back is a lot happier. I had a running battle (good pun there folks) with my knees and back for years and it really ground me down. Cycling seems to have been the answer.

Speaking of riding, let me just say again that although Port Macquarie has roads deader than a dodo, the drivers here are fantastic. So many of them have given me heaps of room as well as a smile and a wave. The beat up about cyclists vs motorists is nearly all down to the media in my opinion. There are stupid drivers and stupid cyclists too but they are the minority.

H-Block 101 - Group Dynamics -

On Wednesday DJ Ali-G and I took a drive out to Laurieton, visited the bike shop (well worth a look) and scoped out North Brother Mountain. It's a 5 km climb that just doesn't let up. DJ Ali-G did the sensible thing and drove home the next morning...early. I was less sensible and rode the 33km into a headwind on harsh roads to the base of the climb. And then after a deep breath I rode up. And up. And still up. It was a cracker of a hill and I almost didn't make it. However, after 29 mins I was there - but only just. Coming down was insanely scary and I'd rather climb the hill again than repeat the descent.

In groovy birthday news the family got me an iRig HD. What? It's a connector for a guitar that allows connection to an iPhone/iPad or computer. Once you download the app that goes with it you get access to tons of different amplifier and effects simulators. The free downloads that I have here sound pretty authentic. When I get to a better internet connection I'll look at some more. I've only played with it for a little while but I can see some excellent rehearsal, recording and performance applications for the iRig.

H has reported in from Canberra that ticket sales for both Oils shows are solid. If you're thinking of coming along then book NOW by giving Teatro Vivaldi's a call. Also have a look out in the current issue of "Canberra Weekly" for a full page spread about the band and shows. Don't miss out this time as the only other way to see this show will be to come to Tingha in the middle of the year.

There was a lot of speculation during the week about the health of AC/DC founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. It took a while but the word from the band is that he is unwell and would appreciate some privacy. They also said that the band would make music again so that's a good thing. I wonder if they were thinking of this song when they thanked their "legion of fans"...

AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) -

Tomorrow is Record Store Day here in Australia. Can I encourage you to get out and support your local independent store? Mine is Landspeed Records in Canberra and they are great. Sadly I'll miss out this year being away but they get enough of my money anyway! There are some cool special discs to be had and tons of good deals. If you're an NPR listener then check them out online for some unreleased gems from artists like The Pogues, Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen.

When my family asked me what I wanted for my birthday I threw together a list of options to give them some clues. One thing on that list was a rock t-shirt. After all, one can never have too many. Well, the really hit the nail on the head with a Bruce Springsteen shirt - too cool!

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire -

That'll do this week. 

And for those that know me very well...yes; I HAVE been to the beach. Sand has not touched my feet but I was there.

DJ Rob
"If you don't like Hank Williams buddy, you can kiss my..." - Kris Kristofferson -

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

World Wide Woozle on the road April 2014 #1

Welcome to a holiday extra episode from the team that brings you Song of the Week. This week, HQ World Wide Woozle has relocated to the mid north coast town of Port Macquarie. It's pretty good so far with great weather, decent coffee and good company. Apart from the family I brought along my road bike, guitar and the ancient netbook that I'm typing on now. I'm fairly sure that this netbook will soon have the Linux distro called "Elementary" installed on it as Windows is running like a slow dog panting on a hot day. All I really need to do is check that it'll recognise my Garmin (bike GPS computer) without Windoze.

I brought along my little Blackstar 1 watt valve guitar practice amplifier as well. Until the other day I hadn't realised that it also has an input jack for an MP3 player. I plugged the iPod into it and I must say that even though its only got a small speaker the sound is better than most docks I've used. At the moment a classic Australian album is pumping out in glorious mono; Tumbleweed's "Galactaphonic". Probably one of the best stoner rock LPs I've listened to.

Tumbleweed - Hang Around -

Port Macquarie is the home of Ironman Australia and I must give a huge amount of respect to anyone who has done the race. DJ Big-Al and I have ridden most of the bike course the last two mornings. I must admit that I am truly horrified that an Ironman event would be conducted on such a dreadful surface. Apart from being quite dead, it's full of potholes and nasty patch jobs. I must give a shout out to the majority of car and truck drivers around here though, they are courteous and watchful for bikes. After poor weather and illness last week meant my lowest kilometre count in 18 months (for 7 days) it's been great to be out in the sunshine riding.

In last week's regular episode I spoke about iTunes radio and the general hilarity and coolness that was the "Hair Metal" channel. Well, I'm sorry but you're all going to have to wait until I have a more reliable internet connection for me to recommend tunes and provide you with links. Maybe it's the hotel, maybe it's the weather or maybe it's a plot by mainstream radio to keep me from sharing hook laden egocentric rock and roll with you! Let's see if I can get just one link as a taster...

Dokken - Burning Like A Flame -

Speaking of radio, Triple J has obviously recognised that they have alienated a fair percentage of their "older" listening audience. The announcement that Double J radio is starting up shortly with people like me (original JJJ listeners who grew up) in mind. Sadly, it's only available on digital radio and the nation's capital won't get it broadcast here anytime soon. It's all good if you're in Melbourne or Sydney and already have a decent range of radio stations...grrrrrrr!
Righto, I'm on holidays so that'll do for today. Watch out on Friday for a regular Song of the Week episode. 

DJ Rob

Friday, April 11, 2014

Song of the Week #293

With  only a few weeks to go until I hit 300 episodes there are changes afoot here at the World Wide Woozle. For a start I'm going to focus a little more on why I've chosen the tunes and perhaps the artists as well. For a while at least there may be a few less songs but quite possibly just as much to read. If you don't like it then tell me. If you do then I'd love to know as well. You'll read more about other changes in the weeks to come. I can also promise some bumper "side editions" as I'm on holidays for a couple of weeks. These will appear in the blog ( and if you're subscribed to that you'll see them as well as via notifications on Facebook and Twitter (@robwoozle),

A quick update on the saga of my old red guitar. I went and collected it today. The repair guy (Nick at Better Music, Canberra) has been great. He's kept me informed via phone and email at every step and has answered all my questions with good grace and humour. Anyway, when I picked it up he plugged it into a rather tasty Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp and turned it up LOUD. Yep, it sounded great. I'm hoping that the guitar and my small amplifier will fit in the car to go away - I've got loads of tasty Strat style songs just itching to be played!

So, for song number one this week we'll have one of the masters of the Stratocaster. I once played in a band with a guy who could play almost anything Stevie Ray Vaughan did seemingly without effort. It was a joy to play rhythm behind him. My love of SRV started way back in the early 90s and continues to this day. In terms of a tasteful blues player they don't come much better. Really any of his albums is a good starting point but 1989's "In Step" is probably the best in terms of production, consistency and great playing. Stevie was sober for that album...but for none of the previous ones.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Crossfire -

My second song this week comes from John Cougar Mellencamp. I've played in bands that have played a couple of his songs, usually "Jack & Dianne" or "Lonely Old Night". But when I started hanging around with DJ Al-ee-Sun she had a copy of his "Scarecrow" album. It's a great listen from start to finish. If you like good honest rock 'n' roll with lyrics about real people and a tinge of country then you won't be disappointed. If, like me, you love the sound of guitars played straight through a classic amplifier without much high tech wizardry then, again, give it a spin.

John Cougar Mellencamp - Rain On The Scarecrow -

Finally we have Gary Moore. I went back this week and watched his live DVD which was a tribute to Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. Gary played with Thin Lizzy for a while and then became a rock god and then a blues genius later on. Sadly he died in his early 50s. The DVD showcases his beautiful thick bluesy guitar tone and tasteful playing. He can go from a full on roar to a whisper with consumate ease. To be honest, his rock stuff was always my favourite but, I'm in a blues mood so see what you think of this...

Gary Moore - Walking By Myself (live) -

So there you have it. A short, but focussed episode. Look out during the week for a bit of a "hair metal" special edition inspired by my almost instant hatred of Triple J radio coupled by my recent conversion to iTunes Radio. If you like bands like Poison, Faster Pussycat, Extreme, Guns n Roses, LA Guns and Winger then tune in....

That's it. Goodnight all.

DJ Rob
"You've got to put your faith in a loud guitar..." - KISS, 1991.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Song Of The Week #292

Yesterday I went on an excursion to the steel works at Port Kembla. The last time I was there was as a university student on a similar tour. All those years ago the good people at BHP weren’t all that happy about me calling them “environmental terrorists”. And while I stand by the comments at that time and place I can reassure you all that I was well behaved yesterday. It was a very long day trip this time compared to the two or three days we spent in the area back in the early 90’s when we stayed in a dodgy pub!

Blackfoot - Diary of a Working Man -

I was educated on the bus with a couple of movies watched en route. Note that this was a Year 9 outing. The funniest moment was me realising that Channing Tatum was a boy’s name. Oh, and if I never see another Miley Cyrus movie it will be too soon. At least they watched Captain America.

We love rain here in Australia but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it just needs to rain in the evenings. All this daytime rain is getting in the way of cyclists all over the place especially me. The only good thing about the car, other than being safe and dry, is the stereo. Some songs just seem made for the sound systems in a car, here’s a case in point.

Sammy Hagar – There’s Only One Way To Rock –

It’s 20 years since Kurt Cobain from Nirvana died. I was fairly harsh at the time about the circumstances of his death. These days, with a little more life behind me I’m rather more thoughtful.

Nirvana - Aneurysm (live) -

Also 20 years ago I was away with the Army learning how to take over the world with computers. DJ NotSoFatHenry and I met on this three month course and remain firm friends to this day. We both worshipped at the altar of Henry Rollins' album, "Weight". I have him and his wife DJ Ducky to thank for getting me into Bowie and some other cool music. The guitar squeals in this one are a real treat.

David Bowie - The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell -

Some fads are cool and some are just annoying. The "selfie" craze drove me mad yesterday. Here's two songs that I thought of ...

Ringo Starr - Photograph -

Carly Simon - You're So Vain -

I heard Dan Sultan playing this week on SBS TV's "RockWiz". I was struck by the smoothness of his voice and also that he had a banjo player with him. Cool song...album released today!!

Dan Sultan - The Same Man -

I read this week that Nils Lofgren has been playing with the Boss for 30 years now. You can read the article here should you so choose. He recalls playing some cover songs on the recent Australian tour. Nils also says that no-one plays The Easybeats "Friday On My Mind" because it's too much work....oh really....

Gary Moore - Friday On My Mind -

The Rubens - Friday On My Mind -

David Bowie - Friday On My Mind -

Point made.

Here's a few songs that I've enjoyed playing live in the past. The Midnight Oil tunes are a lot of fun but the concentration that goes into a lot of them at the moment is fairly intense. These are simpler tunes that were just fun to bash out.

First up is one that every single Mr. Walker (my first real band) gig started with...

Georgia Satellites - Hippy Hippy Shakes -

Then there's this one...I enjoyed it because it meant the other guitar player wailed on the sax and you could hear me playing!

Beast of Burden - Bette Midler -

And another gig starter with a different band...

The Screaming Jets - C'mon -

Earlier this week the band played a closed rehearsal to a select audience. A month out from the two Canberra shows we felt that some feedback from punters was a good idea. It was pretty cool to line up the gear as it will be on stage and then proceed to rock out for a couple of hours. Getting Zoë up to sing some backing was a lot of fun as well. No-one would deny that there are still areas that need polishing but the show’s looking good. Seats are selling well so book soon or miss out. Teatro Vivaldi’s at the ANU is the place to throw into your search engine of choice.

Motorhead - We Are The Road Crew -

Anyone would think that I only liked loud music after this episode. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in today. But in the interests of balance wrap your ears around this effort from Nils Lofgren. It's a quiet version of a classic.

Nils Lofgren - Like A Hurricane -

Repeat after me, "no rain tomorrow, no rain tomorrow, no rain tomorrow....". My first guitar teachers loved this song.

Joe Feliciano - Listen To The Rain -

I'll finish with the sobering thought that Syrian refugees now make up 1/4 of Lebanon's population. Something to think about whilst our government pats itself on the back for stopping boat people trying to come here.

That'll do pig, that'll do,

DJ Rob

"And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem" - Steve Earle, Jerusalem, 2002 (song starts about 5:45)