Friday, May 30, 2014

Song of the Week #300

Hello and welcome to episode 300. That represents about 6 years of my sometimes random drivel flooding inboxes and web browsers. To those that have been along for the whole ride please accept my thanks and sympathy!

We've been online via the blog since episode 55. DJ KOT was the one who told me to get my ideas off a small email list and into public. The blog has over 10,000 hits now so I guess someone out there is reading and listening.

I was going to put the first results of my new project here this week but I've decided to let it go a bit longer. I have two more things to finish off for it to be a bit more fully formed so please watch this space.

This week I spent two days at the Australian National University doing some professional development. More on that maybe next week. The course, apart from being awesome, afforded me the rare luxury of the chance to sit alone in the sun at lunchtime and just think. And what I thought about was what to include here in episode 300. You have to remember that I didn't go to a "normal" university so to sit quietly among such a diverse group of people was pretty neat really. I may have eavesdropped on a couple of conversations and it was refreshing to hear people speak with genuine enthusiasm and passion about whatever they were studying. Better than the whole 51% nonsense.

Anyway, I reflected quietly on Song of the Week. The best responses I've ever had were to the Desert Island Disc series. But I've already revealed my choices so that was a non-starter. So what I've done is take a bit of a sideways step. When I first began Song of the Week my whole idea was just to send a single song through for people to listen to. What my plan is this week is to play some songs that aren't necessarily my all time favourites and might not be in my Desert Island Discs. What they are is songs that I really, really hope that you'll listen to. I think they are worth your time and I'll let you know why.

This one should be fairly obvious I suppose. The lyrical content certainly doesn't relate but it's a great track. One day I'll sit down and learn all the beautiful, but fiddly, guitar parts. But I'd need a Fender Jazzmaster there's a thought!

Elvis Costello - Alison -

Metallica are next. Again, the lyrics aren't up to all that much in terms of why the song is important. I wasn't a Metallica fan really until about 1989. When I got around to digging into their back catalogue this track from their debut album really held my interest. It's the intro, the great chug on the E string in the verses and the change of tempo later on in the song. At some stage I learned most of the parts on guitar. One of my favourite moments was, as a teacher, being asked to go along and play some guitar with a bunch of students. After a while of sitting in I ripped out the intro to this track and, with big grins all around, we played the whole song three or four times. If you only listen to one Metallica track ever, then I think it should be this one.

Metallica - Seek and Destroy -

This one might surprise a few of you. It was an AM radio staple when I was young. When I just had a nylon string acoustic guitar I'd play the first few bars over and over and over. It taught me how to strum. These days I just think it's a great track with a catchy solo too. I like the subtle phasing on the guitar and giggle at the finger clicks.

Eddie Rabbit - I Love A Rainy Night -

In 1989 I was taken to see Pink Floyd's "The Wall" at Electric Shadows here in Canberra. I'd heard the album before but seeing the movie was a rather intense and pivotal moment for me. I don't drink and I don't do drugs but I can guarantee you that I walked into the cinema as sober as can be and the movie got me stoned. Wow. If you haven't seen it on a big screen then you must. I understand what this song is about in the context of the film/album story line but I'm sure that most people can relate to a point in their life where they lose grip on reality. In my opinion this song contains the greatest ever rock guitar solo.

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb -

My mate Garry sent me a CD one day from a band I knew nothing of. I still know very little about them but this song is funny and sad all at the same time. The harmonica work is good to. It makes my squeaky attempts laughable. RIP my friend and thanks for all the tune recommendations.

Alabama 3 - U Don't Dans 2 Tekno Anymore -

Now for a song where the lyrics most certainly do matter. I've been plugging this song for ages. You can substitute the word "Scotland" for almost any western country. I'm well and truly sick of people bagging out immigrants. Especially in Australia and the USA when the vast majority of us have roots in other countries.

The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story -

I've liked the next song since the first moment I heard it. Earlier this week I heard a speech that made something very clear for me about Australia's Stolen Generation, something I probably hadn't really understood and that's the effect it still has on people to this day, people my age and younger. This song makes even more sense now. It's one that I'm going to have to get H and the band to learn.

Archie Roach - From Paradise -

We're almost there now so hang in there. In terms of noisy rock music with attitude and great lyrics it's hard to go past Henry Rollins. I remember seeing him for the first time in 1994 and I've never been quite the same. Rollins channels rage, frustration, anger and deep thought into the heaviest jazz records ever. Lately he's an author, film star, TV host, radio DJ and publisher. But he was at the top of his game with a loud band and a big PA.

Rollins Band - Disconnect -

Some people take all this music talk far too seriously. I read a fair few online music magazines, blogs and the like. For most music there is a time and a place. And sometimes you just need a good laugh. It's like gallows humour or a seriously off joke - a release valve. The last song this week really fits into that category. Here's a clue folks - they're not serious. It's a hoot; there should be more of this.

Supersuckers - Born With A Tail -

Thanks for playing along. Who knows what might happen next week?!

DJ Rob
"I went back to the store
they sold me four more
the guy told me at the door
it's a piece of crap..." Neil Young, Piece of Crap, 1994

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