Friday, May 29, 2015

Song of the Week #351

Well that stinking cold lasted a whole week and the after effects still linger. It rather thoughtfully morphed into a blocked sinus which was a real treat for me with flights to Melbourne and then on to Perth on Thursday. I thought I might pass out in the terminal after arriving in Western Australia but somehow managed to hold it together through a cab ride, meeting with my incoming CEO and then a presentation, meeting and dinner. I was glad to get to bed that night! 

All that remains now is a rather husky and decidedly rough voice. I won't be singing at the gig tomorrow night but then I never thought I was! "With my back to the riser I'll make my stand..."

Steve Earle - Guitar Town -

I've listened to a few bands in continuance of the bodacious rock and roll excellent journey and nothing has really grabbed me yet. This is a band I've tried to get into but it's not quite there (yet). Very much in the AC/DC mould but often I find the vocals a bit harsh sounding. If you watch any live footage however you'll be in no doubt that they give every show the maximum level of effort. Keep an eye on these boys from Australia. With the power of Roadrunner Records behind them they have every chance of success.

Airbourne - Back In The Game -

As you'll know dear listener if you've been paying even the slightest amount of attention; I'm off to Vanuatu on Monday. As a result Song of the Week will take a hiatus. There will be no episode next week. Short of doing a "pre-recorded" version there's no way of me accessing the internet where I'm going. What I will try and do is be in contact when I get back to Port Vila on the way home. My Iranian cab driver today thought that my efforts in trying to teach him Bislama were extremely funny, He already spoke four languages and had an Engineering Degree. I do wonder why so many people who come to Australia as well qualified professionals can't get our Government to recognise their degrees. You can't tell me we have an oversupply of Electrical Engineers. That's something for another day.

Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner -

On the plane flying to Perth I watched the film "Selma". If you don't know it, it's about the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and Dr Martin Luther King. I haven't read any reviews of it or information about how accurate it is at this stage. I thought it was a powerful and well made movie. One of those that makes you want to learn more about a topic. Tim Roth was absolutely fantastic as Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire -

A 2 hour time difference may not seem a lot but it has knocked me around. The sinus pain probably didn't help either. So that's it. You'll hear from me again in a couple of weeks.

Lukim yu! (see you later),


"...can't grow a beard or even fight, 
I lied about being the outdoor type..." - The Outdoor Type, The Lemonheads, 1996

Friday, May 22, 2015

Song of the Week #350

Listeners, this is going to be a relatively short episode. I've got a stinker of a cold and I have to work all weekend as well!

With the aid of DJ DJ and DJ Dr I have begun an excellent adventure. It's a bodacious quest to uncover new and exciting rock music. I'm not talking about new albums from bands that have been around for agers, but new(ish) stuff that hasn't hit a mass audience yet. Watch this space as we play air guitar, tell bad jokes and rock out.

Here are two bands worth a look. Firstly Vintage Trouble. Currently on tour across Europe with AC/DC, this US blues/rock/soul outfit have a fantastic debut album available (The Bomb Shelter Sessions) and a new one ready to go soon. It's like Ike and Tina crossed with Stevie Ray Vaughan and a barrel of monkeys.

Vintage Trouble - Pelvis Pusher -

Second cab off the rank are Kingswood. They hail from Australia and did rather well recently in online polls and the ARIA Awards. They're probably not as heavy as I expected but if you like Queens of the Stone Age or Pearl Jam then this might be your kind of thing.

Kingswood - I Can Feel That You Don't Love Me -

Rehearsals are all but over for our May 30th show. Thank you to all those who have already bought tickets. I'm not yet a Bob Dylan convert but he does have a few good moments!

Bob Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man (live) -

As part of our excellent rock and roll adventure we will investigate what we're calling the "Dolly's Effect". This is a theory postulating that most bands go downhill after their fourth album. There's more to it than that but we'll explore this over the next few months. Feel free to contribute to the discussion if you like. Dolly's was a food van; the post-gig bacon and egg roll with BBQ sauce was a thing of legends.

On Saturday Night DJ Al-ee-sunshine, DJ DJ and I went to see "Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be" which is a look at the life and times of Bon Scott. It was a show in the same mould as Looking Through A Glass Onion in that the songs were interspersed with anecdotes about Bon's life. Nick Barker (one of my favourite artists) was in charge and he had a smoking hot band playing along. The range of songs chosen from AC/DC, Fraternity, The Spektors and The Valentines were well selected. In my opinion the band absolutely nailed the "Let There Be Rock" era AC/DC sound. 

The Valentines - My Old Man's A Groovy Old Man -

AC/DC - Riff Raff -

Nick Barker - Time Bomb -

See you all next week...

DJ Rob

"...they don't have lightswitches in trouser pockets!", Spike Milligan, Badjelly The Witch.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Song of the Week #349

It's hard to know what to write about BB King. 89 years is more than a decent innings but I'm still sad. For me, his music isn't so much about the songs, it's about his guitar tone and his attitude. Even from the point of view of a fan who never even sat in the same room as BB, it's obvious that he was a true gentleman. My Friend DJ BudE did indeed meet Mr King twice and said that, "you could tell that he took the time with people no matter their age or status".

BB King - You're Gonna Miss Me -

U2's Rattle and Hum film and double LP marked a resurgence in interest in BB Kin'g music. It's probably my favourite "rockumentary". There are three pivotal moments in the movie for me. First is when the picture moves from black and white into stunning technicolour during "Where The Streets Have No Name". That bit is wasted on a small screen, you have to see it at the cinema to understand. The second bit is The Edge playing a Rickenbacker at Sun Studios during the recording of "Angel of Harlem"; it's almost the perfect sound. And then there's the footage with BB King which is sublime.

BB King and U2 - When Love Comes To Town (Rattle and Hum excerpt) -

Freddie King, Albert King and BB King are all gone now but the Blues lives on. "We Three Kings" indeed...

I've got nothing else this week. Buy yourself a ticket to see us play on May 30th, it's a great show.

DJ Rob

"The sky is cryin', look at the tears rolling down the street...", Elmore James, The Sky Is Crying, 1959.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Song of the Week #348

Spotify playlist for most of this week's tunes (and extras):

This week at rehearsal, after the tunes for the upcoming gig were duly rehearsed and pronounced to be "well on the way" something interesting happened. George and Chief began playing Bob Dylan songs. They kept going, and going, and on, and so forth, into the night. These were songs I didn't know. I've never been able to crack the whole Bob Dylan thing despite giving it a red hot go a couple of times. Seriously I don't get it. He chooses a chord progression and plays it ad infinitum. The lyrics are usually pretty cool but the repetition is just too much for me. The Bob songs chosen for our show are crackers, but I don't know how anyone listens to a whole album or concert. Musically there isn't enough going on for me. I guess I'm off a few Christmas card lists now. I take it everyone has heard the story about Jimi Hendrix being unwilling to sing on his first album and being told that if Dylan can do it anyone can!

Jimi Hendrix - Like A Rolling Stone -

The gig is still on May 30th so book now (at Vivaldis) and come along for an evening of carefully chosen tracks by Dylan, Lennon, Neil Young and Jason Isbell.

The new Isbell album is to be released very soon. The first track is available online now for a listen. See what you think.

I've bitten the bullet and booked my tickets to visit Zoë at Atavtabanga, Pentecost, Vanuatu. It's a bit of a challenge getting there including three flights on planes of decreasing size and then a ride in the back of a truck. It'll be an adventure if nothing else and I can't wait to see my girl and meet the people she's living with as well as her students. The countdown is on. 24 sleeps to go.

BB King is unwell. Very unwell. Having "hospice care" doesn't sound great although I am sure he is being well looked after. It's sad to hear that his children, lawyers and doctors are squabbling in the media. Stay classy folks.

BB King with Eric Clapton - Riding With The King -

A few years ago a limited edition Thin Lizzy 6 CD set was released. It contains live recordings made by them at the BBC. It's tough to get hold of and the only one I can find for sale is over $300. Ouch. Amazingly, the whole thing is on Spotify so I've been able to well and truly overdose on the swagger and power of Phil Lynott and the group. There's nary a dud moment in the whole collection which I must say, is pretty impressive. Thin Lizzy are still playing in one form or another. I listened to some newer stuff with an open mind and it's not half bad.

Thin Lizzy - The Warrior (Peel Session 1976) -

Natural disasters, riots, wars, poverty, injustice and any number of related events have the potential to really give you the blues. It's often difficult not to feel either helpless or persecuted depending on what's going on. We all get overloaded at times by the news and often the way it's presented. I'm no expert but I do know from experience the feeling of complete helplessness and despair and it's horrid. People turn to many different things to get through, some healthy and some destructive. My advice, for what it's worth, is not to try and change the whole world. Choose a part, do your bit and live your life. Surround yourself with positive people and, after due consideration, ditch the naysayers. I did enjoy a quote that I read this week, "whatever the question, music is the answer". If you're down in the dumps choose music that lifts you up. It's different for everyone. Here's a few tunes that always bring a smile to my dial...

John Denver - Annie's Song -

AC/DC - Ain't No Fun (Waitin' 'Round To Be A Millionaire) -

Billy Bragg - She's Got A New Spell -

Journey - Don't Stop Believin' -

That's all for this week folks. I've got a couple of cold hours to spend on the side of a football field and some Bislama revision to be getting on with.

Lukum yu!


"One heart, one love..." , Bob Marley, One Love, 1977.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Song of the Week #347

Spotify playlist for most of this week's tunes (and a couple of extras) -

This week I listened to a rather eclectic range of music. Some of this will feature below. I really do encourage you to listen to all the tracks, they are chosen carefully and I put a lot of thought into which ones I think might interest listeners the most.

I have the new Steve Earle album, "Terraplane". There's almost a Chicago Blues feel to some songs and a folky, country tinge to others. It's bluesy too. But it's not rock and roll as some of his previous work has been, not that you'd expect it to be. If you want to see Steve at his most energetic then it's on stage where this happens and he could be playing almost anything. Steve has continued his work with "The Mastersons" on this long player and their guitar and violin work is tasteful and fits in really well. "Terraplane" is probably a bit more old fashioned sounding album than his last release, "The Low Highway" but it should appeal to established fans as well as those with a non-yeehaw country/blues/folk bent. I've had a soft spot for Steve's music since the mid-2000s (I was late to the party), here's an older track.

Steve Earle - Someday -

...and one from the new album...

Steve Earle & The Dukes - Go Go Boots Are Back -

Yesterday Zoë and I headed off to the music store to organise a replacement ukulele for her to take to Vanuatu (she leaves on Sunday). The one she took previously had to be left behind. We have it on good authority that her family are making very good use of it though. Whilst Zoë dealt with another 15 minutes of fame I tried out a few ukes myself. I also had a bit of a bash on a ukulele-banjo and it was a lot of fun. Imagine a ukulele but with the body being like a miniature banjo. I'm saving all my pennies to pay for my flights to Vanuatu otherwise I might have been tempted to make a purchase! I grew up listening to this next artist, probably the best known exponent of this instrument. 

George Formby - When I'm Cleaning Windows -

This morning DJ HamerTime and I were cycling along the lake after devouring a world record stack of pancakes and we heard the unmistakable sound of bagpipes. I do understand that they are a rather polarising instrument but I've always liked them when they are played well. This morning there was a band playing at some kind of ceremony. We stopped to hear the band for a few moments. When I was in the Army all of that marching up and down (aka drill) was quite hard work but I still enjoyed it. The one time I got to be on parade with a pipe band was a definite highlight; you could see everyone's performance step up a notch.

Edinburgh Tattoo 2013 - Massed Pipes & Drums -

Do you have songs, albums or even a particular artist that you listen to when you're in a particular mood? Sometimes there's nothing better than your favourite tunes turned up loud to improve your outlook. Today I've had some classic rock playing in the background but yesterday was more challenging. Challenging enough for 7 Slayer studio albums in a row (chronologically of course, from "Show No Mercy" through to "Divine Intervention". I think it helped my productivity and the progression of the band was interesting to listen to as well. I'm a fan but I hadn't really spent any time with their first release. I was surprised at how much I actually liked it. It's more punk influenced than some of their later stuff. Don't get me wrong, it's still loud, fast and heavy but "Show No Mercy" has a different edge to it than the rest of their releases. Yes, I know that there are 11 studio albums as well as some live stuff but there are only so many hours in a day. I think I'll stick with the early stuff for a while and I've just realised that I don't have "Show No Mercy" on CD or LP. It must be on a cassette somewhere. That can go on my list to look out for another day. This next track is from 1990.

Slayer - War Ensemble -

Yes, I mentioned classic rock. I understand that it's often cheesy and really not all challenging listening but there's a time and place for most musical styles in my listening habits. 

Foreigner - Jukebox Hero -

DJ DJ is either still in Washington DC or on a plane jetting his way home. As a result of listening to far too much Henry Rollins as well as reading his books I've been exposed to a fair amount of music that came out of DC. If you have time to explore and listen there's some excellent punk, hardcore, funk and go-go music to get into. The really interesting thing is reading about and listening to some of these bands and discovering the links between the genres. The fact that Bad Brains started out as a Mahavishnu Orchestra type group is entertaining!

Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers - If It Ain't Funky -

Bad Brains - Banned In DC -

Just a quick reminder that tickets for our May 30th gig at Vivaldi's at the ANU here in Canberra are selling like ice creams on a hot day. Get yours now and enjoy a good meal and some tunes by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young & Jason Isbell all played with love, energy and enthusiasm. We've been rehearsing too so they should also sound good! You don't have to come for the meal, there is an option just to see the show - just talk to the friendly staff at Vivaldi's. Yep, this is a paying gig for us. Any money that I get will go towards helping in Vanuatu.

It makes me sad and angry to see rioting in Baltimore this week. I feel as though I have a bit of a personal connection as a longtime online friend of mine works in law enforcement there. He's been on the streets trying to keep people safe whilst angry mobs have looted and destroyed property. Looting, robbery and violence are crimes, it's not protesting. No-one is saying that the Police are perfect but this is hardly a constructive approach to take. I think it's time I played this song again...

Elvis Costello - What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understanding? -

It's the 1st of May. That's "May Day" or "International Workers Day" depending on who you are. Most of us are workers of one form or another and lucky enough to live where we can work without oppression. You don't need to be a left wing unionist to support workers' rights. It wasn't hard to choose an artist to close the show on such a day as this...

Billy Bragg - The Internationale -

Have a great weekend everyone.


"I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor,
don't bring me down..." - Don't Bring Me Down, ELO, 1979