Friday, December 23, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #409

It's absolutely no secret that I am not a fan of Christmas music. This year, whilst doing some family sanctioned decluttering I did my best to rid us of some Christmas music CDs but was thwarted in my attempt! I'm not fussed about the sentiment behind the song, religious or not, it's just the appalling tunes often murdered by contemporary musicians and singers. If we could just have the Elvis Christmas album all would be right in the world. 

Elvis Presley - I'll Be Home For Christmas -

I'm almost there in terms of my cycling goal for 2016. Just a couple of hundred km left and with relatively good weather forecast for a while I should romp it in. And then I'll clean my bike which is desperately in need of some love! If I can get myself motivated it might get a tub tomorrow. I'm sure to be aided and abetted by the dog. 

If you didn't listen to Giuda from last week's blog entry and watch the video I still think you're missing out. Worth it for the boots and the stomping of said footwear. Noddy Holder would be proud.

Slade - Get Down & Get With It (live) -

I may have played this track already but I really don't care. It rolls around with alarming regularity on my listening devices and never fails to make me tap my foot or hum along. It's a great version of a Springsteen classic.

The Beat Farmers - Reason to Believe -

After last week's comments I had an (unrelated) conversation with someone about their love for Bon Jovi. To be fair, she'd been a fan since the first album came out in 1984. She's still very much worshipping at the altar of Jon Bon and his buddies so more power to her. I remember "Slippery When Wet" being released and playing the cassette over and over (Europe's "Final Countdown" was on the other side!). They wrote some great songs without a doubt.

Bon Jovi - Raise Your Hands -

Everyone has guilty listening pleasures, the bands that you might be a little bit sheepish about listening to but in the car, on your own, you sing along knowing every word. Here are a couple of mine...

REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling -

Poison - Look What The Cat Dragged In -

Feargal Sharkey - You Little Thief -

We went along to see the new Star Wars film this week. I won't post any spoilers for those yet to see it. In my opinion it is running very close to being the best Star Wars film ever. Big call I hear you say! Well that's my opinion. Rogue One is fun, fast and true to the Star Wars universe, look and feel. After the three prequels, which I have little love for and then The Force Awakens being pretty good I didn't know what to expect. If Angus, who is not a Star Wars fan by any stretch of the imagination, liked it a lot then that should give you an indication of how good the film it. Fans, you'll love it and how it links perfectly to the start of Episode IV. For everyone else, it stands alone really well and if this is the first Star Wars movie you see then it's a great place to start.

To my American friends; you voted Mr Trump in, now you have to get on with it. Let's not have 4 years of bitching and moaning about how you did or didn't vote for him; it's a moot point now. We had enough whinging about who did and didn't vote for President Obama and it didn't help anyone. You live in a deeply divided nation that wields a lot of power. You've also got a lot of changes coming that I'm sure will impact the rest of the world too. Play nice and good luck.

Here's two Christmas songs. See, I'm not The Grinch!

Stryper - Winter Wonderland (live) -

Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run -

Bye for now and thanks for reading,


Friday, December 16, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #408

As many of you will have read, my family created a space especially for me to play my guitars, to listen to anti social rock music, to display some of my bits and pieces, to read and to sit and think. It's taken me a while to get used to the idea that I can disappear to what they call my "studio" and just chill out. But as other parts of my life seem to get more complex this space of my own has become more and more important. This evening I'm listening to tracks for this episode. My prized Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC box sets are on the desk in front of me - constant inspiration. There's some Grateful Dead and Beatles branded toy cars, five of my favourite LP covers on the wall and a Star Wars poster that's almost as tall as me. Some of my favourite old Action Man and GI Joe figures are here as well as a heap of books, posters, LPs and CDs. The old 70s stereo that's been in my family since I was very little is cranking out a new album via Spotify through a repurposed old netbook. And there's a guitar on a stand ready to be picked up anytime. Are you getting the picture? This small space is a bit cluttered but it's somewhere I belong. If only the cat would keep off the groovy chair...but then I suppose I can share with her just a little as long as no-one else realises. Especially not the dog.

How long has it been since you listened to an album from start to finish without skipping a track or losing interest? And by listening I mean really listening - not just having it playing along in the background? I'll admit that it's been a while for me. Time is precious and the opportunity to find 45 minutes or so uninterrupted is a rarity. Today I had to drive back from Sydney after conducting some interviews. It was raining and grey and thoroughly miserable travelling weather. After a while the radio faded out so I pulled over and chose something new to listen to. Last week, after hearing one track from a band called Giuda I saved their album to my long list of stuff to listen to. I should point out that this album is new to me but is actually 12 months old. Anyway, I'm labouring the point here....I love this record. It rocks, it rolls, it really speaks to me. Initially I thought Giuda, who are from Rome, Italy, were going to be a ripoff of AC/DC circa 1976. Think the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album and you'll be halfway there. The pounding bass and kick drum drive fat overdriven guitars that sound just like a Gibson straight into a loud amplifier with only a cable in between. It's a very organic sound. After the first few songs I found myself thinking about what their influences would be. To my ears, Giuda are channelling a healthy mix of Slade, Status Quo, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Sweet and Mott the Hoople. Of the 10 tracks there was only one that didn't grab me. They've got a couple of earlier releases that I'll be checking out soon. 

Giuda - Roll The Balls -

I've been listening to a bit of Jimi Hendrix lately. I love his work but it's not everyday fare for me. When I was in high school the local record shop had a copy of the LP "Jimi Hendrix - Smash Hits". My music buying funds were sorely limited, as you'd expect for a kid, but I really wanted this album. I think I must've looked at the sleeve at least once every couple of weeks for maybe three of four months until I had the cash. Yeah....ok all you purists, it's a greatest hits album of sorts but at the time I only had one Hendrix record (Live at Winterland) and it was bang for buck in my opinion. Also the cover photo was, and remains, super cool AND it was released when he was alive (1968) There are tracks on the album that might not necessarily make a top 10 list these days but it was a good selection. What this record did for me was make me understand Hendrix much better than the live LP did. If I could play one Hendrix song perfectly (or even halfway close) it'd be this one....

Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) -

I made a big mistake earlier in the week and sampled some tracks fro the new Bon Jovi album. Good grief, don't waste your time. It's well produced ultra-bland pedestrian pseudo country rock at best. Interestingly enough, the recent Keith Urban concert here in Canberra got a similar review. It sells I guess but not to me.

After what shall be referred to hereafter as the "2016 Bon Jovi debacle" I was in urgent need of something with a beat to cheer me up. At this point I glanced through the list of stuff I still hadn't got to and saw the most recent Stryper album. I did have a very cursory spin of it a while ago and I do remember not being all that excited. Remember that I really, really like the band.... So, I hit play again and listened with intent. I wasn't disappointed in the least. Stryper rocked hard and had brought their trademark harmonies, soaring guitars and 80s metal sensibilities with them. The album, "Fallen", will remain on my playlist for a while and I liked it enough to order a physical copy. At this point I realised that Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar) had very recently released a new solo album. Well hello sailor.....cue it up! I guess it's not all that different to Stryper and if you like one then you'll enjoy the other. It's heavier than the recent Stryper LP and the guitars sound amazing. Definitely one for fans of heavier melodic rock.

Michael Sweet - One Sided War -

As a result of the course I took about music, art and literature of the American South I've been listening to a heap of old recordings. Every now and then someone does a cover version that really shows that they "get" the original. This is one such effort....

John Mellencamp - Do, Re, Mi -

That'll do....the cat's hassling me for her place on the chair.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #407

I'm keenly aware that it has been just over a month since the last instalment in this never ending series of blog entries. Sorry. I'm sure I can make up for it. Are you sitting comfortably? Good; then let's begin.

The first track this week is from Margo Price. I heard it on the radio this week and the groove hooked me in almost instantly. Margo is being touted as the next big thing, and be that as it may, this is a great track. The rest of the album is more traditional than what seems to pass for country music today and that sits well with me. I guess if you were a fan of Dolly, Loretta or Tammy then you might enjoy the LP. If you like good music in general then you should get a kick out of this...

Margo Price - Four Years of Chances -

The Rolling Stones have a new album of blues out. Hooray. I'm sure it's awesome as well as being a testament for their life long love of the music that influenced them. Much more interesting to me was the release of a whole lot of mono original Stones stuff. Clocking in with 186 tracks this collection is aimed squarely at the serious fan. I noticed it when a track popped up on the "Discover" list that the Spotify algorithms put together for me. Mono is a funny beast - with all the fascination surrounding different mixes (did you see what I did there?) sometimes the old one speaker is a lot more powerful. For many people it's how they remember hearing music in the era of AM radio or portable turntables. I haven't got past the first few tracks of this compilation. Even taking account that I'm streaming them in high quality they still sound great.

The Rolling Stones - Carol -

Ryan Adams (not Bryan) is one of those guys who I think I should be a fan of but I'm not. And I don't know why. Something just hasn't happened between us as yet! Having said that, his new song, which could really be a Bryan Adams tune, is pretty good. Ryan sings with feeling and he's got the swirly organ background noise that I really like. This is the single from an upcoming album and if he can back this up with a few rockers and the band sounding this good then I'll buy it.

Ryan Adams - Do You Still Love Me? -

I haven't sent through anything since Rod, Scot and I had our little pilgrimage to Sydney to see The Cult. The short version is that is was awesome. The longer version includes me being deaf in one ear, traffic jams, a youth hostel and a first class gig. There may have been snoring as well despite assurances that there would be none. The Cult have been around since the early 80s and the three of us (who used to play together in The Dark Violence of Beauty) have been fans forever. The support band, "The Art", weren't half bad as support acts go. They would've benefited from a better mix and maybe from the male singer either not singing or not playing the guitar. He was competent alright but it just muddied the sound too much. Their drummer was a dead ringer for a younger Henry Rollins and he probably had as much energy as well. Just tone it down once in a while champ! The winners were the lead guitarist whose sinuous, delay laden work made things interesting and the bass player/singer who had a great Pat Benetar-esque voice. I've seen support bands get a horrible reception and it didn't happen for these guys.

The Cult....what can I say. They surpassed all expectations in a live setting. We'd heard rumours that Ian's voice was shot. It was not! They were loud, they had a great time, Billy had his famous Gretsch guitars out and the keyboard player looked like an unearthly mashup of Bill Bailey and Billy Connolly. The Cult played their hits as well as a good chunk of the latest long player, "Hidden City". The Enmore Theatre was pretty much full and the large crowd had a great time. Well worth the price of admission.

The Cult - Sweet Soul Sister (live Sydney 2016) -

And for those of you not keen on fanshot video -

Metallica have a new album and I've tried hard to love it but I don't. It's not dreadful, far from it, but it's nothing special. Every band with more than one album progresses and changes in some way and Metallica is no different. To all those people who will only listen to the first three or four albums I say "bah humbug". There's good tracks on every album they've released....even St Anger. Well, maybe not St Anger. The new LP, " self destruct" has all the elements of a great Metallica record. It's got good some good riffs, Jaymz can still sing, Kirk can still wail on the guitar, Lars pounds the tubs into submission and Rob is magic on the bass. What's lacking is the songwriting and some of the production. It doesn't sound 'huge' in the way I expect a Metallica album to. The guitars fizz instead of roar and the drums are a bit tinny. And whilst there are some good riffs it seems that in terms of writing songs the band is stuck in a rut. It's Metallica but it's almost by the numbers. I'd rate this one as "for fans only". If you're interested in the band and need an introduction then start somewhere else. Try this...

Metallica - Cyanide -

I've had a bit of a break from playing the guitar recently. There's just been too much other stuff going on. Fear not though, I began the revival of my aural assault on the neighbours yesterday. Admittedly all I did was run through a few favourites that we play in the band, but it was good to feel the music in my veins. This is a not so obvious, and not very happy, track got an airing. 

Jason Isbell - Yvette -

I think I'll finish with the Grateful Dead this week. That's a bit how I feel. I've been sick enough to keep me off my bicycle for three days. Unheard of! Fingers crossed I'll be back tomorrow for the final push towards my yearly distance target. It's suffered a bit with an overseas trip and then a wet winter but I'll do my best.

Grateful Dead - Mama Tried -


Sunday, November 6, 2016

World Wide Woozle #406

Greetings listeners and thank you for joining me for this episode coming to you all the way from Bowral, my garage studio, Melbourne Airport and the kitchen.


The Rolling Stones – Travelin; Man -


Last time we spoke I was about to head to the Southern Highlands for a long bicycle ride. Well the short version is that we went, it was windy, it was cold, the hills were huge and there were yet more hills. But we made it around the whole 160km loop in good humour. Fuelled by some rather fine sponge cake and pineapple sports drink from the aid stations, motivated to continue as those around us looked far too comfortable for our own mental health and thankfully not bothered by magpies it was a wonderful day out. Many thanks to DJ Hamer-time for the company and good humour.


Queen – Friends Will Be Friends -


DJ Al-ee-sunshine and DJ D-Bilby seemed to enjoy the ride a lot more than we did. They were at the day spa! Next time, if there is one, I may be tempted to book in for a massage post ride.


Matisyahu – Sunshine -


Musically I played my last gig with the band for 2016. It was a fundraiser for Palliative Care ACT and a roaring success. After having fun playing slow, quiet(ish) stuff during dinner we pulled out all the stops with some rock and roll for a while. There was plenty of dancing and a lot of laughs. It's amazing how many AC/DC lyrics George can fit into a Midnight Oil song to keep the punters happy! And apart from a very quick cameo at Green Valley Farm this show marked the first time that Tim actually played keyboards on stage! Usually he's tinkling the ivories from beside the sound desk. The band is playing New Year's Eve at Vivaldi's which should be a great event. If Billy Joel and Elton John are your thing, or if you just like to have a good time and be well fed then book now. I won't be performing at this show but will be back in 2017…you've been warned!


AC/DC – Dog Eat Dog (live Glasgow, 1978) -


You know, I thought my great mark of success would be to turn up to a show, get handed a guitar and just play without all the setup rigmarole. I've changed my mind. I just want someone to hand me my guitar when I need to swap between songs. There are a few tracks we play that my Stratocaster just isn't beefy enough for and I would like to use something else. I just don't like disrupting the flow of the show though. Maybe next time I'll play the good old Burns Steer which goes from sweet single coil tones through to humbucking overdrive without effort!


John Hiatt – Perfectly Good Guitar -


So let's talk music.


I'm reading the Springsteen autobiography at the moment and I'm quite enjoying it. Any minute now I'll be on a plane for an hour which is my cue for uninterrupted reading time. Like almost any good rock musician, Bruce's skills are honed at an early age by playing as much as he can in front of an audience (big or small). It really is the best way to get good. I'm still lucky enough to play with musicians much more talented and proficient than I am and it improves my skills and confidence every day. As George and I agree though…if Bruce is trying so hard to appeal to the "everyman" then why are his concert tickets so very, very expensive? Fast forward and now I have finished the book. Well worth your time. It was very interesting to read about Bruce's struggles with his own mental health and how he manages to get through it. You'll have to read the book (or ask nicely) to find out why I chose this track.


Bruce Springsteen& The E Street Band – Badlands (live 1978) –


After listening to a lot of Springsteen as a result of the book I agree that he's a great songwriter and performer. Still, I prefer Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes who are friends and contemporaries of Bruce.


Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Without Love -


I'm disgusted by our current government's latest refugee policy. To say that genuine refugees who attempt to come here by boat will never, ever be allowed into the country no matter what happens is just horrible. To backdate it is even worse. Despite what Pauline Hanson says, we ARE a lucky and rich country. We can do so much better for those who need our help. Yep, this is an angry song…


Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee -


At the moment I'm watching a documentary about country music superstar Glen Campbell. It's tracking his career since his diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. As the film goes on, Glen's memory (and temper) get worse. It's amazing to watch his family hold the tour together and to see audiences genuine love for a legend of Country Music. I watched it on Netflix but I'm sure it's not that hard to find if you look a bit.


Glen Campbell – A Better Place -


Today I finally managed to finish the online course I have been taking about the music, art and literature of the American South. One day I'd love to meet the lecturer and thank him. It's been a very interesting pursuit and has left me with a notebook full of musicians, authors, artists and places to explore. One day maybe I'll get there in person.


This song is all through the course played by any number of people. BB King features heavily as well in a whole lot of interviews and lectures.


BB King, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi – Rock Me Baby (live) -


There's a lot more to write about this time around but at just over 1000 words I think that's enough.



I'll leave this here. Some of you will understand.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

World Wide Woozle #405

So much music to listen to; so little time.

This week I was out and about in a work vehicle and 30 minutes alone with the radio turned out to be very worthwhile as I discovered this next band. The Delta Riggs are an Australian group who sound like a cross between some funk, disco, rock and blues. Sometimes they are like a version of the Stones combined with Stevie Wonder's backing band. 

The Delta Riggs - Surgery of Love -

Also on the radio was a mention of legendary Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. Dave Faulkner (singer) has one of those instantly recognisable voices and the band had the knack of writing very catchy rock and roll tunes. This selection is a bit more obscure but it's a cracker.

Hoodoo Gurus - I Was A Kamikaze Pilot -

Last time I played Abbe May's, "Doomsday Clock" for you. No-one picked the song that I thought it sounded like. Fair enough; my ears and brain matter are all my own and your mileage may vary! Try this one out after listening to Abbe. More great Australian music.

Eurogliders - Groove -

Last time I asked for listener's favourite lines from a song. Well DJ Macca sent a good one in. The version most people know is either from Petra in the 80s or KISS in the 90s. But here's the original. Actually, here's all three!

Argent - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -
Petra - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -
KISS - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -

DJ Hamer-time and I are off for a ride in the country tomorrow. There's nothing all that unusual except that it's a 160km event and there's a massive hill in the middle of it. We're riding at Bowral which is new for both of us. I won't lie when I tell you it's a good idea that we don't have to go to work the next day!

Canned Heat - Going Up The Country -

Well it's 4 years since my good friend Garry passed away. Between the topics of music, sport, politics and action figures we always had something to talk about. I'll never forget the moment I was told the news; early morning at a campsite near the beach. It was a couple of hours until anyone else was awake and that was probably a good thing. Life is short people; don't waste it.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Swingin' -

The best thing about rock music is that (usually) it's fun. You can put on a record or go to a concert safe in the knowledge that at some stage you'll find yourself with your fist in the air, singing along with a goofy look on your face. You'll probably find that everyone else there will be doing the same. In the 80s I was a huge rock and metal fan because that's the way the music made me feel even if at times everything else around me wasn't so peachy. It's the feeling you get blasting some early Van Halen in the car even if it's only for a couple of minutes. Or the way you go "oh yeah" when you hear the intro to Poison's, "Nothin' But A Good Time" on the radio. Back in the day there wasn't the same access to information about bands as there is now and as such they maintained a certain mystique that seems long gone. This week I heard a song by a comedian called Jim Breuer. He's put out a full length rock and roll album and it's a lot of fun. You can tell that he grew up listening to great rock and metal bands and it still makes him smile. See what you think...

Jim Breuer and The Loud & Rowdy - Old School -

See you next time folks.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #404

Today we vote in the ACT. Do we want light rail or don't we? Do we trust any politicians to deliver what they've promised? And if the current Government is so good then why haven't they instituted all these wonderful promised things already? It isn't that they aren't good ideas, but when you've been in power for years surely some of them could've got a guernsey. In all likelihood we'll get another minority government due to the vagaries of our voting system but the pundits believe that it's far too close to call. The good thing about the election being over is that all of the advertising material can be removed from our beautiful city. We don't have billboards so seeing even small amounts of advertising stinking up the place is disappointing. 

It wouldn't be an election without me insisting that you all listen to this song. Look at that guitar!!

Billy Bragg - Ideology -

You are all no doubt aware that Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Norman Mailer is turning in his grave and attempting a slamdunk in response. It's an interesting decision. In my book lyrics are a form of poetry and possibly the most accessible to the general population. Bob has tons of lyrics to trawl through and plenty of people dissecting them. That gets boring.  Surely the best line in popular music is.....<insert your answer here>.

Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock'n'Roll -

King of the North are an Aussie two piece, loud, rock band that continue to impress me. I've seen them live once and have both of their albums (and a t-shirt of course). That two guys can make so much noise is priceless. If you like energetic rock music then now is the time to try out this band. If you're one of my European fans then the band is on tour there at the moment.

King of the North - The Mountain -

Last weekend Davey and I provided 26 hours of non-stop music and commentary for the Australian 24 hr Mountain Biking Championships. Riding for 24hrs is hard work. Talking, staying awake and remaining almost sane is nearly as difficult. We had a blast. Unfortunately this, the 18th edition, was the last time the race will be run. I think I've ridden in seven and done commentary for four. I'd still happily change careers to work as a radio DJ if I thought it would pay the bills and someone would listen.

Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere -

Abbe May's new song "Doomsday Clock" rolled around on the radio this week. I like it quite a lot. A straw poll of a few regular readers of this column revealed quite polarised opinions. See what you think....there's another song that I can't get out of my head when I listen to this but I'm not sure that Abbe is old enough to realise that she's referenced it in a good way.

Mojo Nixon never fails to make me laugh. Some of his material is crude but for the main it's a fairly cutting look at the culture in his homeland. I have one of his older albums on cassette and lyrics such as, "Don Henley, must die...don't let him get back together with Glenn Frey", never fail to put a smile on my face.

Mojo Nixon - Debbie Gibson is pregnant (with my two-headed love child) -

DJ The BigChicken had a birthday this week. Ba-barrckkk! Here's a song for you my friend. Many happy returns.

Anthrax - Caught In A Mosh (live with John Bush) -

Let me tell you about my cycling challenge. You may or may not have heard about the concept of "Everesting". That's where you find a hill and you ride up (and down) it non-stop until you've climbed the equivalent of the elevation of Mt Everest. I'm not quite mad enough for that (yet). One of my favourite climbs is Black Mountain here in Canberra. To "Everest" Black Mountain is 38 times up. I've been doing a few preparatory climbs and my aim is to do those 38 climbs on one month (November). Watch this space as I do my best for no other reason than I can.

Gary Moore & The Chieftans - Over The Hills And Far Away -

Yesterday I presented at a forum on behalf of my employer. I was much later on in the day after a number of speakers. I was moved to say something like this before I began. "I'm an immigrant to Australia. When I came here in 1983 I was genuinely shocked that it seemed no-one knew anything about Aboriginal Australia. Today we've had a Welcome To Country and every presenter has acknowledged, in a genuine manner, the traditional owners of the land. Our country is not perfect but this is a start." I couldn't help but quickly tell the story of the band being welcomed, with a smoking ceremony, to Gamillaray country. In a room full of people working towards equitable outcomes for a range of people it seemed to resonate.

I chose the next song for the energy, delivery and awesome sounds. Looks like it would've been a great gig to be at.

Saltwater Band - Bolu -

That's enough for one week. The sun is out, the sky is blue and I have to wander down to the Primary School to exercise my democratic right to vote for whomever I choose.



Saturday, October 1, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #403

In a week where a lot went wrong, I didn't get much sleep and it rained far too much, I'm pleased to say that music kept me going.

DJ Hamer-time and me are out at Stromlo next weekend doing commentary for the 24hr mountain bike race. This year marks the event's 18th birthday. It's also the final one. With the amount of rain that we've had it may turn into a kayaking event. I'm taking a snorkel and my flippers. Assuming that the ground isn't so wet that they are forced to cancel you'll be able to hear us on 99.5 on your FM dial in and around the event. Feel free to come on down for a chat even if you're not competing. 24hrs straight is a long time. Fortunately for everyone we'll be playing a lot of music as well.

Everclear - AM radio -

It's the end of the Australian Football season this weekend with the MCG hosting the Grand Final between the Swans and the Bulldogs. It's hard for me to get excited as my team was knocked out last week. The Swans and the Bulldogs joined what was the VFL in 1897 and 1925 respectively. They have 6 premierships between them so you'd hardly call either team wildly successful. Grand Finals are rarely close or hard fought encounters. Last week's Giants vs Bulldogs game will probably be the best of the finals series. However, it's been a cracking season of football, I hope the Bulldogs can manage an upset to win their second only premiership and also that no morons feel the need to kneel down during the National Anthem. There's a time and a place to debate national symbols and the anthem; at the footy today is not that place in my opinion.

Mike Brady - Up There Cazaly -

Alison and Angus gave me the first six Star Wars films on bluray as a gift recently. Starting at the start seemed like a good idea so a couple of weeks ago I sat through Episode I. My thoughts and review from when I saw it on opening night back in the day still stand. A very average film with great special effects an unwanted pseudo muppet. Last weekend was Episode II. Oh dear; I really had forgotten why I'd only watched it once before and that was at the movies. There may be some cool moments but all in all it is way too long and far too boring. It's so good that I slept through a chunk of it and missed nothing. Thankfully I know that the next four are awesome. There are 40 hours of special features as well. Don't expect a review on them anytime soon but I will get through it!

D.A.D. - Sleeping My Day Away -

Noting that Bruce Springsteen has penned an autobiography, imaginatively entitled, "Born To Run"), and that I've ordered a copy from the Book Suppository, I dipped back into some of his extensive back catalogue this week (or catalog for those of you economical with your use of vowels). With so many b-sides, demo versions, alternate ending versions, bootlegs and the like available it's easy to begin to overlook his 'standard' versions of albums. Like a lot of people my age, Springsteen exploded into our lives with the "Born In the USA" album. Cool kids I knew pretended to know all about him but the title track of that album and "Dancing In The Dark" were the huge hits when I was a teen. The "Born To Run" album was already 9 years old and ancient history if you were 15 yourself. "Born In The USA" is far from my favourite Springsteen album but revisiting it and subsequently the relatively recently released live DVD of the album being played in its entitreity reminded me that Bruce is a great guitar player. Yes, yes, yes; he can sing and write songs and perform 4 hour concerts I know that. But when the mood takes him and the mix is right Bruce is right up there as a rock and roll guitar-slinger.

Bruce Springsteen - Cover Me (live) -

I've been listening to some old Georgia Satellites tunes this week as well as guitarist Dan Baird's solo stuff and subsequent group, 'The Homemade Sin'. It's all good old fashioned bluesy rock and roll that doesn't take itself too seriously. Funnily enough, Volbeat who got an airing last week do a really good version of the Satellites tune, "Battleship Chains".

Georgia Satellites - Red Light -

Dan Baird - I Love You Period -

Volbeat - Battleship Chains -

I like a good protest song. Bragg, Earle, Paxton, Guthrie, Cash, Oils, Spys...they've all got some crackers but here's something else. This time from Canada it's alt-rock-country-folk outfit Blue Rodeo with some fairly clear messages (from 2015) about their displeasure with their government.

Blue Rodeo - Stealing All My Dreams -

That's enough for this time. Stay tuned for more.


Monday, September 26, 2016

World Wide Woozle #402

I'm still here. Turn this up.

Soundgarden - Been Away Too Long -

Billy Bragg has a new album called "Shine A Light". The songs are those of the American railroad. A couple of listens in and I'm thinking it's a bit sedate but it may yet grow on me. The concept is good and the songs well chosen so maybe it just needs a little time. They couldn't top this effort though....

Emmylou Harris - Hobo's Lullaby -

Hellsingland Underground are a Swedish rock band I know absolutely nothing about other than I heard one song and had to hear more. If you like The Black Crowes, Little Feat or Lynyrd Skynyrd then this is worth a listen. Great guitars. What IS going on in Sweden??

Hellsingland Underground - As Dreams Go By -

Unlike the UK we'll stay in Europe for a few minutes longer. In Denmark to be precise where we find a rather fine band by the name of Volbeat. Their music mixes up classic rock, metal, rockabilly and probably some Elvis as well. From what I've read it seems that their music has become slightly more commercial as they've developed. I'm jumping in with the latest album and therefore no emotional baggage related to their previous releases. I like it because the singer can really sing, the beat is good and the guitars are crunchier than a Granola suite. From an album with the great title "Seal the deal and let's boogie"...

Volbeat - The Bliss -

Why not pause here for a quick trip back to Sweden and one of the greatest cover versions I've ever heard. Here's Ghost (or Ghost BC depending on where you live) from their brand new EP, "Popestar" with a spooky version of a Eurythmics classic. This was released just over a week ago and is simply brilliant. Someone who knows how music actually works will be able to explain how they've used minor keys and what I imagine are flatted 5ths to make this sound evil and spooky. I've probably got that wrong but I heard Kerry King from Slayer talking about it once.

Ghost BC - Missionary Man -

Last week we had The Beatles. This week it's Elvis. I've been listening to the recently released CD set, "Way Down In The Jungle Room". This is two CDs worth of material recorded by The King at his home. There are a range of outtakes, demos and fully fledged tracks and it's quite diverse. I noticed today in the record shop that the Elvis Presley estate has been busy with legacy releases. More for me to check out. Long live The King!

Elvis Presley - Way Down (take 2) -

I saw Iggy Pop's latest album, "Post Pop Depression" selling for only $10 today in the store. In my opinion this is a really strong album and the band he has behind him is basically Queens of The Stone Age. I guess they were either overstocked or the rest of the music buying public doesn't agree with me. I now realise that I didn't go back and pick it up after I was finished looking for other stuff (that I couldn't find). I really need a better record store. The independent one I usually frequent has stopped answering emails so I can't be bothered with them if they are lazy. I can get my fix via eBay and Spotify but flicking through racks of CDs and records is a lot of fun.

Roxette are a great band. I've seen them live and it remains one of the best shows I've ever been too. Per Gessle has a million classic guitars and he can play them to boot. One of his signature sounds involves a shimmering, slightly overdriven guitar and that's one of the reasons I love my tremolo pedal. Here's an alternate version of a song that should've got a lot more radio play.

Roxette - Cinnamon Street -

Lastly this week, something that shocked me. It's rare that I hear an album for the first time and find myself completely blown away. I can list the records that have had that effect on me on just one hand. If you're interested then here they are linked to a track from each one:

The album that seriously turned my head this week is the 1988 self-titled debut release from Danzig. Singer (and songwriter) Glenn Danzig was in the horror punk band The Misfits. Although they are well regarded and an important group in the story of music in general, they never really caught my ear. As a result I suppose I let Danzig (the band) just go through to the goalkeeper without so much as a second thought. Even when Metallica covered a few Misfits tunes quite well I still wasn't interested. Last week the great musical oracle called Spotify that keeps insisting that I should listen to Phil Collins (not happening) popped Danzig up on the "Discovery" playlist. Not even realising what was playing I found my toes tapping and my head nodding. To be quite honest, I thought I was listening to an outtake from The Cult's "Electric" album. When I found out that the track was from Danzig I cued up the entire set and the rest is history. It's no coincidence that "Danzig" the album is produced by Rick Rubin. So is "Electric" and the Johnny Cash LP referenced above. This one has the dry AC/DC guitar/drum sound which, when coupled with Glenn Danzig's vocal delivery style (Morrison meets Presley meets Astbury) and a rhythm section that understands the middle ground between Sabbath and bluesy swagger rock, is simply a rock and roll treat.

Danzig - Twist of Cain -

How's that for a week of music? Thanks for the few 'welcome back' notes that were sent through; I really do appreciate them. Tune in next time for more ramblings and hopefully a tune that'll make you sit up and take notice.


I like songs about real life. Like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #401 (Return of the Woozle)

I'm back. Apologies in advance!

Addiction is a difficult thing. Drugs, drink, reality TV, KFC...they all contain some kind of chemical that makes you crave them fortnightly or even more often. My addictions are different in that from the outside anyway they seem healthy. Guitars, music and bikes; what could possibly go wrong?

A while ago now I stopped my weekly blog. 400 episodes was enough. The pressure I felt to have something to say and tunes to share meant that it was no longer fun. In the last few days I've got the itch to write again. Maybe it's the fact that there are so many new pieces of music that I'm enjoying? Maybe it's that I'm enthused by having a new shiny piece of technology to type on rather than the steam powered devices I've been curating for a while now? Then there's always the chance that I just have a big mouth and instead of posting random things on Facebook and Twitter I can get them down in a more detailed manner here. The reality is that it's a mix of all of these reasons and more.

Let's start where it all began for a lot of people and that's with The Beatles. Their only official live album "The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl" was released in 1977 from concert recordings made in '65 and '66. This album has been remixed, remastered, repackaged and probably other things beginning with 're' as well. It sounds amazing and comes at the same time as the Ron Howard film about the band's touring years. It was only released a few days ago so I've only listened using Spotify but it's a lot of fun. Beatles fans should lap it up as the clarity is so much better than the '77 version and there are extra tracks as well. I'm not a hardcore Beatles nut but it's hard to fault this offering. Here's some footage released as a promo...

The Beatles - Boys (live) - 

Concert ticket prices continue to climb here. I was excited at the thought of seeing almost all of the classic Guns 'n' Roses lineup in concert in Sydney next year. $173 for quite average seats turned me right off the idea though. I'm sure they'll be good but for that money I just can't justify it. Let's just hope they don't keep punters waiting for hours and hours before they hit the stage. 

Just as I was feeling a bit low about the Gunners ticket prices along came a band that I like a lot more with an unexpected tour and a price that is just manageable. The Cult. Woo hoo! Their '86 album, "Electric", is one of my all time favourites and so, in November I'll be heading to see them with a couple of former bandmates who are probably even bigger fans of the band than me! The Cult have a new album, "Hidden City" for me to listen to as well. I bought this next track when I was 16 on a 45 single on the strength of the cover art and was an instant convert. 

The Cult - Love Removal Machine - 

Amanda Shires is an American musician and singer. I was introduced to her music as she is married to Jason Isbell and plays and sings with him. Amanda also has a succesful solo career and a new album, "My Piece of Land". I imagine that if you like artists such as Emmylou Harris that this might be for you but it's much more and it's all Amanda's. The cover photo is superb as well; a simple, almost candid, portrait sans makeup.

Amanda Shires - Slippin' - 

Sabaton are from Sweden and are one of the best power-metal bands around. From the footage I've viewed they really know how to put on a live show. Musically it's heavy but not growl and detune rather a melodic and energetic version of heavy rock. DJ McG showed me the way to Sabaton a few years ago and I've gone on to purchase quite a few of their albums. If you like fist pumping metal then this is for you. Their new album is called, "The Last Stand".

Sabaton - Sparta -

The Ruts (or Ruts DC) have been around since 1977 playing their own style of punk rock. They have an obvious reggae influence which is often present in punk but The Ruts always had a swing and swagger that set them apart in my opinion. Well, they're back with a new album, "Music Must Destroy", and a couple of singles one of which features Henry Rollins. Here's one of their old songs and one of the new ones as well. Definitely an album I plan to purchase.

The Ruts - Something That I Said -

Ruts DC - Psychic Attack - 

Last night I played a gig with the band that signals the end of an era. We billed the gig as, "Last Chance for Oils" as it was to be our last show doing the Midnight Oil tribute. New songs were added to the setlist and the pressure to get them right was on! Indeed Tim and I spent Friday night in my garage sorting out last minute bits and pieces for a number of tunes. After years of working to get it right I think that I can stop looking for guitar pedals. The combination of the old Marshall Guv'nor pedal and an even older Ibanez Chorus was, and will remain the mainstay of my sound along with the trusty Strat. The rest is window dressing. Anyway, the gig was fantastic, the crowd as they say "went off" and we were left completely worn out in the best possible way. It's been a fun ride playing such great music for a few years and even though we've played other stuff along the way the Oils music has been a defining part of us for quite a while. Who knows what's coming next?

Midnight Oil - Truganini - 

That's probably enough for this instalment. I've got more to say but I'll leave something fermenting in the tank for next time. I haven't told you about Zoe and I returning to Vanuatu, new employment in my family, I haven't said anything vaguely political and there's a heap more including other music that I'm enjoying. I'm not promising a weekly missive but I have a feeling that I'm back.

Let me know if you want off the train and I'll quietly remove you from the mailing list.


Should we still have a final track? Why not. Here it is.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Why Stuff Matters To Me #001

After 400 weekly blog installments I was tired of the whole thing. It was becoming obvious that a lot of readers were ignoring what I wrote or skipping all of the songs and to me, that defeated the purpose of what I was doing. I've always had a lot to say and I wanted to continue writing. Not in an academic or scholarly sense, but as an outlet. In 2015 I spied a book in a bookshop (remember those?) called "Why AC/DC Matters". I don't need anyone to tell me why but the title got me thinking. Why does stuff matter to me? And by stuff I don't mean material possessions. My blog had been an attempt to share my passion for a wide range of music, why I wanted to listen to it and to encourage others to open their ears as well. Although it mutated into a diary, training log and personal expose at times, music was the glue holding it all together. The upshot is that I am starting a new series. Some of the topics have been in my head for ages and some are brand new. With a nod to the author of the above book, which I will read at some stage, welcome to my thoughts about why stuff matters to me. My closest adviser recommends that I keep each piece of writing under 500 words; let's see how I go!

A quick tune before I start…

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band - Express Yourself -

The first thing that matters to me is being yourself. Or more specifically, being myself. It's often a throwaway line for self-help types and I intensely dislike that. To be yourself is difficult. Even though no-one else is like you most of us spend quite a lot of time trying to be something we're not. I always find it incredibly harsh when children are advised "just to be themselves" as they really haven't had time to work it out yet and they need to be allowed a chance to try on a few different skins. Something else to remember is that who you are should continue to develop over time. You shouldn't be afraid to listen to those who might recognise that your current self is worn out. It doesn't have to be anything huge; going bald meant I that I started shaving my head and it feels good not to worry about the shiny patch on the back of my head. I feel like a new person every time I finish with the clippers! Big changes are OK as well. In 2014 when the band went to Gamilaraay Country to play music I knew that I needed to do something better with my life; something with meaning rather than just having a job. Then when Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu and I visited afterwards this cemented my desire to do something different. I was fortunate enough to find a new job with a charity that allows me to work with people to put their lives back on track. As was pointed out to me on Tuesday night, helping is the wrong word but my liberation is caught up in theirs and I'm a much better person for it.

Rollins Band - Illumination -

Saturday, April 30, 2016

World Wide Woozle #400 - so long folks.

Welcome to episode 400. People better at mental arithmetic than me will be able to work out in their heads that I've been writing this blog on a weekly basis for just over 7.5 years. I've decided that now is the time to take a break. For a long time I wrote as a way to mitigate the fact that there was a lot in my work life that I didn't really like. It isn't that I was bad at my job, but spending all day every day working to help people with grievances, personal issues and the like certainly took its toll. It used to be easy to disappear into my writing for a while if work was no fun at all. I'm living outside The Wall now though and it's a good thing.

I think the best way to sign off for a while is with songs that really mean something to me. I doubt there's anything here that I haven't played before but hey, it's my party....

I'll start with the first song I pushed out on an unsuspecting small email group in episode #1. One of my all time favourite performers. In 1991 someone loaned me two LPs by this guy and it changed my way of thinking about music aand life in general overnight. Mixing pop and politics indeed...

Billy Bragg - Walk Away Renee (version) -

In about 1986 a friend recorded two songs from his LPs for me onto cassette. It was before the days of "cassingles" but the tape was one that was used to demonstrate hi-fi gear in shops. One song on each side....these two. And this is still my favourite band.

AC/DC - Back In Black -

I remember trying to explain once to my Mum why I played heavy music like AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The band that took me from Top 40 tunes to hard rock was Queen. And this is how they did it...always at their best rocking out in full flight.

Queen - Tie Your Mother Down -

Here's a tune that you might not see coming. Lots of heavy music has that low down "chugging" rhythm guitar sound. I love playing that kind of stuff. Here's where I got my inspiration for it from...check out the start of the song.

ABBA - Does Your Mother Know? -

The first really big concert I saw was Motorhead. DJ DJ and I went along to the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney to see them struggle with technical issues but still put on a show. I also learned the value of earplugs at that gig. It wasn't just the show that was important although the raw power of Motorhead was mindblowing. It was the whole thing; the road trip, the laughs and a weekend away from the everyday.

Motorhead - Angel City -

A few years ago I decided to give country music a second chance. I'd become a Johnny Cash devotee and it seemed like a good idea to expand my listening. Sugar coated pseudo country was never going to be my thing so I grabbed a couple pf live DVDs from the specials bin at the record store. As a result I became a fan of both Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks. Whilst they're both quite different, what I like is that they don't really conform to stereotypes. Both are willing to go their own way. 

Dixie Chicks - Am I The Only One -

Steve Earle - My Old Friend The Blues -

I didn't understand this next band when their best album was released. It wasn't until a few years later as my tastes developed that it all made sense to me. I got into them about the same time as Billy Bragg. If you listen to lyrics then it may make sense on some level.

Queensryche - Revolution Calling -

Unless you've been ignoring me for 12 months or have lost the ability to read then you'll understand that I'm a huge Jason Isbell fan. It's great to know that he's having major success now. As a songwriter and a live performer he's really at the top of the tree. It was also pretty cool to watch an hour long video of him talking all about his guitars, amps and associated gear. He does a lot more than walk onto stage and get handed a six-string.

Jason Isbell - Palmetto Rose -

We're almost there folks, only two songs to go. 

Henry Rollins;  power, muscle, music, intellect. The modern day road warrior with a microphone in one hand and a pen in the other. You should read his books, listen to his radio show and check out his music. Movies too these days. Under work ethic in the dictionary it says Henry Rollins.

Rollins Band - Civilized (live) -

Lastly, a band that I can't play enough. If one more person realises as a result of my writing that The Proclaimers are so much more than 500 miles I'll be happy. This song never fails to send a shiver down my spine. As our government continues to avoid any semblance of humanity towards refugees this song hits home. We're all immigrants of one kind or another.

The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story -

That's all folks. Thanks for listening and reading. See you another day.

Time for one more? Maybe this?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

World Wide Woozle #399

Prince is gone. There's not much else to say. If you've never watched the movie, "Purple Rain" then do yourself a favour and do it now. Lots of media outlets are going on and on about how Prince was a very underrated guitarist. What a load of nonsense. He was celebrated as a six string genius along with his many other talents. The difference with Prince was that he knew when to play his heart out and when to put the guitar down. Check out the ripping guitar solo in this track.

Prince - Bambi (1979) -

These guys were in town during the week but another rather important event meant that I couldn't attend. I'm glad to hear that my brother got to go last night though. 

The Proclaimers - You Built Me Up -

I hear you ask, "what would stop Rob from going to The Proclaimers concert"? The answer is not much, but when it's your son's 18th birthday party on the same night what's a music fan to do? We all survived the party...just.

Beastie Boys - (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) -

Please don't forget that the band is playing on Tuesday May 3rd at 6pm. This is part of the launch of George's book, "Big Life". You can find out more details about the book here. The show is at Radford College and is open to all. We'll be playing a very loud and energetic set so don't miss out on our first show for 2016! Guitar nerds please feel free to gaze in wonder at the latest addition to my pedal board as detailed last week!

Midnight Oil - Put Down That Weapon (live) -

For years I've really quite disliked US metal band, Megadeth. I probably can't put my finger on why but as a result I haven't paid much attention to them for the last 15 years. For a number of reasons a few of their tunes slipped onto some of my playlists and I began to listen to them. Right up front I'll tell you that Mustaine's vocal delivery is patchy. Some songs sound great where others sound like he's suffering an intense bout of stomach pain. The guitars are always good however and the rhythms grow on you. I've got a couple of albums here and it's time to delve into their back catalogue I think.

Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde -

It's ANZAC Day on Monday. Time to remember and reflect, not to celebrate. Whilst we remember those who went before us and gave their lives don't forget those who served and are still suffering. Here's a track from last year with the amazing video created by my good friend and former bandmate, DJ SAB.

John Schumann - On Every ANZAC Day -

Finally, a shout out to DJ JD-Bilby who is recovering after a really mountain biking nasty crash. Get well soon!

Have a great weekend and prepare for a big episode next week....#400.


Guitars are dangerous objects.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

World Wide Woozle #398

Sorry everyone....first up is a potentially boring guitar gear story. Feel free to skip it and go to the music.

In the early 90s I played in my first band here in Canberra. We were called "Mr Walker" and to be frank, it was more fun that almost anything. We played fairly standard bar room rock and roll and had a blast doing it. Looking back now on what we achieved with limited and basic equipment just reminds me that it was all about the music. At the time I read guitar magazines cover to cover as well as repeatedly! They weren't cheap either so you had to make the most of them. Of course, it was the advertising as much as anything else that kept us interested. I was playing my original red Stratocaster copy at the time through a very heavy solid state Crate 160 watt amp. Getting a decent rock and roll sound was a challenge and for a long time I was lucky to have the use of a relatively old Boss overdrive pedal. Then one day I saw a pedal made by British amplifier company Marshall in a guitar shop. It was a no brainer to buy it. I couldn't afford an amplifier with my name on it but the pedal was within my grasp. I didn't like it much sadly and after struggling with it for a few months I sold it for a song. Those pedals in good condition are now pretty expensive and sought after. They also came to prominence as Gary Moore famously used one on his "Still Got The Blues" album (it's pictured clearly on the cover). I got to thinking about the pedal and why I didn't like it at the time. The answer is clear...solid state amplifiers sound a certain way and valve (or tube) amps sound another. Most rock guitarists favour the more organic sound of an overdriven valve too. I've been playing valve amps for years. It's very common to use an overdrive or distortion pedal to push the amp a little harder to make it sing. That's what the Marshall Guv'nor pedal does best. So a few years ago I started looking around for one at a good price. Impossible. Even old crappy, beaten up ones that may or may not work were going for over $250. Finally, last week, one popped up on an internet forum for a good price. I jumped on it and it's now here....later on today I'll find out how it sounds pushing my tube amplifiers...fingers crossed. And by the way; I had two holy grails of pedals on my list and I've managed to get them both for less than the price that many people are selling one for. Now I can move on to Telecasters! Ha ha!

Gary Moore - Oh Pretty Woman (live 1990) -

DJ Al-eeSun and I were chilling in front of the TV last night when this next song was used in the show we were watching. I haven't played it for a while but it's got that hit quality of being instantly recognisable. The lyrics are fantastic as well.

First Aid Kit - Emmylou (live 2015) -

Angus is 18 next week. Where did that time go? 

Chris Cheyney - Birthday (live Beatles cover) -

And for those of you unaware of who Chris Cheyney is well here he is with his regular band The Living End. He's a fantastic rockabilly and punk guitarist and writes songs with a killer hook.

The Living End - All Torn Down (live) -

I noticed that there's a big Pink Floyd show coming to the Canberra Theatre in June. Given that there's no chance of ever seeing the real thing in the flesh I think that this show may warrant further investigation. Depending on some reviews I could be tempted to go. It's billed as "Pulse" which is one of Floyd's live albums...

Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly (live 1994) -

This week I've been listening to The Screaming Jets 1992 album Tear of Thought. There are 16 tracks on it and not a dud in there. It's the band's second album and whilst maybe not quite as raw as their first it's proof that playing lots and lots of shows has the potential to make a band grow musically. I'll finish off this week with a few choice cuts from it...

The Screaming Jets - Dream On -

The Screaming Jets - Think -

The Screaming Jets - Hard Drugs -

I've got 10 days to get my Midnight Oil guitar parts all sorted out. I'd say I'm at about 85% at the moment so a few more hours in the garage making a racket should sort it out. There's a lot worse ways to spend your time than playing music.

Def Leppard - Let's Get Rocked -

Oh look...the sun has just come out. And there I was thinking that I'd have to ride on wet roads today. It seems not. Goodbye.


You know you can't resist clicking here...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

World Wide Woozle #397

Episode 397...soon it'll be time to change things up around this space in a few weeks. Until then stay tuned for the standard range of blethering from yours truly.

Tropical Cyclone Zena passed through the northern parts of Vanuatu this week. Northern Pentecost, where one of our families lives, was hit quite hard; worse than they were impacted by TC Pam. My brother Godden reports that everyone is ok and they have a lot of cleaning up to do now. It's heartbreaking to be sitting at home hearing this.

In other sad news, Merle Haggard died this week at age 79. The story goes that he got into playing music seriously as a prison inmate after seeing Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin Prison in 1958. He went on to be a true superstar with his rough around the edges delivery and songs in contrast to much of the polished and corporate country and western fare.

Merle Haggard - Working Man Blues (live) -

A while ago I stumbled across UK band Lux Lisbon. Like quite a lot of artists these days they are totally self-funded and independent. When they mentioned that they would put their latest release out on vinyl if enough people committed to buying a copy I jumped on board. The record arrived last week and it's great! You can get digital versions too here. If you like bands like The Killers, Duran Duran, Big Country or Florence & The Machine then this should be on your playlist. This one reminds me of King Cannons a bit...

Lux Lisbon - Show The Money -

Digital radio wins again this week. I head the next song and instantly wrote it's title and artist down in my notebook so that I wouldn't forget it. I think that she sings a little like Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders but the musical style is different. This track is a bit indie-pop and a bit Sheryl Crow. The bass bubbles along nicely and I like the melody. If anyone out there has any pointers in terms of things from Aimee that I should listen to please feel free to let me know.

Aimee Mann - Freeway -

The band is playing on Tuesday May 3rd to help launch George's new book, "Big Life". As a result I've been rehearsing a few Midnight Oil songs that I haven't played in a while. Absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder. I've been a bit of a guitar rut for a while but running through the set we'll be rocking out with on the night made me feel really good. It's a free show with loads of other cool stuff going on. Rumours that I am on the cover of the book may or may not be true so come along and find out! And yeah....we're still sorry.

Midnight Oil - Best of Both Worlds (live 2009)  -

Apparently the Rolling Stones have recorded some of a new album...interesting...

There you go. Short and to the point.

Rock on,

Saturday, April 2, 2016

World Wide Woozle #396

Plenty of music this week. Fasten your seatbelt and make sure your speakers or headphones are set to stun.

The Byron Bay Bluesfest is on soon and that means a whole swag of artists are playing shows around the country. Jason Isbell, Vintage Trouble, UB40, City & Colour, Archie Roach, Backsliders, Joe Bonamassa, Shooglenifty and Taj Mahal just to name a select few.

Joe Bonamassa has more live albums that I've had hot breakfasts. There's a ton of studio stuff as well; he's prolific and very successful. Joe is a master technician on the guitar. It always sounds good, he always hits the right notes and the production is first rate. But I've always found it a little restrained and slightly formulaic perhaps. Joe has a new album out called "Blues of Desperation". I had a quick listen because his guitar tone is always so good and I think this is a much, much stronger recording than anything I've heard in the past. This is one of the more energetic tracks...

Joe Bonamassa - Mountain Climbing -

Shoogle-who? I hear you say! Shooglenifty probably qualify as Celtic-fusion-electronic-indie-funk and something else too. They've been making good music for just over 25 years out of Edinburgh. More fun that you can poke a haggis at...

Shooglenifty - The Eccentric (live) -

I've played some Taj Mahal before for you but it never gets old. This is the track that made me search out his music. Anyone who writes a song called "Big Legged Mamas Are Back In Style" has to be worth a listen!

Taj Mahal - Bourgeois Blues -

Everyone no doubt knows that Ronnie Corbett died during the week. It's amazing how many people watched the show all over the world and enjoyed it's gentle brand of humour. I always thought my Grandma had stolen Ronnie Barker's glasses as they looked the same to me. Hey, I was only a wee boy!

The Two Ronnies - Opening Sketch -

The Bionic Woman aka DJ Al-ee-sunshineofmylife has come home from hospital. She leaves behind over sharing cleaning staff, hearing aid hiding and of course everyone's favourite, Bob the geriatric nudist. It's good to have her home. Click here for an appropriate tune. Or perhaps here.

And for all of you who suffered yesterday from a range of April Fool's pranks here's a slab of classic rock.

Def Leppard - Foolin' -

And now I'm retreating to the lounge for a post-ride snooze. It's a hard life.


Friday, March 25, 2016

World Wide Woozle #395

The fact that I'm typing this blog entry should be proof enough that I survived last Sunday's hell-ride. DJ Hamertime did as well. It was the hardest ride I think I've ever done. 70km downhill and then 100km up and into the wind. There were a couple of moments around the 130km mark where I thought my body was going to give up but I managed to push through.

DJ Al-ee-sunshine-of-my-life is still hanging out in the hospital after getting a new hip to match her titanium knee. Thankfully the drug induced haze of the last few days seems to have passed and she's up to things like constructing full sentences. We're hoping that she'll be home early next week and that the mobility continues to improve.

Johnny Diesel & The Injectors - Comin' Home -

I ended up not staying up all night to order some vinyl from American stoner band Ancient Warlocks. The pricing was OK but the ripoff that is international postage was just too much to stomach. Thankfully the band has the LP hosted on and I can purchase a digital version. I know it's not the same as having the record but it's good enough for now. Have a listen to the whole thing if you like here - very cool indeed.

Here's a song from Savatage. They've been around since the late 70s but their most successful period was about 87-93. There's the precursor of symphonic metal in their sound as well as a heavy bottom end in the recordings that would suggest that they were ahead of their time in that respect. For fans of Queensryche, Dream Theater and Dio I think. 

Savatage - Edge of Thorns -

I mentioned Iggy Pop's new album "Post Pop Depression" recently. I've now listened to the whole thing through a few times and I'm hooked. It's Iggy at his best doing almost Leonard Cohen-esque delivery in places with a great backing band courtesy of Josh Homme and friends. If you wanted another "Raw Power" or even an obvious follow up to his last album then you'll be disappointed. If you're prepared to open your ears and actually listen then you're in for a real treat. 

Rumours abound that Axl Rose from Guns n' Roses will sing live for AC/DC. Please.....NO! Watch some live footage of Axl singing any time in the last few years and you'll understand why. Here's an alternative pick for a singer to finish the tour....

Airbourne - Back In The Game -

This week the long awaited live CD/DVD from US pop-punksters The Dollyrots arrived. This was a release that was crowdfunded and I paid my money up front to help them along. The DVD is tons of fun and it looks like a great night was had by all at the show. Three people make a helluva racket! Check out Luis on the Joan Jett guitar...just like the one I used to have!

The Dollyrots - Come And Get It (live) -

Jason Isbell is about to be in the country and sadly I won't get to see him play. No matter as I'm sure he'll be back. If you are in a position to get to one of his shows then do everything you can to get there. I really hope that there's a live album coming before too long. It's great to watch all the footage of him playing to be reminded that he and his band put on great shows.

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free (live) -

That'll do....I've got to get back to the rehab ward. Thanks to DJ DJ for providing me with some challenging listening. I'll report back from the wastelands of experimental rock!


Here's one that GnR stole from the Tatts...we're stealing it here

Saturday, March 19, 2016

World Wide Woozle #394

This episode is coming to you from Orange in country NSW. DJ HamerTime and I are here to in a rather long bike ride tomorrow. 170km with 2200m of climbing should keep us both fairly well occupied for most of the morning. I don't remember ever having been to Orange before but it's pretty friendly, has a great park in the middle and also sports a fab Japanese restaurant.

Bon Jovi - Tokyo Road -

That's not the best quality clip but it shows Bon Jovi for what they once were - a great rock band. Somewhere along the road they went all country and, well, kind of lame in my opinion.

I was fortunate enough this week to finally make contact with an organisation willing to help us out with aid to Level School in Vanuatu. The fact that Level is so remote makes getting anything there quite a challenge. The Anglican Church of Melanesia responded to my emails though and the man who is helping me out was actually at Level two weeks ago! What we'll probably do is get ACOM's education office to purchase what we want to send in country and then they will also organise the shipping. It will mean that our money goes further. If you want to help out with funds to go towards school buildings or school fees (education is not free in Vanuatu for anyone) then please let me know. 

Billy Swan - I Can Help -

AC/DC fans are sad that singer Brian Johnson will no longer perform live. He did some very bad damage to his hearing by forgetting his earplugs when motor-racing. As a result he's been told he'll go deaf if he continues to sing live with the band. Where AC/DC goes from here is anyone's guess. Their website says that they will complete the current world tour with some guest singers. Who that will be remains a mystery but all those people suggesting Oz rock legend Jimmy Barnes should listen to some recent live recordings - sadly his voice isn't up to it. Although Bon Scott and Brian Johnson are two very different vocalists I think that they were both great with AC/DC.

As many of you know, DJ Al-ee-sunshineofmylife had a knee replacement this time last year. To say it hasn't turned out well is the understatement of the century. She's back in hospital this coming week to get a new hip. The hip problem caused the knee one but the knee had to be replaced first. I've got no idea how she's kept on keeping on for the last 12 months but I'm glad she has. Whatever you do to channel positive vibes to others...any directed at Alison would be very much appreciated.

The Party Boys - Hold Your Head Up -

One of the only prizes I've ever won in a mail away was a copy of Hot Chocolate's greatest hits (vinyl too folks, it was the early 80s)! This next song, a cover of one of their classics, popped up in my Spotify Discovery feed during the week and I thought it was pretty good. It'd definitely be a fun song in a live setting. I'm now checking out more of this band's work as a result.

Gun - Every 1's A Winner -

One of my favourite movies is "Eddie & The Cruisers". The music in that movie was sung by John Cafferty who plays the next track. He has quite a distinctive voice and the music is pure muscle car American rock and roll. If anyone ever needed to stand in for Springsteen then John would be my choice.

John Cafferty - Voice of America's Sons -

I'm proud to say that my Dad is the Chieftan at the Geelong Highland Gathering tomorrow. As well as his official duties he's hitting the stage for a few songs with his guitar. When I spoke to him this evening he was just running through this one. It's as important lyrically here in Australia as it is in Scotland.

The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story -

I can't top that song. It always sends shivers down my spine. 

See you all next week,that's assuming I survive tomorrow!


Friday, March 11, 2016

World Wide Woozle #393

Sunday is the 13th of March. On the 13th of March last year Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu and changed my life forever. I get the feeling that Zoë had already had her heart stolen by the Ni-Van people but her experience in that natural disaster and what followed made me an immeasurably better person. I'll admit that I am often tortured that there is only so much I can do to support my adopted families there. It's no secret that before the cyclone I wasn't keen at all to visit. I don't like camping and I knew that life there was fairly basic. But after Pam had wreaked havoc I felt that I had no choice but to go to Pentecost to thank the people that had, in my view, saved Zoë's life. Everyone reading this knows what happened to me on Pentecost in that I was welcomed with open arms into some local families and they became intertwined in my life. Zoë and I are heading back for a few weeks in July to visit, help in schools where we can and just be with our families. I guess with Zoë surviving the Cyclone and then finally being able to return in a helicopter to deliver aid to her village that I might have had my share of miracles and good fortune but if I could have one more it would be that Alison will eventually be physically able to come one day. There are people there desperate to meet her. I've said enough about Vanuatu for this week; I hope you all understand what I'm, rather clumsily, trying to say.

Iggy Pop has a new album to be release on the 18th of this month. "Post Pop Depression" sees the 68 year old punk and rock legend teaming up with most of Queens of the Stone Age. There are a couple of tracks now available for a listen and I think that if you like Iggy that you're unlikely to be disappointed.

Iggy Pop - Sunday -

Ted Nugent has a big mouth. He does, however, play a mean guitar and has written some rather good songs. Let's leave his politics at the door and listen to him's worth it!

Ted Nugent - Stranglehold (live) -

George Martin died this week. There isn't much I can write that someone else hasn't already said about George. He predicted the first tune that the Beatles recorded with him would be a hit and it was...just for someone else! This one came next and did rather well I'm told. You may know it!

The Beatles - Please Please Me -

Also passing away this week was Australian music legend John English. I think the last time I saw him was doing Pirates of Penzance. If I'd seen him doing that when I was a kid then I may not have dropped out of that particular production at school!

Jon English - Some People Have All The Fun -

I'm torn. I've just got into this band called Ancient Warlocks who are out of Seattle in the USA. They have a new album coming out on vinyl but the pressing is quite limited and to secure a pre-order copy I'll need to get out of bed at 4am on Sunday morning because of the time difference. 4am is very early for rock and roll. I'll think about it. Oh....the band name....I know nothing but I assume sometime they must've been Dungeons and Dragons players! For fans of Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Witchskull.

Ancient Warlocks - Lion Storm -

Hinds are an indie-rock band from Spain. I know nothing else about them other than I've been listening to their latest release, "Leave Me Alone", and it's quite good. Lo-fi almost garage rock might be a fair description. If you like Weezer or Pavement this might appeal to you.

Why not have another band that I've only just come across? It's a great song with tasty, twangy guitars, a good melody and lyrics you can understand. Three ticks.

Imperial State Electric - All Over My Head -

That's it for this week. Plenty of music there to keep you occupied. Drop me an email sometime with a suggestion for the next few weeks.