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.


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