Tuesday, May 31, 2005

meme music look at me me me

I have been passed on the Music Meme. I don't much like these things. I see them closer to chain letters than memes but it was passed on to me by Flop Eared Lucinda Amanda and no man can refuse her. I don't think there's much interesting about my list but I do love peeping at others lists.

Total volume of music files on my computer.
This one surprised me. I don't have an iPod and am unlikely to ever get one. I don't listen to MP3s and I don't listen to music on (off?) my computer. When working I usually listen to talk radio, ABC local or Radio National if I listen to anything. I can't really listen to music and work. If I do listen to music in the office its on my unforgiving but accurate
Yamaha NS10's, driven by my suitcase sized but much loved Luxman R-1040. I only tend to have music on my Hard Drive if I'm copying it or converting to Shorten or flac or back to ordinary audio files for burning to CD.
So I expected to have about zero. Imagine my astonishment to find I have 15GIGs - if you count the Dylan film
"Eat the Document".

It's mostly stuff I haven't removed after burning or converting. I'm currently converting from flac the Merle Haggard 3 disc set "Tulare Dust Live" Fillmore Auditorium, SF 1995 - partly 2 discs of tributes to Merle from the likes of Tom Russell, Marshall Crenshaw, Billy Joe Shaver, with the last disc by Merle Haggard with the Strangers. I have listened to a bit of it on headphones to check, especially a few times "Sing Me Back Home"

I noticed I have also downloaded a bunch of film and video clips from Captain Beefheart,
available legally here, which will stay on the HD. Also I have a failed download of Scott Walker Rare Tracks which doesn't play. The only MP3s I have are one of Van singing "Wild Side of Life" which I couldn't find anywhere else and a bunch of MP3s of my brother's son's songs, which I don't listen to ever much. My brother lives in Scotland and occasionally plays in a Pogues tribute band. I notice I also have an MP3 of that famous phone call between Jeff Kennett and Andrew Peacock in which they do a lot of naughty serious swearing about John Howard. I'll never scrub that.

The last CD I bought. [Two sets at the same time]
Lucinda Williams Live at the Fillmore 2 CD set $24.95 at JB

Madeleine Peyroux, Careless Love 1 CD. I got this because I thought the version of Careless Love swung like very few songs do. I only listened once or twice and gave it away as a birthday present. I think it's a good album but apparently going on local reviews and
this report she isn't too confident live.

Song playing right now
ABC Radio News theme to be truthful right now. Or what ever crap talk radio throws up. I did listen to Merle Haggard doing Sing Me Back Home live earlier. I had to listen to
Slipknot yesterday as part of a request to understand what my son's jazz / death / skate punk / Hendrix / Dylan/ jam band is about. My young niece played me some Beatles, Oasis, Jet the other day as a favour.

Five Songs I Listen to A lot
I tend to listen to whole albums. But I often just plop on the odd single track.

Those Three Days - Lucinda Williams - all versions
Just Out Of Reach of These Two Empty Arms -
Solomon Burke - Country Soul
Shoppin' For Clothes - The Coasters - I love it especially for the King Curtis sax bits.
Mona Lisa - Aaron Neville and then switch to Nat King Cole's version
Elvis - bootleg and outtakes from the
comeback TV show
Heartbreak Hotel - Mary Coughlan
Hey Joe and (She's a) Mixed Up Shook Up Girl -
Willy De Ville LIVE

I dunno. Really - I play albums, Western Swing anything, Bob Wills, Milton Brown. I play Tom Waits, Van, Miles, Thelonious Monk, Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sex Mob especially Diaspora Soul live, Bob, Neil, Frank Sinatra, lots of sung Requiem Masses, Opera, Gospel, Blind Boys, Sam Cooke, Zydeco , Cajun, Charlie Christian, Astrid Gilberto, Django and Stephane, Jonathan Richman, Johnny Cash - I dunno - anything etc etc etc . I often listen to Guy Clark "Old No 1" all the way through. It might be my favourite. As I've mentioned before I have 967 favourite albums at least. Same with James Talley's "Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot of Love."

[Last night I remembered I do in fact play single songs a bit.] A few more:

Somewhere Over The Rainbow / Wonderful World - Israel 'Iz' Kamakawiwo'ole. A seamless melding of two familiar songs into one. In this case the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. Brother Iz had one of the sweetest voices on the planet. You have to order in this stuff from Hawaii, but its fast and reliable.
September Song - by Sinatra, Lou Reed, almost anyone. Thanks
Kurt Weill.
Pressure Drop -
Toots & The Maytals. One of those songs to dance to, be uplifted, transported and understand the meaning of life. I'm sure it means something but a glance at the lyrics will only confuse you. Mysterious magic.
Oh and of course, Fairytale Of New York. But doesn't everyone.

Is that nearly 5?

I think I'm supposed to pass this on. I can't think who to. It occurred to me I'd like to see the whole Troppo Crew do a list each. I would really look foward to a long argument between Kath & Kel, Martha & George, Jen & Ken and how each others list annoys them. I also wonder about what Geoff Honnor listens to, Don Arthur, Nic Gruen and all the rest. They are a funny old bunch but lovable.

I sometimes wonder what
Gummo might be listening to.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

killer hairdo or hair today gone tomorrow

Music producer Phil Spector shown above in Superior Court Monday, May 23, 2005, in Los Angeles. A judge said he will allow four of 10 incidents of evidence in Spector's murder trial that prosecutors say illustrate the music producer's history of pulling guns on women. Spector is on trial for the Feb. 23, 2003, fatal shooting of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson.

In 1969 The Beach Boys' released their last album with Capitol records called 20/20
Not their worst – not their best.

It a was / is a pastiche containing a few covers.

It’s the covers that may make it famous.

If Phil Spector is convicted of murder it will be the first, and possibly only, album to have cover versions of songs written by 3 separate convicted murderers. Not only that, the songs were released on 7 inch singles at the time to help promote the album. [This might be a goldmine for trivia buff’s quiz questions]

The songs:
I Can Hear Music – written by
Phil Spector – released as an A side single
Cottonfields - written by Leadbelly– released as an A side single
Never Learn Not To Love - written by
Charles Manson – released as a b side of the single "Bluebirds Over The Mountain".

Important late breaking news:
The, increasingly remarkable, album 20/20 also has another claim to fame. Supposedly on the track 'All I Want to Do,' a female is recorded having sexual horticulture with the drummer in the studio. This 'sound effect' is layered onto the fade-out of the song's final mix, and is just about audible on the released version.
Snaffled from Snopes Urban Legends who gives it an Undetermined rating.

It sounds unbelievable to me. I mean, having sex with a drummer! uuurgh.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Continuing on the mystical musical theme I snaffled this bit from the Rock Snob site:

Begin extract from RockSnob:
His Holiness John Paul II was the closest a pontiff could come to being a Rock Snob: he met with Bono and Bob Dylan, attended a Rome benefit concert at which Lou Reed performed, and waved his arms encouragingly at some breakdancers who were spinnin' and poppin' on the floor of the Vatican. His successor, however, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger --who, as of today, goes by the vaguely hip-hoppish tag of Benedict XVI--is defiantly anti-rockist. In a small volume published in 2000 called
The Spirit of the Liturgy, itself an expansion of an essay Ratzinger wrote in 1986, the future pope argued,

" 'Rock'... is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals, it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.
"Well, before we dismiss the new pope as an out-of-it fuddy-duddy, let's parse his words. He only seems to be talking about rock "festivals" with "special lighting effects," which, generally, are as dreadful as he says. And one of his pet peeves, the implementation of quasi-rock music into the liturgy at some churches, is indeed an abomination, as anyone who's ever sat through a Rockin' Mass with amplified guitars can attest. (Tony Hendra, the Benedictine monk turned gonzo humorist, and the guy who played Ian Faith in This Is Spinal Tap, wrote a brilliant essay on this subject for GQ some years back.)

Nevertheless, Pope Benedict's blanket condemnation of rock as a whole is tin-eared and unfair. We expect Bono to "open a dialogue" and rectify this situation ASAP.

Meanwhile, over here at Rock Snob HQ, the conclave we're puzzling over is the one at Roger Taylor's Surrey mansion at which it was determined that Paul Rodgers should fill Freddie Mercury's tights in the 2005 touring version of Queen.
End extract from Rock Snob

FXH says: "Amen to that bit about "rock masses" and that last paragraph about Rodgers and Queen"

Friday, May 13, 2005

hymns, love, nick cave, van, god

In the comments on the post below this one , about Van Morrison books, boynton, mentions that, along with many others, Martin Buzacott, co-author of the new book, Speaking In Tongues, dismisses Have I Told You Lately That I love You as "soppy" and not a great song.

I disagree and have always primarily seen it as a hymn. I mentioned that Nick Cave agreed with me and I finally found the quote.
[This does however bring up another issue. That is how did Rod Stewart descend from being a rock interpreter par excellence to being the sad old schlock hack he is today. It's Stewart's version of HITYLTILY that cannot raise above terrestial lerve sop and colours listeners views of the song]

Extract from Salon:
Over the last few years, Cave has written a number of love songs in which it is ambiguous whether the figure being addressed is a woman, or God, where there appears to be a deliberate conflation of earthly and divine love. On "No More Shall We Part," the song "Love Letter," among the most memorable he has written, seems like a classic love song until near the end, when he sings:

Rain your kisses down upon me
Rain your kisses down in storms
And for all who'll come before me
In your slowly fading forms.

"Breathless," from "The Lyre of Orpheus," is ambiguous throughout:

The red-breasted robin beats his wings
His throat it trembles when his sings
For he is helpless before you
Still your hands, And still your heart
For still your face comes shining through
And all the morning glows anew
Still your mind, Still your soul
For still the fire of love is true
And I am breathless without you.

These songs remind me most of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson, in which religious ecstasy sometimes sounds decidedly romantic in nature.
Cave agreed with me that there was a link to those poets, and pointed out that Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" does something similar. He also told me that there's never any ambiguity in his mind about who is being addressed in his songs -- but declined to be any more specific than that.

End Salon extract.

I rest my case.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

glossy geeks grok glossolalia

Three new books on Van.

Speaking In Tongues:The Songs Of Van Morrison by Andrew Ford and Martin Buzacott . An all Australian effort. Out now. In ABC bookshops. Here's an extract.

Johnny Rogan's
Van Morrison: No Surrender will be on my buy list if it's half as good as Rogan's other writings on Neil Young and his earlier biography of Van. Actually it will be on my buy list whatever its quality.

As a Van tragic I will also be ordering Van Morrison Them and the Bang Era, 1945-1968 by Howard Dewitt

Sunday, May 01, 2005

apollo bay music quick roundup

The Apollo Bay Music Festival will now be held on the 4th weekend in April, avoiding Easter holidays and being squashed too close to Port Fairy Folk Festival. Hopefully this will also slow down the migration of the folding chairs in shoulder bags, wholemeal knitted jumpers, full beard and "shushing" types who drift up the Great Ocean Road from Port Fairy. To that end I see there seems to be more emphasis on rock music for the younger persons. All we need now is more jazz and classic / avant-garde. The weather last weekend was balmy almost up in the mid 20Cs most days and only slightly cooler at night.

THE RED HOT POKER DOTS [pic above] are on my list to follow up at a decent venue. No ironic pretend country here but a barrel of full on country honky tonkin' rockin' with Johnny Cash twanging guitar as needed plus verve, swing and engaging stage flash. I can't work out why I hadn't heard or seen them before. Maybe its because they spend lots of time touring in USA. Anyway they are up at Katherine now and heading to Darwin and then QLD and NSW and back to USA. Catch them.

ASH GRUNWALD is highly recommended. One guy with his guitars and thumping beat box with modern high energy blues rooted in skills from deep soil. CLAYMORE (Scottish folk and pub rock?) I can take or leave most of their set but their final version of Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock And Roll) is one of the best I've heard - fully sick - bagpipes and all. DAVE HOGAN'S MELTDOWN was the best of too many blues combos. COSMIC PSYCHOS did a few gigs - I guess it would have helped to be a fan first time around. DAVID BRIDIE as himself and also with MY FRIEND THE CHOCOLATE CAKE played well attended satisfying sets but hampered, like almost everyone, by bad sound, of which more later. DIRTY LUCY, two young women to watch for musical growth and bigger things in the near future (country neo grunge?). DEBORAH CONWAY competent and professional.

suffered from the bad sound mixes too but showed enough of her licks and Lucinda type approach to make me want to follow her up.

THE YEARLINGS in the small wooden Anglican Church were truly moving. [My pic below] Lo-Fi completely acoustic, no amps, no pickups, no mikes on vocals or instruments. Infused with John Fahey like yearnings, high mountain imprints and perhaps even some wild mercury (wink). Their bond as a couple charmed and disarmed.

Worth the money? Yes. But. And it's a big but. Why does a festival such as this put up with bad sound mixes / mixers. Why do bands and performers not check the sound from a punters' point of view. Many, if not most gigs at Apollo Bay, had a dreadful mix, muddy with over screaching top end, no middle and loose sloppy muddy bottom end of drums and bass. Are all sound men (and as far as I could see they were all men) deaf old drug soaked hippies? In one pub the sound guy wandered off into the second song of one band and the lead vocal mike dropped out completely - for the whole song! The foldback was apparently still working ok as no one in the band seemed to twig. What the hell is going on? Don't bands and performers these days have any friends who care about how they sound? After the second song the sound hippy wandered back with a plate of steak and chips in his hand and a bemused look, as if to say, " What are you whingeing about - its my show - I'm the sound dude".

Now I'm sure that the organisers will get a lot of complaints - but the complaints will be that "the music was too loud". Now this is what it sounds like to the average punter when the mix is stuffed like it was. But a good mix can be loud and not painful. A good mix doesn't need to be loud. No doubt the organisers will dismiss the "too loud" comments as from old farts who can't appreciate the focus on younger bands. Wrong. Good sound isn't too difficult - even in a tent.