Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thanks to Gil again for alerting me to yet another radio treat over Summer. Radio National is playing The Blues, hosted by Keb' Mo' every night from 8.35pm. Until 27th Jan, it started Monday night.
New links aded to the Music section, left. Aaron Fox's book Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture is published by Duke University Press and looks to be a ripper. I will let you know when I get to read it. Unfortunately the blog doesn't seem to be updated regularly but there is plenty of good stuff anyway. I particularly like the slice of life photo essay on the main site (no internal link, click on Photos.)

Nice segue to two of my Chrissie pressies: Smokey Mountain Memories by Willadeene Parton, sister of Dolly. A collection of anecdotes, family history, mamma's recipes, alot about God. Some very poignant old photos, barefoot children and one room shacks. Dolly has written some of the best songs about your classic depression-era impoverished upbringing. Perhaps the ambivalence alot of people would feel are best summed up in her In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad):

No amount of money could buy from me
The memories that I have of then
No amount of money could pay me
To go back and live through it again

Working class culture of a different kind now. I was looking forward to spinning one of my LP gifts, The Soviet Army Chorus directed by A.V Alexandrov featuring the toe-tapping "Song About Lenin" and "Song of Anxious Youth. " However further investigation revealed the actual disc inside was Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden. Same same, but different.

I do like Liza-With-A-Zee so its all good. A treat to see her turn up as the Buster-lovin' Lucille 2 in Arrested Development. Channel Seven in its wisdom has dumped this masterpiece late on weekday evenings, check it out if you are not hooked already.

I know she’s a brownish area. With points. And I know I love her!

Now I Have Seen Everything Moment #2657

Ad for Tim McGraw in Mojo magazine.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Question. If you receive Christmas pressies and your first thought is "Great! This will be so cool for the blog!" -- are you a bad person?

Anyway, I return from my longish break with a great load of Flop Eared Mule-related blogging material. I hope everyone had as relaxing and enjoyable time as I did.

More later, but let me leave you with this tantalising sneak preview of things to come ....

Friday, December 24, 2004

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Do a Good Thing This Christmas

After praising dig yesterday, let's save another ABC musical treasure. I know many of you will be fans of Lucky Oceans' The Planet, Gil Onyett has alerted me to its impending axing! Inconceivable! The Deep End is all very well but its just your average general ABC yaartz programme, the Planet's dedication to fabulous music and only fabulous music must be maintained at its current level. Perhaps we are so spoilt we don't realise what we've got.

Anyway, to the barricades!

After Radio National's Summer Season, the Daily Planet - presented by Lucky Oceans and Doug Spencer, and broadcast 3 - 4 pm weekdays on ABC Radio National - will be axed, to be replaced by a re-located Deep End slated for 2 - 4 pm (currently 8:30 - 10 pm weekdays).

The Nightly Planet will be broadcast from 11:20 pm - 1 am (currently the Daily is repeated 11 pm - midnight, plus a fresh hour midnight to 1 am).

The Daily Planet has been running for over ten years!

This email asks you to protest this change. Post feedback directly at the website (you will not receive a reply to anything posted here), and also email your comments to requesting a reply. (Snailmail to ABC Radio National GPO Box 9994 in your capital city).

Do this as often as possible over the next six weeks.

Together we can let ABC Radio National know we are not happy with the downgrading of the best roots music show on Australian radio.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Should have alerted y'all to this days ago. dig is back on the ABC radio nationally (I think, the important states anyway) over summer weeknights from 6.30pm AEDST. This is Brian Wise (editor of Rhythms) and Michael Mackenzie talking about and playing music, be it rock, folk, pop, country, blues, soul, whatever. It's ALL GOOD. They have talkback, quizzes etc as well. It's also possibly those unfortunate enough to live overseas can tune in via the net.

I have hogged my share of air time. On Monday night the talkback topic of the day was what album you would give to someone whose only knowledge of music was through Australian Idol. I got on and suggested Ryan Adams Gold as being catchy pop but also sophisticated enough to be a gentle entry into the world of real music. I was pretty nervous and might have babbled stupidly. I remember confessing to listening to Bros when I was 12. Oh well.

They are also taking suggestions for a poll on Iconic Albums. I left a note in the guest book as Flop Eared Mule suggesting they needed a country album in their selection, and mentioned At Folsom Prison. So last night the old Mule got a mention (as a "he" but if gonna adopt a stupid nom de fan you have to cop that) and they played 25 Minutes to Go.

Not since Blue Hills has there been a better reason to restructure your life around a radio show ....

PS To the person Google keeps referring here looking for post mortem pictures of Bonny Lee Bakley. Sorry, dude, no can do.

Monday, December 20, 2004

"It doesn't matter what anyone says to me, because Johnny Cash recorded one of my songs," he said, adding with a laugh: "So you can all get f---ed."

Nick Cave

Saturday, December 18, 2004

New Solomon Burke album to be released on March 10. I choose to overlook the involvement of Don Was and still be happy.

Burke interprets songs such as Bob Dylan's "What Good am I?," the Band's "It Makes No Difference," Hank Williams' "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul" and the Rolling Stones' "I Got the Blues."

Among the artists contributing new material to the project are Van Morrison ("At the Crossroads") and Dr. John (the title track).

Burke at the Metro earlier this year was a sensational show. I still have the long stemmed rose, personally kissed, he handed out to [sexy soul voice] all the beautiful ladies in the audience. [/sexy soul voice] I set my elbows to work and got one anyway.

Typically terrific review of Charlie Robison.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Hoyt Axton Sailin' Away Disappointingly ho-hum classic country sound. Average songs. The most interesting thing was seeing one of the songs was written by Ronee Blakley and thinking she was the late wife of Robert Blake. That's Bonny Lee Bakley actually so not that interesting after all.


While doing the Lazy Grammy Roundup, this nom in the Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album category caught my eye:

  • Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus
    Minister Timothy Britten & Professor James Roberson, choir directors; Shabach Praise Co.
    [JDI Records, Inc]

  • There are others on the blogosphere who could have some fun with that, but I of course have too much taste.

    Lazy Grammy Roundup

    Hot on the heels of the early Steve Earle CD/DVD release in the New West Live from Austin, TX series comes news of three new ones:

    John Hiatt
    Delbert McClinton
    Dwight Yoakam

    Via the New West website I see Buddy Miller's Universal United House of Prayer has been nominated for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album at the Grammys. I suppose getting nominated is an achievement but I wonder how much chance it would have against the other more conventional gospel nominees.

    On that topic, other relevant categories. Ripped off using View Source at the Grammy's homepage, commentary by me.

    Best Female Country Vocal Performance
    (For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

    You Will Be My Ain True Love
    Alison Krauss
    Track from: Cold Mountain - Soundtrack (Various Artists)
    Yay !

    Miss Being Mrs.
    Loretta Lynn
    Track from: Van Lear Rose
    [Interscope Records]
    Yay !

    In My Daughter's Eyes
    Martina McBride
    Track from: Martina
    [RCA Records Nashville] Dunno, probably

    She's Not Just A Pretty Face
    Shania Twain
    Track from: Up!
    [Mercury Records] You know, it's an OK song as far as pop goes. I saw her do it on Oprah. But it gets a Gag! for taking up space in a country category.

    Redneck Woman
    Gretchen Wilson
    Track from: Here For The Party
    [Epic Records] Shrug!

    Category 37

    Best Male Country Vocal Performance
    (For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
    Engine One-Forty-Three
    Johnny Cash
    Track from: The Unbroken Circle -The Musical Heritage Of The Carter Family
    (Various Artists)
    [Dualtone Music Group] Yay! I had a dream last night, I met Johnny Cash on a bus. He was making a film somewhere. We talked about politics and hung out and did stuff I can't remember now. He died at the end of my dream and when I woke up I thought, wouldn't it be spooky to go into work today and find out he died overnight. Then I remembered.

    In My Own Mind
    Lyle Lovett
    Track from: My Baby Don't Tolerate
    [Lost Highway Records] Yay !

    Live Like You Were Dying
    Tim McGraw
    Track from: Live Like You Were Dying
    [Curb Records] Gag!

    You Are My Flower
    Willie Nelson
    Track from: The Unbroken Circle - The Musical Heritage Of The Carter Family
    (Various Artists)
    [Dualtone Music Group] Yay !

    You'll Think Of Me
    Keith Urban
    Track from: Golden Road
    [Capitol Records Nashville] Gag!

    Category 38

    Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
    (For established duos or groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

    New San Antonio Rose
    Asleep At The Wheel
    Track from: Asleep At The Wheel Remembers The Alamo
    [Shout! Factory] Yay !, I guess.

    Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)
    Big & Rich
    Track from: Horse Of A Different Color
    [Warner Bros.] Shrug!

    You Can't Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl
    Brooks & Dunn
    Track from: Red Dirt Road
    [Arista Nashville] Gag!

    Top Of The World
    Dixie Chicks
    Track from: Top Of The World Tour - Live
    [Columbia] Yay !

    It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day

    The Notorious Cherry Bombs
    Track from: The Notorious Cherry Bombs
    [Universal South] Yay !

    Category 39

    Best Country Collaboration With Vocals

    (For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not
    normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

    Hey Good Lookin'
    Jimmy Buffett, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith & George Strait
    Track from: License To Chill
    [BNA Records] Hmmmm. Dilemma. Probably a

    Creepin' In
    Norah Jones & Dolly Parton
    Track from: Feels Like Home
    [Blue Note] Yay !

    Portland Oregon
    Loretta Lynn & Jack White
    Track from: Van Lear Rose
    [Interscope Records] Yay !

    Pancho & Lefty
    Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Toby Keith
    Track from: Outlaws And Angels
    [Lost Higwhay Records] Dilemma again. I saw this on DVD and it wasn't that good but Willie is a yay, Merle is a yay and TK is a gag so the Yays ! have it.
    Coat Of Many Colors
    Shania Twain With Alison Krauss & Union Station
    Track from: Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs Of Dolly Parton
    [Sugar Hill Records] Yay !

    Category 40

    Best Country Instrumental Performance
    (For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals.
    Singles or Tracks only.)

    Billy In The Low Ground
    Asleep At The Wheel
    Track from: Asleep At The Wheel Remembers The Alamo
    [Shout! Factory] Yay !

    Puppies 'N Knapsacks
    Sam Bush
    Track from: King Of My World
    [Sugar Hill Records] Yay !

    Luxury Liner
    Albert Lee, Vince Gill & Brad Paisley
    Track from: Heartbreak Hill
    [Sugar Hill Records] Haven't heard it but it is on Sugar Hill so Yay !

    Earl's Breakdown
    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Featuring Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar
    Clements & Jerry Douglas

    Track from: Will The Circle Be Unbroken "The Trilogy"
    [Capitol Records - Nashville] Yay !

    Mark O'Connor, Chris Thile, Bryan Sutton & Byron House
    [OMAC Records]

    Category 41
    Best Country Song

    (A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category
    #3. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)

    It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day

    Rodney Crowell & Vince Gill, songwriters (The Notorious Cherry Bombs)
    Track from: The Notorious Cherry Bombs
    [Universal South; Publisher: Vinny Mae Music.] Yay !

    Live Like You Were Dying
    Tim Nichols & Craig Wiseman, songwriters (Tim McGraw)
    Track from: Live Like You Were Dying
    [Curb Records; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane Publishing/Big Loud Shirt.] Gag!

    Miss Being Mrs.
    Loretta Lynn, songwriter (Loretta Lynn)
    Track from: Van Lear Rose
    [Interscope Records; Publisher: Coal Miners Music.] Yay !

    Portland Oregon
    Loretta Lynn, songwriter (Loretta Lynn & Jack White)
    Track from: Van Lear Rose
    [Interscope Records; Publisher: Coal Miners Music.] Yay !

    Redneck Woman
    John Rich & Gretchen Wilson, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson)
    Track from: Here For The Party
    [Epic Records; Publishers: Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing, Hoosiermama
    Music & WB Music Corp.] Shrug!

    Category 42

    Best Country Album
    (Vocal or Instrumental.)
    Van Lear Rose
    Loretta Lynn
    [Interscope Records] Yay !

    Live Like You Were Dying
    Tim McGraw
    [Curb Records] Gag!

    Tift Merritt
    [Lost Highway] Haven't heard it, probably Yay !

    Be Here
    Keith Urban
    [Capitol Records Nashville] Gag!

    Here For The Party
    Gretchen Wilson
    [Epic Records] Shrug!
    Category 43
    Best Bluegrass Album
    (Vocal or Instrumental.)
    The Bluegrass Sessions
    Lynn Anderson Yay !
    Twenty Year Blues
    Nashville Bluegrass Band
    [Sugar Hill Records] Yay !

    Brand New Strings
    Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
    [Skaggs Family Records] Yay !

    Carrying On
    Ralph Stanley II
    [Rebel Records] Yay !

    A Tribute To Jimmy Martin "The King Of Bluegrass"
    Various Artists
    Ben Isaacs, producer
    [KOCH Records] Yay !The folk category is interesting. Best Contemporary Folk is an odd category where they shoehorn whatever roots music they couldn't fit in elsewhere. These are all Yay !

    Category 66
    Best Traditional Folk Album
    (Vocal or Instrumental.)

    Gitane Cajun
    [Vanguard Records]

    The Morning Glory Ramblers
    Norman & Nancy Blake

    My Last Go Round
    Rosalie Sorrels & Friends
    [Red House Records]

    ...And The Tin Pan Bended, And The Story Ended...
    Dave Van Ronk
    [Smithsonian Folkways Recordings]

    Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs Of Stephen Foster
    Various Artists
    Steve Fishell & David Macias, producers
    [American Roots Publishing]

    Category 67

    Best Contemporary Folk Album
    (Vocal or Instrumental.)

    Educated Guess
    Ani DiFranco
    [Righteous Babe Records]

    The Revolution Starts...Now
    Steve Earle
    [Artemis Records/E-Squared]

    Land Of Milk And Honey
    Eliza Gilkyson
    [Red House Records]

    Impossible Dream
    Patty Griffin
    [ATO Records]

    The Unbroken Circle - The Musical Heritage Of The Carter Family
    Various Artists
    John Carter Cash, producer
    [Dualtone Music Group]

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Lazy blogger update

    Instead of blogging about country music, I have been reading about it.

    Plus, only 83 more sleeps til this!

    From Real Country Music:

    The long out-of-print documentary "Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music" will be reissued March 8 on DVD via Sanctuary. The Bob Elfstron film -- which includes interviews with the late country music legend conducted in late 1968 and '69, as well as footage of him on stage, in the studio and at home with his family -- has been remastered in Dolby Digital Stereo for the release.

    Among the performances are duets between Cash and his wife, the late June Carter Cash. Also included are appearances with Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins and the Carter Sisters. Bonus features on the DVD include a photo gallery and an essay by Cash expert Colin Escott.

    Fans looking to get a preview of the DVD can watch the documentary Dec. 12 on the Ovation television network.

    Here is the "Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music" song list:
    "Ring of Fire"
    "Land of Israel"
    "Daddy Sings Bass"
    "Folsom Prison Blues"
    "Five Feet High & Rising"
    "Blue Suede Shoes"
    "Remember the Alamo"
    "The Walls of a Prison
    "Great Speckled Bird"
    "Orange Blossom Special"
    "Ballad of Ira Hayes"
    "Big Foot"
    "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord"
    "Cisco Clifton's Fillin' Station"
    "One Too Many Mornings"
    "Big River"
    "Long Black Veil"
    "You're All I Need"
    "The Devil To Pay"

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    Musical Deathmatch



    Let me give you some advice, grasshopper. Never let your walkman fall under the wheels of a taxi. It will make you sad.

    Pics nicked from

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Spent chunks of the weekend making a mix tape for my sister (she reads this blog hardly ever so I can tell you about it without spoiling the suprise), only for it to be chewed up on replay. As Clive Hale used to say, boo-jerry. A few notes arising however:

    The purpose of the tape in the first place was to showcase the freaky stylings of Claudine Longet.

    I bought her album Colours (Billboard peak #155) off Ebay because it features Flop Eared Hero Randy Newman playing piano on Claudine's rendition of I Think It's Gonna Rain Today.

    Claudine is best known for being married to Andy Williams and the death of her boyfriend, colourful skiing identity Spider Sabich. As the linked fan website delicately puts it, a gun she was holding discharged into Sabich's stomach.

    D'oh. I hate it when that happens.

    While the world mourned for Spider Sabich, few tears were shed for the acting and singing career of Claudine which ended just as abruptly as Sabich's life that night. And that's a shame, for Claudine left behind a small legacy of film and TV appearances as well as a catalog of under-appreciated albums which embody the same lethal magic for which Spider Sabich paid so dearly.

    Ah, oui. The lethal magic of Mme Longet. The Stones wrote a song about it.

    Her *cough*unique*cough* singing is difficult to explain. A cutesy little girl voice, strong French accent and extremely disconcerting lisp. Skies stweaked with gwey It would make a kick-ass soundtrack for some spooky southern gothic mood piece. Otherwise it has a strange compel-repel effect. Mostly repel after a while.

    FYI, she still lives in Aspen, where the fateful gun discharged and is married to her defence attorney. Not everyone is happy.

    "I've always known she shot Spider Sabich and meant to do it," said Frank Tucker, the district attorney who prosecuted the case. "She was an over-the-hill glamour puss, and she was not going to lose another man. Andy Williams had already dumped her, and she was not going to be dumped again, thank you."


    PS She isn't country, in case you are wondering.

    Saturday, December 04, 2004

    Norm Blog takes on country music Momma 'n' Daddy songs.

    Bruce Elder Watch #254

    Now I know he just does it just to annoy. On the influence of the Carter Family in today's Herald:

    Without them, for example, Bob Dylan would not have been able to plagarise his "boots of Spanish leather" line (he took it from the Carter Family's Black Jack Davey.)

    It's shoes anyway, in that song, not boots and it is a traditional song not written by A.P or any other Carter. Get over it, dude.

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    Willie Nelson dates 2005:

    Saturday February 19th Perth Moonlight Music and Wine Festival
    Tuesday February 22nd Sydney Entertainment Centre
    Thursday February 24th Brisbane Convention Centre
    Saturday February 26th Melbourne Myer Music Bowl
    Sunday February 27th Melbourne Myer Music Bowl

    I am a Finnish Spitz

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    Et Tu, Cletus

    Country Music Features Cheating Hearts, Honkytonks and . . . William Shakespeare?

    When Dr. Robert Sawyer, associate professor of English at East Tennessee State University, was asked by the Shakespeare Association of America to get together papers and a discussion about Shakespeare and the American South to present at a conference in New Orleans, he began taking a closer look at the Bard's influence below the Mason-Dixon line.

    The resulting paper, "Country Matters": Shakespeare and Songs of the American South, investigated ways the Bard of Avon has appeared in country music. Sawyer found numerous instances when Shakespeare or his works are referenced in song lyrics, from Dolly Parton's "Romeo" to Diamond Rio's "This Romeo Ain't Got Julie Yet" to Lucinda Williams's "Little Brother, Little Angel." The result, Sawyer notes, is a sort of "deep-fried Romeo" in the Parton song, an inside joke in the Diamond Rio tune, and a cultural signifier in the Williams work. He also discovered instances of country music artists performing Shakespeare, including Jerry Lee Lewis playing Iago in a stage production in the late '60s and Garth Brooks spoofing Romeo and Juliet on television's The Muppet Show.

    CMT article for World AIDS Day. You might think an article about AIDS and country music would make for a very short word count indeed, but there has been at least one moment worth mention. The article focuses on Reba McEntire's She Thinks His Name Was John, a sort of musical Grim Reaper ad.

    Happily they also mention one of my favourite albums of all time, Rodney Crowell's The Houston Kid:

    Two songs in the collection focus on the disparate lives of twin brothers. "I Wish It Would Rain" is the ramblings and self-recriminations of the brother who has been "turning tricks on Sunset," a "cracker gigolo" now dying of AIDS. "Wandering Boy" is the response of his once-homophobic brother who has remained in Texas and now stands ready to accept and comfort his prodigal twin. While Crowell's songs are as direct and uncompromising as "John," they haven't enjoyed nearly as much airplay.

    Crowell's songs are far more "direct and uncomprimising" but them simply getting a shout on CMT is a victory. Those songs are painfully real stories of people whose humanity you have no trouble believing in.

    There are some fun rocking songs too like Telephone Road and You Don't Know How Much I Hate You, plus the tribute to his ex-father in law on I Walk the Line (Revisited).

    Yes, it is Bush Week

    Bad Cobbers news. Jacket found, no album.

    The cover:

    The back. A larger version is here, so you can more closely admire that Eureka shirt.

    The Eliza page:

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    Solid gold Top Ten at the Other Side of Country. Especially check out The Gourds if you haven't already.

    Lying Back, and Thinking of Lomax

    It was stinking hot last night and unable to sleep my thoughts turned, as they do, to Australian bush music. I think it is fair to say it has a bit of an image problem. Most people are probably too scarred by memories of the Pride of Erin at school, I sure know I am. Scratchy tapes echoing shrilly through school halls and the clammy-dry hand of a 12 year old boy. Slide! Slide! Slide! That's Australian bush music.

    Daggy patriotic doggerel. Tedious sermons from weirdos with big beards about all the stuff that made Australian history so boring at school.

    I finished high school in a town which was not only the self proclaimed Celtic Capital of Australia but also hosted the Australian Bush Music Festival. I have some dim memories of it. I am standing in the mud and rain outside a marquee eating roast beef in a damper roll. Every time I take a bite, the flour falls in drifts onto my clothes.

    So, it's a hard sell to alot of people in a way that the Celtic-derived folk music of eastern USA is not. Alot of these songs, if they were tweaked a bit as bluegrass or Guthrie-esque ballads you'd pack out The Basement at $60 a ticket. This is where the obvious "cultural cringe" observation comes in, but I resist. I actually quite like that aspect of national neurosis and, frankly, some other cultures could do with a bit more cringing themselves. That said, sometimes it goes too far and sometimes taking our own stories more seriously could be a good thing.

    A digression: the author Sharyn McCrumb has a thing in her books, set in the mountains of east Tennessee and North Carolina, about a certain strain of minerals which runs through that area, skips the Atlantic and is only found again in the slopes of Scotland, Ireland and northern England. This, she says, is part of the reason immigrants from those areas stopped and stayed in Appalachia (and it's pronounced Appa-latch-ia, you condescending Yankee) and built a culture there. I don't know the geologic fact of it, but it's a nice idea. Surely someone has written a scholarly tome on the obvious (and not so obvious) connections between Australian and American folk music? Is there an Australian "Invisible Republic"?

    I'm going to continue chasing up the Cobbers. The album I have been informed was actually called Portraits of Australian Women, and getting the name right has meant finding a bit more info. This lists a number of Cobbers albums between the mid 70s and mid 80s, and gives a track list for Portraits:

    Bonnie Jess
    Girls of Our Town (about Newcastle girls)
    Bush Girl
    Daisy Bates
    Leaving Nancy
    Mary Called him Mister (" ... and the idiot called her Miss." Repressed romance Bronte-style.)
    Farewell to Greta (the Ned Kelly one)
    Reedy River (tragic dead wife/baby one)

    Moving on. Up there with Portraits in this genre of bush music inflicted on us as children (but of course we are grateful now for such a rich musical education, aren't we? Aren't we?) was Man of the Earth, which contained "The Sandy Hollow Line" referred to in the comments of the Long Black Veil post. This was the work of Warren Fahey and may I just say: God bless you, sir. There is a special place in cyberspace heaven for people with informative, easy to navigate, updated websites. I think anyone interested in the area will find plenty of enlightment within.

    Last night on the phone mum came up with a tape she had made of Man of the Earth and it's awesome stuff. When I can get a copy, I'll write more but apart from The Sandy Hollow Line it includes songs like:

    When You Give That Tuppence back, Charlie Dear.
    This is a union song with a noble history. It concerns the bitter 1911 strike where Charles Hoskins, the mine operator, responded to the union request for an additional tuppence a ton by reducing their rate by tuppence. This was an old style battle that went on for months and ended when the strikers attacked the scab labourers who were keeping the mine operational. Hoskings new T-Model Ford was burnt to the ground and the police thrown in the nearby water slush pond. The tune was designated as 'When the Sheep Are In The Fold, Jenny Dear'.

    Norman Brown.
    I had forgotten I had recorded this stirring ballad from the Hunter Valley struggles. It was written by the late Dorothy Hewitt, in 1959, and also included on Man of the Earth. The struggle dates back to 1929 and was one of the fiercest confrontations between government and labour. Norman Brown, a twenty-eight year-old miner, died from wounds to the stomach after the police fired on the strikers by order of the government. Several other miners received serious injuries.

    The early Larrikin albums seem to be long out of print but Fahey has a couple of compilations available from Folkwax.

    A PS, I came across lyrics to The Banks of the Condomine, I don't know what album it was on but I can hear it clearly in my head.

    Oh hark, the dogs are barking love and it is nearly day
    The boys have all gone mustering and I must be on my way
    And I must be gone by morning light before the sun does shine
    To join the Roma shearers on the banks of the Condamine

    There was no planning in this little rediscovery of bush music during the week of the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade (about which Ozblogistan has produced much crunchy goodness), just a happy accident.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2004

    George Jones turned down an offer to duet with Frank Sinatra.

    ''It hurt me. It is one of my biggest regrets. But I told them I can't sing that way.''

    Yeah, you can. George could do a very cool Stardust-esque album, something along the lines of Frank's In the Wee Small Hours.
    First Thoughts,
    On the Occasion of it Almost Being Christmas:

    Hank III Lovesick, Broke and Driftin'

    Neko Case The Tigers Have Spoken

    Drive By Truckers The Southern Rock Opera

    Merle Haggard The Essential (but I looked at it the other day and they wste a spot on I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver. Why, Lord, Why? I am willing to accept Okie from Muskogee was a giant dope-fueled tour bus joke no one got, but this stretches the friendship.)

    Lacy J Dalton Country Classics

    Mary Gauthier Anything

    Emmylou Harris mmmmmmmmreissuesmmmmmmmm

    Willie Nelson whatever his new one is called

    Kris Kristofferson Broken Freedom Song: Live from SF

    Thursday, November 25, 2004

    Long Black Veil

    When I was a kid one of the most played records at our place was The Cobbers Sing Songs of Australian Women, a double album with a white cover decorated with sepia tones and sketches from McCubbin. I remember the band members had impressive facial hair, Irish accents when they sang and Eureka flag vests. There might have been a lagerphone involved.

    I remember a completely tragic song from the point of view of a regretful husband standing at the grave of his wife and baby. His gold fever drove them further and further into the bush and made him oblivious to the peril they were in. One about Daisy Bates too and one by Ned Kelly's sister. The rest is getting foggy but I bet if I heard them again I would know all the words.

    My two favourite songs were The Bush Girl adapted from Henry Lawson and the allegedly true story of tragic Eliza Emily Donnithorne, on whom Charles Dickens apparently based the character of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Her grave at St Stephen's Anligcan Church was recently vandalised by drunk yobs and today stonemason students from Miller TAFE will be repairing it. The gothic community too has been mobilised into action:

    Eliza Donnithorne's Grave Vandalised
    Tragically, the grave of Eliza Donnithorne at St. Stephens Cemetery, Newtown has been desecrated by vandals. Eliza's sad life story allegedly formed the basis for the character of Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations'.
    Her monument is therefore not only a priceless gothic icon, but perhaps a site of great importance to the literary community worldwide. In the words of gothic artist/zinemaker Nicky McGann, "Just saw Eliza's monument. It lies there on the grass, broken as her heart was broken. Mayhaps he returned to trample upon her grave."
    Donations can be made at Gallery Serpentine (123 Enmore Road Enmore NSW 2042) or at "Ascension Nightclub" on Saturday 20th November.
    Thank you for your assistance.

    It is the ultimate tragic romantic story:

    Most sources agree that in 1856, at the approximate age of 30, Eliza prepared to wed. As Eliza was one of Sydney's social elite, her wedding was to be a gala and celebrated occasion. The banquet was laid out, the guests assembled, the coaches prepared to escort her the short distance to St Stephen's church and a crowd had gathered to be entertained by the spectacle. But the groom never appeared ...

    The invited guests and the throng of onlookers slowly dissipate and the bride-to-be is left in the house alone, except for two faithful servants and the prepared wedding feast. The story goes that she insisted the banquet and the house remain in readiness for the arrival of her beloved. The door to the grand house remained ajar, held in place by a loose chain from where people could see in and Eliza could see out awaiting her fiancee's arrival. But he never appears, the wedding table is never to be cleared and she remained in her wedding dress until her death in 1886.

    The bloke who wrote the linked article says that based on his research this is probably an urban myth, Sydneysiders noted the similarity between the two stories and over time the two merged. He also doubts there was a groom or a planned wedding at all, merely an eccentric old spinster. Oh well.

    The song mentions the elegant houses and upper class social swirl of King St in Newtown. I often think about that while strolling in the area, hard to reconcile now its the carefully cultivated grunge capital of Sydney. (OK, so I don't think about it that often. Usually I too busy am trying to calculate if I can afford to buy anything at So! or Egg Records.)

    Information on The Cobbers is virtually nonexistent online although I know they were quite big in the world of bush bands. I have no idea either where that LP is now.

    Also, cobbers were little chocolate covered chewy lollies when I was growing up. Back when Paddle Pops could be had for 20c. Do they still exist?

    Boney has attempted to lift me out of ennui with news that Jolie Holland is touring. Boney sez: "Jolie is sort of an edgier, spookier Norah Jones. She's got some jazz sophistication and some bluesy rough edges and some country-folksiness and some creepy Harry Smith / Jungian-fever-dream lyrics."

    08 Dec 04 - Hopetoun
    Surry Hills, Australia

    09 Dec 04 - Vanguard
    Newtown, Australia

    10 Dec 04 - Cornish Arms
    Brunswick, Australia

    12 Dec 04 - Meredith Festival
    Meredith, Australia

    13 Dec 04 - Manchester Lane
    Melbourne, Australia

    She co founded the Be Good Tanyas but left after the first album. Tickets are $30 for the Vanguard.

    UPDATE: I went over to ABC' DiG radio site to check out what they have to say about Ms Holland and there is some new Gillian/David stuff up, including a review by Brian Wise and an interview.

    Oh and next Monday Brian Wilson is appearing at HMV Pitt St at 5pm. He is only signing copies of SMiLE so leave the surfboards at home.

    UPDATE 2: Hilarious site of the day found at expectingrain. Unfortunately, most of Dylan's characters lack noble qualities.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    SO. Not alot happening this week (well, there is. But it's waaaay off topic.) . I am uninspired. Post Gillian Trauma? I am definately heading to Andy Baylor Friday night a good bit of Cajun party music could be just what I need.

    Friday, November 19, 2004

    Barefeet are a sweet sounding acoustic folky/country threesome playing at the Harp in Tempe on Sunday (see left.) Check out their website, get along and buy the EP!

    Thursday, November 18, 2004

    All Kinds of Precious Gifts

    A Rolling Stone survey has named Like A Rolling Stone the Greatest Song Ever. These surveys are pretty meaningless except as a talking point but at least it isn't a goddamn Beatles song. I don't have a road to Damascas story about first hearing LARS like many people I know, but here is one of my best and most vivid memories.

    July 2001. I'm taking a bus from JFK to my hotel in mid-town Manhattan. I am completely shattered after 20 hours without sleep (tried to stay awake and look out the window all the way from LA to NYC, so that whole "from sea to shining sea" thing) and fading fast. The bus inches it way through some boring industrial areas of Brooklyn, nothing much out the window to keep me awake. I keep fiddling with my walkman trying to find a station with decent reception, there are none. (Where are we, in the middle of the Nullarbor?) I can't keep my head up or my eyes open. Then, these three things happen simultaneously. The traffic breaks, we are flying. And up ahead suddenly is the glorious (pre 9/11) Manhattan skyline. And my radio crackles to life and clear as anything, Like A Rolling Stone leaps out. I am suddenly more awake than I have ever been.

    The Top 20:
    Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan
    (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction The Rolling Stones
    Imagine John Lennon
    What's Going On Marvin Gaye
    Respect Aretha Franklin
    Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
    Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry
    Hey Jude The Beatles
    Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
    What'd I Say Ray Charles
    My Generation The Who
    A Change is Gonna Come Sam Cooke
    Yesterday The Beatles
    Blowin' in the Wind Bob Dylan
    London Calling The Clash
    I Want to Hold Your Hand The Beatles
    Purple Haze The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    Maybellene Chuck Berry
    Hound Dog Elvis Presley
    Let It Be The Beatles

    picture nicked from here.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    I do believe Ms Fits has come up with the ultimate description of a Gil/David gig:

    It was beyond sublime. The music felt like when you haul yourself out of a swimming pool and lie down on hot concrete with the warmth of the asphalt seeping through every limb.

    Oy. There should be prizes for stuff like that.

    Setlists from Melbourne, courtesy of Mr Simon. Read 'em and weep if you weren't there.

    Prince of Wales Hotel
    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    1st set, approx 9.20-10.20
    1. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You (Dylan)
    2. Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor
    3. Elvis Presley Blues
    4. Rock of Ages (GW on banjo)
    5. Ruination Day Part II (GW on banjo)
    6. Look at Miss Ohio
    7. I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
    8. Black Star (Radiohead)
    9. Wrecking Ball (DR on harmonica)
    10. Red Clay Halo

    20 minute intermission

    2nd set & encores, approx 10.37-11.40
    11. My First Lover (GW on banjo)
    12. No One Knows My Name (GW on banjo & harmonica)
    13. One Little Song
    14. Revelator
    15. By the Mark
    16. Copper Kettle (Dylan, DR lead vocals)
    17. The Way It Will Be
    18. Caleb Meyer
    19. Orphan Girl
    20. Everything is Free
    21. I'll Fly Away
    22. Albuquerque (Young Neil)

    Prince of Wales Hotel
    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    1st set, approx 9.46-10.40
    1. One Monkey
    2. One More Dollar
    3. Elvis Presley Blues
    4. Rock of Ages (GW on banjo)
    5. Look at Miss Ohio
    6. I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
    7. My Morphine
    8. Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
    9. Wrecking Ball (DR on harmonica)
    10. Red Clay Halo

    20 minute intermission

    2nd set & encores, approx 10.57-12.10
    11. My First Lover (GW on banjo)
    12. No One Knows My Name (GW on banjo & harmonica)
    13. I Had a Real Good Mother and Father (GW solo)
    14. Revelator
    15. By the Mark
    16. Diamond Joe (Bob Dylan, DR lead vocals)
    17. The Way It Will Be
    18. Caleb Meyer
    19. Whiskey Girl
    20. Everything is Free
    21. I'll Fly Away
    22. After Midnight (J.J. Cale) - song started just before midnight and ended after!
    23. White Freightliner Blues (Townes Van Zandt)

    Prince of Wales Hotel
    Friday, November 12, 2004

    1st set, approx 10.00-10.46
    1. Wayside/Back in Time (DR on harmonica)
    2. Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor
    3. Rock of Ages (GW on banjo)
    4. Elvis Presley Blues
    5. Annabelle
    6. Look at Miss Ohio
    7. Dear Someone
    8. I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
    9. Tennessee Stud (Jimmy Driftwood)
    10. Red Clay Halo

    20 minute intermission

    2nd set & encores, approx 11.03-12.11
    11. My First Lover (GW on banjo)
    12. No One Knows My Name (GW on banjo & harmonica)
    13. One Little Song
    14. Revelator
    15. By the Mark
    16. Big Rock Candy Mountain (traditional, DR lead vocals)
    17. Wrecking Ball
    18. Caleb Meyer
    19. The Way It Will Be
    20. Orphan Girl
    21. Everything is Free
    22. I'll Fly Away
    23. Long Black Veil (Wilkins & Dill)

    The Forum
    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    1st set, approx 9.15-10.05
    1. Wayside/Back in Time
    2. Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor
    3. Elvis Presley Blues
    4. Rock of Ages (GW on banjo)
    5. Orphan Girl
    6. My Morphine
    7. Look at Miss Ohio
    8. I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
    9. Black Star (Radiohead)
    10. Red Clay Halo

    20 minute intermission

    2nd set & encores, approx 10.23-11.41
    11. My First Lover (GW on banjo)
    12. No One Knows My Name (GW on banjo & harmonica)
    13. One Little Song
    14. Revelator
    15. By the Mark
    16. Copper Kettle (DR lead vocals)
    17. The Way It Will Be
    18. Caleb Meyer
    19. Wrecking Ball (DR on harmonica)
    20. Everything is Free
    21. I'll Fly Away
    22. It's a Long Way to the Top (Dave on lead vocals, GW on harmonica simulating the bagpipes, Tim Rogers on guitar, Tex Perkins on banjo)
    23. I Dream a Highway

    A Movement Called H.O.P.E

    Horrified Observors of Pedestrian Entertainment is a group "offering the good people of America who have been duped into buying Ashlee Simpson's CD a reprieve; the opportunity to turn in her CD for one of a higher entertainment quality. Just bring your Ashlee Simpson CD down to the Knitting Factory Box Office between 10 and 5 PM Mon thru Sat and get one by the likes of Elvis Costello, The Ramones, X, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin, Mr. Bungle, Ray Charles, Abe Lincoln Story, Grateful Dead, Neil Hamburger, Joni Mitchell, and Brian Wilson (while supplies last / selections vary) courtesy of Rhino Records in replacement."

    Other good works:

    The Jimmy Fallon vehicle Taxi has been identified by H.O.P.E. and the good people of America as substandard entertainment and unfit for the silver screen. Confirming suspicions based on Fallon's SNL work as well as trailers and reviews of the film in the mainstream press, the H.O.P.E. office was deluged with e-mails from movie goers following Wednesday night's premier saying Taxi lacks any form of creativity, humor, or intelligence. As a service to America, over the course of the next two weeks H.O.P.E. will be dispatching members to theaters where Taxi is playing to alert patrons in line to see the film that it is substandard fare. The H.O.P.E. staff will also be offering suggestions for alternate viewing options available at the theater or to more entertaining activities in the area for those who choose not to see the film.

    Singer/songwriter and CIA mind control agent Kris Kristofferson has undergone a bit of a resurgence lately with his nomination to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He got a bit at the CMA Awards, performed at the Ryman and, unrelated but still gratifying, Heaven's Gate is being rereleased. The Valhalla in Sydney is showing it this Saturday at 2.45pm, a one off.

    Thanks to JC for the photo.

    Tickets have been acquired to Came So Far for Beauty -- An Evening of the Songs of Leonard Cohen at the Sydney Festival next January. Nick Cave is the big attraction. Well, the songs of Leonard Cohen are the big attraction really but for that money you want some names. Apart from Nick, there's the McGarrigles, Rufus Wainwright, the Handsome Family, Linda Thompson and others.

    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    Remembrance Day


    Fourth Welch/Rawlings show in Melbourne announced. Thursday 16th at the Forum.

    The country colonisation of Ozblogistan continues apace with Immanuel Rant's adventures in country here and here. Resistance is futile.

    More Boney on Gil and David. I told you he does it way better than me.

    Zoilus on Gretchen Wilson (and Neko Case and Loretta Lynn.)

    Thursday listening:

    The Gift soundtrack Spooky Cate Blanchett film with excellent soundtrack, including perhaps the most chilling country song ever recorded - Loretta Lynn's Mama Why? featuring the truly freaky vocals of Lynn's son Ernest Ray. Little boy wants to know why God took Daddy, Loretta replies with some spoken word theological nonsense. I don't know what the poppet looks like but this springs to mind

    You get the feeling the child in the song is about to take himself and mama off to visit Daddy in Heaven just as soon as he can get his hands on a blunt object.

    The Blazers Puro Blazers Rocking Mexican-American "latino roots rock."

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Dennis Morgan and Freddie Hart have been inducted into the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame.

    Tom T. Hall gave Shaver's induction speech Sunday, and Kris Kristofferson joined Joe Ely to perform some of Shaver's classics, which include Good Christian Soldier, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, Honky Tonk Heroes and I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal. Shaver was moved to tears by the performance.

    "Boy, it's been a rough road, but there've been a lot of happy times, too," he said.

    Lyle Lovett and Verlon Thompson paid tribute to Clark by playing selections from his catalog, which includes L.A. Freeway, Desperadoes Waiting for a Train and Homegrown Tomatoes.

    Keith Urban, Jessica Andrews, Marcel and James Slater honored Morgan, whose hits include
    Sleepin' Single in a Double Bed, Smoky Mountain Rain and I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool. T. Graham Brown performed Hart's Easy Lovin', while Freddy Weller, Jim Casey and Dickey Lee did other Hart songs, which include Bless Your Heart and Got the All Overs for You (All Over Me).

    Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    Late notice, because I keep bloody forgetting: Desperate Man Blues is on SBS tonight at 10pm. A brilliant doco which all the Flop Eared Faithful should watch.

    Two more Gillian Welch/David Rawlings items before I move on. Sigh.
    Herald review of Roxy Show
    Transcript of 7.30 Report.

    Is anyone having trouble seeing the photo in the last post?

    LAN Downunder takes on the Red Headed Stranger.

    This is cool too. Round here we spend alot of time bagging pseudocountry poseurs like Rascal Flatts but I am still in a good mood so here is a heartwarming story. I've long admired Jeff Wall's often hilarious and insightful writing on music. I don't think he is updating Twangzine anymore but it is still worth rifling through the archives.

    Why Rascal Flatts Deserve to Live

    Last night, I took little Emily and her mom to go see Rascal Flatts in Winston Salem, NC. Emily is 13 and has Spina Bifida, and a bunch of brain problems. Her condition is terminal. She can walk, but in crowds and over long distances, she needs a chair. We just found out last week that she has a buildup of fluid on one side of her brain again and that they just can’t operate on her anymore.

    Emily has met them once before at the LAX airport. She recognized them from CMT and went up to them and said hello. They were busy at the time talking to some for real bikini models, but dumped the supermodels to spend a few minutes with this little girl in a wheelchair. It was the highlight of her visit to LA.

    Emily hears that Rascal Flatts is coming to town and she wants to go see them. Her mom ain’t got the money. She ain’t got no Daddy, and the medical bills are a whole lot more than the insurance covers. I would have just bought her a ticket, but we ain't got no money either.

    I remembered talking to a friend in Nashville who told me he was playing with a Hot New Country Gomer and that there were doing part of the Rascal Flatts tour. I decided that I was going to get Emily into the show, and that not only was I going to get her into the show, but I was going to get her backstage. This would be my new mission in life.

    I called the record label. No luck. I called every magazine I had ever written for about a possible story concerning Rascal Flatts and a poor crippled girl. I was basically told that there were no shortages of stories concerning Country Music stars and little crippled kids, That every publication had several such stories sitting around for when they needed to fill some space. I called Rascal Flatts publicist and never got a call back. I found out my friend wouldn't be on
    this leg of thetour, so that angle wouldn't work either. I then went to work on their management. After wading through several layers of voice mail hell, I finally got hold of Doug Nichols. All he wanted to know was how many tickets and backstage passes I needed. He didn’t care anything at all about press or publicity. Just tell him what I needed and he would make it happen.

    When I told Emily that she is going to go see Rascal Flatts and meet the band, she screams and hugs my neck. The day of the show I am extremely nervous. I’ve had smoke blown up my ass before by band managers. Emily has her hair done and gets all primped up. Please God, let their be tickets waiting. Please don't let me disappoint this little girl. We go up to the Will Call window and they can’t find our tickets. The lady working the window doesn’t give up and starts digging through envelope and boxes and magically they appear. Three tickets up front, not way back in the nosebleed section, and three backstage passes for the Meet and Greet.

    The staff at the Joel Lawrence Coliseum in Winston Salem went out of their way to be helpful to Emily. When it came time for the meet and greet, Emily, and another little girl in a wheelchair were put first in line. The band came in and made a big deal over her. They signed her cowboy hat, they all gave her hugs, and were extremely gracious with their time, even though there were a roomful of people waiting for pictures and autographs.

    As we rolled out into the hall, Emily had tears in her eyes. They were tears of joy. This had been a big deal for her, a really, really, really big deal. I got my neck hugged a couple of more times and told her that I love her, and was glad to have been able to help. I didn’t stay for the show, as I had to rush to the airport to pick up my mother-in-law. But I left feeling good.

    I don’t think I did anything special except make a bunch of phone calls and grovel to people. But Emily and her mom acted like I had just bought them a house. The true heroes of this story are Rascal Flatts and their management team. You can say whatever you want about their music, but I have to honestly say they were all wonderful people.

    They may not have made a fan out of me last night, but they damn sure made a friend. I owe them one, big time.

    The reason you are getting this, is just because I wanted to tell somebody about what the band had done for a little dying girl. You don't need to forward it to anyone, there ain't no good or bad luck involved, or any of that type shit. Just a plea to do all you can to try to make life a little bit more enjoyable for one person. Any person at all. Just try to be nice to somebody. You'll be surprised at how much it pays off.

    Jeff Wall

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    Oh Me Oh My Oh

    I got into Gillian Welch back in 1996 or 1997 when she was included on the Horse Whisperer soundtrack (not the orchestral one, the "Songs From and Inspired By" one). Never seen the film but that disc gets alot of play round my way, being as it is full of crunchy country goodness. I believe it was also my introduction to Allison Moorer, The Flatlanders and Lucinda Williams (whose stark sensuality on Still I Long For Your Kiss made my naif 19 year old cheeks blush) and reintroduction to Steve Earle. Anyway, then I got the debut Welch/Rawlings album Revival and have never looked back. It's taken a long time for them to get down this way, something to do with her fear of flying, but here they are. I had built the concert up tremendously in my mind, counting down the days and immersing myself in the music although I worried a bit I was being set up for disappointment.

    I wasn't.

    There is a reason Gillian Welch and David Rawlings attract the kind of slobbering devotion they do, Boney and Boney's girl have expressed that many times and many times better than I could. There is definately something intensely hypnotic about hearing them on disc, an experience multiplied ten fold in the flesh. Around me were some people who had come from NZ just for the show, planned before they announced their Wellington gigs. What to say? Sublime (as Bernard Zuel in the Herald today described it, review doesn't seem to be online yet), inspirational someone said to me Sunday, dazzling, transcendant. I didn't take down a set list, but they started with Look At Miss Ohio, then on to Make Me A Pallet, most of Time (The Revelator), David leading on that Acuff Rose chestnut Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which would have stolen any other show, Caleb Myer. And on and on. More or less the same as the Brissie show below, but no Long Black Veil they finished with a driving White Freightliner Blues; when she said it was a Townes song I thought for a moment it was going to be Pancho and Lefty, but no complaints here.

    Oh, and that Rawlings can play a bit, can't he? (And, I might add, way cuter in real life than in photos ... ) Not even the albums and a million jaw dropping reviews can prepare you for the flatpicking virtuosity on display. Sometimes the "and David Rawlings" gets stuck on the end as a kind of afterthought but this is definately an equal partnership musically, individually Gillian is something very special, together they are, well, pretty bloody perfect. And the harmonies. The audience of course adored them, roaring with approval after each awesome Rawlings break and mouthing all the words. Gillian's no slouch on the guitar and banjo either, swaying as she goes, and looking way off to the left as if she can see all those songs and characters come to life. Well, I think you get the picture.

    Afterwards I hung around in that stinking alley that runs up the side of the Metro and got the autographs above and pic below -- I'm the one in the middle with the wild eyes and bogan grin. They were so gracious and obliging, I was a stuttering mess. "Oh ... mmm .... you good ... ugh .... me happy" Something like that I said anyway. Then I drifted away and 45 minutes later was going past the same place on my bus home and they were still there with some fans. If you missed out, man, you missed out.

    And remember -- they will be on the 7.30 Report with Red Kezza tonight

    Saturday, November 06, 2004

    TV Talkin' Post

    From the Shock Music mailout. Good Morning Australia is on Channel Ten. So either they mean Kerry Anne on Nine or GMA on Ten. It sounds more like Bert's style though.

    Tune into GMA on the Nine Network on Monday morning at 10.50am to see Dan Kelly and The Alpha Males perform "Step Forward" from the three times ARIA nominated album "Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males Sing The Tabloid Blues". Maybe if Mark Holden is watching he'll figure out what the fuss is about.

    Then, you may as well stay on the couch, because ABC-TV's 7.30 Report (after the 7.00 PM news) are featuring Gillian Welch that evening.

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    One More Sleep*

    Review of Gillian Welch in The Oz

    UPDATE: Brisbane set list.

    Tear My Stillhouse Down
    Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor
    Elvis Presley Blues
    Rock of Ages
    Look at Miss Ohio
    I Want to Sing that Rock and Roll
    Black Star
    Wrecking Ball
    Red Clay Halo
    My First Lover
    No One Knows My Name
    One Little Song
    By the Mark
    Diamond Joe
    Way It Will Be
    Caleb Meyer

    Everything is Free
    I'll Fly Away
    Long Black Veil

    * and maybe a couple of naps

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    If You're Not Going to Gillian Welch ....

    ... and like it a bit on the psychdelic side. Actually you could probably go to Gillian and drop by the Empire afterwards.


    Empire Hotel, cnr Parramatta Rd and Johnston Sts, Annandale -
    Saturday November 6th - 8.30 p.m till 2am.

    Featuring -
    THE INTERCONTINENTAL PLAYBOYS - Sydney's voodoo psych garage specialists. THE PUBERT BROWN FRIDGE OCCURRENCE "Fans of The Kinks and The Move will want to take particular note of The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence. With members of the bands X and Radio Birdman". THE DOLLY ROCKER MOVEMENT and DTS who blend elements of sixties rock.

    $12 Admission + FREE SAMPLER C.D. The first 40 payers through the door will receive a free 8 track sampler CD featuring all of the above listed bands. An additional 50 copies will be available at the door for $5 each.

    Running times:

    Dts - 9.00
    The Dolly Rocker Movement - 10.00
    The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence - 11.30
    The Intercontinental Playboys - 12.50

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Bob Log '01

    Was reminded the other day about the 2001 Bob Dylan tour and my own mini-spree. Three gigs in four days (Tamworth, Newcastle, Sydney) plus another (Ballina) a week later. I wrote about it and have dug up the link. (Thanks Dave) Warning: The over-the-top dribbling fan quotient is sky high. Don't expect Booker Prize winning prose. You've been warned. Most of the internal links don't work (good to see I was bagging Bruce Elder's Dylan shoulder-chip back then too), the only really important one is the story about how Bob came to get his plastic Oscar. Remind me to tell you about it one day -- it's truly great.

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    Praise the Lord and Pass the Wikipedia

    This is the front cover of Buddy Miller's new album. Look at it. Commit it to memory. It is called Universal United House of Prayer. His name is Miller, with an M, as in Keith. He'll be in the "Country" section most likely. Go, find, get.

    It's a gospel album, to be sure. But if blackhearted nonbelievers like me can dig it, you have no excuse. People who will love this album could include, but is not limited to, adherents to beliefs and world views described as Nestorianism, Atheism, Catholicism, Lutheran, Wiccan, Amish, agnosticism, Druzism, Sufism, Wahhabism (OK, maybe not those galahs), Kabbalism, Gnosticism, Anglicanism, Juche, Jedi Knightism, Judaism, Samaritanism, Shaktism, Vedanta, Amish, Satanism, Jainism, Santeria, Ptah worshippers, Thor worshippers, Queatzocoatl worshippers, Vin Diesel worshippers, Spiritualism, Scientology, Sikhism, Itan, Druidism, Hellenismos, snake handlers, Southern Baptist (very safe bet), Odinism, Kokopelli worshipper, Cthulhu worshipper, Order of the Solar Temple, Methodism, Russian Orthodox, Dragon Rouge, Opus Dei, Judeo-Paganism, Faery Wicca, Raelism, Shinto, Islam, Zoroastrian, Falun Dafa, Moonies, Quakers, Church of Jesus Christ Elvis, Taoism, Ananda Marga, Uniting, Animist, Theosphy, Pentecostals, Klingons and people who couldn't give a damn either way.

    Saturday, October 30, 2004

    Season's Greetings

    'Galactic Ghoul' Rears its Spooky Head

    A "monster" lurking behind a blanket of cosmic dust is unveiled in this new Halloween image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Resembling a ghoul with two hollow eyes and a screaming mouth, this masked cloud of newborn stars was uncovered by Spitzer's heat-seeking infrared eyes.

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    Mojo Part Two

    Had a chance to peruse the Mojo mentioned yesterday. First the CD. There are 15 tracks, five of them specially recorded for the project:

    Worried Man by Jeb Loy Nichols
    Dark as a Dungeon by Sparklehorse
    I Still Miss Someone by Willard Grant Conspiracy
    Get Rhythm by Jawbone
    When the Man Comes Around by Knife in the Water

    Shrugs shoulders. The soupy reggae of Nichols is kinda seductive, and appropriate on the song but the others inspire mostly indifference in me. I try to like the hip slacker end of but sometimes I just want to scream Stop whispering damn you! The Ye Olde Rusticness gets old (old in a bad way not old in a good way) for me real quick. And they way they sing/speak as if there is a full stop (Americano: period) after every third word. Anyone want to set me straight? My proletarian tastes, I guess. Michelle Shocked doing One Piece at a Time is fun, virtually the same as the original. Waylon Jennings' Folsom Prison Blues is very laid back, ol' Waymore doesn't sound too fussed about getting out at all. Hardin Wouldn't Run is Steve Earle at his best. Tom Russell's Bacon Rind, Chief Seattle , The Ballad of Ira Hayes captures perfectly the spirit. Put Giant Sand in the hip-and-I-should-like-it-but-really-its-kinda-hohum category above. Nick Cave and the Seeds are included with The Singer, saw them do it at the Enmore in January, he dedicated it to Johnny and June. One of my gig-going highlights.

    The feature article is essentially a well done revisiting of the familiar story of Johnny's life. The Depression-era New Deal upbringing, death of brother Jack, cotton fields, singing hymns, air force, first marriage, Sam Phillips and so on. It doesn't mention the story about him being the first American to know Stalin had died when he was intercepting Soviet morse code in Germany. It sounds too good to be true, and probably is.

    The most interesting parts are Sylvie Simmons' recollections of her time spent with Johnny (in the house featured in the Hurt video) in the few months before he died. The contrast of his fading body ( "confined to a wheelchair ... half blind from glaucoma, his face both swollen and sunken, his body battered by diabetes, assorted surgeries and neurological illness" ) and the mind and spirit still intensely driven is partially painful but at the same time reminds me of what has always drawn me to him. And that never fails to make me glad. Bootleg recordings of his final live shows at the Carter family home in Virginia have this effect also - the frailty of his speaking voice is deeply shocking but the conviction of his singing voice is transporting.

    Also excellent are the bite-sized flashes of Cash's life and work: his relationship with Bob Dylan, his coversion moment at Nickajack cave, the making of At Folsom Prison, his ABC show. Good is the piece on his 60s concept albums like Bitter Tears, Blood Sweat and Tears, Ride This Train and Songs of the True West. It says little is heard of them these days, not at Chez Mule, Bitter Tears for one is on high rotation.

    Anyway, it's good. About $16 air freight in Australia, if you wait a few weeks you can get it for $10.

    For Your Consideration

    This Sunday sees the difficult second gig of the fabbo LOVEBITES at the Excelsior Hotel, Bridge Rd, Glebe. This threesome is in my opinion thed most entertaining showbiz trio since Larry , Curly and Moe stole a plumber's truck. Heading up the outfit is JASON WALKER, former conscience of Golden Rough, published author ( "God's Own Singer" , the life of Gram Parsons) and Laughing Outlaw solo roots rock country artiste. The Girl With The Faraway Eyes, Rocket 88 KERRYN STANTON is late of the Scrubhonets and still of the Wildcat Tamers. She takes no prisoners on the singin' teeth as she jangles the black and white keys to Jerry Lee heaven. MARK CORNWALL crawls from the wreckage of 50 Million Beers with a fistful of new self penned songs and dead red roses to hide the blood that spilled. The whistle blows at 6 PM Sunday. Gang, I'm here to tell ya there's more to Sunday life than cover bands at the Riverview and Botany View ( I ain't never seen no river and for sure no Botany from either of them joints.) A lot more. Our very special guest on Sunday is Geoff "Mad Dog" Holmes, known to youse all as the heart n soul of the WILDCAT TAMERS and of course the inimitable X. A wizard, a true star, definitely a brave berserker.

    And more about the Harvest Fest south o' the border. It was put to me in the comments section below that I should go, but I have an excuse: I will be making my inaugural, much fretted about and much delayed appearance at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Not my first time actually in Tamworth, mind. No, I've driven through that hole many times but my first at the same time as all the line dancers.

    We're all set to go!!

    Our annual Alt.Country & Roots Music, Film and Art celebration, Harvest Festival 2005, will be held over two days on 22 & 23 January at the Victorian Mornington Peninsula town of Red Hill.

    The performer line-up includes - The Handsome Family (US), Lisa Miller, Sally Timms (UK), Jon Langford (UK), Mick Thomas, Chris Wilson, Shannon Lyon (Canada), Conway Savage, Cyndi Boste, Maurice Frawley, Wagons, The Yearlings, The Small Knives, The Sand Pebbles, Marcel Borrack. Plus we'll be screening rare film footage of The Byrds, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn, Johnny Cash, Tim Hardin.

    The festival weekend will also feature a Short Film Festival of Art, Red Hill Wine, Speciality Beer, Gourmet Food, an Art & Book Market, plus lots more fine things!

    Tickets are $35.00 (for 22 & 23 January) and they'll be on sale from Monday 8 November at the following outlets:

    Online Ticket Purchase
    Raoul Records -

    The Last Record Store
    304 Smith Street
    Tel - 03 94162000

    Missing Link
    Basement, 405 Bourke Street
    Tel - 03 9670 8208

    Raoul Records
    221 Barkly Street
    Tel - 03 95255066

    Record City
    Shop 8A, City Arcade
    433 Nepean Hwy
    Tel - 03 97832357

    Red Hill Trading Company "Blue Moon"
    169 Shoreham Road
    Red Hill South
    Tel - 03 59892341

    Tickets are limited. The 2004 festival SOLD OUT so I recommend you get
    in early!!

    All the festival bits & pieces are available at our website -

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    The Man in Black and White

    I've often wondered when Mojo or Uncut would get around to it, but they have as you can see : Johnny Cash on the cover. The accompanying CD is covers of Cash songs, on first look the one that jumps out immediately is Michelle Shocked doing -- wait for it -- One Piece At A Time! And in the mag itself there are a huge number of pages devoted to The Man, written by Sylvie Simmons who I know interviewed him often and spent time with him in Hendersonville just before his death. More tomorrow after get a chance to devour it.

    The article is also illustrated with many famous Jim Marshall shots, which neatly segues into a review of the photographer's new book. Thanks to Steve, sounds like another one for the Christmas list:

    I received Jim Marshall's new photo book yesterday titled Proof.

    It's an interesting display of some his famous as well as more recent photographs.

    Jim Marshall is the photographer that shot the now famous Cash flipping the bird photo.

    In this book Marshall displays a number of his recognizable photos on one page and on the facing page, he displays the contact sheet of that roll of negatives. A small bit of information is given about the photo shoot and why the picture that was used was selected. So the contact sheets gives you an insight into what was going on during the time the "famous" photo was shot.

    The famous Cash/bird photo is displayed along with the contact sheet. Marshall explains in the text that Cash had just finished the sound check for the San Quentin show. As Cash approached Marshall, Marshall said he asked Cash for a shot for the warden. Cash spontaneously flipped the bird. The contact sheet shows a number of shots leading up to the flipping of the bird, showing a lot of typical sound check scenes - standing around waiting, discussing, performing and so on. There are three different negatives of Cash flipping the bird with various people and activity going on in the background.

    Also in this book is the photo of Cash at Folsom that is well known and was used for the Folsom picture sleeve. A number of the shots on the contact sheet recently appeared in the book about the Folsom Prison Blues project.

    The picture of Kristofferson that was used in the liner notes of Jesus was a Capricorn (Kris on the edge of a hotel bed putting his shoes on) is displayed as well and the contact sheet really gives a glimpse of Kris' life at the time. Several shots of Kris sitting at a table drinking from a bottle and smoking. Marshall said it really was an example of "Sunday Morning Coming Down."

    A recent photo is of Billy Bob Thorton - flipping the bird. The photo shoot was shortly after Cash's death. Marshall had learned that Billy Bob was a collector of Marshall's photography and prior to Cash's death, Billy Bob had gotten to know Cash. For the photo shoot Billy Bob reenacted the Cash/bird photo.

    My only complaint about the book is that the contact sheets are actual size and with my middle aged eyes, I need a magnifying glass to truly appreciate all the photos on the contact sheets.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    Alt Country Australia reports rumours next year's Harvest Festival in Red Hill (Victoria) could feature the Handsome Family, Sally Timms & Jon Langford, Shannon Lyon & the Willard Grant Conspiracy. Hopefully they will also make the trek north to civilisation for some gigs.
    After Grog Blog directs me to a Matt Price piece in the Oz ~ two decent articles in a row about Bob Dylan in the Australian media. Woo Hoo! Mind you, parts of it are pretty thin. John Howard is not off the hook for saying he liked Blowin' In the Wind ... but he didn't like the words. And the Oz Idol link is a bit strained. So you think Bob would approve the concept? Why not, it's just a drawn out talent show after all, who disapproves of those?

    I was hoping someone would come out and do an acapella version of Masters of War or something during the 60s themed show. I could see Courtney knowing a Bob tune or three. Marty probably knows the G'n'R version of Knocking on Heaven's Door.


    Saturday, October 23, 2004

    News on Willie Nelson's new album.

    Despite being a big fan, I've rather lost track of Willie's stream of releases in the last few years. They seem to have come thick and fast, none of them making much of a dent. I actually think the last one I bought was Teatro way back in 1998. He toured here in (I think) January 2000 and I stood out in the rain for an hour round the back of the Sydney EntCent and got the CD insert autographed. I asked him how Johnny Cash was, he'd had a bout of illness around that time. Subsequently that CD, along with all my others, was stolen on 22nd November 2000. It was a Wednesday. Not that I still obsess about that or anything. Anyway, I haven't read all of this article because it requires registration and I can't be bothered but the opening paragraphs featured at Real Country Music are promising:

    It Always Will Be marks the return of an introspective Willie Nelson, the artist who crafted quietly moving gems such as 1996's Spirit and 1998's Teatro. The new album plays like a soulful respite from the neon lights and whiskey-charged ambience of a honky-tonk.

    It's also an about face from most of 2002's The Great Divide, the polished, much-maligned disc that paired him with young, big-selling duet partners such as Kid Rock, Lee Ann Womack, Brian McKnight and Sheryl Crow.

    Simple Willie is best Willie, just him and that stuttery guitar. Mickey Raphael on harp. Maybe a bit of organ and some feathery drums. Of course he can honky tonk it up too but he needs a band that comes under his voice, rather than one that squashes over it.

    One of my favourite albums (another casualty of the Great Massacre of '00) is the VH1 Storytellers with Johnny Cash. Just them two and their guitars and a small, adoring audience. Johnny's voice is like its anchored thirty feet down into the bedrock under the Atlantic and Willie's zips about over and under it. The perfect compound of all things musical.
    Been meaning to say some words about the Alejandro Escovedo tribute album Por Vida, but Tim has done it for me.

    After bagging Big Media for their doltish treatment of Bob, credit where it's due. A good review of Chronicles in The Age.

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    Current baseball events got me thinking about the Terry Allen song Red Leg Boy, an extremely hummable Cajun-style ditty about (if memory serves) his father.

    Missouri born
    Red leg boy
    He just born
    Yeah to playin the ball
    Ain't much good
    For much else at all
    He just born
    Yeah to playin the ball

    Got too old
    To play the ball
    Settled down
    But remembered it all
    Lived it out
    Until he died
    Cussin the Yankees
    Ah Satisfied

    Allen is one of those genuine treasures who is almost too good to waste on real life. I hate these kind of comparisons but think Randy Newman out of Lubbock instead of LA. Good interviews here and here.

    Local man's antique tractors star in new Johnny Cash film

    If you attend the antique tractor show this weekend, you'll see one of the local stars of the new film chronicling the life of Johnny Cash, "Walk the Line." No, it isn't Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black or Reese Witherspoon, who plays June Carter.

    Appearing at the Antique Power Association of the Ozarks Show and Tractor Pull Friday and Saturday is a 1954 Oliver Row Crop 77 tractor owned by Richard Walker of Mountain Home. In fact, Walker, president of the club, also owns the tractor's stunt double, which he bought and refurbished for the film, scheduled for release next year.


    Not only was Walker's tractor in that film, Walker appears, too."If you watch in the first few minutes, you'll see me driving an old Moline in the background," he said.

    He was paid $100 as an extra and got $300 for the use of the tractor.His latest venture was a little more lucrative, he says. How much did his tractors fetch for use in the $35 million budget film? He's not saying.

    "They did put me up in the Marriott in Memphis," he said.

    Walker said the amount of work that went into the scene calling for his two tractors was surprising. The scene calls for Cash to drive up to the lake on the tractor to talk to June. They have an argument, and Cash — who is angry, drunk and "pilled up" — can't get the tractor into gear, and it ends up going backward into the lake, Walker said.

    "It was just like being in the Army. They worked on it for days setting up a three-second scene," he said.

    The stunt double was used in the lake scene, with the production workers building a track down the lake's bank to the water.

    What's Walker's favorite tractor?

    "My '38 Model Massey Harris — with a six-cylinder Chrysler flathead," he said. The tractor sports its name, "Bits & Pieces."