Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tuesday 1 November
Coopers Arms King St Newtown
All welcome
I'll have a Johnny Cash 45 single cover on the table so you know its us

ALSO: Ever wanted to really let go in the comments box but felt intimidated by Haloscan's 3,000 characater limit? Rejoice. My fab mother and I negotiated an early Chrissie pressie: Haloscan premium account membership. Use your 10,000 characters wisely. Also, older comments have been restored. And, no ads in the comment box. While this deprives us of the amusing and informative "Gay Muslims for Kerry/Edwards" links, we are now 17.4% less sold out to The Man.

The new comments template is called "delicatelittleflower." No kidding.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Might as well keep going now

My thought for the morning was this. Reading Craig McGregor's gusher about Bob in Spectrum. Stuff comparing Bob to Homer annoys me almost as much as Bruce Elder at the other end of the scale. Anyway. He refers to Blood on the Tracks and Desire as "mid-period". But of course in 2005 those albums are part of the first 1/3 of his recording career. Mid period now is Empire Burlesque or Oh Mercy.

My goal is for he and I to live long enough that Love and Theft is "mid period."

MP3: I am the Man Thomas -- Bob Dylan (4.2mb Atlanta Feb. 9 2005)
MP3: Sugar Baby -- Bob Dylan (11mb Same gig.) This one is GREAT.

Lazy. Saturday.

Latest 20, iTunes on shuffle. Most only do the last 10 but this is a music blog, you expect more I know. Not too shabby and exactly right for a morning doing a whole lot of blissful nothing. A little concerned about the Toby Keith but in my defence his last album really wasn't bad.

1. Poison Lovers Steve Earle & Siobhan Kennedy
2. Life's Lonesome Road Wayne Hancock
3. This Ol' Honky Tony Rosie Flores
4. Knockin' on Heaven's Door Bon Jovi
5. Wealth Won't Save Your Soul Solomon Burke
6. It Ain't the Wind, It's the Rain Mary Gauthier
7. Bottle of Whiskey John Williamson
8. Day of the Locusts Bob Dylan
9. It's All In The Game Bob Dylan (live Merriville 1981 bootleg)
10. She Ain't Hooked on Me No More Toby Keith
11. Ramblin' on My Mind Tab Benoit
12.White Girl
Peter Lafarge
13. Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother New Riders of the Purple Sage
14. Barstow Jay Farrar
15. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) Bruce Springsteen
16. La Petite Anna À Magène Meaux Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
17. You Ain't Going Nowhere Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
18. People Get Ready Al Green
19. Big Bayou Flying Burrito Brothers
20. Everytime I Roll the Dice
Delbert McClinton

Plus, check out the website for Walk the Line. Very cool, though I'm not sure how it'd fare on dial-up.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Which Battlestar Galactica character am I?

Boo. I wanted to be Adama Snr. Although, in truth, I'm probably closer to Tigh.

You scored as Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo). You have spent your life trying to live up to and impress your Dad, shame he never seemed to notice. You are a stickler for the rules. But in matters of loyalty and honour you know when they have to be broken.

Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)


Commander William Adama


Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)


CPO Galen Tyrol


President Laura Roslin


Number 6


Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)


Tom Zarek


Col. Saul Tigh


Dr Gaius Baltar


What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with

Update For Fedya. Lookit.

Flop Eared Mule:

For Battle!

My blog is worth $7,903.56.
How much is your blog worth?

They've ridden on my coat tails to riches for far too long.

UPDATE II: Sad? But True.

Outcast Genius
73 % Nerd, 69% Geek, 56% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.

Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society wants of them, and they just don't care! They are highly intelligent and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their friends combined in that subject).

Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast Genius.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on nerdiness

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 93% on geekosity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 94% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

not postmodern
Whether you harbor some vestige of modernist
morality or simply fail to see the irony in
Reality TV, one thing is clear. You are just
Not Postmodern.

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

A Bigger Sellout

Trying to get my head around the politics of Selling Out. It's so hard. Dylan's a sell out, right? Everybody knows. After recording his whole career for a small independent record label, embracing the spokesman of a generation mantle for decades, eschewing the decadent rock and roll life in favour of Political and Artistic Purity, he suddenly and without warning turned his back on it all and sold his soul to S(a)ta(n)rbucks. That's simple, that I get. Financially good = artistically bad.

I admit a little doubt crept in when I read HMV in Canada had removed all Dylan's records from their shops in protest at the exclusivity of the deal. But .... Financially bad = morally good. ???/?Confusion boats! But then I read Dylan's sales had surged recently, so his pound of flesh was paying off after all. And I was content again. Sell out.

But compared to those notoriously rapacious hoods, the Rolling $tones, Bob looks like Jello Biafra. They're smart, you see. Positively Rovian in their Machiavellian plots to Make More Money. Not for them Dylan's touching commercial naiveté:

Rather than giving any outlet first dibs on the release, Rarities 1971-2003 will hit coffee shops and traditional record stores simultaneously on Nov. 22, thereby avoiding any backlash toward the band from slighted retailers.

So, by comparison Bob climbs a few points back up in the Non Sell Out Index, but he's still got a long way back.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Whiskey, Highways, Honky Tonks

Crossposted at HickoryWind.

So, I said to Steve at Yesterday and Today records, I've got this thing to write for Hickory Wind and I need some inspiration. You know everything that's out, and I mean everything. You know what I like. Tell me what to listen to. He passed my way the new John Williamson record The Whiskey and the Highway. And, no, for our Australian readers not that John Williamson. Think, less Cootamundra, more south Georgia.

Somewhere on the website he's described as "the finest Texas songwriter the state of Georgia's ever produced." With all the Peach Staters around here to object I wouldn't want to make that claim, but there's a definate Texas country-folk flavour in the classic Nashville mix. Melodic drinking, cheating and rambling songs. What's not to like?

I did a little test. Make an iTunes playlist; a little bit of Charlie Robison, a little REK, carefully selected Alan Jackson and George Strait, some Dale Watson, Dwight, Kris, Guy. Add a few John Williamson songs. Hit shuffle and go about your business (in my case: three foot of washing up, and risin') How does it sound? Like a fit?

Another test for real country music. Does it make you kinda wish you could actually stomach whiskey? Want to go out and get your heart righteously broken just so you can stay up all night getting drunk and listening to it, just so it was more real? Wish it wasn't a Tuesday night so you could do just that?

The Whiskey and the Highway
passes both trials.

As does Amber Digby's Music from the Honky Tonks which I also picked up while over at Yesterday and Today. She and Justin Trevino are playing some gigs here soon, and she comes highly recommended. The album title sums it up, that classic honky tonk fiddle crunching out hurting songs, including a couple of my very favorites Close Up the Honky Tonks and You're Still On My Mind.

Don't believe them when they complain about Country Music Today. It's out there alright.

And another reason I'm glad these records came into my life is, otherwise I'd have to write about the rather egregious Grand Theft Parsons which I watched today. And you wouldn't like me when I'm mildly disgusted.

PS, I was going to turn off comments on these HickoryWind posts but I can't til I get my premium Haloscan account. So, anything you want to say, please do so over at HW, but beehive yourself. Don't disgrace me.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Alone in the Spotlight

Haven't done the music theft thing for a while, but I got nothin' else for you this weekend. Your honour, think of it it like community radio. Or a mix tape from your very best friend. Yeah, that's what it is. Go buy the records, preferably at your local independant.

Sat Night:

Six Days on the Road
- Dale Watson, Rosie Flores, Wayne Hancock, Kim Richey, Jon Langford, Toni Price, Lou Whitney & The Skeletons

Past the Point of Rescue -- Hal Ketchum

The Blues Man -- George Jones and Dolly Parton (George's new album -- seriously now, go buy it)

Sun Morn:

This Train -- KGSR Ribbon of Highway Players (Jimmy Lafave, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Iron, Ellis Paul)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yeah, I'm a Geek. Yr Point?

Next one Tuesday November 1. We are shifting the venue from Kelly's down King St to the Coopers Arms to take part in one of my very favourite recreational activities ... pub trivia!

7pm. The Coopers has a very nice, decently priced bistro too.

Always a nice low key and friendly night, satisfying all your midweek drinking needs. Commenters and lurkers welcome, we are pleased to share our awesomeness with you in person too.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Together At Last?

Blogging the Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Tonight's guest is Dolly Parton! I'm not really a fan of her music but she seems impossible to hate. She just looks so damn friendly. For her new album, "Those Were the Days", Parton collaborated with lots of musicians, including the ever elusive Cat Stevens. Unfortunately, Bob Dylan's team turned her down (which got some hisses fom the audience) but it doesn't seem to faze her. She happily says that if Dylan hadn't turned her down, she wouldn't have gotten to work with the group Nickel Creek. She also says that she still loves Dylan and she was planning on doing an album called "Dolly Does Dylan".
... "was planning on" as in, is not now planning on or "I am planning on" in reported speech? Hopefully, a video will turn up.

Apart from the baseball, The Daily Show always seemed to me to be the best argument for getting Foxtel. That lame "International Edition" SBS sometimes shows isn't nearly enough. Apart from the rather delicious Jon Stewart, there's the hilarious Stephen Colbert, Mr Noblet in one of my fave TV shows Strangers With Candy. Which you should all watch. Unless you are easily offended, then you really, really shouldn't.

Also? Dolly Does Dylan? Ha.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Late gig change. Little Big Horn will be bringing their southern rock and west coast blues thang to the Balmain Bowlo instead of the Bastards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Weekend project.

I don't know what shadowy cabal at Australia Post decides on stamps here, but in the States they like to lobby. I don't sign petitions as a rule but I did this Roy Orbison one just for the heck of it. Listening to alot of him lately and Fuschia bought me a biography to read when I get a chance. There is also a Bill Monroe campaign underway, which Real Country Music has an interview about.

Meta: I did a meme elsewhere.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

UPDATE: Sydney date is 8th November, not 7th.

Via Steve Reid of Yesterday and Today Records in Parramatta (aka "My Favourite Place in the World") comes news of a tour (Syd/Melb/Brissie) by two hot young honky tonkers, Justin Trevino and Amber Digby. I'll reproduce Steve's email below the fold but I think his final point is well made and worth repeating: if we don't get out and support these kind of shows, the smaller labels and promoters aren't going to do it. Steve Earle is always going to pack out a place but but traditional country fans really need to get out for these acts. Use it or lose it, people.

Justin Trevino is coming to Australia to play! He is bringing with him Amber Digby, the same lady who overwhelmingly was awarded our “2004 Album of the Year”. This is seemingly too good to be true! But it is true! Justin, is a young man, now in his early 30’s, who has authentically revived the classic honky tonk sound of the likes of Ray Price and Johnny Bush. He has proved himself to be the consummate singer, musician and writer. He is one of the biggest stars of the Austin music scene, acclaimed as the best in the whole USA.

Named after Ernest Tubb’s son, Justin Tubb he began singing in the clubs of Austin when hardly a teenager. He has recently issued an expanded version of his classic “Loud Music & Strong Wine” (subtlely retitled “More Music & Strong Wine”). This is now a massive 22 tracker and features appearances by Leona Williams, Johnny Bush, Curtis Potter and Jake Hooker. It is a mixture of originals and extremely well chosen covers, all which blend together perfectly for a great country album. This is a pure honky tonk album with all the elements of cheating and drinking and other excesses that represent the truly great things about country music. Nashville has reverted to plastic tales; these are real; escapist maybe but they preserve what the traditions of country are all about.

“One More Drink and then I’ll Go” is sung to the bottle itself. “Teardrops Don’t Lie” tells of a gal who drinks at the bar. “I know she has a broken heart, ‘cause teardrops don’t lie”. “You’d Be Home by Now”, is a fine conversation between husband & wife (superbly played by Leona Williams). Leona also wrote “Somebody’s Old Memory is Mine” a great cry in your beer number. “To Save My Wife” is one of 3 excellent songs by Jim Owen, who I am led to believe is the same Jim Owen who put out a tribute album to Hank Williams many years ago (called “The Show He never Gave”). “I’d Know You Anywhere” proves that Justin Tubb may be the most underrated songwriter in the history of country music. One of the new songs is the excellent “Tribute to Kitty Wells”, with a terrific jaunty steel line courtesy of the great Dicky Overbey. There are shuffles and there are ballads. It is as good as country music gets.

Amber Digby is only in her mid 20s but has just about knocked the socks off all who have encountered her and her music. Her voice is strong and reminiscent of Loretta Lynn at her best. This is not some idle comparison. She is that good!! The songs are well chosen. The interplay between Dicky Overbey on Bobby Flores on steel and fiddle is as good as on any album in the history of country music. The covers avoid the overly familiar and it is tribute to the lady that she has the sense to record songs by the excellent, but largely ignored, Linda Hargrove and Lola Jean Dillon.

We are generally only visited by the likes of Daniel O’Donnell or Isla Grant who seem to be promoted by a bunch of the lesser community radio stations for reasons I cannot or will not attempt to ponder. Justin Trevino and Amber Digby are all class. They live and breathe the music.

The promoter is taking a chance in presenting Amber and Justin and he deserves success. I can vouch for the music of both artists and can assure you that you will see a show which will stay with you for many years to come. PLEASE, consider going. I am afraid if it isn’t a success we will not be privileged to any more acts of a similar ilk. Success will guarantee more small label acts will honour us with their presence. It is in your hands. I have no connection with the promotion of these shows except that I know we must get off our bums and make them happen. It is indeed a rare opportunity we have been given. Make the most of it.


5th November Melbourne Slovenian Club, Bangholm

6th November Melbourne Saloon, Braybrook

8th November Sydney Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL.

10th November Brisbane Pioneer Village Country Music Club, Petrie.

Ticketing via Ticketmaster 7 (or at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL in Sydney).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

with special guest ALLISON MOORER
Monday 14 - The Basement Sydney
Tuesday 15 - Prince of Wales Hotel Melbourne
Friday 18 - Hotel Great Northern Byron Bay
Saturday 19 - Twin Towns Gold Coast
Sunday 20 - The Tivoli Brisbane
Wednesday 23 - Plantation Hotel Coffs Harbour
Thursday 24 - Panthers Newcastle
Friday25 - Evans Theatre Penrith
Saturday 26 - Newtown Sydney
Monday 28 - Hotel Tasmania Launceston
Tuesday 29 - University of Tasmania Hobart

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On Thursday night I'm heading to the Taverna in Five Dock to see the fabulous Rev. J.D Love at 8pm. So should you! Bit of BBQ baby octopus and top local singing, songwriting, blues and country and folk and rock and stuff.

It appears Steve Earle tickets are on sale at the Basement from this Friday (scroll down to 14th Nov). I will politely ignore the utter stupidity of the blurb, except to say "no, there is no reason to believe any such thing."

Indeed, there is every reason to believe that the entire genre of "alt. Country" would not exist without Earle's ground-breaking extension of what used to be called "Folk Rock".

No word on other states.

Crossposted at HickoryWind.

Dolly Parton
Those Were The Days
Sugar Hill

Firstly, what on earth is Dolly wearing on the cover? Some kind of .... boho Pocahontas meets the chorus line in Fiddler on the Roof thing. Of course Dolly Parton Can Do Whatever She Likes and Still Be Glorious -- of course, goes without saying --but it's a little, um, busy don't you think?

Also, on first glance the song list pains me intensely with its tweeness. Those Were The Days? Gah. If I Were A Carpenter? Meh.

Imagine? Kill. Me. Now.

If it sounds like I'm ready to snark at Miss Dolly, I'm really not. In fact, I rather wish I was her. No jokes please, I'm talking about her amazing totally-on-her-own-terms life and career, rock hard determination and ambition, endless ability to laugh at herself, and the all-encompassing fabulousness she radiates from every plasticised inch. Oh yeah, and the voice. True, the perpetually startled look on her face these days suggests a nip and tuck too far, but then Dolly has always been equally at home with her Dollywood fakeness and her Pigeon Forge authenticity. We wouldn't have her any other way.

And I do really like the album. Those Were The Days brings together Dolly's two worlds, the kitsch and the tradition. It's surely not "Islands in the Stream", but it's not quite the harder-core bluegrass of her last couple of brilliant albums either. Oh the banjos, mandolins and harmonies are there, mixed right up front but punters put off by the murder ballads and mournful mountain tales will find this a more upbeat and accessible affair. With guests like Rhonda Vincent and Dan Tyminski though, its old timey cred is intact.

The stand out for mine is "Me and Bobby McGee" with Kris Kristofferson noodling away there in the background, a rather spare bluesy take augmented with wailing harmonica. Love that wailing harmonica. Even those who find alot of the other songs here a bit cheesy will surely have to dig this.

Except for the annoying massed chorus, I also unexpectedly enjoyed "Where Do The Children Play", with Yusuf Islam on guitar. And call me profane, but the idea of a noted religious ascetic picking with the Texas Whorehouse lady herself really appeals to me. In fact, all of the numbers are real toe-tappers and I strongly suspect slipping it on after a little red wine will become irresistable. The major exception is Imagine, but frankly no one can rescue that one.

Keith Urban is rather wet on "Twelfth of Never" but otherwise the guests come through. I think for years I've been getting Nickle Creek and Rascal Flatts mixed up, for which I now apologise to the former. They and Dolly manage an affecting "Blowin' In The Wind", although I can't help really, really, really wishing she'd picked a less completely obvious Dylan song.

There's a little weirdness on the title track, in that it features the Moscow Circus. As you do. It was a bit of a thrill for a Russophile like myself to hear the boozy Russian singalong on the fade-out but it's a curious collaboration to say the least. *Shrug* I guess if Dolly wants the Moscow Circus, Dolly gets the Moscow Circus.

So, this is not down and muddy twang like I'd usually try to sell you on but Dolly has delivered a fun and delightfully cheesy slice of populist bluegrass which I defy you not to like, at least a little.

Now, where did I put that cab sav?

The Right Result

I have closed the poll below. It was quite popular but there had been a run on "Tom and Katie's Baby" and I wanted to end it before that overtook "beer." My political mentor calls it "managed democracy", says it can't fail.

Beer it is then!

Monday, October 10, 2005

One Steve Earle show announced so far, I'm told the full tour will be published very shortly. The Basement? Good for closeness, bad for $12 VBs.

Steve Earle
Nov 14 The Basement

Friday, October 07, 2005

I Think That About Covers It

Got some odd euro-spam today from some site that (allegedly) wants to list me. This is how they propose describing my blog.

Title: Flop Eared Mule
Description: Country Music in Sydney
Keywords: politics, beer, Canadian, commercials, annoyedblog, comentarios, personales, con, cristianoscience, technology, math, Medicine, environment, biology, research, astronomy, ecology, weird, physics, chemistry, botany, life, observations, ironymusic, sydney, country

I never knew it was so interesting.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dear ATO: Please give SBS my Eight Cents

Hold the front page! The Daily Telegraph comes in handy!! From the Jaqueline Lee Lewes section in the TV guide today about the Dylan doco No Direction Home:

The ABC was offered [it], but passed. According to a spokesperson there was no empty spot for it in the schedule. And it was very expensive, something the budget-battered broadcaster has to take into account.

SBS snapped it up, finalising the deal last week. It will be screened on Novemember 8 and 15 in Hot Docs at 10pm ....

On November 22, SBS will screen D.A Pennebaker's legendary 1967 documentary Don't Look Back, a portrait of Dylan and his entourage as they tour Britain in 1965.

Ah SBS. First the cricket, now this. Want to have dinner sometime?

Banjo on My Mind

Crossposted at HickoryWind.

Been thinking about Earl Scruggs. As you do. Not the banjo inventin', Monroe baitin', Flatt duelin' Earl but the Earl Scruggs Revue. I picked up a LP for a couple of bucks second hand, Strike Anywhere (1977, the year Elvis died and I was born) and am intrigued. Such a great sound, really rollicking country-rock, supported by the driving dripperty drip of Earl breaking down all over the shop. I want more. There's just the one Best Of on CD as far as I can tell.

I'd like to be able to place them in the development of country-rock/ web of influence but there's not a lot of info around. Were they big back then? I mean, plenty of people were marrying old time forms with rawk instruments and sensibility but not many were bona fide traditional music legends like Earl. It just seems like it should have a significance beyond it's current profile. Just thinking.

More Earl. I came last in my office footy tipping pool this year and so got my money back: $26. With this windfall I purchased on CD The Three Pickers, a PBS concert (there's also a DVD) featuring Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs.

I was going to write about it until it became clear it was Totally Unreviewable.

Track 1: Feast Here Tonight OMG!! Perfect. It will change your life!
Track 2: What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul? OMG! This is like the greatest song I have ever heard!!!
Track 3: Spoken Introduction OMG! I love it!!!! Such great accents!!!

You can see how this would not work. Just get it, 'kay?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Getting the feel of Keith Richards & Gram Parsons

Guest post by Christopher Sheil ("cs" in the comments round here).

Tribute concerts can be fun to attend, but generally don’t make good albums, or films. The recently released DVD, Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, is a partial exception for one reason and, finally, one reason only: Keith Richards. The DVD captures the best of the two Gram Parsons tribute concerts held in Santa Barbara and LA in July last year. News that Richards would join a stellar line-up for the concerts sparked excitement, for Gram’s influence on the Rolling Stones is on a par with that of Robert Johnson and Chuck Berry. His legendary influence on Richards in particular is documented by the famous 1977 pre-trial Toronto bootleg, where Keith channels Gram in a spooky rendition of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home". The news that Richards had finally agreed to play Parsons' material live thus set historical rock & roll hearts a-flutter.

And what a tribute it is, in the full sense of the word. Richards’ performance is not merely a mark of respect and affection – “another goodbye to another good friend”, as the Riff remarks after walking on stage to a standing ovation. Richards’ performance pays Parsons for his influence in full. We not only get to see and hear just how completely Keith has internalized Gram’s music in his gorgeous duet with Norah Jones on “Love Hurts” (yes, the rasping old gasper comfortably mixes and matches it with the young star), and in leading the house band through the classic and even more gorgeous “Hickory Wind”. We also get to hear the other side of the story via an all-in rendition of “Wild Horses” (which Gram recorded before the Stones – yes, there are many stories about this, but we won’t digress). If, like me, you are a little disappointed by Keith’s songs on the Stones’ latest and otherwise generally fine A Bigger Bang, you’ll find nothing to complain about in the man’s vocals on this outing. Keith’s “Hickory Wind” is sublime; just lovely; as delicate and accomplished and dreamy and moving as anything Richards has ever done anywhere anytime.

This then is a real tribute. There is no hint of affectation, let alone impersonation. Keith is only ever the Keith and nothing but the Keith. As such, what is faithfully and lovingly revealed is just how much the Keith that the world knows is actually in very large part Gram. In these songs, he simply makes the inheritance transparent, or probably the better word is translucent. Keith first looks toward Gram and then to the Stones, showing us first how close he is to Gram’s music and then rendering Gram fully present and acknowledged in the Stones’ own music. In bowing both ways, Keith effectively hands out a mini-history lesson that lays the connection bare, placing the relationship beyond all doubt. In this performance, Keith Richards squares off the Rolling Stones’ great debt to Gram Parsons with authenticity, generosity and grace.

What of the rest of the DVD? There are some terrific tracks. Jay Farrar’s “Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man” is a little treat. Steve Earle can of course do nothing wrong, and crafts excellent takes of “Luxury Liner” and “My Uncle” (and gets one of the best verses in “Wild Horses” – “I know I dreamed you, a sin and a lie ….”). Lucinda Williams starts a little shaky with “Sleepless Nights” before finding the slot and then nailing “A Song for You”. Dwight Yoakam’s brazen hi-jacking of “Sin City” is a foot-shaking hoot. And a delight throughout are Al Perkins on pedal steel and the great James Burton leading the house band (guitar freaks are bound to enjoy the “Ooh Las Vegas” finale, where a row of pretenders take on James in a chicken pickin' shoot-out – all top players, they can’t lay a glove on Elvis’ master sideman).

So, yes, there are many wonderful pieces taken in isolation and altogether this is a better tribute concert than most. But I suspect that, like me, after one tour you’ll pass up most of it second time round and start wishing you could just pull the highlights through onto an album, or even a single that could be put on endless repeat – yes, do it Keith:

In South Carolina there are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree that we used to climb
But now when I'm lonesome, I always pretend
That I'm getting the feel of hickory wind.

Bless you Gram Parsons, and Keith too, whichever one you both are.

Saturday, October 01, 2005