Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Been meaning to mention that No Depression has a couple of blogs. Grant und Peter.

This entry was quite lovely I thought so now seems a good time to get around to it.

BTW, No Depression is poorly named since everytime I flick through it (thanks, Borders Pitt St Mall) and read the articles and especially the ads I get extremely depressed at the amount of music I've never heard and will never hear.

The Shorter Bruce

"You and I Are Confronting the Industrialized Wasteland Alone, and We Must Cling Together, for We Are Beset on All Sides by Inescapable Oblivion"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I have a new post up at HickoryWind: Brad Paisley goes weird plus the Official FEM Verdict on the new Neil Diamond album!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Steve Earle last night.

Apparently it sold out, quite a few folk out the front wanting tickets.
Geez, drink are expensive at @Newtown. Bad as the bloody Basement.
Harlan Man still rocks all over the rest.
Some bloke had a Waylon Jennings t-shirt. I was impressed.
Missed Allison because I was at Turkey Day dinner (check out some pics at The Other Andrew and For Battle!) and had to make the dash across town.
Same as last time I think except Billy Austin, just guitar/drums, with Van Nguyen intro. Very moving, very sad.
Was that me singing along to Jerusalem et al. Certainly not. No way. Not me.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

On Songs

Following some stoushing below on the merits of Steve Earle's political songs I thought I'd expand a bit on what I mean.

At Tamworth this year, me and my mate Terry went to the Northern Territory Showcase at the Family Hotel. One woman sang a song she had written about the Boxing Day tsunami. This was mid-January so the full horror of the tragedy was still unfolding and had a real visceral effect on us all. Still does, I remember first hearing about it on a lazy Boxing Day in the country, catching a snatch of the news during the cricket, maragrita in hand and I'm sure it'll occupy some of our thoughts on the anniversary this year.

Anyway, the song's refrain went something like this:

There was a big wave
Lots of people died
It was very sad.

The verses followed a similar ... And Then This Happened line. Call me a cold-hearted cynical bitch, but such dead literalism makes me physically flinch. No matter the nobility of the sentiments, get me outta here. Afterwards, Terry and I discussed what it was that made such a song so painful and other songs so sublime. The word "mystery" came up. No mystery, no breathing room and they leave us nowhere to go.

I think of "full stop songs" and "dotdotdot songs."

This became very clear to me when I listened to Earle's Jerusalem and Springsteen's The Rising which came out about the same time in 2002. Both were touted as important post-September 11 albums, many reviews dealt with them together and both are by artists whose new CDs I will buy without question.

I've pretty much expressed my view of "Jerusalem" (the song) elsewhere: it is an absolutely banal collection of sick-making cliches. It takes a issue on from the front, and works its way through via the easiest, cheapest, point A to B route. It doesn't matter that the sentiments (peace good, war bad, won't somebody think of the children) are perfectly inoffensive and, even, noble. It is a full stop song. When it ends, it ends. The meaning ends, the impact ends. No spillover outside its own words, into your life. It has no echo, no shadow, no hint of being part of a larger canvass.

The dead hand of impeccable intentions squeezes out the listener, who can do nothing but listen passively and nod along. We know the larger context of course, but we don't know it from the song, and from the song we get no hint of anything more than itself.

If I can clumsily switch metaphors, the full stop song is a piece of cloth tightly hemmed with no loose threads. The dotdotdot song is a bit shaggier, with some strands hanging loose. Strands you can play with, twist around your fingers and tug a little to see where they go. Jerusalem, and I would argue pretty much all of Stevo's latter day big-P Political songs, are so stifled by their one obvious and only Meaning they fall into the former category.

On The Rising, there are two songs which deal in a similar post 9/11, peri- War on Terror world but have loose fibrils everywhere to grasp. Also, they are much more exciting musically, Worlds Apart with the haunting qawwali chants of Asif Ali Khan and the ethereal spooky/beautiful sheen of Paradise.

Worlds Apart is a driving rock song, rich with meaning spilling outside the borders of the words themselves. This is a song which won't be contained by the talking point of the day. I like that it does not ellide the real difficulties we face -- the cultural, historical, economic, geographic, political gullies and gulfs between us. We do, in many real ways, remain worlds apart. But there is also the promise, as there always is with Bruce. The image of our two worlds as star crossed lovers is a moving one, and brings the abstract political right back home to the personal.

We'll let blood build a bridge over mountains draped in stars
I'll meet you on the ridge between these worlds apart
We've got this moment now to live
then it's all just dust and dark
Let's let love give what it gives
Let's let love give what it gives

Also, is there a more urgent message to hear than

May the living let us in before the dead tear us apart

?? Not to me.

As Worlds Apart is loud, Paradise is whisper quiet but tells a powerful, tragic story but also amazingly hopeful story. It makes me shake a bit, and sometimes want to cry.

There are alot of tantalisingly loose threads to follow here, you can imagine (if you dare) the scene of the young girl being prepared for hideous martydom, the scene of her walking to her final destination in the crowded marketplace. Just a simple few lines, but a whole world in your head. Juxtaposing this story with that of a (presumably) Sept 11 widow/er (although there is no gender, I always picture a woman) is a truly risky move which could easy backfire terribly. It doesn't. The final image is unexpected in its strange and warm hopefullness:

I break above the waves
I feel the sun upon my face

These are dotdotdot songs. There are so many places to go within them. They are politically relevant, yes. Bits and pieces of them run through my head suddenly when listening to the news, reading the paper, making the rounds of blogs, lying awake at 3am wondering what the fuck is going on. But they show you do not have to be banal to be political, or forsake your craft to make a point. The message of these songs are tough, hopeful, complicated and inspiring.

Incidentally, it bemused me at the time that Steve copped so much RWDB flak for John Walker's Blues which is a rather vanilla song (another full stopper), whereas Paradise, from the much more high profile Boss and partially from the POV of a teenage female suicide bomber, slid by with barely a murmur. I put this down to the fact that since rabid right wingers who set their wing'd monkeys on JWB couldn't actually care less about the real issues, they just light upon the first shiny thing that catches their eye. JWB is obvious, Paradise is the second last song on the album, not a single and actually requires you to listen to the words, perhaps even seek them out to read. Far too much work when all you want is 30 seconds of mouth foaming indignation. Or a one line blog post finishing with "heh."

And I haven't even mentioned Bob Dylan! But I've gone on long enough so I'll just say he is the master of the dotdotdot except occasionally -- I'm thinking "Hurricane" -- when he gets stuck in the one way-full stop-cul de sac of boring lameness!

PS a quick Google search suggests many people feel about Worlds Apart the way I feel about Jerusalem. Oh well!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Belatedly, and very sadly, Chris Whitley died also this week. You can read a tribute from his daughter here. Thanks to Cletis and others for the link.

MP3: Firefighter -- Chris Whitley (2.2mb)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Reminder about Don't Look Back being on SBS tonight. Been a long time so I'll be watching too.

PS, listening to Mike Bloomfield live in Italy 1980. Great, solo on piano so far. George Jones song coming up! I suspect he might be the teensiest under the influence of something other than the mystical power of the blues.

Thanks to Morgan, notice a little late but not a bad way to blow off a Tuesday arvo ....

Sezzie Novak & The Overtures to Play Intimate Sydney Show - TOMORROW –
Tuesday the 22nd November

The mysterious Sezzie Novak & The Overtures are confirmed to play at
the Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills, Sydney tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd of
November. All this Australian summer, the hotel is reviving it's
legendary "Rock Against Work" tradition which sees bands take to the
stage on Tuesday afternoons, tempting the people of Sydney away from
their workplaces.

After a hectic year of national and international touring in support
of their debut album, the band will regroup for this solitary
home-town show, before hitting the road for Victoria and Queensland on
their November Tour.

Showcasing the new five-member line-up that will soon be gracing
festival stages, the shadowy Miss Sezzie will shed new light on old
favourites and bring some tracks not yet heard out of the darkness.
The Hopetoun Hotel provides an incredible opportunity for fans to see
this enigmatic ensemble in an intimate setting, before the crowds of
summer flock.

Doors open at 4:00pm and tickets are only available at the door. The
band will play two sets and there are other surprises and giveaways
planned. Students of eighteen years and over are also most welcome to
'Rock Against School' at the same event.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Real Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Bob opened with Rumble last night. See Link Wray post below if you don't know why.

If you still don't know why, go buy some Link, man.

Update: Thanks to Sebastian from PCL LinkDump for informing me that you can hear Bob and the boys Rumble in an MP3 posted at the Link Wray Shack. Many other good links there too.

Update: Typically great tribute at Boney Earnest.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tuesday, SBS Bob Fest ctnd

I was surprised to read over brekkie this morning in the Peter FitzSimons' column that "the third part of No Direction Home" is on this Tuesday 22nd Nov on SBS. Pity to see such an expensive education gone to waste, I think what he means is this:

This documentary from D. A Pennebaker, tracks the tail end of Dylan's folksinger's acoustic phase, and focuses on Dylan's seven-city, eight-show tour of England in April and May 1965. Pennebaker's film goes behind the music and while there is plenty of concert footage in the film, most of the action takes place offstage in hotel rooms, cars and trains, and concert-hall green rooms. This film captures the magic of the times and the magic of Dylan, as well as the rhythms of being on the road with musicians. Throughout his body of work, Pennebaker has pioneered the so-called ‘fly-on-the-wall' style of documentary filmmaking, allowing his subjects to speak for themselves without benefit of voiceover narration or other cinematic scaffolding, making him literally one of the most imitated and praised filmmakers working today. (From the US, in English) CC
SMS Alert Code: 2354

Or maybe Elder got to the subbie, just to mess us around.


Apparently (the info seems a little on the unconfirmed side) Link Wray has died. Bugger.

MP3: Fire -- Link Wray (6.7mb)
MP3: Link Wray -- Jason Ringenberg (2.3mb)

If it turns out these reports are exaggerated, its still a good excuse for a couple of great songs.

You'll never see him on the White House lawn
But he rocks out no matter what you're on

Update: More here:
Garage Punk
Sunset Gun
TOra! TOra! TOra!
PCL LinkDump
Reverend Frost
Inaudible Cities

Update 2: And still nothing in the English language news? The blogosphere at least has a little respect. He died in Copenhagen where he lived for the last few years and was buried before any announcement was made, in the Danish press, then picked up elsewhere in Europe. But, come on. Link Wray! Hell in a handbasket, I tell you, this world.

Friday, November 18, 2005

In Which Stat Counter Provides An Unwanted Insight Into My Readers

I reorganised the sidebar a bit a few weeks back, putting links to some older posts. BY FAR -- and we're talking Makybe Diva v Solomon "the King of Rock 'n' Soul" Burke over 3200m proportions here -- the most clicked on is my mate Terry's report on the Toe Sucking Cowgirls. Now they are a truly fab band you should check out whenever you have the chance but I can't imagine their fame has spread that far -- Finland, Canada, Paraguay and so on.

I can only assume there's something else that's attracting you all to that one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Steve Earle

Crossposted at HickoryWind.

Setlist. Ramble about it coming soon, after a nap. in fact, now.

Setlist now below the fold.

Steve Earle and The Dukes with Allison Moorer
The Basement, Sydney
Nov 14

The first happy thing to report -- and this will only be meaningful to those familar with The Basement but should be rejoiced in by music lovers universally -- is that they got rid of the flamin' stupid dining tables, and with them the posers with their forever rattling cutlery and clinking glasses, table service blocking the view and general smugness. Their blessed absence turns what is often an unpleasant venue -- standers cramped up the back around the bar, bludging gormands taking up acres of real estate down the front -- into a quite nice space. Of course the drink prices are still a national scandal (Cascadegate -- $6 a bottle!!!) but if it lasts some of the many Basement-haters of my acquaintance might be persuaded to give the joint another go.

Allison Moorer. You know she's, to quote George Jones -- hey, I gotta get country music in here somewhere, Stevie boy sure as hell ain't gonna provide it. ;-) -- hotter than a two dollar pistol. Not that I've ever thought her unattractive, God no, I just haven't thought of her much at all. Not really my scene, you know chicks, but the way she went all sloe-eyed around the audience with that hair and in that strappy green thing, one almost felt like blushing. Our Steve has never really lacked what you might call self-belief but even he's gotta be standing in the wings thinking "man, how the hell did I get so damn lucky?" (add a few stronger expletives to make it authentic Steve-speak). If he's got half a brain that's what he's thinking anyhow. She was good, just solo and acoustic with hubby playing mandolin on one track. The audience was rather rapt and attentive, which SE thanked us for later.

SE was out here just in 2004 and its rare to get a tour to this part of the world without an album to promote or a specific reason, so I thought -- dared to dream -- that he might be bringing a more countryfied line up of the ever changing Dukes and that was the reason for the follow up so soon. Since the show was pretty much exactly the same as 18 months ago -- heavily weighted to the last two albums, thrashy guitars and reverb -- I guess it really is just an excuse for an around the world honeymoon and to learn to surf.

My bias is definately for old skool Steve, the cars'n'girls'n'blacktops one and since Transcendental Blues is very much been diminishing returns for me with the albums. It's not the guitar rock I don't like, when I watch the E Street band I think, "hmmm, three lead electric guitars -- not nearly enough!"

It's not the politics either ... well, it partly is. But it isn't. It's not a disagreement on the issues, though he's far more of a rabble rouser and conspiracy theorist than I'll ever be. I wore the Dukes t shirt I bought in '04 to a union event (Aussies reading will know the one I mean) today and I appreciated his comments on the issue during the show. It's also true he's always had social comment in his songs, but I'm a big believer that when it comes to narrative -- show, don't tell. The most effective "message" song of the night was Harlan Man, a story rather than an op-ed. Plus the slightly rocked up, mandolin lead sound really kills.

Off his most recent albums only Home to Houston really rises to the level of the great tradition of popular songs with social meaning but also lasting power. It could be a lesser entry in a list which would include Born in the USA and And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Amerika v6.0? Yawn, not so much. At his worst -- Jerusalem, I'm looking at you -- these songs drift into banality and never recover. But .... The Dukes of course are one tight, hot band and Steve a great performer so even these songs rock out live.

So anyway, I obviously don't mind too much since I had a great time last night, still buy all his records as soon as I can, I'll buy the next one and I am going to his two Sydney gigs at $60 a throw. The next is on the 26th. It's still Steve Earle after all, and he can do anything he likes in my books. He does his thing in his way, I react in my way and we're all still mates.

Hearing Copperhead Road always reminds me of when that was a cross over hit when I was 11. Actually Steve doesn't look much older than that in the video for that song.

One thing I never thought I'd see at a SE gig was on-stage snogging. But there they are, Steve and Allison mincing around grinning like the proverbial. Good on them, the crazy kids.

Allison Moorer:
Will You Ever Come Down
Let Go
Soft Place to Fall
Intro: the first song she ever wrote when she was 7 was about Australia: "it was all about koalas and kangaroos and Christmas in Summer and shit"
New untitled song, possibly about a Hurricane Katrina type of event
All Aboard
Carrickfergus (Steve on mandolin)

Steve Earle and the Dukes:
The Revolution Starts Now
Home to Houston
Conspiracy Theory (with Allison)
Ashes to Ashes
Amerika v6.0
What's A Simple Man to Do
Rich Man's War
Comin' Around (with Allison)
You're Still Standing there (with Allison)
In my notes here I've written: long lecture about democracy and the labour movement
Harlan Man (dedicated to "everyone in the room with a union card" plus exhortation to get out in the streets today)
Copperhead Road
Condi Condi
I Thought You Should Know
Transendental Blues
F the FCC
Revolution Starts Now
Revolution (the Beatles one)

Guitar Town
Sweet Virginia (with Allison)

Time Has Come Today

There was another song somewhere there in the encore that I missed. UPDATE: Thanks to Marilyn on the Exit O Steve mailing list for pointing out the missing song is prob a George Harrison cover, Isn't It a Pity.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Help Me Make It Through the Estadio Centenario

This is about football/soccer. I was going to come straight out and say this has nothing to do with music and I couldn't think of a way to randomly connect the two, but suddenly the universe provided. Of all things the universe chose the Daily Telegraph ...

Up for the Cup

A rare moment for viewers of In Siberia Tonight on Saturday on the eve of the Aussie World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on SBS, when sports presenter Les Murray will sing. Yes, sing. He was in a rock group called Rubber Band in the 1970s and will join his singer-songwriter daughter Tania to sing Knock Knock Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

A big fat (sic) on the song name there, natch. No matter, my semi-on-topic semi-resolution is still semi-intact. I am content.

So anyway. Somewhere along Oxford St there is a pub girls toilet door which still bears the impression of my size 10 Blundstones following the Socceroos' Iran debacle in 1997. One minute -- 2-0 up 20 minutes to go -- we were discussing the time difference with France and how early we'd have to get up and two appalling ref debacles later it was even and we were staring at Johnny Warren breaking down on the big screen.

It's taken me 20 minutes and three Strongbows to even revisit the trauma in that paragraph.

I do not include in my deep pain the last time Uruguay beat us, ahead of Japan/South Korea 2002. We weren't good enough. We lost. Fair enough. 1997 was not fair enough and I am looking for redemption this Sunday (our time) when we take on the Soy Celeste once again in Montevideo. Incidentally, the last World Cup was personally great because it was finally in our time zone -- the World Cup in prime time, weeeee! -- plus I watched matches in four countries. Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, Bulgaria. I watched the Turkey v Brazil semi at a little bar in the wonderful Black Sea town of Balchik. I don't speaka the Bulgarian really but I got the distinct feeling they wanted Turkey to lose.

The Uruguayans, after orchestrating an airport rent-a-mob to greet the Socceroos last time are again playing silly buggers, this time over the kick off time. They changed it to force the 'roos to miss a charter flight but apparently failed to factor in the core business of the team's major sponsor -- hola?? a little outfit called Qantas. Another charter was arranged sharpish. However then the Uruguay charter fell through and they couldn't get another. What's Spanish for "suck on the karma amigos!" (update: thanks to Liam it's "¡Uruguayos, chúpase la karma cósmica!")

Not that I'm complaining, each side is entitled -- indeed, obliged -- to seek all advantage. Full on stoushing in sport is as welcome as in any other endeavour. I'm pleased to see the FFA sticking to their guns. That rugby fellow is kinda growing on me (and not only because he described yawnion as "a boutique sport" in the Herald last week. Heh.)

Sportstab is offering an Aussie win at $4.60 which sounds pretty tasty to me and I've got a few dollars on it. It's the principal of the thing but what I hope for really is that we come through Sunday still in touch, with pride intact and ready to bring it home in Sydney next week.

Can I get an Oi?

PS If it all goes pear shaped, let's agree to never mention it again .

Just Modestly Proposin'

Latest at HickoryWind. One and two.

Monday, November 07, 2005

From Steve Reid, about Justin Trevino and Amber Digby (Sydney show, see gig guide left). If you're wavering, just do it. Sounds like you won't regret it.

Sometimes something so special happens that over the years the number of people "witnessing" that event grows exponentially to the number that were there. There were only a little over 1,000 patrons to witness the infamous tied cricket test between Australia and the West Indies in 1960 yet over 20,000 have spoken about being there.

JUSTIN TREVINO & AMBER DIGBY may very well be the country music equivalent of the tied test. This may be the one and only opportunity of seeing these two superstars of the honky tonk arena. Reports from Melbourne are that this is a show to die for. The band is made up of the cream of Melbourne musicians under the direction of Warren Keats and reports are that as great as their albums are the live performances of Justin Trevino and Amber Digby make them pale by comparison.

So Tuesday Canterury Hurlstone Park and then Brisbane. The clairvoyant has told you this is better than the tied test...Don't miss it. I won't.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Geek Alert

Stats from the current Dylan tour and the previous one. Check them all out at the Dylan pool message board.

Song frequencies
Song Times played
All Along the Watchtower 14
Highway 61 Revisited 14
Maggie's Farm 10
Summer Days 9
Lay, Lady, Lay 9
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum 8
Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again 8
Like a Rolling Stone 8
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 7
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right 7
Down Along the Cove 6
Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine 5
Watching the River Flow 5
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You 5
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 5
The Times They Are A-Changin' 5
Tell Me That it Isn't True 5
High Water (For Charley Patton) 4
Positively 4th Street 4
Cold Irons Bound 4
I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) 4

Steve Earle/Allison Moorer dates NZ:
Christchurch, New Zealand
James Hay Theatre

Wellington, New Zealand
The Opera House

Auckland, New Zealand
The St. James

Plus, chapter from new bio on the boy. Including profile of Train A Comin' still his best. If I don't get an acoustic Goodbye in a week or two, there will be violence.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Last Waltz Tribute to the Band
Manning Bar Syd Uni
25th November 8.30pm
Jason Walker and the Last Drinks Louis Tillet members of Youth Group, Spurs for Jesus and many more

Go to the Last Drinks website for a bigger version and details. Thanks to Christos for the tip.

Andrew has a round up and pics from last night's blog trivia booze up community event. Good night. You get along next time, y'hear.

Also Papertrap. And Exploded Library.

Real Neil

While trawling the archives for a few old things to highlight in the sidebar, I came across this comment about Neil Diamond. Unusually prophetic for me.

When I am god emperor, I'd ban the underwritten-and-overproduced light romantic thing and make him record a solo acoustic record. If he was very good he could have some organ or a harmoniser or two. But that's it. No Bob Gaudio allowed.

Soon after we learnt Rick Rubin has offered to produce his new album, which was astonishing news. 12 Songs is out next week, and you can listen to it here. Not quite solo acoustic but very stripped back and Neil does most of the heavy lifting on guitar for himself which he hasn't done for decades. On a first and much-buffered listen, I like it.

12 Songs. Interesting, the same name as the Randy Newman LP aka "the best album of the year 1970."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Posted at HickoryWind.

It's a happy coincidence that Stacy mentioned her love for the Garden State soundtrack in the post below, 'cos that's my chosen topic today. I was at the pictures (en Americano = "movies") last week watching the surprisingly good romcom Must Love Dogs, and thought the CD would be worth checking out. It's like your five easy listening, but not bland, music groups in the one place.

Tip: Soundtracks like this are also a useful social device to mask complete alienation from your generation. I've found they are very good for reassuring acquaintances, party guests and random callers that you have demographically-appropriate tastes in music. Complete bollocks of course in my case, but bung on Songs From and Inspired By My Best Friend's Wedding and you may just fool some of the people some of the time.

A few of my soundtrack highlights. Forgive me, I stray a little from the strict Americana here, but it all comes back to the same qualities in the end.

The Horse Whisperer This is solid gold from beginning to end. It's hard to pick a standout but I'm tempted to say Me and The Eagle, one of Steve Earle's most memorable songs. Soft Place to Fall grabbed me the first time around, nothing I've heard of Allison Moorer since has come close but I'm seeing her and the hubby in a week or two so I'll hold reappraisal til then. Back in 1998, it was the first I'd heard of the Flatlanders, and this complete unknown, Gillian Welch. It was either my first exposure to Lucinda Williams too, or an extremely early encounter. Either way, a personal landmark. Some soundtracks have greatness thrust upon them by their expert use as part of the cinematic whole (see Scorsese, Martin below). On the other hand, I haven't even seen The Horse Whisperer, and indeed some of the songs on the CD are not even in the movie. Just like a really superior mix tape to me.

Northern Exposure Vol I and II If only for sending Iris DeMent crashing through by featuring Our Town in the final episode, Northern Exposure would be musically special. Apart from introducing me to Iris, I'm also grateful to it for featuring Daniel Lanois's Jolie Louise. I got the album it's on, Arcadie, and it's still one of my favourites. The rest of the albums are not-too-obvious classic rock and soul, plus some French and Native American/Canadian influenced tracks which are just irresistable. If I danced, they would be great for that. But I don't. Still, I can't resist tapping unobtrusively along.

The Sopranos Vol I and II This is also an impressive one for putting on in mixed company, but for a more hip crowd. Since David Chase is the common denominator between NE and The Sopranos, he might get the credit for the exceptional quality and bredth in both shows. If I choose one, its Vol II for being a double CD, not including Gotta Serve Somebody and the two stand outs which rather changed my thinking on the artists involved: The Stones' Thru and Thru (Keith: I was pissed out of my brain when I wrote that) and Nils Lofgren's mysterious and spine tingling Black Books. Country content in the form of Our Own Kasey Chambers and Shaver, great music in just about each and every track. Oh yeah, and how could I almost forget: Dylan crooning -- in Italian, if you don't mind --- an old Deano number, Return to Me.

Martin Scorsese in general It's a small step sideways from the Sopranos to The Great American Director who always hits the spot with his musical choices. Not just the music docos like The Last Waltz or No Direction Home either. Scorsese the consumate filmmaker and Marty the music nerd have always complented each other pefectly. Think the famous long tracking scene which opens Goodfellas or oh, millions of others. This is a good round up. Seems Marty's country appreciation doesn't extend too far past The Band, but nobody's perfect.

A Mighty Wind Almost as bad as that talentless hack Eastwood beating out Marty at the Oscars this year, was in 2004 when some Lord of the Rings Annie Lennox yawn fest trumped "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" by Mitch and Mickey (the truly divine Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara). The LOTR song was slapped over the final credits to shift units, the MW song was a crucial part of the whole emotional narrative. Wickedly funny songs which achieve the near-impossible: successful, subtle (and not so subtle) parody which is also just damn good music. A joke, yes, but not a novelty.

Care to share yours?

post any comments over at HW.