Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sincerely, F. Mule

One thing I really hate, hate, hate is going to a gig and the performers staring at the floor, reading the lyrics because they haven't bloody well bothered to learn them. It's distracting, annoying and way unprofessional. A serious dealbreaker for me. And that's only at free pub gigs of a Thursday night -- imagine the intense mental angst caused when the repeat offender is Nick Cave. Or Rufus Waingwright. Or Beth Orton. Or the MacGarrigles. Or.Or.Or.

So tonight was the night for Came So Far For Beauty: The Songs of Leonard Cohen at the Opera House, part of the Sydney Festival. The tickets were $150. The performers -- stars most and professionals all -- hardly knew the words. They had to keep eyes fixed on the music stands in front of them.

Every peek made me flinch.

Santa Vaca, people! Me and my sisters know the words to all the songs, surely you certainly can learn two of the bastards.

Not many things can make Nick Cave uncool. Cribbing the words is top of the list. Mostly Nick had to be within a few feet of the stand but when he did try to let go with his righteous preachin' type moves we all love so much, he kept being yanked back by the short mike lead. If they can provide those unplugged microphone thingos to Australian Idol contestants, they can bloody well give Nick Cave one at the Opera House.

I have spoken about Nick Cave and Australian Idol in the same half-paragraph. See how crazy and mixed up this has got me?

Oh and the sound quality was pretty horrible. Isn't this supposed to be some kind of world class venue for musical entertainment?

I will tell you about the good things later.

Completely unrelated update: Hear Bob sing Pancho and Lefty. Courtesy of Grey Flannel Dwarf at the Expecting Rain forums. Now there's a man who never forgets the words ... ;-) Ah, The Drunk Years, some of my favourites. Oh yeah, and he's touring with The Hag.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The highway est ma maison

So, I came back. On a Cajun kick, currently listening to Radio KLRZ out of Larose, Louisiana on the net. Been chilling to Another Saturday Night an LP produced by Radio KLEB in Ville Platte, LA. All sorts of good stuff including Cajun Fugitive, a French language version of the Merle Haggard classic Lonesome Fugitive.

Check it out Saturday:

AUDREY AULD MEZERA (w/ band) + special guest : BILL CHAMBERS

(119 Victoria Rd, Rozelle - ph : (02) 9810 1260)

"Music with the dirt left on" is how singer/songwriter Audrey Auld Mezera describes her music. With a healthy balance of respect and irreverence for the traditions, Audrey is an engaging entertainer who writes with wit, passion and the ring of truth.

It’s a long way from Tasmania, Australia to Stinson Beach, California. Singer/songwriter Audrey Auld has made the journey across the Pacific Ocean, in the name of love.
“I married an American who I met in Tasmania more than 20 years ago. It took us a while to meet at the end of the aisle!”

“Australian country music's loss is American music's gain. With her own discs, her duet work with Bill Chambers and her Reckless Records label, Auld has created excellent country music, plus sounds that fuse country with alt-rock.” Jim Beal, San Antonio Express

With a healthy balance of respect and irreverence for the traditions Audrey is an engaging entertainer who writes and performs with passion, humor and insight. Her love of roots music is evident, as are the influences of Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn and her Australian mate Kasey Chambers.
"Music with the dirt left on" is how the country/roots singer/songwriter describes her music. "Closer to being organic, than something that's been manufactured." Whether humorous or poignant, Audrey’s songs carry the ring of truth.

"Audrey Auld is a great singer songwriter. She holds a unique place in contemporary Americana/Roots music. I believe that this uniqueness is largely due to the fact that she is Australian. This affords her a totally different attitude as an artist than traditional American contributors to this genre. I feel that it is fringe artists in these positions that need the most encouragement, as they are the ones who keep pop culture honest. Audrey is one of the most honest original artists I know." Fred Eaglesmith

Audrey has shared the stage with Buddy Miller, Kim Ritchie, Bill and Kasey Chambers, Jim Lauderdale, Fred Eaglesmith, Tom Russell and Charlie Louvin, opened for Keb Mo, Junior Brown, Paul Kelly, Vic Chesnutt, Chris Hillman/Herb Pederson, recorded with Fred Eaglesmith, Kieran Kane, Mary Gauthier, Carrie Rodriguez, Kimmie Rhodes and Dale Watson.

Audrey runs her own label, Reckless Records; releasing albums from Bill Chambers, Fred Eaglesmith, Mary Gauthier and The Yearlings, along with her own albums "Texas" (2005), "Losing Faith" (2003), "The Fallen" (2000), “Looking Back To See” (1999) and “Reckless Records Garage Sale” (2003)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tamwords Days 2,3,4,5

Did I mention the heat? Well, it's hot although a bit of rain has taken the edge off. We're camping on the North Tamworth Footy Oval (Go the Bears!), and you venture inside your tent between about 9am and 7pm at your own risk.

Together at Last "A Country Music Circus" has set up in the middle of our oval. On the sign they have mispelt country (I'll leave just how to your imagination.)

My Fourth Favourite Arkansas-ian Revelation so far as been Bo Jenkins who plays with his band Roadtrain everynight from Midnight at the Wests Diggers Club (getting in is harder than passing Checkpoint Charlie, though. If you're gonna stop by remember to bring 100 points of ID, a medical certificate and a note from your mum.) Bo is a Mississippi Delta boy transplanted to the NSW north coast, via Melbourne. The official Bo Jenkins singlet I'm wearing says "a fine blend of rock, blues and country" and that's about right. Real damn fine. Check 'em out.

Lock It In, Slim I won a country music trivia contest.

Briefly ... some of the great gigs I've seen: Rob Luckey and the Lucky Bastards, Leslie Avril again, Andy Baylor's Cajun Combo (discovered The Baylor Brothers do a version of Flop Eared Mule on one their albums), rev J.D Love, Mark Lucas and the Bad Hats, Truckstop Honeymoon, Alby Poole, Wanita, Bill Chambers' sessions at The Pub with Catherine Britt, Josh Canning, Ray Hoff, Red Hot Poker Dots, The Detonators, Johnny Green's Blues Cowboys, a Northern Territory showcase featuring the Toe Sucking Cowgirls, plus Warren H Williams, Gus Williams and many other assorted Williamses, Buddy Knox playing with Wanita, he did a set with a woman whose name I didn't catch but it was awesome bluesy funk, Johnny Greenwood, and many others I've caught a few songs of on my travels. Plus about a million buskers, whose spirit and persistance never cease to amaze me.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Tamwords: Day 1

First off, I've only got half an hour at this internet cafe, off Peel St with some busker bloke outside singing one of my least favourite songs, Amanda. I just don't need reminding fate didn't make me a gentleman's wife, OK? So I'm not going to mess around with hyperlinks and all that jazz, you can do the googling yourself. Think of it as Interactive Blogging.

For those still ignorant, Tamworth is the "Country Music Capital of Australia [tm], " so it's kinda like Nashville, but, um, not. And in January every year they have the country music festival, a couple of weeks of full on insanity. The great thing about Tamworth especially compared to other festivals is that it is relentlessly egalitarian and ground up. It's not Michael Franti in Tent 6a, Billy Bragg in Tent 2b, James Morrison on the big stage and $6 stubbies at the bar. It's music on every street corner, in every shop, from every tent and 24 hours a day. It's buskers from every corner of the country up and down the street at the rate of one every few metres. Some of them are as dodgy as hell, but that's all part of the Tamworth thing. Since we're out and proud country music fans, we're already resigned to being eternal dags, so it may just be the least pretentious place in Australia too. And most things worth seeing are absolutely free.

Last night I kicked off the pilgrimage with Leslie Avril (see link left) at the Tudor Hotel. I love Leslie and see her everytime she comes to Sydney (from Melbourne.) She has a scorching bluesy voice, ballsy but with a classic country melacholy strain. And she's got one of the sexiest, most entertaining stage personas going around. I often think, why the hell isn't this woman a huge star?

Yes, Australia, I'm looking at you.

She does some great Australian songs and ripper covers, including a ballsy version of Randy Newman's Guilty, which of course I shreiked out requests for (in yer face, Dunlop!) Not to mention she had the incomparable Andy Baylor (google!) on fiddle and guitar. I spent the night packed in between John Nutting (google! -- country radio show host) and Troy Cassar-Daley (google! -- A List mainstream country star.) Troy and Leslie used to play in the Blue Heeler band together up in QLD and they are obviously close. Of the mainstream acts, he's one I've had alot of time for although the only live gig I've seen was at an Invasion Day concert in Coogee a few years back. He got up to do few numbers, wavering with the band between "a George Jones song and a Lefty Frizzell song." This, I thought, is just about Heaven. He did a Frizzell and then his lovely wife got up to harmonise on "A Good Year for the Roses," but instead they went into "I Still Miss Someone."

I amend my definition of heaven to: Expecting a George Jones song and getting a Johnny Cash one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Lonely At The Top

Part one of my Randy Newman crusade. I give you "The Hoarse Foreman of the Apocalypse," an early article by Clive James, when Randy was "a man barely thirty."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chrissie Pressie Roundup #3

Got a Problem?
Odds Against You?
Call the Equalizer!

Now that is a man.

I now own three Edward Woodward LPs. Does this mean some kind of Southern Hemisphere record? It's a record I want. Just my luck, there is probably some Woodward devoto in Brazil. I hate them already.

An oldie but a goodie: Worst LP covers ever

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Things One:

There can't be too many occasions when Nick Cave fans would snuggle happily beside devotees of the McGarrigle Sisters. Brooding rock poet Cave sharing the same bill as trilling French-Canadian folk singers Kate and Anna? Hardly. And how comfortable would ultra-hip connoisseurs of Rufus Wainwright be cuddling up to followers of the oddball country duo the Handsome Family?

Pretty clueless opening to story about Came So Far for Beauty show Nick Cave fans listening to folk music, whatever next?

Things Two:

Several people now have pointed out my failure to note the death of legendary guitarist Hank Garland. Dropped the ball, sorry.

Things Three:

Got on dig again last night, spruiking for Randy Newman's I Miss You as best break up song. I had to try for a hour, but I pounded that redial button like someone trying to win Eagles tickets from 2WS. Michael Mackenzie commented my choice was "a corker" and indeed it is. Evangelising Randy might be my '05 project. Where is the love, people? When I am an eccentric billionaire with a mountain I will carve out a musical Mt Rushmore: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Good grief.

Latest referral from Google: garth brooks anzac tribute

If the person searching reads this, or anyone else with light to shed, can you let me know what the story is?

While we are on the topic, about a billion people a day come here looking for the lyrics to the Notorious Cherry Bombs' "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long." It's mentioned in passing my Grammy wrap. Give the people what they want is my motto (and no stupid pop ups like most lyrics sites):

She used to call me baby...
I thought she was such a lady...
But my how things have changed since times moved on...

I gave her my last dollar...
And now all she'll do is holler...
Oh my life has become a country song.......

I've learned she can resist me...
by the way she always disses me...
And comes to bed at night, with that cold cream on.......

Sometimes I might feel frisky...
but these days it's just too risky...

It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At
Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long.....
All day Long.... It goes all day long......

If a tree fell in the forest,
She didn't hear it, would I still be wrong...

I guess I should admit it.. She ain't never gonna quit it...

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

Spoken Voice:

Man I remember when her eyes
used to be so blue and shiny
God you oughtta see what's happened to her hiney
(HER WHAT?) her hiney
Man that thing is big enough to land a small plane on.
(SMALL PLANE ?) I'm tellin' ya
I used to roll her in the the clover,
(mmm hmm) but my god those days are over

It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night
That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long
All day Long.... She goes all day long......

If some day they drop the big one,
I'd say sweet Jesus, She's gonna finally leave me alone

It's alright if we say it.. cause the radio won't play it.

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

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

Thursday, January 06, 2005

After months of gentle hints, straight out requests, cajoling and begging someone has finally given in and contributed an article. Hats off. This is written after the Toe Sucking Cowgirls' show at the BVH a few Sundays back.

Guest Blogger: Terry Byrnes

A storm blew through Sydney on Monday the 12th lashing the coast, closing the airport and pelting the roadways with hailstones like golf balls. It hit Brisbane picking up sailing boats, flinging them sideways and wrecking the dreams of sailors who aspired to sail in the Boxing Day race to Hobart. The day before Sydney looked like the tourist haven that attracts European backpackers and middle aged Japanese alike. It was bathed in sunshine and set against the backdrop of a piercing blue sky. Mostly.

Occasional bouts of rain foreshadowed tomorrow's storm. By evening the weather was muttering dark omens. Sultry air hung around street corners like a mugger sweating under a balaclava.

Unless, of course, you were at The Botany View Hotel where The Toe Sucking Cowgirls blew away, with one sweet, easy, breath, every trace of a gathering tempest. The sweltering air parted at the doors as though it were commanded by Moses. It just couldn’t compete with the vibrance and energy of the cowgirls.

With Tracy on guitar, Glenny on guitar, fiddle and piano-accordion and "the blokes" backing up on drums and bass that pub was their room for the Sunday night. The music flowed just the way it was intended to: uncluttered, immediate, replete with spirit, touching. Glenny will lay back on a cushion of air as she squeezes a note out of the fiddle that brims with joy or tragedy. Tracy leans forward into the mike while wisps of hair dance like slender ballerinas around her shoulders. The songs make perfect sense and hit a nerve deep in the soul because The Toe Suckers aren't there to muck around: they quiver with authenticity.

They understand that at the seat of all of us is a monster. Beowulf, the earliest recorded poem, brutally carved into stone, tells the story of terrible monster that lurks outside the town's boarder. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in an opium laden state, penned one of the greatest poems ever to have flown from a human heart; until, of course, a merchant from Porlock (think Jehovah's Witness or that bloke that sells thatched wrist bands in front of the George Street cinemas) knocked on his door, broke his concentration and stuffed it up for all of us. He never really finished the poem. But after sailing through caves of ice he did see a woman "wailing for her daemon-lover." No matter how beautiful were her surroundings she still craved for something deep within her to be nurtured. The great all-corruptible gargoyle, the stirring wonder: sex. It is always prodding and probing from the depths of humanity. And the Cowgirls know this.

The Cowgirls let sex unfurl its wanton ways and become part of every breath in every song.

But don’t mistake The Cowgirls for some tatty tent-show tits and teeth act. They are as flash as a rat with a gold tooth and clever to boot. Some poor galloot decided to take on Tracy in a heckling competition and wound up pretty saddle sore cowpoke for his efforts. These cowgirls sing, strut and live their music. They let their audience know that it's hard to make a living making music. They let us know that it ain't a life of beer and skittles. Tough though their lives may be they approach their work like true professionals…and add a glimmer of excitement to all of our lives along the way.

Some of their songs are originals and some are covers but they make them all their own' with their own brand of unremitting desire to embrace a song.

Seeing a gig is a personal thing. For that short amount of time you hand over a part of yourself. You allow the performer to take charge. The stage may only be raised a few centimeters off the floor, but it is raised to a great prominence in the audiences psyche. The performer takes us on a journey; the performer leads us down lane-ways and alleys, and when it's The Cowgirls you're in safe hands.

When The Toesuckers performed at Tamworth last year they cooed from the stage that they had nowhere to lay their tired heads at the end of their gig. Like a hobo roamin' from town to town with nothin' but the stars for a roof. I don’t know if anyone came to their rescue or if they curled up in a field with only their guitars and their fighting spirit to keep them from the ravages of the night. But I woke up the next morning and wrote them a song; words only…I can't write tunes. It's posted along with this review.

See ya next time…God willin' and if the creek don’t rise

You know I love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
Prettiest girls in the whole darn festival.
Tell those homeless, drifting, Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
"There's room for you girls in my vestibule."

Their sparkling words are full of diamonds,
Their voices are spun with pure gold.
No finer spice could be found in any island,
No truer songs have ever been told.

Yes I love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
Prettiest girls in the whole darn festival.
Tell those lonesome, Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
"There's room for them in my vestibule."

All of their songs fill me with frisson,
They jingle with all the keys on earth.
Like a man who's just escaped from a prison,
Breathing freedom's air for all that it is worth.

I sure do love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
With their sparkling eyes and their dewy breath.
And they're kind to me those doggon Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
So kind it kinda' scares me half to death.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

RIP songwriter Mack Vickery
Men and women of Australia

Do you like so many others at this time of year find yourself .

.....already oppressed by rashly-made, impossible-to-keep New Years resolutions?
...under-capitalised and over-extended?
...taken for granted?
...insufficiently competitive? need of a restructure? a loss for words? your wit's end?...on the outer? the doghouse?
...sick and tired of being sick and tired?
...suffering from alienation, anomie, herpes or other outmoded twentieth century hangups?


...on the loose next Saturday night?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then allow me to draw your attention to the indubitably restorative, guaranteed therapeutic



at the historic


1 Fox Ave, Erskineville (off Copeland St)


8.00 PM...

ADMISSION ...a trifling $10

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

If I had the facilities, I would illustrate this post with a picture of a mule wearing a black skivvy and a beret. One for the Melburnians.

Cyndi Boste is playing the Lomond Hotel in Brunswick, which I guess is in Melbourne (maybe I'm thinking of Brunswick Street) this Saturday night at 9pm. If you can, I highly recommend going. She is a wonderful singer-songwriter in the folky-bluesy vein of Lucinda Williams, but very much her own woman.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Neo of Country Music Flap over CMA rant (which I linked to a whiles back) continues. God bless Jack Sparks.

Warning: If you at are work your profanity filter might not let ya go.

Chrissie Pressie Round Up #2

My sister (soon to join the blogging world. Watch this space) is the most exceptional exploiter of op shop resources in the world. She kindly turned these unique talents to picking the eyes out of the discarded LP collections of the central west for me and my blog, and thus you.

Tony Barber Country Barber

Oh goody, I thought. I can so use that "teeth pulled" line in my snarky commentary on this gem. Like, you don't need to go Ye Olde Coloniale Worlde to get your teeth pulled without anaesthesia, just listen to this. Ha, ha!

Sadly, I must report it isn't actually that bad. I mean, not good exactly but no worse than any number of 1970s country albums, when the Nashville Sound was still keeping the world's violinists occupied. Amusing spoken word part in Tennessee Waltz is a winner. Very smooth.

I was trying to work out a whole "Who Am I?" structure to this post, Sale of the Century like. But, really, it was too much work.

Elvis Birthday Bash -- January 7th

Had one of the King's Graceland court minions been around when they were needed on August 16, 1977, Elvis Aron Presley would be turning 70 on January 8, 2005.

To celebrate the King's birthday in style, as they do every year, a group of Sydney rock'n'rollers are staging the 2005 Elvis Birthday Bash on Friday January 7 at the Empire Hotel, cnr Johnson St/ Parramatta Rd, Annandale.

Last year's special guest performers were Tex Perkins and the other deadset OzRock legend Ian Rilen. This year's no less special star turns are Martin Plaza from Mental As Anything and Christa Hughes of Machine Gun Fellatio. There's also a constellation of well-known Sydney Elvis tragics on the bill, including Bernie Hayes, John " King Street" Kennedy, Cath Wearne of the Happening Thang, Charlie MacLean from 50 Million Beers, Johnny Gretsch from the Wasted Ones, Rob Luckey and more.

All will be energetically backed by the Sydney TCB Band, featuring members of the Mentals, The Sports, The Ferrets ( " Don't Fall In Love" ) and 50 Million Beers. Master Of Ceremonies for the evening will be Hank " The Tank" Everingham. " I heard the news, there's good rockin' tonight", confirmed Hank. " Thang ya verra much."

The show starts at 9 PM , $20 in. Here's to the King. His ghost may be heard. His extraordinary back catalogue certainly will.