Friday, February 25, 2005

Po' Gregor and the Brno Doughboys present Talkin' Blended Pea Blues

The heading makes this post on-topic.

Don't get to do much of these blog memes. Don't have a dog, can't dogblog. Don't have an iPod, can't iPod blog. This I can do, via Creek Running North (which in turn was via Pharnyngula )

Grab the nearest book.

Open the book to page 123.

Find the fifth sentence.

Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

"Then Karl von Naegli, the man to whom Mendel had sent seeds, to whom he had written so many hopeful letters, by whom he had been entangled in the thicket of hawkweed, published a book."

From: Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution by Maitland A. Edey and Donald C. Johanson.
Late notice but check it out:

The Red Dust Festival
Friday 25th February
Feat. Rod Piccott (Nashville, USA), Bill Chambers, Deb Henrahan, Karl
Broadie, Tim Ireland and Simon Bruce.
The Vanguard, Newtown from 7pm. $12.

Also: MP3 blog Tuning rounds up some truly excellent blogs.

And for those who don't get quite enough Bob Dylan blogging here, I also discovered The Bob Dylan Cafe blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Save a Mule, Ride a Donkey

The latest hit in Cajun Louisiana is the novelty (and English language) song Ride the Donkey by Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la Louisiane.

"It's the hottest song out right now in the Cajun/zydeco genre," says Todd Ortego, owner of the Music Machine store in Eunice, La., the unofficial Cajun prairie capital. He also co-hosts "The Swamp & Roll Show" on local radio station KBON.

"It was the best seller through the holiday season, being that it was cute so the little kids really liked it, too," Ortego says. "And it was a Cajun-type song that the grandparents bought for their grandkids ... it might be a door to exposing younger people to Cajun and zydeco music."

Ride the Donkey is on the Swallow label, one of several cajun/zydeco/swamp pop labels headed by Floyd Solieau, also responsible for previously mentioned Another Saturday Night which I'm still grooving too. OK, I think we both know I've never actually "grooved" in my life, so let's just say I'm still enjoying it alot.

Listen to a bit of Ride the Donkey here.

Say It Ain't So

The 10 Greatest Rock and Roll Myths at the Observer.

You mean Robert Johnson didn't really sell his soul to the devil? Bummer.

But what's this about Marianne Faithfull and a Mars bar? Google, here I come.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Is Heading this Story with a Variation on "One More Cup of Coffee" Too Horribly Obvious?

The Dylan-Has-Sold-Out crowd will be in convulsions. Starbucks (coffee chain, not Battlestar Galactica chick) in the US is apparently releasing the classic Gaslight boot to be sold through its outlets. This news via the impeccably credentialed Alan Fraser at Searching for A Gem.

17 Feb 2005: I'm told that Starbucks Coffee in the USA will shortly be releasing an exclusive CD of Bob Dylan's concert at the Gaslight Club, New York City, in Oct 1962. Three performances from this 17 song show have already been released officially:

No More Auction Block was released on The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3 in 1991

Handsome Molly was released on the exclusive Sony Music Japan live compilation CD Bob Dylan Live 1961-2000: Thirty-Nine Years Of Great Concert Performances in 2001.

The Cuckoo was released on a promo CD with purchases of Bob Dylan's book "Chronicles Volume One" in 2004.

This CD will be available in Starbucks Coffee shops and possibly from their

This article expands the issue of coffee-led distribution:

In an unprecedented shift for music production, marketing and distribution, Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX) has helped take Genius Loves Company, the final recording from music legend and 12-time GRAMMY(R) Award-winner Ray Charles, to the number two spot on the Billboard Top 200 charts for the first week of sales(1) in the United States. The landmark CD was a collaboration between Starbucks Hear Music(TM) and Concord Records, Inc.

Starbucks reports that its Company-operated locations in North America sold more than 44,000 CDs, which is approximately 22 percent of total album sales. The numbers generated by the Company significantly outpace those achieved by other individual record retailers, both traditional and mass-merchants -- making Starbucks the number one seller during the CD's first week of sales.

Me, I don't care and see no adverse implications, when it comes to getting music I am an extreme pragmatist. Indeed since Columbia/Dylan seem to favour this model (the Chronicles tie-in CD was although released through Starbucks) I am all for it. The distribution end of the music biz is currently flailing around worse than a Vulcan in pon farr, needs all the help it can get.
Anothe piecemeal news post.

Tonight on the ABC, Kevin Welch and Keiran Kane on Live at the Basement. Always good value. They are back for one of the regular Sydney tours in early March.

Real Country Music reviews Aussie expats The Greencards.

Friday, February 18, 2005

More Tamworth pictures at at Sharon Colon's site. Also a Spot the Difference puzzle based on Kasey Chambers' Chairgate scandal.

Just announced: Willie Nelson has cancelled his Australian shows due to "acute laryngitis."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tamworth round-up:

Heaps of pictures and reports up at the invaluable-as-usual Tamworth Rage Page.

Ken Date pulls no punches in his report.

New outfit, Australian Country Fans, has photos. Oh, chook man, how we miss ya!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Haloscan appears to be down.

Reader Helena alets me to the very cool Spread the Good Word blog from Reverend Frost.

I am choosing to note my birthday next Sunday. You may come. But only if you pass the sentience test.

Andrew Bartlett updates blog reaction to Came So Far for Beauty

Friday, February 11, 2005

Updateslashcryforhelp: For the below post I tried to have a few lines and then a "Read more" link to the full thing. I did everything Blogger asked but nothing is happening. If anyone can set me straight off-blog I would be very grateful.

Andrew Bartlett's comprehensive review of the Came So Far for Beauty show. I guess it is just me annoyed by the lyrics thing.

Elsewhere, much discussion about the best rock/pop songs since 1985. I didn't want to be the boring geek at the party and chuck in heaps of country tunes, so I'll do it here.


1) These are not the "best" songs since 1985. Don't like to say "best," it just invites people to bitch at you and get all uptight over a stupid list. Of course its entirely subjective. So I guess it's just some of my favourites.

2) There are about 50 essential albums from last year alone I have never heard so it's hardly definitive.

3) Ask me tomorrow and you'll probably get a different ten. But here's where I'd start:


Guitar Town
Steve Earle
Guitar Town 1986

Steve Earle
Train A Comin' 1995

Don't make me choose. Something from the Guitar Town album is a must but the later song has such a pull. What a story they tell side by side, swaggering young outlaw meets middle aged recovering addict, bravado meets regret: how country can you get?

Like A Soldier
Johnny Cash
American Recordings 1998

This whole album is essential, I know I said I didn't like throwing around those terms but just try to stop me: it is essential. I chose this song -- a Cash original -- as the most enduringly moving to me.

The Road Goes on Forever
Robert Earl Keen
West Textures 1989

Epic story song and barroom philosophy, cinematic in its vividness. Sounds serious, but its a perfect drinking, stomping, hollering song too.

Gallo del Cielo
Tom Russell
Poor Man's Dream 1990

Epic on an even larger scale. Not only one the best song you'll ever hear about cock-fighting, one of the best ever. Let me note too Russell's album The Man from God Knows Where (1990), a F.E.M desert island disc.

My Life
Iris DeMent
My Life 1993

Makes me cry.

Hey, this is getting heavy ....

Gin and Juice
The Gourds
Shinebox 1991

Mentioned this over at the other place too. Snoop Dogg gangsta rap meets high octane mandolin and beer soaked fun. Roll down the windows of your ute and blare it.

No One is Gonna Love You Better
Heather Myles
Highways and Honky Tonks 1998

Duet with Merle Haggard. Bakersfield revisited, smoky bars, jukeboxes, heartbreak, beer.

Gone To Texas
Terry Allen
Human Remains 1996

Well I don’t need no dime a dozen
ah New Age way to live
An I don’t need no two bit preacher
condemn me because I don’t give him my
money money money money money money money
I don’t need no Soldier Boy
fightin no war for me
You can burn the flag an melt the statue
gonna live my liberties…

Passionate Kisses
Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams 1988

Is it too much to demand? Well, is it?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Thought of this, and every other, day. From The West Wing the other night:

Josh: "Voyager, in case it's ever encountered by extraterrestrials, is carrying photos of life on earth, greetings in fifty-five languages, and a collection of music from Gregorian chant to Chuck Berry, including "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" by 1920s bluesman Blind Willie Johnson, whose stepmother blinded him at seven by throwing lye in his eyes after his father beat her for being with another man. He died penniless of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that burned down, but his music just left the solar system."
Like Jason says, never challenge a Dylan fan.

Today's Top 10 Solid Gold Top Shelf Equal-of-anything-in-the-60s-or-anything-else-in-the-last-20-years Dylan songs since 1985.

Dark Eyes

Empire Burlesque 1985

Shooting Star
Oh Mercy 1989

Brownsville Girl
Knocked Out Loaded 1985

Blood in My Eyes
World Gone Wrong 1993

Love and Theft 2001

Time Out of Mind 1997

Standing in the Doorway

High Water (for Charlie Patton)
Love and Theft

Series of Dreams
Bootleg Series 1-3 1991

When the Night Comes Falling from the Skies
Empire Burlesque

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Have updated the gig guide a bit, will be adding more during the day. Please let me know what you know. Reader Tom encourages me to check out the Corb Lund Band, I saw their name bandied around Tamworth but didn't get there. According to their website, they are a "blazing roots-country band." I don't know how "blazing" you are allowed to be at the Side On, but I will try to be there. They are also playing a Canadian Showcase at the Canuckistan Consulate in Sydney on Feb 16, no further info. Alarmingly, they link to Nickleback from their site.

Catherine Britt is going to be on the gatefold cover of FHM's Women of Country Music edition, along with a whole lot of people I have never heard of (I've heard of Tift Merritt of course.) They appeared to be dressed in underwear -- check out that link, excellent Tennessean article.

Jessi Alexander sounds promising however, if only for quotes like: "You know you’re living a country song when your dad’s in jail, your car is broke, you’ve lost your job and your boyfriend’s cheating on you. I’ve had all those things happen at once. My dad’s in and out of jail all the time. I’m used to it." Catherine discovered in Newcastle by Elton John, though? I think not.

John Hiatt has recorded a new album "at Memphis' renowned Ardent Studios, in what is described as the very first sessions to use a "real world" DSD recorder. Produced by Jim Dickinson and engineered by John Hampton, the New West Records album features Luther and Cody Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars on guitar and drums, with David Hood on bass." No idea what DSD technology is, but I am thrilled by the rootsy line up. Go out and buy Crossing Muddy Waters and/or Slow Turning and/or Comes Alive at Budokan and/or Walk On ... oh hell, just go buy them all, OK?

This Just In Legend Merle Kilgore has died.

This should cheer up America Randy-hating Tim after all the spam dramas: Lucinda Williams' new double live CD Live at the Fillmore West is rescheduled for May 10. Setlist at Rolling Stone. I read this news on Chromewaves.

While I wasn't looking, ABC dig radio went and launched a whole seperate "Dig Country" section with radio streaming.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Don't get me wrong about Came So Far for Beauty. I had a wonderful night, there were many highlights and I don't regret it at all. But I stand by my disappointment about the lyric reading, it adversely affected the spirit and atmosphere of the night for me.

I am still on holidays -- today was a dolphin spotting cruise near Jervis Bay -- and this internet cafe is charging $2.75 per 15 minutes (!), so I will get to the good stuff ... soon.

UPDATE: The good things.

All of it was great except the aforementioned nonsense. (My last word on the issue, promise: this somewhat weird review from two years ago. Almost exactly the same setlist, same lyrics sheets!) Goes without saying Nick Cave was excellent, just because he is Nick Cave. And I was glad to see The Handsome Family, Rufus and the McGarrigles since I have missed their separate gigs here. The Handsomes did an awesome, shitkicking Heart With No Companion complete with three pronged string attack. I just love it when violins become fiddles.

Several unknown artists pretty much stole the show. The shuffling, shambling Lou Reed-protege Anthony, hulking in a bad black wig and jumping about like a hyper six year old busting for the loo but with a glorious countertenor voice. The incongruity reminded me of "Michael Jackson" in that Simpsons episode.

The real life Len back up girl singers Julie Christensen and Perla Battalla, beautiful voices, soulful interpretations and seductive performances.

In these things there are always favourite songs you'd hope they do but don't. I was hanging out for the, Dance Me To Your Beauty but mustn't complain.

Sorry about the lack of updating on the gig guide, normal service resumed when I return on the weekend.