Wednesday, August 31, 2005
These people agree. A dozen random internet reviews can't be wrong.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Lucinda Williams in You-Could-Almost-Call-Her-Prolific Shock.
Notorious for taking her time between album releases, Williams says she has two dozen songs already written and recorded in a rough mix state for her next studio project, which is tentatively titled "Knowing" and may be released in early 2006.
Sounds like perfect timing for an Easter/Byron tour down under.
Also, this? Freakin' A.
Williams said she also has a traditional country duet track, "Jailhouse Tears," which is decidedly in the George Jones-meets-Loretta Lynn motif; she suggested Hank Williams III or Jack White as the type of singer needed to pull off the song.
Hank III! Hank III! Hank III! Hank III !
Lots of stuff around about Marty Stuart's new southern gospel album, Soul's Chapel. Must listen. Plus Marty and Guy Clark (sigh) to get Lifetime Achievment honours at the Americana Music Awards. Nominations at that page too. Album of the Year toss up for me between Mary Gauthier and Buddy Miller, Mary might have the edge right now, if only for her version of Harlan Howard's Rhymer. Plus she needs the profile boost more than Buddy. I've also been listening to alot of Mary's early stuff which is surprisingly playful and fun. More to be said there.
And this. Cool picture, typical makework stupid boring SMH Dylan Sells Out Cut And Paste Random Usenet Comments v3.4 article. Why on earth do they bother, see previous see mention of the Herald's obsession here.
UPDATE: Ok, I retract sort of. The article is alright, at least it points out its only a handful of people creating a self-righteous fuss. I am so programmed to expected Dylan lameness from the Herald it takes time to adjust to something reasonable. They do love printing stories about his "selling out" though.
It is also important to stress that this blog unreservedly supports responsible drinking. Kids, drinking to excess is not "cool", will not make you "popular" or help you "fit in", and you should never let the jeers of inadequate loners push you into making poor choices for your life. I wish to make this abundantly clear. An inability to hold liquor is not an appropriate subject for mockery, and nor should it disqualify you from positions of high office. This is an important issue, often dismissed and belittled in our heteropatriarchal Anglo-Celtic society, tragically so. I regret the part I have played in that.
Do you often find yourself drinking too much and doing things which bring public shame upon you and your loved ones? Then please consider retiring from public life and keeping your humiliation strictly need-to-know.
If you don't know what I'm talking about -- never mind!!!!
Sunday, August 28, 2005
A little late this week but Saturday was a bit crazy for me. Not "it's kept me from going insane" crazy, more like "it's a wonder you can even breath" crazy. How people get through life without country music, I will never know. So a belated Sat Night dedicated to all the losers and fools!
Trouble and Me -- Buck Owens and His Buckaroos (1.7mb)
Fool's Hall of Fame -- Johnny Cash (1.9mb) Recorded 1958 for The Fabulous Johnny Cash, his first album for Columbia after leaving Sun but not released.
It Don't Take But One Mistake -- Hank Snr (as Luke the Drifter) (2.7mb)
Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) -- Johnny Cash with the Carter Family The Lost Highway doco on the origins of country last week reminded me of the the exquisite Anita Carter, surely one of the greatest voices we've known. Anita is featured on this song, from Live at Madison Square Garden. Listen and weep.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
1. Like a Rolling Stone -- Drive-By Truckers. The Truckers really drew the short straw having to do this one. This band recorded a whole song about Danko and Manuel so we cannot doubt their intentions. A+ for effort but ... covering LARS is like a paint by numbers Mona Lisa (and before y'all start in on me -- yes, yes, Hendrix is an exception).
2. Tombstone Blues -- Marc Carroll. Alright voodoo shuffle sound. Pass.
3. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry -- Paul Westerberg. Garage band loose and coulda come from Big Pink itself. Rocks.
4. From a Buick 6 -- Richmond Fontaine. The It Boys of Alt.Country. Kinda boring in that special Uncle Tupelo cover band way.
5. Ballad of a Thin Man -- Willard Grant Conspiracy. Meh. (update: gets better, around the time it acquires both a melody and thrashy guitars.)
6. Queen Jane Approximately -- American Music Club. Uncut says this is an "ethereal shimmer." I say it's a giant wussy snoozefest.
7. Highway 61 Revisited -- Dave Alvin. Everything Dave Alvin does is cool. This shows you can completely reinvent the original successfully in your own image. Go buy some Blasters.
8. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues -- The Handsome Family. Oh boy. The Handsome Family are one of those (too much)alt(not enough)country outfits so beloved of Uncut. They can be relied upon to take any song and suck the ever-loving life out of it. I don't care if they do have a pedal steel. Go directly to jail. Both of you. (update: The music is nice and its better than I expected but there's something so mannered about them. Like Hag said in the interview linked in the post below, there is no tear in this music.)
9. Desolation Row -- Songdog. Go away, little boy. When you hit puberty, you might be able to sing this song properly.
I did learn one very good thing from the mag though. Chris Guest, Euegene Levy and the crew are making another "mockumentary" Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind (and Spinal Tap of course) are some of my favourite films and last I read Guest had called it quits. Hurrah! A Mighty Wind was totally robbed at the Oscars by that stupid Annie Lennox song from Lord of the Rings, stuck over the closing credits to sell soundtrack CDs. The AMW soundtrack OTOH is actually important to the narrative of the film and manages the tricky balance between exceptional musicianship, novelty and genuinely funny lyrics. I listen to it alot. Continuing the Stones theme round this place recently, this Folksmen song is on the soundtrack but not in the film.
Start Me Up -- The Folksmen (2.9mb)
Are you people ready for this?... Merle and the Strangers will be opening for The Rolling Stones on November 29th in Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Arena...Is that amazing or what?!!!
Merle will be performing a 45 minute set similar to the Bob Dylan tour...what a great way to close out one hell of a great year...
Good old Hag. Here's a three year old interview, but a great one. I liked the bit about David Duke and
In a 1974 interview, Haggard revealed that Muskogee was the only place where he didn't smoke marijuana.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Anyone who knows the scene round these parts knows the familar sight of Graham Griffith keeping it smooth on the steel. Not only a musical treasure but one of the nicest blokes you'll ever meet, you can also see him weekly with Out of Nowhere (details in gig guide.) Graham has been tapped to tour with Kevin Montgomery, purveyor of fine country rock. Kevin's usually steel player is a bloke by the name of Al Perkins and if you haven't heard of him, you've certainly got many records he's on in your collection. And if you don't, I'm not sure what you're doing reading this blog! The rest of the band aren't slouches either: Paul Deakin on drums from The Mavericks, Danny White on from Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, and Mike McAdam, lead guitar, originally of Steve Earle and the Dukes -- you'll find him on Guitar Town and Exit O. Impressive company which Graham will fit right in with. So, if you're up in muster country this week make sure to check them out and check out the dates near you:
Friday, Aug.26th - Toyota Muster - Gympie, QLD - 0754822099
Sat, Aug.27th - Toyota Muster - Gympie, QLD - 0754822099
Sun, Aug.28th - Toyota Muster - Gympie, QLD - 0754822099
Mon,Aug.29th - Troubadour - Brisbane, QLD - 0732522626
Wed,Aug.31st - The Basement - Sydney, NSW - 0292512797
Thurs,Sept1st - Cornish Arms - Melbourne, VIC - 0393808383
Sat, Sept.3rd - Community Club - Springwood, NSW
Sun,Sept.4th - Cafe Coolsville - Adelaide, SA - 0883901596
Incidentally (or maybe not) Kevin's father Bob was an early collaborator of Buddy Holly's, -- wrote Heartbeat. Mum was a session singer for Elvis.
Check out this fan site with MP3s, it is linked from the official site so I guess they're OK with it.
And here he is in Mojo paying homage to Johnny Cash. Good boy.
Here are the Oz tour dates. Some are sold out.
Kathleen -- Josh Ritter (3.7mb)
Roll On -- Josh Ritter (1.6mb)
Update: to add this song, 'cause I just heard it again and I do like it alot.
You Don't Make it Easy Babe -- Josh Ritter (2.8mb)
Friday, August 19, 2005
A long awaited comeback for the 50 Million Beers at the Botany View, make sure you get there early to catch Rev J.D Love.
Gram Parsons night Saturday at the Sando in Newtown. $10 on the door. 8.30pm start. With:
Jamie Forsberg and Friends
The Midnight Amblers
The Welcome Strangers
And a new doco series starting up on the ABC Sat night. Lost Highway: The Story of Country Music. 10.05pm. Article on it at Dig. Thanks to Irant for the tip.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
In my dreams, there I am sitting opposite Eddie and he says "So, for the million dollars. What was the first Cajun single to be certified gold?" And I furrow and squint and stare off into middle distance a bit -- just to draw out the tension, you see. Finally I say, "Well, Eddie. I'll never be here again. Can't die wondering. Please lock in Lache pas la patate by Jimmy C Newman with Rufus Thibodaux on fiddle." Cue streamers, oversized cheques and a life of snorting cocaine from Johnny Depp's thighs.
Old & In the Way -- Old & In the Way (Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, John Kahn, Vassar Clements) (2.9mb)
Lache pas la patate -- Jimmy C Newman (2.2mb)
On a happier fiddling note, Andy Baylor's new website is a going concern. Andy is truly one of Australia's greatest musical treasures, with a versatility that would put old Rufus in the shade, one of the few things that could make me want to live in Melbourne and a top bloke too. I have personally stalked the man through Tamworth and he didn't seem to mind at all. I still have a bit of shame left, so I don't steal music from people I might actually meet again in person. Here's some Harry Choates instead.
Last week I went to the place which shades the Harbour as Sydney's greatest asset: Yesterday and Today records in Parramatta and acquired a number of discs you will be hearing more about here soon. Including a gorgeous Bear Family compilation Jole Blon : 24 Artists on One Theme.
Jole Blon -- Harry Choates (2.9mb)
And this, just because I like it.
Don't Cuss the Fiddle -- Kris Kristofferson (2.9mb)
Saturday, August 13, 2005
(I think this is the proper order ... )
Two More Bottles of Wine - Delbert McClinton (2.7mb) The great, great DM is due larger appreciation soon. In the meantime read this.
Instant Coffee Blues -- Guy Clark (3mb)
Old Fashioned Cry -- Kay Adams (2mb)
A very special moment. Johnny Cash appearing at the Carter Family home, The Fold, after the death of June. If you thought the Hurt video was tough to watch, this is will break your heart. Not the greatest quality recording, but must-listen.
Angel Band -- Johnny Cash (6.6mb)
Friday, August 12, 2005
Too tired to say anything sensible now. What a fantastic show, and man.
UPDATE: Actually I don't have much to say. It was brilliant -- what else to say? The signature (on my LP of The Silver Tongued Devil and I) was obtained with the assistance of James Blundell who got it backstage, we were assured Kris himself wouldn't be coming out that night. So credit to JB, he didn't have to do that, make sure I got my name on it and all.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
"This is a mighty sorrowful soundin' song ," said Mrs Alice Williams of Ashland, Kentucky, "but I like it. It's the one that Canas used to sing when he came over the mountain a-courtin' me. He made it sound as mournful as he could so's to make me pity him."
"Did you pity him?"
"Well, I reckon so; I been married to him thirty year."
Our Singing Country: Folk Songs and Ballads, collected and compiled by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. (1941)
Some quick thoughts on Townes Van Zandt, aided by my friends PSUDOEPHEDRINE HYDROCHLORIDE 30mg, PARACETAMOL 500mg and CODEINE PHOSPHATE 6mg. Dig has an interview with the director of Be Here To Love Me, the Townes doco which screened recently at the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals.
When someone says "music to commit suicide by" of, say, Leonard Cohen or cracks tedious about Bobby's "whine" I reach for my gun, and this quote from Philip Larkin's homage to saxophone legend Sidney Bechet,
On me your voice falls as they say love should,
Like an enormous yes.
The enormous yes, three words which never exhaust interpretation or application and (in my appropriation of it anyway) its the reason that songs about death and pain and heartbreak and all that stuff hurt so good. Why is it that Mariah Carey perfect pitch on the radio drains the life out of a room, but John Prine's sandpaper squeal makes you glad to be alive? Bugger perfection, I want human. Although the rambling, gambling Texas troubadour and the gloriously misanthropic, Tory librarian jazz snob could hardly be less similar in many ways, both while writing the most superficially "depressing" lines in fact make you catch your breath with its beauty and truth, its essential yes-ness.
The other thing about Townes is the way his lyrics combine the earthiest of emotions and actions with a delicate, courtly langauge. While the original courtly balladeers idealised the woman who could not be had because of marriage or status, in the proper twangy way now it's the highway that comes between us.
My lover comes to me with a rose on her bosom
The moon's dancin' purple
All through her black hair
And a ladies-in-waiting she stands 'neath my window
And the sun will rise soon on the false and the fair
Dylan usually attracts the laboured comparisons with the Canon, but I bet there's a grant in it for someone to take on "Townes and the Literary Tradition."
Salvation sat and crossed herself
Called the devil partner
Wisdom burned upon a shelf
Who’ll kill the raging cancer
Seal the river at it’s mouth
Take the water prisoner
Fill the sky with screams and cries
Bathe in fiery answers
To bring it closer to our purpose here nothing is so reminiscent of TVZ than the folk songs collected by the Lomaxes (which of course go back to that tradition anyway). Of course the Hank parallels are seductive but the links never seem to go further than that which is a shame.
Anyway, enough of this rot. Here's the music, dammit. The first three are from Flop Eared Mule's Officialy Certified Desert Island Disc, Rear View Mirror, the third from Live and Obscure.
Waitin' Round to Die (2.9mb)
For the Sake of the Song (4.2mb) (Is there a more moving song? Anyone?)
Many A Fine Lady (3.4mb)
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Come gather 'round cowgirls, wherever you roam: During the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Astrodome Bob Dylan sat a spell with Junior Miss Texas Rodeo pageant winners Stephanie Scogin (left) and Lisa Goe. The urbane cowboy performed in the arena later that night -- after it was cleared of bulls and calves.
Story in the NYT today (registration may be req) about rodeo chic. I have nothing to say about it, except that it gives me an opportunity to pst the above photo again. It's like the third time but I do love it so much. That is yer real Bob Dylan, not this voiceofageneration rot.
Another edition of Reading Expecting Rain So You Don't Have To:
Tequila and Coronas, the Alpha and Omega of Rock.
You must ask yourself: do we really need another Bob cover on Mojo and another Top 100 songs list. You must answer: duh! List of their Top 100 here. Except for the shock, but excellent, inclusion of Mississippi, the Top Ten is more or less the same as every other Top Ten Greatest Bob Songs.
My ten for today:
If You See Her, Say Hello
Mr Tambourine Man
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
Blind Willie McTell
Black Diamond Bay
Tomorrow is a Long Time
And four I would leave out:
Lay Lady Lay
Gotta Serve Somebody
Rainy Day Woman
UPDATE: In the interests of rawk mag equal time: the new Uncut. New Stones album.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
The second in an occasional series. Sat Night wins this week, I think. But if you only listen to one, let it be Waylon.
Little Old Wine Drinker Me -- Lefty Frizzell (1.2MB)
I Was Drunk -- Alejandro Escovedo (4.4MB)
The Devil Made Me Do It the First Time -- Billy Joe Shaver (2.8MB)
I Do Believe -- Waylon Jennings (4.8MB) From a live radio "Texas Songwriters" show of uncertain provenance, featuring Waylon, Kris, Willie, Billy Joe and Kimmie Rhodes. She doesn't get to be known only by her first name, quite yet.
Old Country Church -- Ernest Tubb and Little Jimmy Dickens (6MB). From the Opry.
These files deleted after seven days and are provided in the hope you'll go out and buy the CDs!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
The scene: an Irish pub on trendy King St, the spot chosen for the monthly blogger
The tools, a): A jukebox, containing many different "video hits" including, somewhat randomly but not unwelcome-ly, Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart's The Whiskey Ain't Working.
The tools, b): Two shiny collegiate types, one of each sex of the species.
The song: rowdy goodtime noveau honky tonk
The video: The Monkees do Hicksville. Silly Marty, Travis and their respective righteous mullets tear up a bar and get in all manner of scrapes.
The result: Young folk come up the stairs take a few steps in, are given pause at the music, look at the large video screen on the wall. Male gets descriptive on the topic of "country and western" and both leave.
These are the moments that make life worth living.
MP3: The Whiskey Ain't Working -- Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart (3MB)
Don't fall in love with me darling I'm a rambler
Although you're the sweetest sweetheart in this world
It's all for your sake dear that I'm leaving
Don't give your heart to a rambler little girl
I'd never had the blues my little darling
Or the lure of the road on my mind
I'm bound to hear the whistle of a freight train
And the boxcars as they rattle down the line
Yes I handed you a line and I'm sorry
You're just a little sweeter than the rest
Believe me when I say don't want to hurt you
Or do anything to mar your happiness
I suggest a change of paradigm in the field of Fyodorology. Read Carl Sagan's description of the dragon in his garage and see the obvious parallels. Is it time, finally, to reject the Fyodor hypothesis?
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
This photo taken just moments ago from my balcony. Add your own birdy sound effects. It's one of those sublime winter (!) days in Sydney, you know, the kind that can make people do the most curious of things. If you know what I mean, you know what I mean. The kind that is like the height of summer is many parts of the world. Certain songs and music go with this kind of weather. Not the bouncy, beachy, novelty songs usually associated with holidays, and days at the beach and backyard cricket. I tried thinking about what it was that made these songs the right ones for now, it might be as simple as that they sound cool drifting through the house while you're out the back reading on a blanket under the Hills Hoist. I don't have a Hills Hoist or even a backyard but being in the inner west feels pretty bloody good. It's been a bad day for Marrickville, but Marrickville will rise again!
Anyway, these MP3s are some of the songs I want to listen to today. Now, excuse me while I go and curl up on the sunny patch on the lounge.
A Bible and a Gun -- Jason Ringenberg and Steve Earle
Sweet Suzanne -- Joe Ely, John Prine, James McMurtry, Dwight Yoakam, John Mellancamp
Revival (Love is Everywhere) -- Allman Brothers
Carmelita -- Flaco Jimenez and Dwight Yoakam
PS I forgot to note down how big each of them is. You do need me to go back and check, do you? All about 3MB.
Update: Links fixed if you tried to listen in the last and couldn't. Does anyone actually listen to these MP3 or am I only amusing myself? That's fine, if so, nothing wrong with amusing yourself.
Monday, August 01, 2005
People who yell out "Summer of 69" at Ryan Adams gigs think they are this (left) when, in fact, they are that (right).
So, Ryan Adams. Bernard Zuel's review is pretty good. On account of the economy, I didn't get my ticket until late and was stuck way up the back (in the foyer area for those who know the Enmore). I'm usually manic about being Up The Front at gigs so I philosophically accepted this as an enforced opportunity to chill out and enjoy the better sound quality everyone tells me you get back there. I was surprised there were a slew of songs from Heartbreaker and only two from Gold, and Zuel rightly notes the opening solo acoustic numbers were divine. This is no complaint, although Gold remains my favourote album all over. I was late getting into Adams because the hype and the enfant terrible artifice put me right off but for all that distraco-noise, he truly is one of the artists of this generation whose output and promise are so strong you'll go with him through the eccentricities, the mis-steps and the, quite possibly, hubris. It was a long, rich, engaging performance and the Cardinals impressed, particularly the pedal steel which drenches some songs in a beauteous, fine mist and at other times rocked it up with the band.
Of course there was the obligatory "Summer of 69" request which made me cringe. Despite previously wishing for a tantrum, I really think jerks in the audience should just shut.up. You are only embarrassing yourself and us and if it was ever amusing/cute/clever (I doubt it) it isn't now. Random audience galah, you are lame! Having said that, having now seen Ryan's snittiness in response, it's a much more self conscious part of the act than I had thought. Particularly when he actually does sing Summer of 69 ...
The Herald taps his hair as being Neil Young, I go with Bon Jovi.
Well, good. From a story in the SMH about Sydney's "booming" live music scene and the switch of mega dance club Home to a live venue. Is it "booming"? For years we only heard about how it was slumping. I don't really understand how these trends work and in any event neither the peaks or the troughs really effect me, as long as there is something on somewhere of a weekend.
Now, if only we can persuade the Sly Fox to go in the same direction ...