Friday, December 30, 2005

Definitely Not Was

A little old skool r'n'b to round out 2005. Ms Bettye LaVette has flown under my radar up to now, but suddenly the critters are all raptuous about this new album, I've Got My Own Hell To Raise (latest eg, cover of Dec Rhythms -- website weird). Comparisons can be made to the Solomon Burke "comeback" album Don't Give Up on Me -- not only is it a soul legend interpreting some of the great modern songwriters but they were both produced by Joe Henry.

Diversion: That Solomon album was fab, but the follow up Make Do With What You've Got lacked alot of the same spark. And why? Why, because instead of the subtle and sensitive Joe Henry it was "produced" (more like reduced) by hack of the century Don Was. Never did that man find a mood he couldn't squash, a theme he couldn't belabour, an album he couldn't totally ruin.

End diversion.

The angle with this album is that Bettye covers songs by female singer-songwriters: Lucinda Williams (Joy), Dolly Parton (Little Sparrow), Aimee Mann, Sinead O'Connor, Joan Armatrading, Roseanne Cash and others. Her voice is pure molten soul gold and the album is funky, rich and sexy as hell.

So you've made a big fan Bettye but for gods sakes whatever you do -- don't return Was' phone calls!!

Oh, and one more thing, Colombo-like. Dig is back on the radio, Saturday nights from 6.30pm.

Prayer for Relief

It seems the long running dispute over Townes Van Zandt royalties and management of his musical legacy may finally come to a head -- eventually, it has to go through the legal system first so ... let's not be holding any breaths. This 2002 article charts the background to the stoush, which essentially comes down to Jeanene Van Zandt and Townes' kids alleging Kevin Eggers of Tomato Records has been ripping them all off for decades. The long version is contained in the complaint lodged with a New York District Court, which I have a PDF version of if anyone wants to see it.

I hope his kids finally get what's theirs.

At Home with F.E.M

Friday night artless photo blogging.

Scenes from a kitchen:

More over the fold.

Front door, stealthily liberated from the front of a Strathfield newsagency:

Balcony door triptych:

Elsewhere, creepy jackalope eyes:

Rose, personally kissed by Solomon Burke at the metro, 2004:

Next Tuesday 3rd Jan
Coopers Arms Newtown
6 ish onwards

Post New Year chill out!

More Ways to Spend Money

Several visitors of note in the next couple of months.

January 19 and 20 Terrence Simian & the Zydeco Experience Accordian legend here for the Sydney Festival, at the Spirit of New Orleans night in the Domain and the the Hyde Park Barrcks for a measly $25.

February 4
Serena Ryder at The Vanguard Next big thing who I saw a bit of opening for Steve Earle last year, I'd like to see more.

February 16 Kathleen Edwards at @Newtown. Folky, alty, rocky, country Canandian chick. Only thirty some dollars, highly recommended.

February 18 and 19 Bonnie Prince Billy at @Newtown. I run a bit hot and meh on Will Oldham but I'll probably go.

Then of course there is the Easter pre- post - Byron onslaught but looking at the line up, I won't be forking out too much.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Calling Music Nerds!

My favouritest Californian-Australian gave me a $50 HMV voucher for Christmas. Since the coming of JB-Hi to the city centre, where the range much wider and the prices much cheaper, I have barely descended into HMV recently.

As this is a free shot, I would like to spend it on one or two things I might not otherwise check out and am soliciting recommendations. From you.

Does not have to be country, I listen to a good four or five different genres of music. ;-) The last CD I bought for myself was Bettye Lavette's I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, about which I will blog some time this week. That's old skool soul/r'n'b. I can rawk, when I set my mind to it. Doesn't have to be new, 1934, '55, '73, '04. I don't care.

Something under the radar-ish? Something criminally under rated? Something you just know I'll love? Something so beloved you drunkenly corner random folks at parties and rail at them about it for hours? It can't be just me that does that.

Go crazy.

Oh, and ... Please leave a comment, I don't mind not getting them but its a bit lame when you actively ask and get none. Take pity. Don't make me look like Floppy No Friends.

Update: John in comments points me to the superbly named Wrinkle Neck Mules out of Richmond, Virginia. You can listen to three songs on the website and I'm in love. HMV won't have 'em but bob bless Paypal.

Post Christmas Easing Back with Lazy Blogging Post

iTunes 20 17 about 9pm last night. Not bad, no embarrassing Rod Stewart to explain away this time.

Matchbox Blues Tab Benoit
Five Dollar Bill Corb Lund Band
Look The World Over Odetta
Black Dog Ray Wylie Hubbard
A Certain Girl Warren Zevon
Conversation With Death Hazel Dickens, David Patrick Kelly & Bobby McMillon
It's All In The Game Bobby Bare
We're Gonna Hold On George Jones and Tammy Wynette
Me And My Destiny Sir Douglas Qunitet
The Night Red Foley Passed Away Hank Snr
When I Loved Her Kris Kristofferson
Unravel Okkervil River
Trials & Troubles Old Crow Medicine Show
Put Me Out Of Your Memory Johnny Bush
Like A Coat From The Cold Guy Clark
Boom Boom The Yardbirds
PA Ryan Adams

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

Drive safe, eat alot and
share your toys with your little sister.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Since the Toe Sucking Cowgirls are so unaccountably popular here ;-) I have posted their latest email over the fold. Including Tamworth gig details. They'll also be at Woodford.


It's almost that time again when we make our annual pilgrimage to the Capital of Country Music to catch up with old friends over a beer and to make new ones in the toilet queue. Amazing who you can meet in that narrow hallway... and the stories you hear! Look out for the book "Tales from a Tamworth Toilet" - a gutwrenching read.
But before we descend on that beloved city, it's off to wonderful Woodford for Australias largest festival. Six days and nights, mornings and afternoons of festivities: music and masked balls, film and forums, circus and comedy, poets and plenty of pints of BEER. Lead us to the Guinness bar!
Tickets for the festival are only available online and will sell out, so get them early. Check the GIGS page for our performance times.

Back to Tamworth gigs. This coming festival will be all over bar the shouting (your shout that is!) for us after the first weekend as we only have four shows.
We'll be kickstarting our festival at the Goonoo Goonoo Room at the Longyard on Saturday afternoon. Somewhere you can sit down and enjoy the show with a kick ass sound system and plenty of room to table dance if the urge takes you (not much room up front I'm afraid). Tickets $18 available at the door.

Then we're off to the Family Hotel on Saturday night where you'll have ample opportunity to kick up your heels and get showered in our sweat in the process. Thong slappers are most welcome! Bring along your best open footwear for a chance to win our fabulous Flip Flop Fashion Award. Get creative!(best bring those boring shoes as well in case dress regs don’t allow this classy footwear) There’ll be a few more surprises as well. It's only a small venue so best if pre sold ticket holders get there early so we can seat you first, then it’ll be whoever we can fit in after that. Tickets can be purchased from Tourism Tamworth on 02 67675300 or online at $10 pre-sale or $15 at the door.

Back to the Family on Sunday night for our showcase of Northern Territory talent, "Crocs and Cyclones". I'm sure you'll be blown away by the awesome Neil Murray, and the talented Tom Curtain will have you smiling like a snappy handbag! Other guests include Martin Oakes, Matt Scullion, 2005 Telstra road to Tamworth finalist Jessica Mauboy and 2006 Tamworth CMAA College Graduate Marcus Meier and of course the Cowgirls. Phew, what a night. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7.30pm sharp, so get in and get your bums on seats early. Tickets $10 presale from Tourism Tamworth or $15 at the door.

A new one for us this year will be our "Cowgirls and Friends" night at the Tamworth City Bowlo on Monday night. We had a great show there last year and it was such a fantastic small intimate venue, we thought it would be ideal for an up close and personal kind of thing where we can invite all our musically talented friends up for a bit of a singalong (maybe even some talented in other areas as well?!). They were all in the audience last year so it makes sense to get them up and do something rather than just sitting on their bums heckling us! Come dressed as your favourite Cowgirl/boy, a great opportunity to dust off those sequined chaps and six shooters! Keep your eye on our gigs page for updates on who'll be there.

Aside from Woodford and Tamworth, we have a few more festivals over the coming months and hopefully we’ll be back to a few of our old haunts in between.
Thankyou to all of you who have been supporting us over the years by coming to our gigs, buying our CD (and beers for us) and playing our music. We love you all. Keep it up and we’ll be saying move over Dolly and Shania before you can say Toe Sucking Cowgirls Thirteen Thongs!!!
We hope you all have a fantastic Xmas and New Year and, fingers crossed, next year will bring peace and prosperity to everyone… or at least a few good parties!
Keep on sucking what you like best…BEER! See you at the bar!

Tracey and Gleny

Tues 27th - Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford QLD "The Club" 11.10pm
Wed 28th - Woodford Folk Festival "The Globe" 3pm
Thur 29th - Woodford Folk Festival "The Club" 10.20pm
Fri 30th - Woodford Folk Festival "Troubadour" 11.50pm
Sat 31st - Woodford Folk Festival "The Club" 3.50pm
Check for more details

Sun 1st - Woodford Folk Festival "The Bazaar" 2.55pm
Fri 20th - TBC, Tamworth NSW
Sat 21st - Goonoo Goonoo Room, Longyard Hotel, Tamworth NSW 3-6pm
Tickets $18 at the door
Sat 21st - Family Hotel, Tamworth NSW 8-11.30pm
Tickets $10 available thru Tourism Tamworth 02 67675300 or online at or $15 at the door
Sun 22nd - "Crocs and Cyclones" A Territory Showcase, Family Hotel, Tamworth NSW 7-10pm. Tickets $10 available thru Tourism Tamworth 02 67675300 or online at or $15 at the door
Mon 23rd – “ Cowgirls and Friends” Tamworth City Bowls Club, Tamworth NSW 8-11pm
Tickets $15 at the door

Sun 5th - Bungendore Country Music Muster, Bungendore NSW 2pm
Fri 24th to Sun 26th - Cobargo Folk Festival, Cobargo NSW
(Check Program for times)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Portrait of the Guitarist

Over a semi-boozy Sydney Blogger Meetup a few weeks back, I extracted a semi-promise from Shaun Cronin (his music and uh, other blogging interests) for a guest post here, something I'd been thinking of for a while. Despite a first love of AC/DC, Shaun spent a wild time in LA as a country guitarist and I'm pleased to have his recollections here ....

A three part series of the misadventures of a young country guitarist in Los Angeles back in 1996-97.

Episode 1: In which Shaun goes to LA, takes a musical change in direction, enters the LA country scene, learns the tricks of the trade, finds an interesting way to attract the interest of audience members and is summarily ejected from his first country band.

Some are born to play country music. Others have country music thrust upon them. As for me, it was all about the money as it was the best chance of getting paid gigs in Los Angeles during my time there in mid-90s.

Like many young lads and lasses you hit the streets of LA with stars in your eyes and the stuff of dreams in your heart. And then reality knocks the stuffing out of you unless you are one of the lucky ones. I was not one of the lucky ones (reality had it in for me I tell you) but I had one hell of a time as a guitar player in LA. But as this is to be posted on Flop Eared Mule I won’t regale you with all the tales of life in LA but stick to my experiences as a country gun for hire.

I went to LA to study at the Musician’s Institute back in 1995. Enrolling in GIT I spent the next year and a bit immersed in music. Almost everyday was spent with a guitar in hand. There were structured classes as well as live performance workshops (pick a style and then you got up on stage to play through a few songs) and rooms were you basically jammed with an instructor. All great fun. I was a dyed in the wool blues player when I set foot in LA. The trouble is I was one of many. So about half-way through GIT I started to listen to country. Of course I had access to some great country guitarists. Steve Trovato was an instructor at the time and Lisa Purcell, who became a good friend, were very helpful in getting my chops. And there was Pedro who often seemed amused by my playing (I still remember the expression ‘atonal blues experiment') but taught me a lot.

So it came time to graduate. I decided to hang around in LA and see what I could do with my skills. Thanks to Lisa I was soon gigging in a country band down south of LA. The leader was an ex-army guy what wanted to be the next Garth Brooks or someone of similar acclaim. Initially we hit it off and got a band together.

At that time there was quite a health country scene. An obvious influence was Dwight Yoakam as well as the usual Nashville types (this was around the time when Alan Jackson’s ‘Chatahoochie’ was a huge hit). So you got to play a mixture of old classics, hip new country sounds and absolute commercial dreck (oh how I hate Brooks and Dunn).

One of the first things I discovered was that country musicians can be very narrow minded in regards to what a country guitarists should be slinging. For instance I started gigging with one of these. One day while setting up the local country patriarch (every area has one. Usually some old guy with mysterious powers of influence that all the newcomers look up to. If he can actually play it is a miracle) came by and with barely disguised disdain asked “Can it twang?” “A Strat can do whatever you want it to do, mate” should have been my reply. But it would have been wasted on the ignorant. I eventually did graduate to a proper country guitar (which I still have) but the comment still rankles. Pissing off the patriarch is not a good start.

In a most bands the band members chat between sets. In this band the drummer rarely said anything to me. The bass player, singer (and leader) and I got along well enough. I thought this was strange. The drummer seemed to hold his own court with the others which I thought this was strange. Not to worry. You can’t please everyone and I’m sure that he would come around and we’ll be able to have a good chat.

In relation to the LA Country music scene we were on the outer rims, in the desolate lands of covers and disinterested audiences. The one time someone in the audience did show interest it was a drunken tirade directed at me for not playing the solo in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ properly. As a guitarist, I’m happy to learn the chord progression and signature licks and riffs when playing covers. But be buggered if I was going to learn and play every solo as the recording. I ain’t no jukebox. The ego demanded a creative outlet and if I had the chance I was going to let rip in my own fashion (cue the Boatshed at Manly about 5 years when for some reason I found myself playing SHA again and let rip with a wildly inappropriate cascading, jazzy, chromatic run in the middle of the song that sounded quite cool. Take that drunken American audience guy!)

Still this was a great training ground. I learnt the arcane arts of playing songs I’ve never heard before, built up a repertoire of country standards, honed my licks and experienced being booted from the band.

In hindsight the omen the end was nigh was when the drummer started talking to me all friendly like at a gig one night. The next day I got a call from the singer saying thanks but they are going to experiment with another guitarist. Bastards. Could they not recognize raw Aussie talent? To be fair raw was the correct word as I was still finding my feet as a country guitarist. Not that I was playing crap as I did well at GIT – just inexperienced. And I have this habit of wanting to meld styles more than play a straight sound. But thems the breaks in the small country clubs south of LA. Not that the singer ever went anywhere from what I know.

So I bemoaned my fate a little bit and wondered what to do now without $50 a night from playing gigs. But thanks to Lisa another opportunity came my way and I was at it again.

Episode 2: In which Shaun joins another country band and moves one rung higher in the local scene, experiences the wondrous mysteries of an Elks lodge, is asked by cops whether he is carrying drugs or guns, sees one way to diffuse a fight and gains revenge by kicking the drummer out of the band.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

31 Sleeps

Thoughts turning to Tamworth --- and the holiday from work associated therewith. See artist's impression, right.


Booked train ticket up. Done!
Start hassling people to borrow tent.
Find passport so they'll let me into Wests Diggers.
Start planning the perfect 512MB worth of music to load on the iPod.
Locate Joe McGuire stubbie holder from last year.
Buy a goddamn portable fan!
Linedancing lessons
Think about applying for Golden Guitars media accreditation. Heh.
Resolve to be virtuous and only have the bacon and egg brekkie at the footy club four or five times a week.


Rage Page Helen is all over it as usual. Check out the schedules for most of the main venues.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Monday: Dylan group Christmas get together at The Abercrombie (formerly The Australia) cnr Abercrombie and George St. 7ish. Out the back in the beer garden. If you've never come along, or haven't in a while, do consider it. It's not as horribly geeky as it sounds. Drop me an email if you want further details.

Sat and Sun: Yesterday and Today sale.

Saturday 17th December
Hours: 7am - 4pm

Sunday 18th December
Hours: 9am - 2pm

This is all new stock, especially brought in for the sale. There will be mainly cds and dvds plus a few books. Lots of the very latest US releases with heaps of bluegrass, Americana, mainstream, honky tonk, box sets & much more. Most is not released locally. Prices start at $2....many cds at $10 each or 3 for $25.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Penultimate Post for This Week

Woke up in a cold sweat at 3am (dream: Oscars, Bob Dylan, somekind of research facility or university, Meg Ryan) and realised Dwight Yoakam's Blame the Vain unaccountably left off the Best Of list. Sorry. On the other hand, I heard Dwight's Come On Christmas yesterday and it's a bit dreadful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

James Blunt R.I.P

From the blog a beautiful revolution. Found via the wonderful Bodhi at the wonderful blog by the wonderful The Other Andrew.

File Under: Nothing Surprises Me Anymore

For real?

Music icon Bob Dylan has signed on with XM Satellite Radio to host a weekly radio show beginning in March 2006, featuring songs hand-selected from Dylan's personal music collections, plus interviews, commentary and e-mails from fans.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Crossposted at HickoryWind.

When you go outside at 5am and immediately start to sweat you know it's almost Christmas. And Christmas means Best Of end of year lists. Instead of an albums list (which I may do too, eventually), here is Flop Eared Mule's Official Best Songs of 2005 list. For today.

The number one song is a definite lock in but the others are pretty even so I haven't ranked them. Not confined to an arbitrary number like 10 either. I decided on a more relevant system: the amount of music that fits on your average blank CD.

19 songs

Shelter from the Storm -- Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris from The Outsider
Those who know me know I'm fairly stingy in my praise for Dylan covers. But Shelter is a good candidate, Emmylou has a second to none track record and Crowell is a confirmed favourite so I was excited to hear this version. Lovely, and the lilting rhythm is orginal while also recalling the original.

Rhymer -- Mary Gauthier (... say "go-shay", y'all... ) from Mercy Now
I could have gone for the superlative I Drink (god, what a song), but since that was also of Mary's second album Drag Queens and Limousines, I picked this Harlan Howard cover for the heartachingly beautiful sadness she brings to it.

Long Time Comin' -- Bruce Springsteen from Devils & Dust
Ah, Boss. How many times is it you've saved rock and roll now? Four, five? In the recent Uncut cover story, coinciding with the Born to Run 30th anniversary reissue, Nick Hasted closes a otherwise good article with this wrong!wrong!wrong! observation: "In subsequent years, he would gradually abandon Born to Run's grand drive and romantic dreams, reducing himself to the resigned whispers of Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad. His great songs would prove to be about compromise, ageing and defeat: the future he must has glimpsed for himself , without his breakthrough's roar of youthful release, 30 long years ago." But not so! Sure, Bruce's characters have had a parallel trajectory to his own, which means adding layers of experience and ambivalence but the original spirit of Born to Run has always been there. It's just that other things have been added, the Springsteen universe has expanded and nothing has been loss. Long Time Comin' is a wonderful melding of both things. A joyous spirit but obviously in the voice of man whose been around the block (ain't gonna fuck it up this time). He's still the best in the business. And what a lovely blessing this is:

Well if I had one wish in this god forsaken world, kids
It'd be that your mistakes would be your own
Yea your sins would be your own

I Had a Real Good Time -- Delbert McClinton from Cost of Living
For playing at my funeral. FYI.

Tell Ol'Bill -- Bob Dylan from the North Country Soundtrack
Honey, why'd you have to ask?

Beautiful Despair by Rodney Crowell from The Outsider
Rodney gets his second just for the opening lines:

Beautiful despair is hearing Dylan
when you're drunk at 3am
Knowing that, no matter what
The chances are you'll never write like him
Oh, brother.

All You Can Cheat -- Robbie Fulks from Georgia Hard
There a number of honourable mentions from this Robbie-Goes-Countrypolitan album. I chose this because cheesy wordplay has a rich history in country music and, despite giving cheap laughs to the terminally ignorant, should be celebrated.

oh no wait, I have to include this one too ....

If They Could Only See Me Now -- Robbie Fulks from Georgia Hard
A sort of parallel universe bastard stepson to Lefty Frizzell's Saginaw, Michigan I reckon. Poor boy makes good, er, bad. Classic murder ballad.

When My Love Crosses Over -- John Hiatt from Master of Disaster
Cold River -- John Hiatt from Master of Disaster
Another more than solid album from Hiatt. He has a bit of a thing for rivers and rain and water in general as a metaphor doesn't he? Low key and dreamy love and life songs.

Move Along Train -- Marty Stuart feat. Mavis Staples from Soul's Chapel
It's a bit wrong to only have one song from this album here. Any number of the track coulda made the list.

Clay Pigeons -- John Prine from Fair and Square
I like John Prine. I don't go wacky over him like some, but I'm glad there are people who go wacky over him. It says something exceedingly good about the world, I think.

Streets of Love -- The Rolling Stones from A Bigger Bang
Let Me Down Slow -- The Rolling Stones from A Bigger Bang
Enough of this sensitive singer-songwriter shit.

Grapevine -- Tom Russell from Hotwalker
Cali-Okie honky tonk. Dustbowl refugees and the runaway American dream.

Me and Bobby McGee-- Dolly Parton feat. Kris Kristofferson from Those Were the Days
Just a ripped up fun version, great harp from my man Kris.

Hard Way to Fall -- Ryan Adams and the Cardinals from Jacksonville City Nights
My, he's sounding all growed up isn't he? I love the pedal steel, Ryan. You should do that more often.

Captain of A Shipwreck -- Neil Diamond from 12 Songs
Neil must get a mention in this most remarkable of years for him. A pretty stunning comeback under production guru Rick Rubin and finally a bit of cred.

and the number one song of the year ...

Woodrow by Tom Russell from Hotwalker
The album splits people about right down the middle - I fall on the "crazy love it" side of the fence but even if you don't, you can't go past this angry and beautiful ode to Woody Guthrie. Tom gets a few of his pet political and social gripes in their too. Idionsyncratic and a bit strange. How can it possibly be topped next year?

Wonderful Trouble

Am about to put up my official end of year Best Of list and this bloke figures very highly. Tom Russell, he's got a snazzy new website and a road diary, which is not just a If This is Tuesday travelogue but a typically rich literary and musical journey.

I invited thirteen gorgeous rockabilly gals up on stage to sing “Mohammed Ali” in Malmo. The high point of the tour. On we went to Amsterdam and on into Belgium. Sang at the A.B. in Brussels where Iggy Pop made his recent amazing video. Some Cat with a house deep in the wild woods of Holland had 150 Bob Dylan bootlegs. He served us a gourmet meal and played French Bal Musette Music. On down the road to Amsterdam. It was raining on the canals and we filled the Paradisio small room and then took pictures in front of the neon hooker windows. An old friend of Bukowski's led me through the rainy Amsterdam night. It's all a blur, as it should be. A slow dream.
The tour ended up in Dover, in a water mill where some gentleman who used to play harmonica for the Yardbirds sat in on blues harp. The Bob Dylan movie played on the BBC the night we were at Dingwall's in London. I had to wait until I got back to El Paso to watch it. I was stunned. Moving, wonderful, apocalyptic. I was left with a feeling of awe and the sense that it was all done 40 years ago. All that remains is to define things in terms of your own personal ragged art, and struggle out on stage and stagger on through the night; away from anything trendy and programmed. Attempt something nova-honest and bone hard. Everything else is a lie....there is nothing new under the sun. What is this Americana Bullshit? No Depression? Alt Country? Alliances and networking? Art is as close, or as a deep, as the last chilling song you heard, and I ain't heard many. I need to write a few. Fuck it. Americana is Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop. Lucinda Williams. Hard Times in Babylon by Eliza.

Things I Won't Do #27

Drink skim milk.

There was some in the office fridge so I put it on my Weetbix. What a misery spawning product it is!

Weetbix + Skim Milk = Thin, tasteless, grey Dickensian gruel.

I refuse to start my day making like crippled Lil' Meg Crackleswaitingate about to set off at dawn to walk 25 miles to work at the match factory to save my ginsoaked parents and fifteen poorly siblings from the debtors' prison.

I just won't.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rock? Definately.

Shaun, whom I was pleased to finally meet at the Sydney Blog pub thingo last week, has a new website: Rock 'n' Roll Damnation. Go say hello, flannos at the ready.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rock? Not!

The email from his mother went:

The Boy [not real name] is big on viking lego but I was only able to get a couple of the smaller sets here. I also want to get him some music – he wants Queen but I was also thinking of green day – or is there some rocking-yet-inoffensive Australian band that I could support.

The annual working group on Chrissie presents for the kiddies. The Boy is an 11 year old who in few months between last two visits went from a crew cutted little one to a shaggy haired extra from The O.C. Now he wants Queen! Or Green Day! At least he still likes Lego.

Volunteering for the task of music wrangling, I hit the cheapo CD shops in the city yesterday.

The music young people are listening to these days is a great confusion to me. "Magic Dirt", I have heard your name. But what you do, or are, I simply cannot say. According to All Music you are a "fuzz-drenched noise unit from Geelong" which I'm afraid doesn't help. I didn't buy you. Sorry.

Good Charlotte I had the vague idea were some kind of baby punks and might fit the bill. On the cover they look identical to Green Day and in the liner notes they all shout out thanks to their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who gave them the talent and without whom they are nothing. Rocking yet inoffensive? I hope so.

From there I stuck with what I knew. Yes, Boy, you may listen to Green Day. But if that's your thing you will also be listening to The Clash and The Stooges. (UPDATE: Forgot, I also bought The Datsuns.)

As much as it pained me to do it, I also bought some Beatles for the lad. Please Please Me. Kids dig the Beatles. With Dylan you have to be a little more discerning lest you fry their tiny minds. Science has conclusively proven in clinical trials that not enough synapses are fused together in your brain at that age to process the infinite possibilities projected from the average Dylan studio album. The information builds up in there but has nowhere to go. It fries their brain!

But the Beatles are safe for painless tween consumption.

Of course I will make up a carefully selected personal Dylan compilation for The Boy too. Natch.

Finally, I purchased a 4 CD "Rock Box." On the cover a denimed leg and leather boot rest provocatively on a motorbike. Rock. The front cover promises:

Nazareth Anthrax * Elp
Asia * Yes * Thunder *The Stranglers
Alice Cooper * Deep Purple
Robert Palmer * And Many Others

Rock? More or less.

CD 1. Smoke on the Water! Uriah Heep! Rick Wakeman, "Paint it Black". I don't like the sound of that. Not at all. Is it with, like, bells? But, no, this is not for me. It's all about The Boy. He might like the bells. The Stranglers live!


CD 2. More of the same.


CD 3. Jean Michel Jarre "Oxygene Part 4" Not rock, BUT I recall loving it as a tyke. So OK. Smoke on the Water AGAIN! Rock! More random prog rock.


CD 4. Take That! Rock! .... uh, hold on. What? Take That? Backstreet Boys? Ace of Base? Boyzone? This sneaky fourth CD is called "Boys & Girls Vol. 1" and has a cover of green and yellow bubbles in contrast to the others which feature sombre tones, electric guitars, lightning strikes and, uh, kickboxers. (rock!)

Cornelia Grolimund doing "Das Puppenhaus (Radio Edit)"? Not Rock.

J'accuse Membran International GmbH of Kroonstucken of attempting to offload a warehouse full of crappy K-tel euro pop by slipping it in a product you are pleased to call a "Rock Box." Did you think we wouldn't notice? It wouldn't matter that we wanted Uriah Heep and got a swag of German techo acts so obscure I can't even find websites for them to link snarkily to????

Think again. We noticed.

Boy, did we notice.


New Mp3 blog devoted to ... twang.

By “twang,” we may mean anything from mainstream country (gasp!) to whatever passes for alternative country these days, from traditional/classic country and bluegrass to current and mostly unheard honky-tonk. And anything else we decide to define as twangy.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's Pronounced "Michael"

Mikal Gilmore was interviewed by Richard Wilkins on Today this morning, on the topic of John Lennon. Here is his new Rolling Stone tribute, a topic of great indifference to me personally but obviously I'm wrong about that.

The point is, Gilmore is one of my favourite writers on music. If various bloggers didn't exist he'd be further up the list. I've probably gone through all this on the blog before but he's worth recommending twice. There is one collection of articles, Night Beat. I can't locate my copy right now so I can't give you excerpts and the like. Trust me already.

His other book is a knockout. Shot in the Heart is a non fiction account of his childhood and youth, along with that of his rather more infamous brother, Gary Gilmore. He was executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977, raising more than the usual fuss by refusing all appeals on his behalf and declairing his desire to die. Amazing book. Tough, but amazing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Well, Mr Dylan never ceases to surprise and delight.

Eat the Document is apparently being officially released.

Not content with this news alone, Amazon plays with our heads:

Availability: This title will be released on December 31, 1969. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives

Crazy, man.


FYI the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line will be released in Aust on February 2nd.

Also on the 2nd, North Country which features the new Dylan song Tell Ol' Bill on the soundtrack.

A few weeks later Capote which has no on topic link I can think of but I'm a bit of a Truman fan, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is supposed to be brilliant in it.

Fifty Million Beers
Sunday 11th Dec
Botany View Hotel Newtown 6pm

click on pic for larger version

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Debts, Musical and Otherwise

Crossposted at HickoryWind.

We're fortunate at the moment a couple of veteran country/roots rockers are enjoying a particularly rich patch. I'm thinking particularly of Tom Russell, Rodney Crowell and Marty Stuart who have all released CDs this year that make my personal top five or ten. In Marty's case, he's released two. One was the gospel Soul's Chapel, the second is Badlands, Ballads of the Lakota. I've looked forward to it not just because a new Marty Stuart is pretty special but also because its also an explicit follow up to one of my favourite albums, one of the most underrated ever : Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears.

Let's take a step back. Johnny Cash was always as much a folk singer as a country one, and the case of Bitter Tears is just one example of the spirit that makes him a revered figure like no other. A rare (indeed) popular music name who was also political but appeals equally to evangelicals and atheists, hawks, doves, you name it. It's only the indifferent who miss the train, I guess. Enraged by radio reluctance to play "The Ballad of Ira Hayes", Cash famously took out a full page ad in Billboard (as he would 30 years later, addressed to much the same people ....):

DJs, station managers, owners, etc., where are your guts? I'm not afraid to sing the hard bitter lines that the song of Oliver La Farge wrote ... Classify me, categorize me -- STIFLE me, but it won't work ... I am fighting no particular cause. If I did it would soon make me a sluggard. For as time changes, I change. You're right! Teenage girls and Beatle-record buyers don't want to hear the sad story of Ira Hayes -- but who cries more easily, and who always goes to sad movies to cry??? Teenage girls. Some of you "Top 40" DJs went all out for this at first. Thanks anyway. Maybe the program director or station manager will reconsider. This ad (go ahead and call it that) costs like hell. Would you, or those pulling the strings for you, go to the mike with a new approach? That is, listen to the record again?

Regardless of the trade charts -- the categorising, classifying and restrictions of airplay, this is not a country song, not as it is being sold. It is a fine reason for the gutless to give it the thumbs down. 'Ballad of Ira Hayes' is strong medicine. So is Rochester -- Harlem -- Birmingham and Vietnam ... I've blown my horn now; just this once, then no more. Since I've said these things now, I find myself not caring if the record is programmed or not. I won't ask you to cram it down their throats. But ... I had to fight back when I realised that so many stations are afraid of "The Ballad of Ira Hayes." Just one question: WHY????

(labouriously copied out from the recent Cash bio by Stephen Miller)

As it turned out Ira Hayes made number three on the country chart and the album too was a reasonable commercial success. Ira Hayes was written by Peter LaFarge whom I was glad to see get a namecheck as in No Direction Home, he's a whole post of his own for another day.

Forty one years later, we're pretty jaded about this stuff -- Live Aid/8, fugly white wristbands, forty odd years of social and musical revolution yadda yadda -- but Bitter Tears still hits home with its thematic starkness, uncompromising vision and, most unexpectedly, venom. Really, there's a lot of anger here. And that it was all done by a mainstream star in 1964 ... well, that still impresses me.

Bitter Tears retained the Cash signature boom chika beat in parts, and Badlands thankfully still has that rich Fabulous Superlatives' "hillbilly rock" sound. It's not just a homage by Marty Stuart to his mentor Cash. His interest in native American issues goes back a long way, he and Connie Smith were married on a reservation and he has studied at an Ogala college. I find the album mercifully free of stifling earnestness and airbrushing, the songs stack up by themselves and of course Marty's haunting velvety voice is in spine chilling form. Particularly on something like "Listen to the Children", where he goes all low and slow ... aiiiiiyyeeeeee.

On a few listenings the stand out tracks are the fierce rocking "Broken Promise Land" which certainly recalls Bitter Tears; the Presidents have changed, but the story remains the same. The trenchant "So You Want To Be an Indian" hits its mark against those who would idealise the lifestyle as a touchy feely new age paradise. "Casino" is like a reworked "Ballad of Ira Hayes," although the protagonist is a sadder one even than the Iwo Jima hero.

But as a concept album, the strength of Badlands is not really in individual songs (a brave move of itself in Era iPod) but the overall world created and reflected. I still place it a rung or so below the great Bitter Tears, but it's a fine successor and an adornment to the rapidly ending country music year.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Next Tuesday 6th Dec
Coopers Arms Newtown
6 ish onwards for conviviality and trivia

Spread the word.

...i don't like to smoke afterwards...

Felling a little bluesy today. (in a good way)

Sat Night:

He Was a Friend of Mine -- Dave Van Ronk (2.4mb)
High Sheriff -- David Johansen and the Harry Smiths (3.3mb)
Joyride -- Ray Wylie Hubbard (2.4mb)
Blues Hangover -- Slim Harpo (5mb)

Sun Morn:

We Shall Overcome -- Odetta with the Boys Choir of Harlem (3.2mb)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Greil Marcus can annoy and I've no great desire to read any more of his sometimes insufferable books, but this essay on No Direction Home is almost coherent and likeable. I got sidetracked from the posts I was going to do on NDH but one would've been about what Scorsese brings to it as a film-maker (the film-maker), which Marcus touches on.

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.

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.