Saturday, January 01, 2011

closing down...but a new blog is about to open

Hi All

Well it will come as no surprise to any of you, that this blog doesn't really get used any more. So I am now officially closing it off....

However, this is to let you know that I have started a new blog...

Music Lists, the blog:

I hope to post on this weekly, not sure if that will happen long term but that is the plan, with useless lists of songs should be good fun. Come check it out, the first posts are already up.

take care everyone and happy new year.

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - My musical tastes

Hi Everyone

So 2007 comes to a close, and like last year, I thought I would reflect on my music tastes during this year. Plenty of other things happened in my life this year, like going overseas and getting engaged, but will keep this post to the music things.

Unlike the excellent “Wireless Cranium” blog, this won’t quite be as comprehensive and informative and will only be in one post.

I guess the first main thing to mention was the 2007 was the year that I got an I-pod proper. Has this changed my musical listening habits? It sure has. Having your entire cd collection in your pocket on the train on the way to work certainly makes you more picky with what you listen to, and I am very guilty of over using the shuffle features and being trigger happy on the skip button. So I do understand the people that claim that the i-pod is killing the album.

However, having said that, I am still purchasing albums, and as you will read on, you will note that I added some classic albums to my collection in 2007.

New Releases from old favourites
2007 saw some new releases from some of my favourite artists – Paul Kelly released Stolen Apples, another strong album to add to his impressive back catalogue. Once again Kelly showed off his versatility, with the album containing everything from lovely ballads (The Foggy Fields of France), to catchy pop/rock (Keep on Driving) to heavier rock (God Told Me To).

James Reyne, another favourite of mine released two albums this year! – Every Man a King, an excellent studio album containing some classic Reyne tracks with his typical biting commentary all throughout the lyrics (Little Man You’ve Had a Busy Day, Mr International, Broken Romeo and Sammy and Dufus and Our Man in New York). Reyne also released a second album under the Liberation Blue Acoustic Series, Ghost Ships, where he delved into the back catalogue of Aussie Crawl and his solo career to re-record some old classics in fully acoustic format. Both Every Man a King and Ghost Ships are great albums that I would highly recommend.

Another favourite, Tim Rogers, released the Luxury of Hysteria in 2007. I still haven’t really given this album enough of a listen, but it’s a real change in direction for Mr Rogers. The album is a much more mature sound, and has a lot of strings throughout it. I like it, but haven’t really been blown away by it just yet. Nevertheless, after the disappointing (in my opinion) You Am I release “Convicts” in 2006, I had low expectations for Rogers solo album, and it is certainly better than what I was expecting.

Crowded House also reformed with a new line up to release “Time on Earth”. I have mixed feelings about them reforming, as I think that when you do such a grand farewell like they did at the Opera House, it’s a little strange, and also when such an integral member of the band (ie. Paul Hester) is no longer alive, its really not Crowded House any more. But who I am to criticize, considering I bought the album and went to the gig!!!! Time On Earth is a nice solid album, with some great tracks on it, such as Pour Le Monde, and She Called Up, but I still think it’s a little top heavy. I am hoping that over time some of the more mellow tracks towards the end of the album will grow on me some more.

Bob Dylan
2007 was the year that Bob Dylan started to invade my music collection. I have liked a lot of Bob’s songs that you hear on the radio, but with such an extensive back catalogue, I never really knew where to begin. But I took the plunge this year, and now have Bringing It All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde and the Essential Bob Dylan (a greatest hits compilation). I still think that you have to be in the right mood to enjoy Dylan’s music, which is why its hard to pick a favourite out of them. If forced, I would have to say Blood on the Tracks, but then again, I like the contrasting acoustic/electric feel on Bringing in All Back home. Blonde on Blonde is a bit of a tougher nut to crack for me. I think it’s the length of the album that puts me off it, but if you are in the mood for it, its brilliant.

Classic Albums
As I mentioned earlier, my collection grew with the addition of a number of classic albums. June brought a great deal of excitement following the re-release of the Traveling Wilburys Collection. I had wanted to get these two albums for a while, and once they were finally re-released, I jumped at the opportunity. I think they are brilliant. Volume one in particular has got a lot of listening time from me this year. Its just a really enjoyable album, from the radio friendly hits (Handle with Care, End of the Line), through to the classic Dylan pieces (Tweeter and the Monkey Man) and the classic Orbison song (Not Alone Anymore). Volume Three (the follow up, there was no volume two), wasn’t as successful as the first, but it still has some solid tracks on it, like Inside Out, and I think it’s a great album too. Ah, the Wilburys, a true super group.

I also purchased Queen’s A Night at the Opera this year. I think I saw a documentary on it earlier this year, and thought it would be an album that I would enjoy. And enjoy I have. Where else can you find a perfect pop song (You’re My Best Friend) alongside epic tracks (Bohemian Rhapsody, the Prophet’s Song), a romantic ode to a motor vehicle (I’m in Love with My Car), with some theatrical light heartedness thrown in for good measure (Seaside Rendezvous, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon)

Other classic albums that I purchased this year include At Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash), Bat Out of Hell (Meat Loaf), A Nod is as Good as a Wink (The Faces). The length of this post prohibits me from going into more detail on these, other than to say they are all great albums.

Compilation Albums
As always, these feature quite prominently in my collection, and during 2007 I picked up some greatest hits by artists such as Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and Frank Sinatra.

Rockwiz released a volume two of the duets from the show, which contains the excellent From Little Things Big Things Grow (by Sara Storer and Archie Roach), amongst others.

I picked up a couple of tribute albums this year – one where Aussie artists (such as You am I, the Living End, Pete Murray, Paul Kelly etc) covered the music of Cold Chisel. Its not a bad album, but with tribute albums like these, you tend to like some of the versions, and not like others.

Another tribute album that I purchased was a tribute to indigenous artist Kev Carmody. I must admit, I had never heard of Carmody before, but it turns out he has collaborated with Paul Kelly a lot, including on the writing of the classic From Little Things Big Things Grow. The tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul, contained one disc of artists like Bernard Fanning, John Butler Trio, Augie March etc performing covers of Carmody songs, but of more interest to me was the second disc, which contained Carmody’s original versions of the songs. He has a very relaxed folk style to his singing, and his songs pack some powerful messages as well. It was a great album.

As with last year, it seems like I have written a lot again, and will probably be boring you now, so I will end my look back at the year here.

I will try to write more posts in the new year, in fact, I have a bit of an idea for an upcoming post – think a bit 20 to 1 countdown style……
Happy new year everyone!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

So, finally I have got around to purchasing an Ipod proper, and have just gone through the process of converting my 200+ cds into digital format ready for loading. This process has created a few hiccups, but now I can finally enjoy it….

I virtually have all of my cd collection loaded on now, with the exception of a few singles that will come on in time.

With this complete collection, with great excitement I prepared to use the shuffle feature for the first time – what tracks would come up? A classic, a hidden gem, a skeleton….I thought I would share the results with you.

1 – Shine On – James Reyne
From the album “Hard Reyne”

Interesting. I am a big James Reyne fan, and have all of his studio albums, but its really only his albums from the 90’s and 00’s that I love. Hard Reyne is a mid 80’s album that probably hasn’t really stood the test of time so well. Shine On in particular is a typical 80’s track that is not overly memorable. But it has the honour of being the first song to come up on the shuffle function of my ipod.

2 – Man of the Hour – John Farnham
From the greatest hits album “One Voice”
Hehehe….John Farnham has recorded some great stuff during his career, but I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan – hence the greatest hits collection serves me well. Man of the Hour is a nice enough song, but it is a a little bit middle of the road for me.

So two songs down, and its probably not reflecting all that well on my musical tastes so far.

3- Holy Grail – Hunters and Collectors
From the compilation album “Australian Celebration”

Ah, here we have a quality song…one of those true gems from the Australian popular music. However because it is a gem, it has been totally played to death. I blame channel ten for using at their football coverage theme music. Its also the type of song that unfortunately seems to find a home on compilation albums with titles like “greatest beer drinking songs” and “songs for aussie blokes”…but not that I can really criticize, as it has popped up on a compilation cd for me also.

And whilst we are on this CD, if my memory serves me correctly, I think this was the first CD that I ever bought. Our household got a cd player quite late, so prior to this CD, it was cassette tapes for me!!! I guess in a roundabout type of way, it is fitting that this album, which I rarely listen to now, features in this first list.

4- With a Little Help with my friends – The Beatles
From the album “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Considering I have the Beatles boxed set, I guess the probability of a Beatles track coming up in a random shuffle is likely to be higher than most other artists. But what an interesting track to come up – Ringo on vocals, and a track that we are usually used to hearing following Sgt Peppers, rather than being there on its own.

5- Instant Pleasure – Rufus Wainwright
From the soundtrack to the film “Big Daddy”

I bought the soundtrack to Big Daddy largely because it featured Sheryl Crow’s cover of Sweet Child O’Mine, but it did have a lot of good tracks on it also. This one, Instant Pleasure, is not one that I know so well. It’s a good enough song, with some interesting lyrics. Try these, the opening lines “I don’t want somebody to love me, just give me sex whenever I want it, ‘cause all I ask for is instant pleasure”…hehehe…always makes me chuckle.

6- Barbados – The Models
From the compilation album “Australian Celebration”

So, with 200+ albums in my collection, how amazing that we got a second entry from this compilation album. Barbados is a great catchy tune from the 80’s, which I hadn’t heard in a while, so it was actually quite nice to hear it again….”In the sun, I will come, to see Barbados…”

7 – Out of My Head – Fastball
From the album “All the Pain Money Can Buy”

Another song I haven’t heard in a while, which is exactly why I wanted to get an ipod, so that I could rediscover my music collection again. This album contained a number of “radio friendly” hits, such as The Way, and Fire Escape, but Out of My Head is probably the most friendly. It’s a nice little catchy song.

8 – Don’t Dream its Over (Live)- Crowded House
From the “Recurring Dream – Live bonus disc”

The most well known offering from one of my favourite bands, however this one is the live version that came as a bonus disc with their greatest hits. What a song, and a nice version too….would love to have been able to go to a Crowded House gig, and hear the roar of the crowd as the start up with the chords to this song….would be pure magic I would imagine.

9 – Slave – James Reyne
From the album “…and the horse you rode in on”
James redeems his earlier entry with this, a great a version of Slave. This album, an acoustic album released as part of the Liberation Blue acoustic series, finds James reworking some of his old Aussie Crawl and solo classics.

Slave was one of the songs that helped me to gain an appreciation for James’ solo music. I remember back to my uni days hearing him on the radio performing an acoustic version of Slave, and thinking – must get his best of album. The best of album led to the studio albums and me becoming such a fan.

10 – Water, Water – James Reyne
From the album “Electric Digger Dandy”

Amazing – three James Reyne songs out of only ten tracks, plus two other songs from the same album. Ah well, that’s the nature of the shuffle feature I guess. Water, Water is a nice ballad, which I think is about the American Indians. Electric Digger Dandy is also probably the first Reyne album that I really love. It probably shows a sign of things to come, as my favourite Reyne albums, The Whiff of Bedlam, and Design for Living both were released after this album.

For another spooky fact, the original version of Slave, which was discussed above, was actually also from the Electric Digger Dandy album…

So there you go, the first ten songs to feature on shuffle. Unsurprisingly, of the artists that feature most prominently in my collection – The Beatles, James Reyne, Paul Kelly, Crowded House and Sheryl Crow, three of them made an appearance in the first ten list….

So now I guess I sit back and wait for people to have a dig at my musical collections….feel free

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 - my music tastes

So, 2006 is over….its been a year of big changes for me, moving house, moving suburbs, change of living arrangements etc etc…but that is not the point of this post. I thought I would reflect on my music tastes and what I have been listening to in 2006. This is not one of those best of 2006 lists, but more about the music that I have discovered during 2006.

To sum it up in simple terms, 2006 was probably the year when my appreciation of acoustic music really grew. This is probably largely attributable to Liberation Blue acoustic series – of which I bought Mark Seymour’s “Daytime and the Dark” and James Reyne’s “…and the Horse You Rode in On” in 2005, but continued to listen to heaps in 06.

During 2006, I also purchased other albums from this series – Ian Moss’ “Six Strings” and, possibly the 2006 album that brought me most joy, Nick Barker’s “C – Sides”. This album joined my CD collection on Labour Day, 2006. My beautiful girlfriend surprised me and bought me tickets to A Day on the Green at Rochford Winery in the Yarra Valley. On the bill this particular day, was a selection from, you got it, the Liberation Blue series – featuring Joe Camilleri, Stephen Cummings, Christine Anu, Diesel, Mark Seymour, James Reyne, and, to open the day, Nick Barker.

I knew a few Nick Barker songs – “Time Bomb”, “World’s a Peach”, and his 80’s cover of “(Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile”. I had even seen him play support for Tim Rogers at the Corner Hotel, and thought his music was OK. But in an acoustic setting on a very very hot day, it sounded fantastic. He played both “Time Bomb” and “World’s a Peach”, and even did a very very different cover of the Van Halen song “Jump” which I really enjoyed.

After the end of his set, it was announced that he would be up the back signing copies of his album, so I thought why not, and I went up and purchased it, getting Nick to autograph it for me. So, with the comment “To Dean, Cheers Mate” and a brief chat, I walked away a happy boy. In the chaotic traffic jam we experienced trying to leave the concert, I think we played the album twice before we turned it off. After that night I started to listen to it more and more, and I love it – it is just great acoustic music. Choice cuts include “Miles to Go”, where Nick duets with Paul Kelly, “Protection”, a rockier track and almost ventures outside the strictly acoustic definition (but that’s OK) but features a line which for some reason I love (“it ain’t the knife in the heart that tears you apart, its just the thought of someone sticking it in”), “Lights Action Coma”, a slow, powerful song, and a couple of covers, namely “Jump” and Tom Petty’s “The Waiting”.

The next “discovery” for me in 2006, was Bob Evans. Bob is the alter ego of the Jebediah lead singer Kevin Mitchell. But that is probably where the similarities end between the music of Jebediah and the music of Bob Evans. Kevin deliberately chose an alter ego to break the stereotype of Jebediah, allowing him to record something a bit more stripped back and acoustically based.

In an move that was out of character by my standards, I bought Bob Evans album “Suburban Songbook” on the basis of a review. The even more interesting thing is that it wasn’t particularly good review, but for some reason it just sounded like something I would be interested in.

And interested I was. At the risk of using the cliché, the music is Beatlesesque at time. Simple ballards, acoustic tracks, usually with feel good type messages. Highlights for me are “Saddness and Whisky”, the untitled final track, and “Don’t Walk Alone”. If I had to nominate my favourite 2006 album, this would be the one, and I would recommend it to anyone that likes acoustic ballards. I have heard people liken Bob’s music to Pete Murray and Jack Johnson, but whilst I can understand the similarities, I think Bob’s music is different again.

Recently I have purchased Bob’s first album “Suburban Kid”. I like this album, but would definitely prefer “Suburban Songbook”

Moving on from the acoustic theme, but possibly a logical progression, 2006 was the year when I started to get into country music. I have always had an appreciation, rather than a love of country music, probably most evidenced by the fact that I enjoy countryish sounding tracks by non country artists (The Beatles “Don’t Pass Me By” comes to mind), but I took the plunge this year, purchasing albums by Sara Storer, Troy Casser-Daley, Johnny Cash, and Bily Bragg and Wilco (some may call this folk rather than country, and to be honest, I don’t really mind what you call it, it clearly has similarities to both)

The desire to buy Johnny Cash’s greatest hits came about after seeing and enjoying the excellent film “Walk the Line” (me and everyone else probably!). I like it all, from his early work right up to his covers of more modern songs, like U2’s “One”.

Purchasing works by Sara Storer (“FireFly”) and Troy Casser-Daley (“Long Way Home”) came about after seeing them both perform live while watching the filming of RockWiz, another big influence on my musical tastes in 2006, but probably has been covered in enough detail on Jiggy’s blog. Sara’s album I love, she has a beautiful voice, but quintessentially Australian (arrrggg….I can’t believe I am using such a meaningless word as quintessential). What I like about Sara is that that her songs often tell great stories (eg. “The Ballard of Tommy Foster” about a prisoner with regrets), but she is also equally comfortable with ballards as with more upbeat tunes. Favourites on this album for me include “Dungarees”, “Chiller’s Bend”, “FireFly”, “Snow in Mid-July”.

The Troy Casser-Daley album hasn’t brought as much delight as Sara’s album yet, but it still has some great highlights and seems to be a bit of a grower. The title track “Long Way Home” is brilliant, and a great songs which I am sure rings true with all blokes, “River Road” a nice country track, “40 Miles” a lovely ballard, and “I Wish I was a Train”, where Troy teams up with Paul Kelly, is a most enjoyable track.

I touched on Rockwiz above, and the release of the Rockwiz duets album (which as a fomer contestant on the show enabled me to attend my first CD launch and rub shoulders with people like Brian Nankervis, Julia Zemiro, Ross Wilson, Tim Rogers and Linda Bull) also got a fair bit of listening time from me this year. My favourite track on this album seems to constantly change, but I do like “Islands in the Stream” by Troy Casser-Daley and Ella Hooper, “Woodstock” by James Reyne and Mia Dyson, and “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” by Tim Rogers and Rebecca Barnard – but that is just to name a few, there are plenty of other highlights on this album.

Wow, this post is starting to get long, and I haven’t even gone into details on live gigs yet!!! I think I might make them the subject of a separate post and sign off for now….

Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Damn blogs....

Well I just wrote a new blog posting, after getting over the writer's cramp....went to spell check it before posting, and the spell check tool did nothing. So I thought that perhaps I needed to highlight the text first. Did that, and then all of a sudden it simply reverted to a previously saved version, but I lost a lot of my work....

So I will have to start that post again...hold tight people, its on its way I promise...

A very disappointed blogger signing off for now....

Personal or Public??

Well, by now some of you would have read on Jiggy's blog about the Rockwiz dvd launch and my potential faux pas when in a moment of being awe-struck by meeting Tim Rogers, I chose to ask him what was the meaning behind one of his songs, which in a moment of awkwardness he revealed it was about his ex wife.

Since that instance though, it got me thinking - when an artist (be it musician, painter or whatever) releases work into the public domain, do we, as the general public, have the right to want to understand what its about, or do we just have to accept what it is and put our own interpretations on it?

There are some famous examples, most notably Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" and Shaun Mullins' "Lullaby" where fans and journalists alike have tried to speculate who these songs were about. Carly Simon has held steady and refused to divulge any information about it. I imagine every time she would do an interview, she would have to contend with the inevitable "was it about Warren Beatty"? question.

Such speculation can then take on a life of its own. Think of the many fans that would pour through Beatles music for hidden meanings, or those that have tried to synchronise Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz, so they can ask themselves was it deliberate, or were Pink Floyd trying to tell us something?

Some would say, so what, who cares, if the song gets your foot tapping, it really doesn't matter what its about, but i disagree. Knowing what a particular song is about can be important in helping you to understand the context of the song, what it is trying to say to you, and help you to decide whether or not you like it. For example, ABBA's "The Winner Takes it All" was written by one band member, who was breaking up with his wife, about the breakup. The only thing was his wife happened to be the bands singer, and she had to sing his thoughts about the breakup. What a situation - and knowing this makes me appreciate the power of the song so much more.

Then again, think of a band like Midnight Oil, a band who had something to say. Sometimes the message was quite subtle, but most of the time it wasn't. However, do you think the majority of their fans that flocked to to the taverns around the country in the 80's to hear the Oils play really understood what it was they they were wanting to say? Did it really matter anyway? They still had a good time....

Just to cloud the waters a bit more, then there are the songs that people assume they know the meaning of, but actually don't. Think of Green Day's Time of Your Life, which is a song about breaking up, however I would shudder to think of the number of people that have chosen this as a wedding song! And I doubt they were being sarcastic or ironic.....

Given that I don't have a creative bone in my body, I guess I don't really understand the artistic process that well, but I am led to believe that songwriting can be a deeply personal experience and it is often those painful personal experiences that produce the best songs. Hey, I have even read posts from fans on the Sheryl Crow fan forum suggesting that they would prefer her to be unhappy because she writes better songs!!! So maybe that is why artists are so guarded about it - to protect the people they sing about, or themselves. Then again, maybe some of the references to various things in songs are just so personal that no one would really understand them anyway, ie. they are "in jokes" or such.

Some would argue however, that if they really don't want the public knowing about their personal lives, then don't write personal songs.....I am not entirely sure that I agree with this point of view. From my point of view, I think its just a case of being a fan and wanting to get to know our musical hereos a little better.

Would be interested to know what others think about this topic......

PS - this is the second time I have tried to post this blog posting, after i accidently lost it all first time around. I think I have cut out some of it from what i originally had written, so apologies if it doesnt really flow coherently.....

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ok, Ok, so I have been slack

Well, I have been copping a lot of criticism, mostly warranted, for my tardiness in terms of updating this blog site. So I think I will make a bit more of an effort to tidy it up and hopefully post a little more regularly.

Its a strange thing, in my current job with work, I really don't need to do a lot of writing, and I have to say, its something that doesn't come as natural as it once did. Strange that....

Anyway, hopefully some more posts to come a little more regularly.

And also, heres hoping I don't attract the spam that a previous post attracted.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Movies - September 2004-January 2005

Hi All

So, thought I would continue my previous posts about the movies. As I have said previously, I don't get to a lot of movies, so this is a short list....any comments on my ratings are greatly appreciated.

The Terminal - 4.5 stars
Wimbledon - 3 stars
Racing Stripes - 3 stars
The Polar Express - IMAX 3D version - 4.5 stars

Its a very short list, I told you I don't go to the movies all that often!!!