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!