Sunday, October 21, 2012

Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie

OK, let's be honest here. If it weren't for Billy Bragg, I probably wouldn't have given Woody Guthrie the time of day. Depression era Dust Bowl American guitar folk music. Billy, with a bit of help from the Wilco lads took Woody's songs and breathed new life into them across 3 CDs with the Mermaid Avenue series.Thanks guys.

Billy Bragg's Dunedin show came and went. Pre show drinks at the Octagon with friends prior to trudging up the hill to the show saw us arrive at 8:08 for the 8pm show. Imagine our surprise to see the doors were closed and it had started! I seem to recall leaving the first show of his many years ago covered in sweat and beer. Man, how times have changed. We were allowed in between songs as the crowd applauded, phew!

I wasn't overly looking forward to the first half of the show made up of Woody Guthrie songs but Billy held all captive with song and story. The second half of the show was a whistle stop tour of his own songs and we loved them all. Lyrics were tweaked in some songs from Cold War themes to current struggles with a nod to Pussy Riot among others.

OK, that's enough Billy Bragg for a while for this blog, time to tack off in a new direction.. stand by folks.

One Direction

Try as hard as I might, my music is not the only sounds in the house. My youngest is a huge One Direction fan. The music, the clothes, the posters... they're everywhere.
The whole boy band phenomenon is not new of course, they've been making tweenies swoon for years. It started me thinking, could there possibly be anything in my music collection that could be considered a boy band?

I searched and searched and this was as close as I got... The Buzzcocks.

What do you reckon folks?


Friday, October 12, 2012

Man-cation - Pump up the volume!

It's school holidays and the ladies of my house are away for four days to icy Naseby. What does this mean for me? It means I'm home alone on 'man-cation'. Fours days of doing whatever I like, well, apart from going to work for 8-10 hours a day...

Being a temporary bachelor not only means playing what music you want, when you want, as loud as you want. It also means eating 'man food'. If there is a lady out there who thinks the following dinner is a fine idea, I am yet to meet her.

Fish + sun-dried tomatoes + olives + anchovies + a packet of Moroccan cous cous. Divine!

Self set task set for the 4 days - Acquaint myself with Billy Bragg's Woody Guthrie period in preparation for the upcoming concert.  I can still remember seeing Billy Bragg for the first time on Radio With Pictures. One man and his guitar hollering about warm love and the Cold War. I've seen him twice before and headed into each concert knowing all the songs. He's older, I'm older, I hope the fire is still there for us both.
Oh, and also on the agenda, a BIG clean up on day 4. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Movie Soundtracks

Most music collections have at least one soundtrack in them. For my parents it was The Sound Of Music, for my daughter it's Glee. My CD collection has the grand total of 3 soundtracks:

Another one of my school fair $1 purchases, this collection grabbed my attention  as soon as I saw Billy Corgan's name on the back. All good to a man in a Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan phase. Add in Bowie, Bjork and Massive Attack and you've got a tasty musical salad. The instrumental portion is haunting at times but keeping in mind the subject matter of the film, that was always going to be the case. Standout track David Bowie - The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell. He must have written this in Seattle, it's grunge and sneer and good old rock and roll, brill.

She's Having A Baby. 
It's easy to look back at the 80s with rosé tinted glasses. Fashion was dodgy and some music from back then is better off left buried. In fact I don't think there were many movie soundtracks from 1988 that weren't padded out with turkey tracks. This one not only manages to avoid the turkeys it includes some real classics. Kirsty MacColl does Morrissey proud with You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby while Everything But The Girl rids the house of dry eyes with Apron Strings. There are a few tracks that remind me of Kevin Bacon and his shoulder pads but that's all good. Standout track, Bryan Ferry covering Van Morrison's Crazy Love. It's not often that a cover version rivals an original, this is one of those rare recordings.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 
Strictly speaking I don't have this CD. I bought this on vinyl many moons ago and have the MP3s to make playing easy. Call it my guilty pleasure album if you like, I'm not going to apologise for it. I used to see this at the Hollywood Cinema in Avondale, Auckland. Water pistol, newspaper and rice in hand, a night of viewing and audience participation was a blast. I never got dressed up in fishnets like the regulars but I knew the songs. From geeky Brad singing Dammit Janet to Frankenfurter declaring himself a Sweet Transvestite, I loved, and still love them all. Standout track, that perennial party participation fave, Time Warp.