Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Beatles


This post has loomed large and taken much time to think about let along begin to write. I mean, what do you say about the most important band in the world and my favourite band in the world. Everything has been written and I love them so much they could have a whole blog of their own - no doubt there are plenty already devoted to them. I would really like to write about them in detail - and I may well at some point - but for this, I will not bore you too much. I will simply list what I know to be true to me and how I feel about them, the things that have remained with me my entire life, the facts that never seem to change.

My dad loved The Beatles and it is his love of The Beatles and indeed music generally that has shaped my love of music - a fact I will be eternally grateful for. I grew up listening to The Beatles, they were and are more important to me than the usual songs you hear as a child - nursery rhymes, silly songs etc. I did go through a stage in my mid teens where I hated them, I think it was a rebellious thing and probably overkill - if Dad really likes something he goes a bit bananas (another trait I have inherited!). But by my late teens my fate was sealed, and they were it - pure and simple.

My favourite album (mostly) is Abbey Road - this does change from time to time, but it has come back to the No. 1 spot more times than the others - The White Album and Revolver, so it shall remain there at this point in time.

I prefer their later songs - more from The Blue Album period, but as you will see from what I have chosen there is much to love from the earlier period also.

My favourite song is Hey Jude - it has been for about ten years now and I seriously doubt that will ever change. I love the nakedness and sincerity of this, McCartney can go a little too sentimental at times, but he reigns this one in pretty well. When I am listening and more often than not singing this song I tend to chop off the end bits - I think they go on a little too much. In a group the na na na nana nana's are cool and fun, either way this is just a song I can (and do) listen to forever. Funnily enough, this is not on my best of best of best - it is just TOO good to include :)

My second favourite song - probably close to 5 years, and again I doubt this will change is Across the Universe - so sweet and spiritual, and perfectly encapsulating Lennon. I always feel calm and comforted listening to this, in fact most of their songs do that to me.

After those 2 all bets are off and songs come and go - I mean there are so many to choose from, which made this exercise so incredibly hard - more on that with the songs I ended up choosing.

My favourite Beatle is and always has been Paul McCartney - I think he is perfection and the closest to a musical genius I think anyone will find. I think he was edgier than Lennon - he just did not get shot... harsh but true. I did go through a Lennon stage in my teens, I think most fans do, but it was always Paul. I know he can be overly sentimental - and mostly it works. If you listen to some of his vocals and read about some of his experimentation you will understand where I am coming from. I like a lot of his work from Wings and his solo work and his new work with Firemen is fantastic. And, I knew that fucking Heather Mills was trouble from day 1 - I tell you - how dare she!!!!!

Having said that I have always said if I could go back in time only once I would go back to NYC and take the bullet - and I really mean that, well I would take it my leg or arm or belly - somewhere that would not kill me too, I mean that would be insane. There are 2 things that will really undo me in life. The first is the Holocaust and the second is Lennon's murder, so wrong and so unbelievably painful there are no words to describe it.

I always wanted to marry Julian Lennon - he just seems so sad, to have gone through what he has, I mean John was no saint, I think that is why Hey Jude resonates with me so much. Julian's story breaks my heart - the man deserves to be happy...

My favourite Beatles book is Geoff Emerick's Here, there and everywhere. He was one of their engineers, starting as an assistant in his mid teens. He transports you back to the studio and you feel you are there creating with them, magic - that is a writer and a gifted human being. He explains the processes behind the recording and a lot of the experimental ideas they used to create certain sounds, some of which he helped significantly with. He also helps you understand each Beatle and whilst it is obvious he is a McCartney fan, I feel the observations he makes generally are fair. If you only read one book about The Beatles, this is the one!

Finally, my most prized and treasured item is a ticket stub from when my dad saw The Beatles when they toured Australia. Saturday, June 20th to be exact at the Sydney Stadium, Section 7, Seat H25. It is a glorious musty pink and burgundy coloured ticket on the kind of cardboard that has kept it in pretty good condition all these years. Dad gave it to me many years ago, when he must have realised I shared his passion for this wonderful band. It is my favourite and most cherished 'thing', and I feel honoured and proud to have been given such a fabulous item from history. Yes, there was a lot of screaming, but it was great - I might try and get him to write a guest post one of these days!

So, as you can see I could write more, but on to the task at hand. Choosing the songs to include in this compilation - it took almost as long as it did for me to gather my thoughts above...a looooong time! A few years back I made a compilation of my favourite Beatles tracks at the time and these six tracks were included. I just went through the compilation and pulled out six tracks that covered what I love about their music, but found as I went to write why words have not come easily to me. It is hard to write about something so personal without sounding cliched or stupid. I hope I have not done that and I suspect if I were to choose six tracks today, some of those may not be included. I would really love to hear about everyone's favourite tracks, so don't be shy

TRACK SIXTEEN: She's a woman
I overdid the early stuff early on in my life so there are some tracks I prefer in moderation, it is the less known tracks I prefer these days. She's a woman is a perfect example - bright, quick, catchy, great back beat and good, quirky lyrics. The vocals are not perfect, but a little dirty and edgy, this is a preference.

This is a great early Lennon vocal track, again coupled with She's a woman, this showcases early Beatles wonderfully. Raw, edgy, comical and ground breaking. Imagine (if you can) never hearing music of this type and hearing that scratchy arghhh halfway through the track - you wouldn't know what to think, I love this, makes you want to get up and dance!

TRACK EIGHTEEN: I should have known better
I seriously love this and I think it is my favourite early track. The harmonies are perfect, although they struggle a little with the top range, which I think adds to the originalness of the track. The tune is simple, the harmonica and guitar solo simple - yet simple as they are, make it unique. I totally love singing this song and love the sentiment behind it.

TRACK NINETEEN: Got to get you into my life
On the precipice of change, this is a truly imagined song. From the brassy beginning you know this is a going to be a great song, a great lyrical song with interesting rhythm. I love the syncopation and phrasing of "every single day of my life". They were not afraid to mix it up and begin to experiment at this stage. And the rawness of the chorus and the coda rock it out just a little.

Speaking of rawness, this is one of the edgiest and rockiest songs if you just listen to McCartney's interpretation of it. Listen to his phrasing and vocal range, especially when he gets to "When you told me, you didn't need me anymore...", oh my god, you believe every, single word. It starts off raw with a little bit of sweet, but as the song moves through he gets rawer, and rawer and edgier and gutsier, to the point where you almost - but not quite - hear his vocal cords ripping...that my friends is a singer, and Ringo beats the shit out of those drums!!

TRACK TWENTY-ONE: Across the Universe
This is just a stunningly beautiful piece of love; perfect and pure John Lennon at his best. I do love Imagine, but give me Across the Universe any day. Humbly spiritual and sweet and innocent, the lyrics make me feel calm and content and eager to ensure I am true to myself and try not to let others change me for the worse! "inciting and inviting me...." glorious lyrics too...

The Beach Boys


I grew up with The Beach Boys - like most kids of baby boomers - and went through stages of loving, hating and liking them. These days I think I like some songs and only love a few others, but I do appreciate them. There is no question Brian is a genius, but like all geniuses, a little odd. I think he should have just stuck to staying in the studio and mucking around, I get really embarrassed when they wheel him out (I mean that figuratively, but I have a feeling I have seen him literally wheeled out!). He has no idea what is going on, or if he does, it certainly does not show. It is just sad...much like recent performances or so I have heard. They were always a studio band - I mean how can you replicate the Wall of Sound live??? Speaking of which, Spector obviously was plugged into the same drugs Brian was, although for all of Brian's foibles, at least he has not attempted to murder anyone!

This is pure and beautiful, I can never get enough of the orchestration and harmonies on this. Recently resurrected for the series, Big Love, week in and out I could listen and listen to this haunting tune. I would really love to have this arranged for choir!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


LOCATION: State Theatre, Sydney

DATE: Tuesday 22 September, 2009

WITH: Nole, Vince, Phil

After what one can only describe as the most perfect day - shopping at Bondi Junction and the most delectable meal at a French restaurant/cafe near the Kent Street carpark - we had the most perfect evening!

I have been a fan of Chris Isaak from the get go and have all his CDs, I love his voice, his style, his humour and his old fashioned presentation - yet I had never seen him live. A long running joke with friends is I believe he is gay and his partner is his drummer, Kenny!! Have you watched them look at each other when they play, hmmmm. Some people get very cranky at me when I say this, others agree with me, either way, I always say, a night at Club Cathy would surely make him see the error of his ways if he is (not that there is anything wrong with that!) ....

So I enter the State Theatre (I love that building, it is gorgeous), with high expectations and they were met and then some...this is what I want when I see a concert. We had good seats upstairs and after an auction of a signed guitar for over 10 thousand dollars (who goes to a concert with that kind of money to throw away, far out!!!) the night began. His first song was Dancin' - fabulous and hypnotic and well, very sexy. He did about 4 or so songs back to back before addressing the audience, as Vince said a true performer, sure of his stuff and that he was. He was chatty, but not too much, amusing, entertaining, funny, the whole package, he played everything you wanted and sung them as they were meant to be sung and sung them well, his band were great and tight. Early on he entered the audience downstairs to mingle as he sung and then he came upstairs whilst singing Elvis, Love me tender (does not get more perfect than that). He was not that near us, but close enough, I was entranced. He played from just after 9 to well after 11, with only one small break to change into the most spectacular Mirrorball suit - oh yeah!!!!

It was indeed a great concert, on our way out of the city, we drove past the stage door (unintentionally) and I spotted Kenny, and then Chris, there were some people waiting for autographs and they took their time, including signing drumsticks (that were thrown into the audience) for a young boy, he looked thrilled. I just liked that the person you see seems to be the person he is - consummate performer and all round good guy.


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Friday 17 July, 2009

WITH: Keryl

This wonderful performance from Sydney Symphony was perfect. They performed Bach (Symphony in G minor), Mozart (Piano Concerto No 11 in F and Eine kleine Nachtmusik) and Haydn (Symphony No. 44 in E minor). Again, this was a while ago and I find it hard to describe the evening, we had excellent seats upstairs, with a great view of the orchestra - I love watching classical musicians, the small woodwind section were cheeky and smooth, the string section austere and perfect. There was a harpsichord - always gorgeous to hear - I think at the beginning, therefore the Bach piece. I find it hard to describe or write about classical music, but suffice to say it always calms me and makes me feel just right if that makes sense. Everyone should go to a classical recital at least once in their life. It was also lovely to hear a popular and well known tune like Eine kleine Nachtmusik done beautifully, you hear little nuances when known pieces are done live.


LOCATION: Sydney Opera House

DATE: Saturday 25 July, 2009

WITH: Narelle and Wendy

This was great yet disappointing at the same time. The singing and music was fabulous and so it should be, the staging left a lot to be desired. Occasionally, you see the odd mistake in such productions, which I think is totally unacceptable in a performance by a company as supposedly reputable as Opera Australia. This performance had many mistakes, and they were very noticeable. I suppose they did not take away from the show, but they were enough for us all to comment on, people walking or dancing out of line, or not lined up properly and so forth. And whilst some of the costumes and set had the opulence you would expect of the Egyptian Aida, other parts looked like they were put together with cardboard and textas. It has been well documented that Opera Australia is having difficulties at present, it is a shame they make their way through the performance. I do not think the leads physically were right for the characters, however their acting and voices were superb, so if you closed your eyes it really gave you goosebumps, but when you pay as much as you do to see a Saturday matinee, you really should not have to close your eyes!!! But, it was great to see a favourite staged, ahh to have seen it on the Nile as it was intended and I still cried at the end, plus we had a fabulous day, great lunch, gorgeous weather, the harbour in full flight and great company, so really no need to complain.


LOCATION: Playhouse and Civic, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday 9 May, 2009 and Saturday 3 October, 2009

WITH: Mary, Keryl and Keryl, Kitty and Peter

OK, I adore Shakespeare, the language, the drama, the murder, the intrigue. My favourite play is Macbeth (I mean walking trees, Lady Macbeth, witches, murder and OCD - what's not to like?) and I prefer it done traditionally. And I also have a very special spot for A midsummer night's dream and Much Ado about nothing. Having said that, I do not mind a good, modern interpretation, but it takes guts, simplicity and fabulous acting to pull it off. I recall seeing a very good Hamlet, set in the 1930s, with great costumes, sleek suits etc, and nazi undertones, very clever, polished and well executed. So, it you are going to play around with it - it needs to be done right, so few do that!

So, I do try and see Bell Shakespeare each year when they visit, however, in recent years the company has been nowhere up to scratch, and after a particularly awful Macbeth (I mean, how could they - they used plastic bags from the supermarket to add items to the witches brew at the beginning and the weakest Lady Macbeth you could ever see...don't get me started!!!!) I decided they had one more chance and that would be it. Luckily the past 2 years have been excellent, but this year I think they have blown it for me...more later

On to Henry IV...Oh boy, I have little recollection of this, I know I enjoyed it, but it was not fabulous. I felt the younger actors did not handle the characters as well as they should have, there was some humor and it was mostly traditionally done which pleased me. For an amateur production it was good. Brief, but my recollection is pretty bad, which means it was not outstanding.

I saw The Taming of the Shrew last Saturday so my recollection is indeed better. It was not great, they decided to modernise it which was completely unnecessary. I do understand the more difficult plays being changed a bit and modernised as it make them more accessible, but something a simple as this really should not be touched at all. If you cannot follow this storyline, don't bother, it is as simple as that! Harsh, but true, I loathe it when people dumb things down and this was really dumbed down.

Despite some strong older actresses in smaller parts, the players were mostly young and quite obviously inexperienced actresses. Every part was played by a female, and that worked quite well. The set was a complete pigsty and the styles of presentation clashed. The Shrew's father and his mates were mobster 1930s style; the shrew, her sister, suiters and followers were white trash (ugg boots and PJs) and disco styled. And in later acts Petruchio's 'aides' were 1950s costumed fillies - stunning costumes, beautiful dresses, shoes and magnificent hats - but yet again a complete mismash of styles, that was more offputting than interesting. It was like they had all these ideas, and felt they had to use them all - they did not. The first half had 5 huge mirrorballs hanging and they were completely annoying. I love mirrorballs, and hate to say it but the lighting shone into them and basically bounced back into my eyes and was so annoying I had to close my eyes at times, which was not good in the dull bits as I almost feel asleep on more than one occasion. Maybe it was where I was sitting and my eyes can be ultra sensitive, but it just annoyed the shit out of me!

And then there was the Karaoke, again, I love Karaoke like the next person, but again completely unnecessary. Now the singing was pretty bad, but I suppose it was Karaoke, but it basically served to help place where the action was, eg Love is a battlefield, Heart of Glass etc and while most of the songs were fun to hear, they were cliched and annoying when placed in the context of the play. As far as I am concerned, if people need something like disco to help them understand a simple play like this, they should not be there in the first place!!!

I have been pretty harsh here and one would think I hated it, I did not, it was ok, but given it was Bell, I was unimpressed and I highly doubt I will be revisiting them next year.... unless John was directing Anna, but I think those days are long gone unfortunately. As Keryl said, Richard and Elizabeth would be turning in their graves, well not Liz, but you know what we mean!!!


LOCATION: Playhouse, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday 4 April, 2009

WITH: Mary and Keryl

This was a complete hoot and at times I laughed so much I thought I would explode! I cannot remember the ladies name, but it was a one woman show about bad vinyl. And bad it was, some of it so bad it was good, but bad all the same. She was incredibly dry and had great delivery and her record collection (well the ones we saw) was something to be seen...I was impressed, and you know I do not impress easily. She divided the vinyl into sections, and I am struggling to remember the actual phrases she gave them, as they added to the humour, but they were things like Australiana, Christian, perverts and so on. She had a slide show and played tracks on her ipod- it was a really clever and sparse production, but totally showed you what you needed.

I really cannot recall all of the songs, albums now, but there were a lot of tv shows singing songs - very 80s, some of it good, most of it not, lots of John Laws in tight cream pants and large chested women clinging off him on covers with very sexual, and supposedly macho tracks. Lots of songs with very dodgy lyrics, including a lot of what could only be described as child porn imagery. Yes, Garry Glitter was included, also the Bay City Rollars.

The night rolled on and you really did not want her to stop, her delivery, the songs, the album covers were just funny and sad at the same time! Some songs were a blast from the past, some were not, some you were happy to hear despite the dagginess, others were an unpleasant reminder of things long gone :)

But the highlight of the night, was her highlight, I suspected it was coming, I hoped it was coming and came it did, we got to be incredibly impressed (ok I got to be incredibly impressed and VERY envious) at fact she had her very own vinyl copy of The Shaggs. Now I knew The Shaggs well, they are referenced in a lot of music reading I have done and there is a whole section in one of my favourite books, Vinyl Junkies, dedicated to them - the worst band in the history of the world. I have seen photos, read the stories online and in print but had never heard them. Well, we got to hear a few tracks off their seminal album, Philosophy of The World, and as the comedienne said, once you hear them, you just cannot unhear them, and she was right. Oh my, I have never heard anything so unrhythmic and unmusical in my life, not only could not play their instruments and I really mean not play their instruments, they truly had the most horrendous voices - it was absolutely fabulous, I was grinning ear to ear.

So, for the uninitiated The Shaggs are a female girl group of sisters formed in the late 60s, emulating the girl groups of the days, dressing similarly with fabulous Shagg haircuts, with a svengali father who truly believed they were destined to be the next big thing! No one could be more wrong, ahhh the love of a father. Their songs were truly unique and they have attracted high praise from people like Lester Bangs and both Kurt Cobain and Frank Zappa who named them in their top 5 albums of all time! You can see Frank's attraction, as they played in crazy time signatures, although one could not really say they played in time. Not only was their playing and singing completely nuts, but their song subjects and lyrics were something else all together! Songs about made up whimsical characters took on a life of their own. Anyway, if you want to know more...and you know you do...hook up with their official is totally for real and unashamedly heartfelt. Plus you get to see photos of the Shaggs in their heyday (or as their father said while they were hot - not sure if her was referring to their looks or playing, or both.....)
I am tempted to join their fanclub or purchase a CD copy, but I will hold out in the hope that one day I come across a vinyl copy of Philosophy of the world. What an ambitious album title!


LOCATION: Newcastle Theatre Company

DATE: Saturday 1 August, 2009

WITH: Mary and Keryl

This was a hilarious little play that lured us from the beginning. Starring mostly young adult performers and a few adults, the young performers played characters aged roughly 8-12 who were selected for the Spelling Bee. They were very funny and spot on with their performances of characters like the geeky kid, the shy girl, the overachiever and the cheerleader to name a few. The never moved on former Spelling Bee champion (with a few 'issues') was the hostess of the event - prim, proper, pressed and tightly wound, a perfect caricature. The adjudicator, a former principal (if I remember correctly) who may or may not have been sacked for a murky offence. Additional characters were semi plants from the audience, which was quite funny. Add in a lot of great tunes, that prefectly fitted in to the pathos of the competition, and it was just the kind of show you never wanted to end.

Monday, September 21, 2009


LOCATION: Capitol Theatre, Sydney

DATE: Saturday, 10 September, 2009

WITH: Keryl, Mary

This was the reason for our "Wicked" girls weekend away, besides shopping, food, drinkies and gossip...really!!

We unfortunately missed the beginning as we arrived at the theatre a few minutes before starting and that apparently was not enough time to get us (and many, many others) seated so we had to wait until a 'suitable' time to do so. It must have been a good 3 minutes prior and when we were seated it took less than a minute - we were pissed.

However, it was easy to get into and was very enjoyable. I have heard some of the songs before and whilst sung extremely well by the entire cast (especially the lady who played, Elphaba, the green witch) they are not the kind of songs that stick in your head as you leave the theatre or indeed days after (Springtime for Hitler, anyone???). But that did not matter. For me the very clever script and the stunning set and costumes were what stuck in my mind.

The script, based on the very dark (loosely based as the book was far darker than this) novel of the same name by Geoffery Maguire, was outstanding and clever. For those that do not know this is the story of how the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard of Oz became...wicked! See, she used to be really good friends with Glinda, the good witch, and wasn't really wicked at all, just different! If you are a fan of The Wizard of Oz you will enjoy how some of that story is woven in to this, you will get to see how the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow come to be. Each are subtle but touching, and there are many other Oz references including the Wizard himself. Bert Newton plays the Wizard and as always he is Bert, but he was great. It would have been fantastic to see Rob Guest play this part prior to his untimely death.

The set was simply magical, lots of fairy lighting, lots of large stunning clocklike sets, flying monkeys (these actors were exceptional and nimble), giant dragon, the Oz set and LOTS of green!!! Adding to this were the costumes, lots AND lots of costumes, oh my! They were something else, we were upstairs towards the back and they still 'popped' right out at you, the shoes too, superb. The best scene was a combination of exceptional costuming, special effects and stage design - when Elphaba, at the height of her powers, is whisked up into the air - something to be seen for sure!

The acting was good, I loved the teacher/goat a lot, very sweet and the monkeys and the boy/munchkin. Even Rob Mills (ex-Idol and Paris paramour) was pretty good as the man torn between Glinda and Elphaba, he surprised me with his singing, dancing and dialogue - albeit as a vacuous character...I want to say more about his storyline, but shall not as you may just want to see this and you deserve the surprise that I had watching him. Maggie Kirkpatrick as Madame Morrible was grand, evil/good and larger than life. But it was the witches that were stunning. Elphaba, more subtle and certainly the star of the show, fabulous voice and great on stage. But, for me, it was Glinda, who stole the show. She was remarkable, and I am sure channelling Kristin Chenoweth, the original Broadway Glinda, and cute and funny. Her high pitched, blonde, vacuous, giggly girl (whilst normally an unappealing character to me) shone, at times literally, in every scene.

This comes recommended, but not for littlies, there were some scenes that made me jump!


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Friday 15 May, 2009

WITH: Nole, Vince

I have only seen Paul Kelly once before, many years ago in a concert at the Domain at Sydney, he featured with a lot of other artists. So, really I have not been to a Paul Kelly concert. I would not call myself a fan, but I do love his gentle art of Australian storytelling, most of his music I have are earlier stuff on vinyl!

The Civic is always a great venue for performers and this was no exception. His support was a blues, roots artist called Charlie Parr, he was excellent, specialising more in 1920s American blues, he was funny, dry and no frills, just a man and his guitar. He also told a funny tale of meeting his childhood hero, Evel Knievel, a tale which would lose something in the translation repeated here. I now have a copy of his album, 1922, which I can highly recommend if that is your thing!

Paul Kelly played for over 2 hours, with at least one encore (Vince??). His band was tight, with his nephew, the gorgeous Dan Kelly, Ash Naylor, Peter Luscombe (sigh) AND Vika Bull as backing and sometimes lead vocals. Paul and a guitar is all you really need, and indeed parts of the set were just that, but the band notched things up a little and Vika took it to another level all together. She was simply stunning - in looks and vocals, sometimes taking lead vocals and giving his tunes a whole other meaning and direction. You name the tune, it was sung, it most certainly was a greatest hits tour, but included the little known gems and the big 'hits'. There is no doubt Paul Kelly is a national treasure, this evening proved it completely.


LOCATION: Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne

DATE: Monday 23 March, 2009

WITH: Nole, Vince, Phil

This wonderful experience begun with the preview of the latest film by Viggo Mortensen called Good. An interesting Holocaust film, about a 'good' man who gets 'swept up' in the Nazi uprising at the beginning of World War II. It is a different side to already well known history and film subject. Instead of the usual good vs bad side, this is a man who was good and an ordinary man, an intelligent man, a family man who happens to become a man who helps collect Jews for the Nazi's. He is not bad and simply just does not realise the implications of his actions until he is well into what he is doing. The movie was (no pun intended) good and whilst not the best film I have seen depicting this period in history it was an interesting one and Viggo was outstanding in a departure from recent screen roles for him.

But really, what we were all there to do was to 'meet' him and have a audience with exciting! Yes, we were almost up the back of the largest cinema at the Hayden, yet he exuded sexuality, style, grace and intelligence from the stage! First he answered questions about this film and his career with some interviewer, who I thought was a bit of a dope. Viggo was honest, thoughtful, intelligent, and witty. The second half was audience participation - here was where it got interesting. Yes, most of those who ran (literally) for the opportunity to ask Viggo a question were LOTR fans - as we were. Some asked interesting questions and got great answers, I mean I am sure the guy has had everything under the sun asked of him about Aragon. Then there was some plain creepy things - the woman who visited New Zealand and had taken photos of his horses (from the film) that he keeps there and wanted to present them to him...she got a hug and kiss....bitch....stalker! The woman who brought him dutch biscuits or chocolate or something, the woman who waxed lyrical about his poetry and then asked him questions regarding the subject matter of them that even he seemed not to understand, the woman who asked silly questions on behalf of her mother the fan, the woman get the picture. Sometimes my sex really have a lot to answer for! He was gracious, understanding and kind. Despite the banality of some of the questions, he was just gorgeous and it was certainly a night to remember.


LOCATION: Lizotte's Newcastle

DATE: Sunday 2 August 2009

WITH: Nole, Vince

This was my second trip to Lizotte's and yet again I was impressed. Fourplay are a string quartet with a difference. 1 violin, 2 violas and a cello - they play mostly their compositions with some amazing covers thrown in for good measure. They played classical, pop, rock, jazz, blues, country and folk - I kid you not. They have been around for a while, I think have been on Spicks and Specks.

Fourplay are most certainly not your typical string quartet, they even sung on some songs, what a talented, amazing group of young people. I would say they are in their late 30s, early 40s, gorgeous looking and talented to a genius point I think. They hypnotised me from the get go and I believe everyone in the audience. They rocked out and plain made us smile. More strings on bows were broken than you can imagine from the heavy playing. We heard Leonard Cohen, Sufjan Stevens, Cocteau Twins, Beastie Boys (yes!) and the most amazing version of Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the name of that I have ever heard. They killed the best possible way, it rocked harder than RATM!!!!
What the cello player couldn't do with his cello was no-one's business, he made Jimi Hendrix look amateur...not really but you know what I mean?

I hope they come back again, as I need more.......


LOCATION: Lizottes

DATE: Sunday 21 June

WITH: Amanda

This was our first visit to Lizottes in Newcastle. I had always wanted to get to the Central Coast venue as they always had great things, but just never got there. So, I was very excited one opened in Newcastle - in the old Kings Theatre. I had never been there before - not really into that awful dinner/theatre stuff, but the theatre itself is stunning and I could not imagine a more perfect venue for a club like this. In fact, if I had money - this is EXACTLY what I would do.

Entering the building I felt immediately at home (a feeling I rarely get - except in my own home and in Manhattan and Melbourne), Man said I looked very happy. I think possibly bordering on embarrassingly happy, but she will live. The entrance is a nice little coffee/bar area with gorgeous old style lounges/sofas in dusty pink velvet and then you enter the main area (there is also upstairs seating). Tables in the room, not too close, all seating a good view of the stage. Dark walls, covered (but not too much) with fabulous art (sultry, curvaceous women etc), scrabble letters spelling out words (d'uh), vinyl and lots of actual musical instruments. We did not eat (I have heard the food is good but overpriced), but Man had a cocktail (Pina Colada - she said it was divine, as good as in Hawaii) and I had the house Merlot - very smooth. The service was great and Brian (Lizotte, owner, chef and brother of Mark aka Johnny Diesel) came around to each table to say hello, which I thought was a nice touch. There was music playing in the background, while some people ate etc but you could still have a conversation. The people there were between 30 and 50, with some younger and older, they all looked like my type of people - eg not bimbos or bogans - woo hoo, a first for Newcastle!!!!!
(yes I am a rock snob and also a rock venue snob!)

Amanda knows the bass player in the band, which was why we were there. Grant Walmsley used to be in The Screaming Jets and wrote Better - eg, he was the soul behind the band. The new band were bluesy rock, with ranging influences - early Stones, Dylan, Waits, early blues, boogie woogie - you get the picture. Grant played a multitude of percussion and guitar - sometimes simultaneously, he had fabulous rhythm and great ability to do so I thought. The bass was a double bass, impressive playing also as was the keyboard player - he did some amazing blues/boogie woogie riffs. The other vocalist played the Saxophone and harmonica - again impressive - and was none other than one of our favourite local actors, Rod Ansell, or Rodney as he was addressed on stage. He came out channelling Steve Van Zandt (in E Street Band mode not Sopranos mode!!) and was funny in the right kind of way besides playing a mean blues harmonica.

They mostly played originals and I was impressed, I will be back to see them again and most certainly back to Lizottes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Barenaked Ladies

I think these dudes are Canadian and I am pretty sure they did the theme song to Spin City - Fabulous sitcom created by Bill Lawrence (also created Scrubs!) with Michael J Fox (Alex P. Keaton - my overachieving hero), Michael Boatman (China Beach), Bary Bostwick (Brad to Susan Sarandan's Dammit Janet in Rocky Horror) and Alan Ruck (Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day off). So mad cast, mad show! Anyway, I do not mind their stuff, but really love this one...

Man - that is a LOT of of my must do's is to try and memorise the entire song - not there yet. It just jumps straight into the lyrics, and off you go on a crazy ride. The tune and rhythms are great and catchy, and really clever how they match the words. Favourite lines are:
"I have a tendancy to wear my mind on sleeve" - for obvious reasons!
"Bert Kaempferts got the mad hits" - well he did, but to reference Bert in a song is way mad!
And this section - great, nutty words...
"Watchin' X-Files with no lights on, were dans la maison, I hope the Smoking Man's in this one. Like Harrison Ford I'm getting Frantic, Like Sting I'm getting tantric. Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy, Like Kurosawa I make mad films."
How good is that?

And for the record I could never watch The X-Files with no lights on, in fact I taped it and watched it at the weekend in the middle of the day with lots of sunlight and hoped it was not the last thing I recalled as I was dozing off to sleep that night!!!



Great name, great voice - not many women around at that time in the 80s, even Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were relatively unknown when Bananarama came on the scene. Great harmonies, pure pop, a lot lost in the translation today, but hey it was the 80s and they were fun. Their 'style' questionable - raggy shirts, dirty jeans and tossled hair, badly dyed with sharp makeup - man I wanted that look. Even though I do love Robert De Niro's waiting (talking Italian, and come on we all wish De Niro was waiting!) I have chosen Shy Boy as it was an instant favourite, had not heard it in a while and it took me back to a more innocent time...ironic given the lyrics...

Basic pop, good vocals and distinctive percussion. Loved the shoop shoop bits and the ahhhs, makes you want to bang a tamborine. What more can I say?



The story of Badfinger really breaks my heart, I think they could really have been something else. They had hits for sure, but tragedy and infighting collapsed them to an underated, and to some unknown, band from the 70s. They formed in the mid 60s and were called The Iveys and were mildly successful until a certain Paul McCartney gave them a song to record - Come and get it. They were subsequently signed to Apple records and changed their name to the unfortunate Badfinger (one wonders how they would have faired had they gone with a suggestion from Lennon to call themselves The Prix!).

Come and get it was a huge hit and they were one of the first bands in the 70s to perform the 'power ballad'. They were often compared to The Beatles which helped and hindered their career, and had a very close relationship with John, Paul, George and Ringo - they collaborated on solo Beatles' music and The Beatles assisted them with Badfinger. They also had Geoff Emerick and Mal Evans (both Beatles producers and assistants) helping produce their sound. But infighting and female influence (think Yoko type situations!) and 2 suicides halted the band becoming as big as their helpers, The Beatles. Their biggest claim to fame though was writing the song, Without You as covered by Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey and heard on Bridget Jones's Diary. Their version was more subtle and rockier, good, but Nilsson makes it his own.

TRACK ELEVEN: No matter what
A great rockin', power ballad with soaring guitars and vocals - as soon as you hear it, it is familiar. Great lyrics and it was their first top ten single as written by band members, showing they had something to offer themselves, despite a 'little help from their friends'!

TRACK TWELVE: Day after day
Another great power ballad, produced by George Harrison and Todd Lundgren and featuring the great Leon Russell on piano. I would have sworn McCartney wrote this, and you can feel his influence in the sweet harmonies, classic lines 'looking out of my lonely room, day after day...", great piano, guitar and drum lines.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Australian Crawl


Ok - confession time...I was a surfer chick in my mid teens - yeah I had a body then and tanned up better than any of that fake shit the kids wear today (stressed about skin cancer now mind you). I even did bikinis and looked halfway decent - but geez, who didn't when they were 15? As I got older, wiser....larger...I gave the beach away. I prefer au natural skin tone, prefer to keep cancer as much at bay as I can, never could swim properly and really hate how sand gets into the wierdest places. Plus, unless you are actually surfing (I dip my hat to people who can - man a shark could eat you!), or entertaining children, it's a pretty vacuous past-time...

However, Australian Crawl who were my soundtrack during that short period of my life still remain dear to me. I could never really understand half of what James Reyne was singing - who could? But it sounded good, sounded like fun and I do remember him singing Beautiful People with both arms in casts on Countdown when they debuted - how could you not pay attention, very cute (I actually preferred the gorgeous Brad Robinson - check out the cover of Sirocco and you will understand) boys, arms moving madly in plaster, and strange lyrics to strange 'em! The McDonough brothers (less fortunate looking than Brad, James and Simon and the other one...I think he played Bass) wrote most of the music and were clearly the talent from a musical pov, but James was not so bad. I found it hard to choose what to add, but despite having pretty much everything by them on vinyl I only had Boys light up and Sirocco on CD. I decided to choose one from each!

TRACK NINE: Way I've Been
Boys Light Up the album has Boys light up, Beautiful People, Downhearted, Indisposed and Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama on it - all great songs. But I choose Way I've Been as it is a simply, understated pop song and an overlooked tune by them. To me it is the essence of the album - bright, happy, loaded lyrics, a little reggae influence and simply fun!

TRACK TEN: Easy on your own
Sirocco is probably my favourite Crawl album. It has the hits of Errol,Things don't seem, Oh no not you again and Lakeside, but every other song is also a gem, especially Unpublished critics, Trusting you, Can I be sure and this one, Easy on your own. It's repetitive, 'easy', great guitar riff, and a real singalong laid back classic. And did you know Kerrie Armstrong (Seachange, Lantana and Bed of Roses) has a writing credit on it, not sure what parts? She was dating Brad at the time...

Augie March


I have seen them live and really like them, and the feel of their music. Glenn, the lead singer is rather cute also. I cannot say - with the exception of the chosen song - that any other song really stands out for me. They are just one of those nice, melodic bands that are easy to listen to but nothing too special....excepting for...

TRACK EIGHT: One Crowded Hour
The winner of many awards and deservedly so. Augie March are not like other one hit wonders mentioned here, yet this is their ONE BIG HIT - but how can you top it? As said previously, their other songs are nothing to be ashamed of and I enjoy them, but this is one special song! It is also one of my two favourite types of songs the perfect melancholy ballad.(the other being rock'n'roll as demonstrated earlier by You shook me all night long). Like any good ballad, it starts slow, soft, just a guitar melody with stunning lyrics that transport you directly to the intention of the song. The it builds slowly, stronger, faster, the rest of the band joins the vocals and guitars. There is not a bum note, or an unnecessary word. I listen to this song and shiver, I understand exactly what he is singing and I always admire someone who seemingly effortlessly squeezes fat, full, many lyrics into a tune and pull it off - they do! "One crowded hour...could lead to my wreck and ruin"....ahhhh that's love! Some facts about this song is that is was written at Deborah Conway's house (but, of course) as an exercise in trying to write the classic 60s pop-ballad. I think he suceeded - what about you?

America and Asia


Cheesy 70s/80s Californian band, but great music. A horse with no name, Ventura Highway, Muskrat love (ok that is a bit bad), You can do magic. As good as they can be...if you are in that right frame of mood, I decided my series could only have one song so I choose......

TRACK SIX: Sister golden hair
I adore the clear guitar riff in the opening of this, it sets the tone of the song immediately. I love, love, love singing this song (which is a bit wierd when you sing "when a women sure can be a friend of mine"...which they sure can but not really in the way he is singing!). If I was in a band I would insist we did this, cheesy as it is...I would probably be relegated to harmonies but that is ok.


Firstly, I really like that Asia comes after America...that amuses me endlessly!Yes, this is there only hit and much like A-Ha, I backed up copy of their greatest (!?!) hits purely for this song......

TRACK SEVEN: Heat of the moment
How can a band that writes something so excellent write so much shite for every other song????? This is pure 80s American college radio and I just love it. The rockin' guitar gets you (me!) from the beginning, and that drum back beat drives it along perfectly. "I never meant to be so bad to you" - I love the lyrics, pure unadultered High school/College lurve. Yes, a little cheesy - but driving your car, on a hot windy day, you crank up the stereo and belt it out with them! And if anyone pays you off for doing so you can say: "It was the heat of the moment, telling you what your heart meant."

Christine Aguilera and A-HA


A funny one to add, was never really a fan of Aguilera until I saw her do a James Brown tribute at the Grammys a few years back. I cannot even remember what she sang now (A mans mans mans world maybe?) but she just killed it, I was awestruck - she looked hot and sounded better. I grabbed myself a copy of Stripped and really loved it. In particular, Beautiful, but that has been overdone these days. I just wish she didn't dress so trashy, cause when she dresses herself up she looks stunning...what is it with kids these days???

Great sassy, brassy song that takes you to another time. It is old style yet modern at the same time, fat horns and fat vocals - she makes it seem easy (and no, it is not). I just want to get up and swing when I hear this and really wish I could pull off those vocals.


I really do not have much to say about this group, and I do not think I even liked them much when they were out, but their only major hit was an instant classic... you may disagree?

TRACK FIVE: Take on me
Ahh, the electronics of the 80s! Another great pop song, lush sound and great, searing vocals...and okay, pretty kitsch...but I think it still holds up to the test of the time when you hear it. Yes, I even went to the trouble of backing up a copy of A-ha, the singles, 1984-2004. This amuses me to no end, as I really only got it for this one single, not much else stands out and they call it 1984-2004, like maybe, just maybe there might be more...crack me up. Anyway, I like to try and reach the high notes in this song - I cannot, but you know, maybe one day...

I saw Dave McCormack at the Cambridge a few years back (sans Custard) and he played this song...funniest thing I had seen in years. He was excellent - as you can imagine - played everything you wanted to hear and was very witty in between and was talking about covers and this came up. I was gobsmacked, he can hit high notes but surely he was not going to attempt this. No, he did not, he brought out a copy of the actual song, played it to us, drank a glass of red and mimed some funny stuff and was hilarious. Writing this I realise it was a "you had to be there" thing...but anyways....whenever I hear this song (which I liked prior to that moment) I always think of Dave...and that's never a bad thing :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday 14 March, 2009

WITH: Keryl and Kitty

David Hobson and Teddy Tahu Rhodes are very good looking men with absolutely gorgeous voices. Who really cares what they sung and if the concert was good - of course it bloody was!!!

Seriously, this was just magnifcient, simply staged with the men in suits (no, Teddy did not take off his was a classical performance after all!) and accompanied by a lovely lady on a grand piano. They were chatty and amusing, both taking the piss (where appropriate) out of each other, David calling Teddy Ted with a little irreverance and Teddy ripping off David's dance moves. Yep, they could have also made a great comedy act, well maybe not great...but they were funny.

But, it was all about the songs and they did not disappoint. The first section was more classical songs and just beautiful, both singing solos and duets and including their famous, record breaking duet of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. The second section was a little more relaxed with David on an accoustic guitar at some points and they sung more spritual and modern songs. Amazing Grace and You'll never walk alone were simply stunning, but I just loved their version of Go, tell it on the mountain. This great interpretation, featuring Teddy's stunning baritone voice, was my stand out of the night.


LOCATION: The Hayden Orpheum Cinema, Cremorne

DATE: Sunday 22 February, 2009

WITH: Vince, Nole, Phil

Newcastle University Choir
The award winning Newcastle University Choir were first on this wonderful double bill. I had watched them from the get go on Battle of the Choirs and although they were undoubtedly the best sounding choir I was worried the more showy (read choralography) choirs might get voted through rather than 'correct' sounding ones. Luckily talent shone through and they won. At this concert they sung some of the modern songs featured on the TV show and some of their traditional choral work. Most of it was wonderful, some soloists were not that good and I am not a fan of Australiana songs, and I could have lived without hearing Queen's Bicycle again. However, songs like Sarah McLachlan's Angel were completely inspirational. It was lovely to see them in the flesh and enjoy their beautiful voices.

Young at Heart
Given we saw the choir at a cinema it was fitting that this film followed. I had not heard much about this film, but I urge you all to see it. What a great film! It is a documentary following an American choir of seniors with an average age of 82 and the oldest being 92. They meet weekly and sing punk, rock and disco! (Their song choice is supremely better than that chosen by my choirmaster!) Their choirmaster is fabulous with the group and very patient (mostly!) and he chooses incredible songs for them to sing. I found the song choice most interestig, besides being songs and artists most of them have never heard of and often not the type of song they even like, the songs really do fit. Songs like The Ramones's I wanna be sedated, Bowie's Golden Years, Stayin' alive and Forever Young take on a whole other meaning when sung by this group. The documentary follows their preparation for some concerts and the sadness of members passing - an inevitability given some of their ages and health issues. The documentary is shot with equal doses of humour and drama and I laughed till my cheeks hurt and could not hold back tears in some parts - both joy and sorrow. I will forever remember the glorious opening - The Clash's Should I stay or should I go and the intenseness of Coldplay's Fix You.

Friday, August 7, 2009


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Friday 27 February, 2009

WITH: Mary and Keryl

The 39 Steps
This was our first outing this year for the Civic Inspirations that we subscribe to yearly. As a huge Hitchcock fan (he and Woody - author of my blog title for those that were wondering - are my favourite directors) I had been excited about this play since I saw a snippet of it at the Inspirations launch back in November. It is based on both the book and the film and also included many other references to films by Hitchcock.

It had 4 actors and I think over 100 characters. The main actor played the male lead and the female actor had about 3-4 parts and other 2 took up all the others. This was quite extraordinary to watch, at times changing back and forth between characters within one scene. The staging was fabulous and fun, especially the train scenes and the shadow puppet scenes in black and white were very suspenseful. The props and sound were perfect and you were sucked right into the whole set up being shocked, laughing and loving it all as it went on in front of you. I was not disappointed watching this award winning production - there should be more theatre like it.


Location: Sydney Opera House Concert Hall

Date: Sunday 1 February, 2009

With: Nole, Vince and Kathy

We had great seats for this most anticipated event. I have always loved Talking Heads, and most of Byrne's solo stuff, yet had never seen them live. (not entirely sure why, I imagine, lack of interested parties to come with me - the ususual!). I also am a great fan of Brian Eno.

For those that do not know (shame!) Brian Eno was the keyboard player in Roxy Music and invented ambient music way back in 1978 with his seminal album Music for airports, and was one of the first artists to introduce sampling in his music. He collaborated with Byrne on a few albums that contained samples and ambient music. He has produced Talking Heads, David Bowie, Devo, James, Coldplay, Paul Simon and U2. He is a visionary, an artist, has an incredible brain and is VERY good looking...yeah I'm a fan...

Eno's recent work includes curating the Luminous Festival at the Sydney Opera House and surrounds, doing the soundtrack to Peter Jackson's latest film - the adaptation of The Lovely Bones, and releasing an album with Byrne, Everything that happens will happen today. This is a great album, mixing the great melodies and rhythms of Talking Heads with the ambient-essence of Eno, the kind of album that leaves a smile on your face!

Byrne's tour is to support this album and all other collaborations with Eno, which we were hoping would include some Talking Heads. He produced More songs about buildings and food, Fear of Music and Remain in light. Fear of music includes my favourite Talking Heads song, Heaven, so I was hoping they would do this!

So, after the disappointment of the support band never appearing we waited in anticipation. The support was meant to be The Church...still not entirely sure what happened, we did not miss them...there just was not a support!?!

The first song of the night was Strange Overtones from the new album. They all, including Byrne, wore white and included dancers. They sounded fantastic and I was so incredibly joyous at seeing this amazing man in the flesh and hearing him in this great location I thought I would just burst!

I have been trying to track down the set list on line but to no avail, I got a generic one off a website and it looks pretty close to what we heard, or at least what I remember hearing. My brain has never been able to remember track by track a concert on the following day, but 7 months later - forget it. I can remember key songs, and usually the first and encore (but sometimes even forget them) and feelings, but never song for song.

Heaven was indeed one of the first songs from the Talking Heads era and it was perfection, well almost..Tina doing that famous bass line would make it perfection, correction Talking Heads circa 80s would make it perfection...anyway, it was damn close. Ok, I admit (and it will not be the first time on this blog) tears were in my eyes as I sang along to the gorgeous lyrics and I swear I could have left there and then and been happy and felt I had gotten my money's worth, but of course I did not...that would have been bloody stupid :)

They also did I, Zimbra, Air, Take me to the river, Crosseyed and painless, Life during wartime and Once in a lifetime (back to back and for the life of me I cannot remember which came first - who cares, we were dancin' and rockin'!!!). Of course there was much from the new album and from the Eno experimentations, all fabulous. They ended with Burning down the house, a non Eno song, but entirely appropriate. Each person on stage was wearing a white tutu - very cute and great effect! Not a person sitting in the Opera House, all on their feet, dancing and singing - what a fabulous concert!

I would easily put this up in my top 10, maybe even top 5 concerts of all time. I wish every night could be a night like that one....awesome!!!

For fans of David Byrne, you must check out his journal, my favourite blog on the net. It is a stunning array of intelligent information about music, art, architecture, life and for the last year set against the backdrop of this tour, so includes a travelogue and behind the scenes look at touring and being a bicycling enthusiast all the great bicycling areas in the world...if you are interested...oh yeah, his partner is the photographer, Cindy Sherman and he refers to her as C in his journal...I like to dream and think it is me...ok I have shared a little too much.

Here is a link to Burning Down the house from the Radio City Music Hall concert in NYC, complete with Rockettes!

And his journal:


The first amusing switch of the project - ABBA to AC/DC :)

AC/DC are an old favourite of mine - thanks to Countdown (another institution you will hear a lot of in these postings) I just could not decide on which songs to include, each one rocks out and kills. I mean Bon on that flat bed truck in Melbourne singing Long way to the top is as classic as it gets. I have a lot of AC/DC discs and I find it really hard to say I prefer Bon to Brian. I mean Bon's voice is distinct - A purer roughness if you will, but Brian came in, was not afraid (well i am sure he was, but you never noticed it in his voice) and belted it out of the park with Back in Black. Its my favourite album and the song I choose is my favourite song off that album.

TRACK THREE: You shook me all night long
This song kicks arse - it rocks and as much as I love melodic music, I am a rock 'n' roll chick through and through. Like all of Angus's playing the opening riff is a classic and within the that first 30 seconds you get 2 - the slower (huh!) guitar riff until that first drum beat at 15 seconds and the second more reconisible riff until Brian jumps in with "she was a fast machine" I mean this song, is dirty and sexy and I just love it. "The walls were shaking, the earth was quaking and my mind was aching". Tight drumming, ace guitar work, pounding rhythm, great lyrics and you kind of go Bon who? (sorry Bon, RIP)


How do you define Abba to someone that has no idea - 2 hairy dudes and 2, not so cute by todays standards, chicks who were at that time married to each other, Swedish, fabulous (in 1970s standards) costumes and fabulous pop songs - sounds ok on paper but even better on vinyl!

I was an out and out ABBA fab as a child. There is a great photo of my sister, Karen, and I in little denim skirts and ABBA tops, looking proud as punch - we must have been between 6 and 8 and just adored ABBA. Lots of dancing around and singing into hair brushes - we had the vinyl and wanted the costumes - even better Karen was blonde like Agnetha and I was brunette like Frida.

As I got older ABBA became a little passe and I discarded them for other music, but in my very late teens I came across a cheap $10 CD at K-Mart called The Songbook: Australian Chart Hits and fell in love with them all over again. Older, I appreciated their fine harmonies (bloody hard to get the high notes), rhythm and that perfect pop melody. I remember a group of us sitting cross legged in a circle, in Mum and Dad's garage, in the candlelight singing Fernando at my 21st birthday party... a little bit daggy....but a little bit perfect!

Then a few years later along came the year that wrecked ABBA for me, The year of Muriel's Wedding and Priscilla. Both were and still are fine Australian movies (a benchmark I wonder if we will ever reach again?) and the use of ABBA music perfect but unfortunately the media just went with it a bit too far and ABBA music hit saturation point for me and over 15 years later it still pretty much is the same. I am a firm believer of not overdoing great songs - you will hear much more of that later on - and poor old ABBA were overdone for me. I also had the music snob thing of geez, I was always a fan, even when they were daggy, NOW, everyone likes them....not for me anymore! Seriously, if I see another freakin' television show on ABBA I will just scream. Note; I will mention Mama Mia - the movie (not seen the musical) with these words - hokey! Meryl! How could you??????

So, relistening to my ABBA CD - the same one from 1990 and the only one I own - ( I have ABBA: the Album on vinyl - got it for my 8th birthday!) it was hard to choose what songs to add. I omitted Fernando (still in mixed tape mode - far too slow to start this series off with), Dancing Queen (Yes, great, but come many times do we need to hear it?)...Had I realised I would break my rules of 1-3 songs per artist in this very CD, I probably would have added SOS and/or Waterloo.

TRACK ONE: Ring Ring
Hmmmmm, it takes me back...simple and every young girl knows exactly what those lyrics mean - they are timeless..."And I sit all alone impatiently, won't you please understand the need in me"...'nuff said! Those opening beats are pop at its purest - like it had never even been invented until that moment. As a child you could dance and do the 'ring ring' actions innocently, as you got older you just got it. As an adult I love the tribal tempo of the drums just before the chorus and the background constant of the maraccas. It will get me up on the dance floor every time and always make me smile.....and sing.

TRACK TWO: Take a chance on me
It's the harmonies and how it builds from the chants at the beginning and the synthesizer added. The verse is really sensual and the range of their vocals sublime. Listening to the lyrics now, the feminist in me goes just get over him girl, and it also reaks a little stalkerish - but we all know that feeling of just wishing that dude would...take that chance. I also love the ba ba ba ba ba ba's towards the end - sometimes you just do not need words, the 70s really did that well.


This is the first disc in The Best of Best of Best of Series! I will start with the artist and then the selected songs.

1. ABBA - Ring Ring
2. ABBA - Take a chance on me
3. AC/DC - You shook me all night long
4. Aguilera, Christina - Candy Man
5. A-HA - Take on me
6. America - Sister Golden Hair
7. Asia - Heat of the moment
8. Augie March - One crowded hour
9. Australian Crawl - Way I've been
10. Australian Crawl - Easy on your own
11. Badfinger - No matter what
12. Badfinger - Day after day
13. Bananarama - Shy Boy
14. Barenaked Ladies - One Week
15. The Beach Boys - God Only knows
16. The Beatles - She's a woman
17. The Beatles - Slow down
18. The Beatles - I should have known better
19. The Beatles - Gotta get you into my life
20. The Beatles - Oh Darling
21. The Beatles - Across the Universe

The Best of Best of Best of Series or the ultimate mix tape

Well, over a year later and I come back to the blog with an interesting project that is still ongoing. I call it my Best of Best of Best of Series! It is a set of recordings of my favourite songs - what I would add to an ipod if I had one (No, I do not have an ipod...I intend on getting on, but have an old computer which is not compatible - this project should load straight onto an ipod when I get one).

So it is the ultimate mix tape!!

I miss mixed tapes I admit, being old school. Doing mixed music on the computer and blank CDs just does not cut the muster of a mixed tape - sure it sounds better, but there is the thrill of creating the mixed tape there and then. A mixed CD is a little more technical and loses a little bit of the romance of making it. What I mean - and I am sure purists will understand here - is when you make a mixed tape you have your records, other tapes and CDs there to be listened to as you go and if you need a break you can just pause the process and continue later. The mixed CD is a little less accessible. For instance you save the songs to your computer, but it is a little fiddly if you need to go back and add something else you have found or change the running order - technically you can do it, but as always with a mixed tape you do need to hear what is happening - get a feel for the mixes and changes from song to song - the computer just takes that out of the project. But this project is different to the usual mixed tape so that is ok!

So, I am seriously tampering with the strategy of making mixed music here - and I know my dear 'friend' Rob from Nick Hornby's fabulous High Fidelity (Yes, I feel like he is my friend and I adore that character sooo much, I just know we would be firm friends....maybe even more....and I felt like that before the movie, add Cusack in the role and ......but enough of my fantasies!) would not be at all happy with me....but hopefully when he listened to the finished product he would be amused.

The Best of Best of Best of Series is simply an alphabetical order by artist listing of favourite songs off my collection of CDs. I know - how very Librarian of me, well in the words of Rachel Weisz in The Mummy, "I am a Librarian!!!"

So the rules are, I go through my collection from A to Z and tape favourire songs in alphabetical order onto CDs. Initially I would only choose 1-3 songs per artist, but, well, I got to The Beatles and that rule got thrown out the window. Also if choosing more than 1 song from a CD I would tape them in track order - but I do believe I broke that rule too...oh the anarchy! I am also excluding any various, mixed or soundtrack CDS AND serious jazz, classical or opera. These are all not housed in my A-Z run!

The postings on The Best of Best of Best of Series will include musings about the artist, song and anything else related that I deem important into the inclusion of said songs! We all know with music a certain song can take you back to a certain, place, event of time or just lighten (or change) your mood. The songs are indeed eclectic, but hey my collection is and because they are listed alphabetically, they can seem even more eclectic - but that is half the fun. Funnily enough, listening to some of them back I wonder why I included some and excluded others, I suppose it all depends on where my head was when taping them in the first instance.

So, here is where you can come in, join me on my musical journey - and tell me what you think! I am interested in your opinions, whether you agree with me or not - musical taste is so personal, but I will try not to judge you (much) or take it too personally. It will take a while as the process is long and my collection expansive and I will not post on new CDs until a few weeks of listening.

Please enjoy, Cathy