Tuesday, January 24, 2012



My love of David Byrne and Talking Heads goes way back. There will be more on Talking Heads later, but a little back story here is important. It was Stop Making Sense that made me pay close attention, in particular David and his huge suit! He (and the band) almost crawled out of the television and pulled you into their eclectic mix of funk and rock with a hypnotic percussion.

Byrne is a true artist, working on varying types of at over the years. Almost every style or genre of music has been covered, he has famously worked with the wonderful Brian Eno on some early ambient music, dabbled in Latin American beats and in later years worked on Art installations, written, and been a keen supporter of Bicycle culture amongst many other things. He is one of my 'idols'.

I grant it his solo stuff can be hit and miss, and is not for everyone. I do enjoy most of it, but of course nothing can compare to Talking Heads - that special mix of four people over that period of time is pretty amazing.

His blog or journal is worth reading: http://journal.davidbyrne.com/

And here is a link back to my blog about seeing him in concert a few years back - one of the best concerts I have ever been to!


TRACK FIVE: Cowboy Mambo
First up, it's a cool title, and then as you will find, a cool and very infectious song...you can't not move or tap a toe to this little gem!



Kate Bush is one those amazing singers, I love her voice, a range that is out of this world. Her dancing, her quirkiness, her individuality...what's not to love?

TRACK FOUR: Wuthering Heights
So many songs to choose from, but this is just a classic, great melody, fabulous flowery lyrics and Heathcliff and Cathy!!!!! From that crisp piano introduction to her distinctive operatic vocals, Kate was only 19 when she wrote and released this masterpiece. The filmclip is as classic as the song itself, much reinterpreted and spoofed, I know I had all the dance moves down when I was much, much younger (well most of them), suprising what ones come back when you watch the clip...mind you this has nothing on the clip for Babooshka!



Jeff... you break my heart, it's just that simple!

Grace is one of my favourite albums, every song a gem, a truly romantic and beautiful album. His voice like a fragile angel, that could crack and break at any moment. His demise is nothing short of legend and tragedy combined, and the mystique it created adds to the beauty of his art.

TRACK THREE: Last Goodbye
Buckley's version of Hallelujah is stunning and unique, there is no doubt about it, but my favourite song is Last Goodbye. In fact, it is one of my all time favourite songs, I never tire of listening to it, it will always raise the hair on the back of my neck and bring a tear to my eye...these are good things!!

It starts like a true mid 90s rock song, very grungy, but then it surprises you with his vulnerable voice, fragile and tender, and builds with the upset and pleading of the subject. Then it soars with the strings and his wailing leading into the chord change and bridge...perfection.



What can be said about The Godfather of Soul that has not been said before?

He is an oddball, but a great singer and those moves! Sadly, I never saw him perform. I did, however, trek to The Apollo Theatre in Harlem, when I was in New York - oh my, that place is synonymous with James!

My first introduction to him was in my mid teens - I got you (I feel good) was my theme song for some time...to be honest I am tired of it today, it's an obvious choice! Also Living in America was a hit at the time (old and new James!), now that will always get me on the dance floor - who am I kidding, any James will do that!

We all know about the moves, the cape routine ('adopted' from a wrestler), and his absolute demands on his band...he was the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. He used fabulous musicians, but I loved his brass arrangements the most. This is especially depicted in another favourite, Turn me Loose, I'm Dr Feelgood. Late Show aficionados will know it as their theme song...I do not own a copy of this, hence it's glaring omission from the project, but hey I can add it in now!

DISC THREE: TRACK ONE: Papa's got a brand new bag
One of his first big hits, it's classic soul and funk together. That funky guitar riff will never date.

TRACK TWO: Living in America
A contrast to Papa, this is almost rock/funk, very modern, but a fantastic beat. Great clip too, but I need to mention it is from the Rocky IV soundtrack!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I started this project as part of this blog back in August 2009. I decided to go through my music alphabetically by artist (well, that is how they are shelved...such a Librarian) and make compilation CDs of all my favourite tunes*.

The Best of Best of Best of's if you will.

I also decided to blog about why I choose each artist/song as part of the project. It's funny, sometimes the choices hold up, other times I cannot believe I omitted some songs for others...I guess it was where I was at...at the time!

As far as the discs go I am still only up to Creedance Clearwater Revival (6 Discs to get to there!) and today I got my posts up to Bowie....got a long way to go, I will try to be more regular with updates!!!

*I am only using albums from my A-Z CD run - so that does not include soundtracks, classical, jazz and other compilations (or cassettes and vinyl)...they can be another project!



These big, classic artists are really hard to write about...

My first glimpse of Bowie, I think, was the clip to Ashes to Ashes - an iconic clip, but it scared the hell out of me! Firstly, HE was a clown, I do not like clowns; then there was that black sky; and finally they were all walking in front of that tractor...totally weird...to me! Yet, I really liked the song...I also love the lyrics...no idea why I did not include this...so many great songs, way too many to choose from!

I know I listened to lots of Bowie growing up, but he did not really register for me until Let's Dance - which as a fan now, I can see is so wrong, I was just too young to appreciate him prior to that. I loved the rock and pop sensibilities of that album - in fact the very first piece of vinyl I bought with my own money!

I was twelve...

Whilst that album seems so mainstream these days, back then not so much, although certainly a departure from previous material. I so desperately wanted to see him on the Serious Moonlight Tour...I had to wait 20 years to see him live, but it was worth it!!!

It was difficult to choose only 4 tracks, but that was all the room I had left on the disc i was compiling for this project.

TRACK SIXTEEN: Man who sold the world
This is an early tune, a classic, a cult tune to some. I knew it well enough, but really loved the Nirvana version from their unplugged session and listened to it over and over; and then returned to the original, and loved it more than anything else.

It is the perfect indie tune, you can see the appeal to Cobain. The guitar riff goes down as a classic, and the percussion is light but adds another dimension.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was a concept album from 1972 featuring "Ziggy Stardut". I recall my Dad getting into this at some point, I cannot recall when, I know it was not 1972...my recollection is not that good! I know I got my own 'copy' on a cassette and played it until the tape split...I loved, loved, loved that album!!! Ziggy and Starman were standout favourites, but the whole album is great.

Here is a fabulous clip from the movie with Bowie/Ziggy at his best! I am pretty sure Abba based some of their outfits on this spectacular number, and what a fabulous shade of red in his hair!

Same album, more melody and Mick Ronson's cracker, funky guitar...don't get much better than this. Oh, and then there are the lyrics:

Some cat was layin' down some rock n roll lotta soul

That weren't no DJ that was hazy cosmic jive

...are my favourites!

Love the blue guitar in this clip.

Golden years has grown on me over the years, I'd put it up there as a favourite. It has that funky sort of backbeat, the timbre of his voice, deep and smooth (just how I like it) and high almost falsetto. Great to dance to.

This is the legendary clip from Soul Train. Bowie was one of the very few white artists to be featured and he was stinking drunk!!!



All hair and denim with a bit of leather - Bon Jovi was the 80s! I admit I was not that much of a fan back then, I saw them more as a guilty pleasure. As time goes on, I can enjoy them guilt free and saw them live late in 2010...you can read about it here!


This is the big power ballad, yeah a bit bad, but I am a sucker for these tunes...overblown and overstated...but Jeez Jon looks hot! The clip is so mid 90s and a bit meladramatic...I did like her green bra!!

TRACK FIFTEEN: Bad medicine
It's just Rock n Roll baby!!! It's got a good hook and a funky kind of riff, the lyrics are highly amusing, it gives you dances moves - on your knees; count them: one, two, three...you can vamp it up on the dancefloor...ok I will stop before I put the rock snobs off and loose my membership :)

Oh and here is that classic film clip...the jeans couldn't be tighter, the hair couldn't be bigger...imagine if someone let a flame!!



Deborah Harry - everything has already been said! I do adore her, I love her sassy snap and cool punk spirit. I have always wanted to do her blonde/black dipped bob (bit too old for that now methinks) and then there is her voice...smooth, cute, innocent and sexy all at once.

TRACK THIRTEEN: In the flesh
This I remember from my Countdown days and the story is it was a B-side that Molly played accidentally (oh Molly, how we love you so!). Very different from their other punky tunes, an instant hit and secured Blondie star status in Australia. I choose In the flesh over other songs as it is just a great song to sing-a-long to! I actually cannot believe I did not include Rapture, cause I do love that song and the clip (will add it below...just because).

Great clip for In the Flesh - not seen this in years, maybe this is where I got my love of Berets from...she looks so cool!!

Here is Rapture - don't get much cooler than this!



Big fan of Joe Camilleri, and loved The Black Sorrows back in the day. I saw them at least twice (recollection hazy), I think once at Newcastle Workers Club and another at The Palais...possibly more! That mid 80s era was hit after hit and I will admit by the mid 90s I had reached saturation point, especially after the supremely talented Bull sisters left the group - they added that something extra to the group that helped them soar.

TRACK ELEVEN: Daughters of Glory
Daughters of Glory, track 1 from Dear Children is almost a rockabilly track, pulls you in from the first crack of the drums and that cowbell. Salacious lyrics and fabulous harmonies...no Bull Sisters on this one, that was yet to come.

This is a dodgy clip from Countdown, watch the bad miming!!

TRACK TWELVE: Hold on to me
If you said to me a decade ago, I would add this to such a project, I would have laughed at you. But, here it is, a classic Sorrows tune...beautiful clear guitar, wonderful lyrics, shining harmonies, a perfect pop tune. I love the clip too, great depiction of Aussie pubs back in the day...oh how I miss that laidback type of pub. Also love the sheer joy of those gorgeous Bull girls and their tambourines...enjoy...



Mention Bjork and everyone has a comment or view, even if it is only about her Swan dress at The Oscars that year! I happen to like Bjork a lot, I like her individuality and the strength of her convictions to continue to march to the beat of her own drum...people like Bjork will always appeal to me.

I also happen to like most of her music, I am not an ardent fan, there are some tracks that do sound like fingernails down a chalk board, but there are some tracks that are simply sublime...like all art, there are hits and misses.

I always enjoyed The Sugarcubes vivacious pop, but it was with the wonderful solo outing Debut that I really 'discovered' Bjork. Unusual with an eclectic mix of pop, odd sounds and jazz, it was like an awakening for the ears. The follow up, Post, featuring another favourite, It's oh so quiet, is also a great album.

I was lucky enough to see Bjork live, back in the 1994, at the third Big Day Out. The height of her popularlity, in a white deconstructed 'dress', she headlined and tore the show apart!

TRACK TEN: Human Behaviour
I chose Human Behaviour for this project as it is one of those perfectly formed tunes. From the catchy percussion introduction with her note perfect Soprano voice sounding oh so sexy and sultry, it draws you in. The guitars slowly join the rhythm and the song builds beautifully. A song you can dance to and if you dare, sing along with. And just when you get into the rhythm, it backs off, slows down and quietens, until her voice bursts back in. And up and down it goes, seemingly unpredictable. Then add in a funky guitar riff, a slow down to almost nothing and back it goes again. I will never tire of this song.

Here is a link to the sorta bastardised Goldilocks and The Three Bears filmclip directed by Michael Gondry.