Ten Records That Changed My Life… REALLY changed my life.

Ten records that changed my life

Yesterday (8th Jan, 2014) a Facebook friend of mine, Bill Mallonee, posed the following question:

10 life changing records. (I know! It’s impossible!)
Take a deep breath & list ’em in less than 3 minutes.
Don’t over think it.

Well, you know what? I did over-think it. It’s pretty easy to reel off some of your favourite records, like I did here and here, but (being a pedantic git) I felt that if you’re going to describe something as life-changing it had better be something that really did have some particular concrete effect on your existence. So it took me longer than 3 minutes, but not much longer. Here’s a slightly edited and expanded version:

Ten Life Changing Records

Life changing? Life. Changing. Life changing. Records that really, really truly changed my life. Hmm. Not necessarily albums. Nor my favourite, nor the best, nor the coolest records.

1: Johnny Cash‘s first gospel LP (Hymns by Johnny Cash) – My parents had it it and it was probably the first record that felt blissful to me – that showed me how powerful music could be, even before I really became a “music fan”

2: Elton John‘s Crocodile Rock. For some strange reason hearing it on Top Of The Pops was a revelation to me that stupid, freakish, long-haired, ungodly, noisy rock’n’roll music was actually really great. [I know Crocodile Rock, while great, is not exactly the pinnacle of the form, but for me it was the key that unlocked the door.] It was the first record I ever bought and it instantly made me into a “music fan”.Ø

3-5: Larry Norman‘s three albums Upon This Rock, Only Visiting This Planet and Bootleg – My sister borrowed them and they taught me that rock’n’roll wasn’t evil and you could be funny, clever and talk about whatever you wanted [The Ku Klux Klan, Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, venereal disease, Jesus]

6 – Neil Young‘s Zuma – I heard John Peel play the track Looking For A Love on the little transistor radio under my pillow one night in 1976. I’d never heard Neil Young before but I fell for the sound immediately. I went out and bought the album and it’s still, in my mind, the definitive “perfect electric guitar sound” that I basically strive for in my playing [much of the time, anyway].

7-9: Jonathan Richman & The Modern LoversRock’n’Roll With The Modern Lovers, Patrik Fitzgerald‘s Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart E.P.* & Wild Man Fischer‘s Wildmania!§ – the fact that Marjorie owned these three records that I also loved was a major factor in bringing us together at school in 1977, and we’re still married.

10 – Crowded House‘s Woodface – I’d gradually grown fond of them on the radio (They played Better Be Home Soon, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Fall At Your Feet, Sister Madly quite often on CFMI) when we lived in Vancouver, and finally bought the CD. Marjorie and I felt it was immediately fell for the album in a very, very deep way, particularly the first half, which seemed to representative another kind of perfect sound which we felt we’d been looking for all our lives. Marjorie loved them so much that (to cut a long story

11 – Some other Johnny Cash record – I was listening to him one day at work in the lab about ten years ago [I can’t remember which song but I think it was from his Sun years]

NOTES

Ø I subsequently bought the Daniel and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 45s and was settling in for a lifetime of brilliant Elton John releases, but I wasn’t so sure about Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (it was OK, but I could think of better things to spend my 45p on)  and never again bought another Elton John single, or, for that matter, a post-1973 album of his. This was my first lesson in pop disappointment.

* Patrik was the first “folk-punk” guy (to release a record) in the original UK punk scene of 1976-78. I’ve always thought that Marjorie and I don’t have an “our song” in the way that Americans talk about it, but I guess Patrik’s Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart was Our Song!

§ Wild Man’s first, and most famous album, was the double album An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, about eight years before Wildmania!. This was his “comeback album”. John Peel played a track every night and I taped the whole album. I used to go round school singing the songs from it (and to think I say I only became a singer about ten years ago!) and some of the songs became quite popular among my friends. (“My name is Larry, I have a canary”, “I went to a disco in San Francisco” – you can see why).

One day Marjorie told me she’d got the album. I actually thought she was only joking as it wasn’t the kind of thing you’d find in the records shops in Portadown. And I think she was disappointed but didn’t really impress the fact on me. But some time later, when we were closer friends, I found it in her record collection and nearly died! It turned out she’d ordered it from “overseas” (i.e. England) out of an ad in the NME.

I spent years wondering how I could get the first album and I eventually found it in a shop in London. But despite it being, by far, the most famous and well-regarded, it’s nowhere near as good as Wildmania!, which, in my opinion, is where his art all came together in its most cohesive and beautiful form; in short, his masterpiece.

Marjorie Cardwell creates beautiful animated iPad music video for her song “Hole In My Head”

There’s a brand new video for Marjorie‘s beautiful song “Hole In My Head!”

And she’s made the most gorgeous animation on her iPad to illustrate the song.

Some of you will know that the song was inspired by her experience last year of being diagnosed with a brain tumour. (Don’t worry – she’s fine now. The tumour was benign and even though she had very major brain surgery she has recovered very well.) She actually wrote most of the song while she was in the MRI machine getting her pre-op scan. We recorded it quickly right before her operation and I (almost) finished it off with some overdubs.

But I couldn’t figure out a good solo to put over the instrumental section. In the car one day, on the way to one of her appointments, I asked Marjorie for ideas. She said, “How about a euphonium?”

And, to our everlasting delight, one of our musical heroes, Don McGlashan (of legendary New Zealand band The Mutton Birds) agreed to play a sublime euphonium solo on it, as only he can do! (I think Marjorie secretly had this in mind.) He recorded the solo in the boatshed on the New Zealand coast that he uses to write his own songs, and sent it to us by email. It’s everything we hoped for and more.

If you enjoy it, please leave a comment underneath the video on Youtube (or here!) and PLEASE share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc. 🙂

Richard Briers (1934 – 2013) / Bob Godfrey (1921 – 2013)

I was saddened to hear that the very wonderful Richard Briers passed away on 17th February 2013.

This is him in one of his greatest roles, as Roobarb The Dog:

I guess it’s a toss-up between that or his perfectly-cast role as Tom Good in The Good Life (AKA “Good Neighbours”). I loved both shows when they were first shown in the 70s (and ever since), but I’d have to say that Roobarb & Custard has had the most direct influence on my own philosophy, musical development and way of life.

I first came across Roobarb & Custard and its maker Bob Godfrey on the brilliant “Do It Yourself Film And Animation Show”, a TV series about, well, making animations. I was never actually going to do any of this because I never had a camera of any kind at that age and couldn’t even conceive of getting one. In the intervening years I’ve slowly forgotten how compelling and entertaining this series was, but I’ve just found episodes on Youtube and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again! You don’t have to be an actual or potential animator to enjoy it – there’s plenty of humour along with really illuminating insights into the world of animation and even film-making in general.

And, hey –  now I have more than enough technology to make animations – cameras, computers, lights! Even pencils and pens… if I can find them.

Pity I can’t draw.

Rather strangely, I wrote this blog on 22nd February 2013 and felt a little silly for including Bob Godfrey in what was supposed to be a tribute to Richard Briers. I even checked Wikipedia to see if Mr. Godfrey was still alive and found that it said he was. But today (23rd Feb) I was looking at the Facebook page for Roobarb and discovered that he had also died – on 21st February, just four days after Briers. A strange coincidence and very sad to hear.

So I’m now editing this post slightly to reflect the fact that it really has become a double obituary to both of these great men.

The Good Life, with Briers cast as the “back-to-nature” suburbanite Tom Good alongside his (usually) equal-partner, wife Barbara (played by Felicity Kendal) may seem very gentle to young modern people and hipsters, but it really did deserve its massive popularity and acclaim. It was one of those “perfect” sitcoms, like Dad’s Army or Fawlty Towers where each cast member is flawless in their role and there’s not a flat joke or wasted beat.

 

After a lengthy TV career, Briers also appeared in a number of Kenneth Branagh‘s stage and film adaptations of Shakespeare.

Not surprisingly, for anyone familiar with his roles, Briers appears to have been unfailingly likeable in real life. According to critic Michael Coveney, writing in The Guardian, Briers was “always the most modest and self-deprecating of actors, and the sweetest of men… Although he excelled in the plays of Alan Ayckbourn, and became a national figure in his television sitcoms of the 1970s and 80s, notably The Good Life, he could mine hidden depths on stage, giving notable performances in Ibsen, Chekhov and, for Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance company, Shakespeare.”

Richard Briers as Tom Good from the Good Life
Richard Briers as Tom Good from the Good Life

Kate Allatt – Locked in syndrome survivor!

Have you ever wondered about the story behind my song, “I Am Still The Same”? Well, it’s based on an article I read in a magazine about a woman with “Locked In Syndrome”, which means she had a spinal injury which rendered her unable to move anything except her eyelids. Eventually someone figured out how to communicate with her. She would spell out letters by blinking. Apparently the first thing she spelt out was “I Am Still The Same”, which I thought was very profound. I think the article said that she went on to write a book, if I remember correctly. I’ve tried to find the magazine again but without any success and I didn’t make a note of the woman’s name, unfortunately. So if anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you!

[I wrote the song very quickly and recorded in a somewhat casual, rough way as a demo for myself, but it had a good feel so I left it as it was and it went on to win the Catapult Song Contest in 2011. And then my young friend David McGorlick made the masterful video for it which has recently been selected for the SoCal Independent Film Festival in the US.]

Anyway, a little while back, on Facebook, I met a wonderful woman from the UK, Kate Allatt, who had a similar story but with a big difference. Kate actually recovered from Locked In Syndrome! This is a very rare occurrence but Kate is a very determined woman who doesn’t let anything get in her way and she just wouldn’t let an “incurable condition” like Locked In Syndrome stop her. Seemingly by sheer force of will she made herself learn to move again. She attributes this to determination and the increasingly recognised phenomenon of “neuroplasticity” whereby the brain is able to teach itself new pathways to perform functions when the original neural pathways are put out of action. The first word Kate spelt out by blinking was “Sleep” because she hadn’t slept for two weeks and longed for sleeping pills to help her. And the first part of her body she was able to move was her thumb, but now she’s back to almost full capacity, and, in fact, is far more physically active than most of us!

Of course, when I came across her I couldn’t resist sending her a link to my song on Youtube and she made some lovely comments which made me feel that I had managed to at least capture a tiny part of the sort of feelings that a locked in person suffers.

These are the comments Kate made on Youtube about my song:

Kate Allatt (image from her website)

“I am astounded! Very well done. You have captured my feelings superbly. What a great soundtrack to my books Running Free and Gonna Fly Now! 7/2/10 brainstem stroke with locked in syndrome. The wheelchair, the mirror, I was the same person inside, not a patient number. I was a cripple to look at but the same Kate inside. This video describes my emotions in the early months of ICU. Then the Rocky theme tune best describes my fight back to full life and kids. Thank you so much.”- Kate Allatt (Youtube comments 7 Feb 2012)

I’m glad I saved her comments because not long afterwards, my Youtube channel was shut down suddenly and I had to start again! I checked with Kate today and she said it was fine to quote her.

We keep in touch, and I was chatting with her again today about her appearance on the “The Science Show” on ABC Australia Radio National. You can hear it HERE and I highly recommend it as a nice introduction to her story, only about 9 minutes long but definitely not dull – Kate is NEVER dull!

Which brings me to Kate’s mission… since she made her remarkable recovery, and it’s not very long ago, she has written two books, appeared on numerous high-profile radio and TV shows, and has become an in-demand inspirational speaker. She’s determined to increase awareness about stroke recovery, neuroplasticity, positive care for stroke survivors and locked-in patients, and also in more general terms about the benefits of positive-thinking and determination on health and other aspects of life.

Kate has a very warm and winning personality and for this reason she is really good at getting her point across so you will enjoy getting to find out about her on her website (KateAllatt.com), on Youtube, in her books etc! She also has a blog you can follow.

You’ll be inspired too!

~ DC

PS: for those of you haven’t seen it, here is my song, “I Am Still the Same” which was inspired by Locked in Syndrome:

Also see:

Kate Allat: Locked-In-Syndrome Survivor

“I Am Still The Same” Video At US Film Festivals

TO BE CONTINUED…

DC Cardwell covers Nick Lowe


I’ve entered another contest. This time all you have to do is go to my new video on YouTube and click LIKE. It’s me covering Nick Lowe‘s venerable classic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding?” and it’s a contest run by his record company, the ultra-cool Yep Roc Records. It’s called the Yep Roc 15 Minutes Of Fame contest, or YR15MINUTESOFFAME for short.

There’s a nice prize, a trip to their 15th year anniversary concert series in North Carolina. But the main thing is the exposure.

So if you want to help me win, please LIKE my video!

And if you want to help even more, share it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Cheers!

~ DC

[Postscript: The three videos with the most votes went into the final and, sadly, I came 4th!]

DC Cardwell wins Catapult Song Contest… twice!

DC Cardwell took out both the overall winner award AND the judges favourite award for his song: “I Am Still The Same” (see video below).  Presented in 2011 by Underground Talent, and hosted by Replicat Music, Catapult Song Contest had a record 3000+ song entries from over 1500 Australian based musicians.  The contest was judged by a mix of audience votes and industry judging.  Judges included Australia’s most celebrated Music Director – John Foreman, Nova FM’s national prime time drive host Tim Blackwell and Australian Idol winner and multiple Aria charting artist, Natalie Gauci.  Of “I Am Still The Same” John Foreman said:

Fantastic evocative vocal tone and great lyrics. Nice vocal layering builds the song. The song successfully creates an atmosphere that captures the story of the lyrics. The video clip does also help to tell the story. Together with the clip it’s a very moving song.”

As part of the prize, DC won over 1000 free CD pressings from Replicat, over 30 hours of marketing mentoring from Underground Talent, graphic design package from Josi Designs, mixing  from Simon Paul Studios and Mastering from Mano Musica. To see DC’s artist page on the Catapult website go to catapultsongcontest.com.au/artists/dc-cardwell.

New Beatles solo covers – check ’em out!

Hi – DC here!

We came back from a trip to Ireland a few weeks ago and on my return I decided to focus on updating my Youtube channels and adding some more videos.

I have new original songs in the pipeline but people on Youtube seem to love covers so I’ve been knocking off a few and plan to do more as it’s kinda fun and easy 🙂

My latest two have both been Beatles’ solo songs.

Just yesterday I filmed this version of John Lennon’s “Love”

And last week, after seeing the George Harrison documentary by Martin Scorsese, I recorded this ukulele version of “Here Comes The Sun”.

I hope you like them. Please share on Facebook and via email. And if you’re on Youtube, I’d LOVE you to subscribe to my channels so you can hear about each new video I upload.

Here are the links to our three channels.

Thanks for watching & listening!

~ DC

PRESS
“Melbourne’s DC Cardwell is a singer-songwriter that should appeal to fans of Neil Finn and David Grahame, and he has the ability to excel on both the slower, acoustic numbers as well as the up-tempo pop gems. You’ll only need to go a few tracks into Some Hope to realize this as the beautiful, gentle opener “I Am Still the Same” and the lovely, spare “Birthday Present” are followed by the catchy power pop of “Peace and Love”. Aside from these three, there are plenty of instant classics to go around like the breezy “Way With Words”, the harmonica and handclaps of “A Minute of Your Time”, and the jangly “Tom is Everybody’s Friend”. 16 tracks in all here, so it’s quality and quantity.”  Steve, Absolute Powerpop

“DC Cardwell creates a heart felt acoustic gem here, full of wonderful melodic hooks and a Ray Davies styled vocal. The gentle minor chords and harmonies that open “I Am Still The Same” are both brilliant and poignant. “Birthday Present” is another example of solid composition and a revelatory Harrison styled guitar break. Some of the mid-tempo ballads (“The Quiet Ages”) are like magical combinations of both Paul Simon and McCartney.”  Aaron Kupferberg, Powerpopaholic

“I have a great respect for your songwriting and style. You have a unique delivery that for the uninitiated conjures the vocal prowess of Thom York blended with the edge of John Lennon and a tip of the hat to Bob Dylan.”  Doug Mitchell (Recording engineer/producer),

 ReverbNation       Twitter       Artist Website       other

The Adjectival Bob Dylan

Today we have a guest host – our son Samuel Cardwell posted this on Facebook and it’s too good not to share with the world!

___________________

This morning my father and I were talking about how rubbish it would have been if people had kept calling albums things like ‘With the Beatles’ and ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,’ and I got to wondering what it would have been like if Bob had kept using ‘The + Adjective+ Bob Dylan’ formula throughout his long career. I think it would have gone something like this:

  • The Hillbilly Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan)
  • The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
  • The Political Bob Dylan (The Times They Are A Changin’)
  • The Sarcastic Bob Dylan (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
  • The Dreamin’ Bob Dylan (Bringing It All Back Home)
  • The Growlin’ Bob Dylan (Highway 61 Revisited)
  • The Surreal Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde)
  • The Garagey Bob Dylan (The Basement Tapes)
  • The Countrified Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding)
  • The Weird-Voiced Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline)
  • The Desultory Bob Dylan (Self Portrait)
  • The Optimistic Bob Dylan (New Morning)
  • The Cinematic Bob Dylan (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid)
  • The Desultory Bob Dylan Vol. 2 (Dylan)
  • The Married Bob Dylan (Planet Waves)
  • The Divorced Bob Dylan (Blood on the Tracks)
  • The Collaboratin’ Bob Dylan (Desire)
  • The Shrill Bob Dylan (Street Legal)
  • The Evangelical Bob Dylan (Slow Train Coming)
  • The Devotional Bob Dylan (Saved)
  • The Hymnal Bob Dylan (Shot of Love)
  • The Reggae Bob Dylan (Infidels)
  • The Downhill Bob Dylan (Empire Burlesque)
  • The Regrettable Bob Dylan (Knocked Out Loaded)
  • The Forgettable Bob Dylan (Down In The Groove)
  • The Revitalised Bob Dylan (Oh Mercy)
  • The Giddy Bob Dylan (Under the Red Sky)
  • The Musicological Bob Dylan (Good As I Been To You)
  • The Musicological Bob Dylan Vol. 2 (World Gone Wrong)
  • The Bleak Bob Dylan (Time Out Of Mind)
  • The Pre-War Bob Dylan (“Love and Theft”)
  • The Languid Bob Dylan (Modern Times)
  • The Cajun Bob Dylan (Together Through Life)
  • The Joyeux Bob Dylan (Christmas in the Heart)

___________________

I think that list of Samuel’s is pretty much spot-on but does anyone have any other suggestions?

Bob Dylan at Slane Castle, Dublin,1984 - photos by DC Cardwell

Bob Dylan at Slane Castle, Dublin,1984 – photos by DC Cardwell

DC’s been busy… new videos, benefit album, gigs etc!

Hi, DC here,It’s been a busy time for me!First of all, I’d like to invite you to help with raising money for the innocent victims of the war in Libya. I was asked to contribute a track to the MUSIC FOR LIBYA album, which is available HERE for only $9.99. All of the proceeds will got to purchasing food to send into Libya. More details at the site.

Secondly, if you’re in Melbourne, I’m playing at a benefit for the Christchurch earthquake on Saturday night (9th April 2011). It’s in Bayswater at Truth, Liberation & Concern, 265 Canterbury Rd, Bayswater (Melbourne). There are some other excellent artists on the bill.

[EDIT: here are some highlights of this gig, featuring me along with Adrian Austin, Marjorie Cardwell and our son Samuel.

Thirdly, I had a great gig at the Chandelier Room with Victor Stranges and the band and you can see a 15 min. video of that here:

Fourthly, many people voted in my Facebook poll, “What Song Would You Like Me To Cover?” and the top votes were for:

1. HARVEST MOON: 48 votes
2. BLACKBIRD: 37 votes
3. WATERLOO SUNSET: 32 votes

I already have a version of Blackbird on YouTube so I recorded myself singing Harvest Moon and Waterloo Sunset and posted them on my YouTube “Covers“.

Harvest Moon – Neil Young cover by DC Cardwell
Waterloo Sunset – Kinks Kover by DC Cardwell
Blackbird – Beatles cover by DC Cardwell

BIG news from DC Cardwell [Newsletter 2nd Dec 2010]

DC Cardwell's Some Hope album with CD (200w)

Whew! It’s all happening!


(1) My album Some Hope has been re-released in the US on a small company named Gladyce out of Portland, Oregon. It’s newly repackaged in a beautiful gatefold LP-style cardboard sleeve with new artwork. Sixteen (true!) tracks of pure goodness. The CD is available from Bandcamp, CD Baby and my website (dccardwell.com)

Or you can find it on iTunes or Amazon. [EDIT: Also Spotify]


(2) Possibly even more exciting for me, next week I’m flying to Los Angeles to record some songs for a movie with ace producer/composer/musician Jaymee Carpenter (www.jaymeecarpenter.com).

Jaymee has a very impressive resumé which includes writing music for That 70’s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun and the Paramount Pictures blockbuster The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale & Amy Adams.

“How did this come about?”, I hear you ask, not unreasonably. Well, just a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent a youtube link of my song ‘Birthday Present’ to someone else, who then sent it to Jaymee. He loved it, checked out the rest of the album, and contacted me to say he wanted to work with me for this movie project. Which just  goes to show how important it is to get your music out there and for your fans and friends to share it in every way possible!

DC & Victor play Ruby's Lounge, Nov 2010, with Samuel and Chris
DC & Victor, Ruby’s Lounge, Nov 2010, with Samuel on bass

(3) And finally… this coming Sunday, my friend and partner-in-crime Victor Stranges are showing off our new band at www.chandelierroom.com.au in Moorabbin (just south of Melbourne). The show’s at 4pm and it’s free entry to this really cool family-friendly venue! We’ve played there before and everyone agrees that it’s one of the best places around to play in. Really nice vibe, good stage and PA and a nice little bar/shop. It’s at:

Ruby's Lounge 20101117-Chris Haylock-203h
DC & Victor, Ruby’s Lounge, Nov 2010, Chris Haylock on drums