So yeah, I do play ukulele a bit.

So yeah, I do play ukulele a bit. Look up “DC Cardwell Here Comes The Sun” on YouTube for me picking it and singing. Or “Marjorie Cardwell Hole In My Head” for me trying to make it sound a bit like a harp.

I did this Paul McCartney cover for Marjorie on Valentines Day a couple of years back.

I did this Paul McCartney cover for Marjorie on Valentine’s Day a couple of years back.

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. 🙂

George Harrison in Graphite and Vinyl – from Marjorie’s archives

Marjorie was a huge fan of George Harrison right from the beginning of his solo career (when she was a very little girl). Here’s a nice portrait she drew of George for her ‘O’ Level Art submission. I recall she left everything to the last minute and did a whole lot of drawings the night before she had to hand them in. We still have the sketch book and it largely consists of this picture of George, a quick self-portrait (also below) and various items around her, e.g. a cup, her hands, her glasses, her boot, a banana etc. They make quite a nice couple, don’t they?

She still has the singles/45’s/7 inches (or what you young hipsters sometimes call the “vinyls” – ugh) to prove that she was a fan when she was just a little girl! She was much more advanced musically than I was at the same age.

You can see the full size version of her George Harrison portrait on our Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dc-cardwell/9381761109/.
I wish I had a video or recording of Marjorie singing one of George’s songs, but in the meantime, here’s me doing a ukulele & vocal version “Here Comes The Sun”, one of his two tracks which were major highlights of the Beatles final, iconic “Abbey Road” album.

Review of Marjorie’s album in Strutterzine

“Ireland-born, Australia-based singer Marjorie Cardwell’s In Another World was inspired by the diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2012 so, as you might expect, there are some pretty personal songs included. Fortunately, Marjorie’s sense of irony is firmly in place on an album of retro pop with a generally upbeat feel that’s life-affirming. Cardwell’s voice is the perfect vehicle for these classic 60s-influenced songs and is particularly effective on the bittersweet ‘Not On Your Own’.”

Strutterzine magazine, Jan 2013

 

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Full page

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Marjorie’s review

 

 

 

Nice review of my “In Another World” album in Germany’s Folker Magazine

Positive Review of Marjorie Cardwell's  "In Another World" album, in Germany's Folker Magazine, January 2013

Review of In Another World in Germany’s Folker Magazine

Brief but glowing review in Folker magazine

There’s a nice review of my album in Folker magazine out of Germany this month! It translates, roughly, as follows:

“A Northern Irish woman, now living in in Australia, Marjorie has a great voice, and starts this cathartic album with the soul-stirring, un-self-pitying “Hole in My Head”, in which she addresses her  brain tumor that was diagnosed in early 2012, before embarking on a thoroughly positive album full of energetic folk, pop and rock oriented songs. Wonderful.”

Don’t forget the album is available directly from us  as a CD or download through Bandcamp at www.marjoriecardwell.com – however I’ll let you in on a secret: my CD is currently (Jan 2013) on sale at CD Baby so for a limited time you can get it for a really good price there… http://bit.ly/mccdbaby

Of course, if you prefer, it’s also on iTunes, Amazon and a lot of other download sites as well.

Many thanks to Peter Holmstedt of Hemifrån for passing my album along to Folker magazine!

~ Marjorie x

PS: The original review in German is: 

“Die Nordirin in Australien mit toller Stimme startet dieses kathartische Album mit dem anrührenden, keineswegs wehklagenden ‘Hole in My Head’, in dem sie ihren Anfang 2012 diagnostizierten Gehirntumor thematisiert, ehe sie dann ein durch und durch positives Album voller energiegeladener, musikalisch an Folkpop und -rock orientierten Songs startet. Bewundernswert.”

If you speak German and can help us with a smoother English translation we’d appreciate it!

 

 

Crowded House are the reason we’re in Australia

If it weren’t for Crowded House we wouldn’t be living in Australia. Kinda. Sorta. Pretty much.

Marjorie and I came to the band late, not long before Together Alone came out, when I picked up Woodface somewhere on CD and we instantly realised that tracks such as It’s Only Natural and Fall At Your Feet were a kind of music we’d been yearning for but had never really managed to find except in our own heads. We lived in Vancouver, Canada at the time and when we moved there in 1988 from Northern Ireland we were simultaneously perturbed by the prevailing poodle bands on the charts and heartened by the fact that every time we turned on CFMI classic rock radio while driving we heard the likes of Steely Dan, Van Morrison and other artists who seemed forgotten back home, swept away by the punk that we ourselves had loved and followed.

We were both “pop music literate” and knew that Neil had been in Split Enz. We loved I Got You when it was a hit in the UK. I’d heard Better Be Home Soon in the car on this “classic rock radio” which seemed unique to the New World, and been struck by its Beatlesque qualities. And we both knew Don’t Dream It’s Over, of course, and had admired it vaguely from a distance. And I recalled seeing them once on the MTV VMA awards (see video) and being astounded that they seemed to be a real band, playing real instruments and singing a real song. With a Hammond organ! In the 80s! Ever since then I’d made a mental note to buy one of their albums, but it simply didn’t happen until I picked up Woodface at a bargain price in 1993.

Live in Canada

Sadly, drummer Paul Hester had quit the band just two weeks before we first saw them in Vancouver and Seattle, but they were still a revelation live, a band who played smart, concise pop songs in the spirit of the “jam bands” – they never played a song the same way twice and you never knew what was going to happen at any moment. Neil Finn was edgy in the sense that at any moment he felt the freedom to do whichever option popped into his head, whether it was to morph into a random cover, play an extended free-form guitar solo, swap instruments with the drummer, write a song on the spot based on the support band’s setlist, have the band jam along to a demo CD that an aspiring musician threw onto the stage…

19940506-Crowded House-Paramount Theater-Seattle-6-May-1994-backstage pass-DC CardwellCrowded House backstage pass!

We managed to score backstage passes for their Seattle show. The show was great but being backstage afterwards wasn’t the most exciting of experiences. However, I guess there was a certain thrill of anticipation and the pass itself is quite nice!

I was hacking gently into the hospital computer system at my work and discovered that the network was hooked into a mysterious entity, The Internet, involving such things as “gophers”, a search engine named “Veronica” and something called “email”. Much to my surprise I found that there was an active group of Crowded House fans exchanging information, and that I was even able to set up an email account on my home computer using Vancouver’s Freenet text-based email service. Marjorie and I joined this community, known asTongue In The Mail, and in fact we’re still in it (although it’s been partly superseded by the Frenz forum, which I also use).

Trip to New Zealand

At one point in 1995 Crowded House were about to tour New Zealand and there was a vague feeling in the ranks that they might split up soon and this could be their last outing. I vividly recall saying to Marjorie, “You should

Crowded House-Palmerston North-New Zealand-6-Feb-1995-B-ticket-DC CardwellMarjorie’s Ticket for the show in Palmerston North, New Zealand

go and see them!” while realising that this was completely unfeasible. However, she took me at my word and three days later she was in New Zealand! She’d made arrangements to meet up with various people we’d met online, and she traipsed around after the band. Some of the people she met were close to the band and managed to get her backstage where she met, not only the Crowded House members and Tim, but Mr. and Mrs. Finn senior. This was, needless to say, quite a bit of fun. She had coffee with Mike Chunn (Split Enz bass player) and Dave Dobbyn and generally was made very welcome on the other side of the world. Even back then we felt really old and grown-up, having two children and being well settled down, so it seemed almost ridiculous that Marjorie should be on such an adventure. We’d sometimes play our own gigs at Vancouver’s rock clubs, look around and think “we’re old enough to be these people’s parents and I’m sure they think we’re like old fogies from another era!” Of course, looking back, we were only in our early 30s and nearly 20 years later we’re still running after bands and and still playing to people who now could practically be our grandchildren!

Crowded House, New Zealand 1995 - by Marjorie CardwellMarjorie’s photo of Crowded House in New Zealand

But that’s beside the point. Marjorie had a stopover in Melbourne on her way back to Canada. Neither of us had ever been to Australia before, but Marjorie simply fell in love with this city. Another internet friend took her round to see some of the Crowdie sites, such as Paul Hester’s café and Neil Finn’s old house where he wrote many of the Woodface songs.

When she returned to Vancouver, Marjorie simply said “We should move to Melbourne, it’s really nice!” Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when you have two small kids and an elderly mother-in-law (Marjorie’s mother) who lives with you. But we got the permanent residence visa application forms and had a look at them. We’d already emigrated once so the forms weren’t daunting in the least. We figured out that I, as a medical scientist, would have a reasonable chance of being accepted, but that if you were over 35 you had extra “points” taken off which would effectively scupper your chances of getting a visa.

However, two weeks before I turned 35, I mentioned that if we didn’t do it now we’d never get a visa. So we sent of the forms just so that we could say we’d had a go. Very shortly afterwards we got a letter saying that we’d been accepted into Australia! No interview or anything! And with that piece of paper in hand, we decided we may as well go and see what it’s like to live in Australia.And anyway, Vancouver is “really nice” too, to say the least! It consistently vies with Melbourne for the title of “The World’s Most Livable City” and it’s undeniably beautiful and comfortable. And we loved the Canadian people and had many close friends. So we filled out the forms but didn’t bother sending them.

We moved in 1996, two boys and aging mother-in-law in tow (she’s still living with us 16 years later!) and have never regretted it, despite occasionally longing for real mountains, snow, the smell of cedar and the warm hospitality of Canadians… not that Australians aren’t hospitable, but they’re different.

Move to Australia

We stopped over in Auckland on our way to Australia, and were wined and dined very generously by ex-Split Enz members Paul Crowther and Mike Chunn. (We’d previously met Paul Crowther at a Mutton Birds show in Vancouver’s Railway Club when we popped in after our own gig over the road.)

ENZSO-Melbourne Park-Melbourne-4-Feb-1997-ticket-DC Cardwell

ENZSO Ticket (Split Enz with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) 1997, Melbourne

One of our ENZSO tickets

As soon as we arrived in Melbourne we heard that there was to be an ENZSO concert in the Rod Laver Arena. Exasperatingly, we couldn’t afford to go but I got a job after only two weeks and the first thing I did was buy tickets. Due to a slight misadventure we arrived slightly late and it was a very bizarre feeling to walk into a packed arena-sized venue and hear a full orchestra playing Six Months In A Leaky Boat with the audience lapping it up!

We’ve seen an amazing run of Finn-related events here in the hometown of Split Enz and Crowded House. The most memorable – sorry, unforgettable – were the warm-up shows for the Sydney Opera House Farewell To The World mega-show in which we got to see Crowded House with Paul Hester two nights in a row, up close, at the intimate Corner Hotel, thus more than making up for having missed out on seeing him with Crowded House before he quit them. It was very much a “who would have thunk?” experience for us.

We saw two more impromptu reunions of core members Finn, Seymour and Hester, one at “Hessie’s Shed” in the Espy Hotel, St Kilda and one at the TV recording of a Neil Finn solo show. And then, tragically, Paulo was gone, his life snuffed out by his own hand in this very city. But that awful incident doesn’t erase our memories of the sheer, joyful, uninhibited exuberance that he personified on stage.

Ticket for Corner Hotel warm-up show, 1996Ticket for Corner Hotel warm-up show, 1996

We got to see another Crowded House warm-up at the Corner Hotel, this time for their comeback tour. And it was surprisingly magnificent! Neither Marjorie nor I have warmed hugely to the two albums by the reunified band (save for about three great tracks on the first one which are up there with their greatest work), but the live shows have been almost as good as ever. And it’s typically admirable of Finn and Co. that they haven’t just done the get-together-and-play-the-old-hits-for-the-money-on-a-nostalgia-tour thing, but they’ve done it as a real band, written new material and simply carried on from where they left off. We may never get another Woodface, but on the other hand, perhaps we will!

~ DC Cardwell

NOTE: This is a quick, rough piece that I wrote as a comment on another blog, but it got too big so I posted it here instead. I may well come back to it , tidy it up and expand (or maybe contract) it later on. It’s also subject to revision by Marjorie if I’ve got some of the facts wrong!

Noel Fielding, Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, October 24, 2012 – review by Marjorie Cardwell

Marjorie Cardwell reviews a Melbourne show by Noel Fielding, AKA Vince Noir out of The Mighty Boosh

This is the first time Noel Fielding has been in Australia for nearly 10 years. Since then he has achieved widespread recognition for The Mighty Boosh, as well as his own TV show, “Luxury Comedy” and “Never Mind The Buzzcocks“. Marjorie appears in Noel’s book “The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton” in a photograph artistically defaced by Mr. Fielding himself (see below).

Noel Fielding was a revelation last night. Although I’m a big fan, I actually had no real expectations for his solo show, particularly since he had cancelled the night before due to a stomach upset.

I needn’t have worried – he was a delight! He was a pixie full of good humour and energy and it was obvious that he is in that class of performers who transcend the competent to the clearly inspired.

I laughed SO hard even at routines I’d seen before because they were expanded and fresh. The Fly and The Moth had me gaping in wonder and convulsed in laughter at the same time – it’s surprising I didn’t choke on a few flies myself. Monkey Edwards was a tour de force. His Australian special Joey Ramones and Moon were especially endearing and our own Botanic Gardens bats will forever be thought of as ‘fruit dogs’ now!

Noel Fielding is a charming, ageless, delightful, clever, generous, inspired and inherently hilarious creature with the strength and stamina of an ox. I hope Australia sees a lot more of him and he stays off the duck curries.

I could also describe it as a masterful performance, because it was. Very impressive indeed.

Marjorie Cardwell in The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton by Noel Fielding

~ Marjorie Cardwell

PS: If  you were also there, or at the Thursday show, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Marjorie Cardwell’s new album OUT NOW!

We’re very excited to announce the release of Marjorie Cardwell‘s new album “In Another World”!

It’s available as a beautiful looking CD (or download) at www.marjoriecardwell.com and you can preview some tracks there before you buy. And for a limited time it comes with a free mini-print of Marjorie’s artwork and a really cool Madcar Records fridge magnet! It’s also on iTunes and available at CD Baby, Amazon etc, if you prefer.

The album was produced by Marjorie along with her husband, award-winning singer-songwriter DC Cardwell. It features several guest musicians, including Kiwi legend Don McGlashan playing a sublime euphonium solo on the opening track, “Hole In My Head”, a song Marjorie wrote about her recent experience of being diagnosed with a brain tumour.  Thankfully, the tumour was benign and surgery was successful so she is already writing songs for her next album! Listen to the album below.

In Another World with card and magnet
In Another World with card and fridge magnet