DC’s 15 Albums In 15 Minutes

THE RULES:  Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note).

Here goes – I tried to resist this latest question doing the rounds on Facebook, I really did! I think the last note I wrote was my top 20 albums. And I think I did my top 10 once as well. What will they think of next? Your Top 17?

This time I’m limiting it to “rock and roll” in the good old, 70s, wide sense of the term. And Hank Williams. Albums that really touched me, moved me, and each in their own way influenced me profoundly. I allowed compilations, but not multi-artist compilations. And one album per artist, with John and Paul cheating to get in by simply managing to make two of the greatest “solo albums” of all time. No Bob Dylan, which is really really really really silly, but I somehow forgot him until the 15 spaces were filled. And same goes for Bowie (David, not Lester or Zowie). And The Rolling Stones. No NZ representatives because Split Enz and Crowded House never quite managed to make a perfect album (for me – no flaming please – oh well – go ahead!) and, well, Mutton Birds and Dave Dobbyn did but I had to draw the line at 15 and the people in this list are all earlier formative influences. And nothing Australian or Irish. Oh crap, I forgot The Finn Brothers first solo album “Finn”, which IS perfect. And ABBA, although the perfect compilation only exists as a CD-R in my collection. And The Band! And Kate & Anna McGarrigle! And Richard & Linda Thompson! And Zep! Who said it had to be 15 albums?

Oh, and Hank Williams gets in just because he’s Hank.

01 – The Beatles – Revolver (of course)

02 – Hank Williams – 40 Greatest Hits (natch)

03 – Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions (well like duh…)

04 – Al Green – The Belle Album

05 – Aretha Franklin – 30 Greatest Hits

06 – Neil Young – Zuma

07 – Larry Norman – Only Visiting This Planet

08 – Rezillos – Can’t Stand The Rezillos

09 – Buzzcocks – Love Bites

10 – The Alpha Band – The Statue Makers Of Hollywood

11 – Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run

12 – John Lennon And The Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon And The Plastic Ono Band

13 – Stevie Wonder – The Original Musiquarium

14 – T-Bone Burnett – Truth Decay

15 – Sam Phillips – Cruel Inventions

For a more comprehensive (but by no means exhaustive) list of some of my fave artists, allow me to cut and paste from my fabulous MySpace page (which incidentally is at http://www.myspace.com/dccardwell)

Sam Phillips, The Beatles, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Martin, Neil Young, Al Green, T Bone Burnett, The Alpha Band, The Clark Sisters, The Rezillos, The Kinks, The Staple Singers, The Mutton Birds, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Crowded House, Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Phil Judd, Split Enz, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, The Heptones, Jackie Mittoo, Wild Man Fischer, Toots & The Maytals, Johnny Cash, Iris Dement, Ann Peebles, The Band, The Beach Boys, Larry Norman, Lester Young, The Meters, Gillian Welch, Sloan, Buddy & Julie Miller, NRBQ, Andrae Crouch, The Fall, Thelonious Monk, Andy Pratt, Loudon Wainwright III, Ace Of Base, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Dave Dobbyn, Billie Holiday & Lester Young, The Drifters, Wreckless Eric, Rodney Cordner, Django Reinhardt, Mark Heard, Gil Askey, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Led Zeppelin, Lefty Frizzell, The Rolling Stones, Rick Nelson, Ivor Cutler, Roy Harper, The Undertones, The Mighty Clouds Of Joy, Edwyn Collins, Vince Guaraldi, Blossom Dearie, George Jones, The Strokes, U2, Van Morrison, The Beach Boys, The Modern Jazz Quartet, The Pogues, Randy Stonehill, Nina Simone, Chuck Berry, Madeleine Peyroux, Al Bowlly, Ray Charles, James Brown, Jimmy Reed, The Everly Brothers, Gram Parsons, Elvis Costello, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Bobby Womack, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, ABBA, Richard and Linda Thompson, Frank Black and, of course, his Fabulous Pixies, The Mills Brothers, Duke Ellington, The Byrds, The Rutles, Elmore James, Buzzcocks, Booker T & The MGs, Randy Newman, Ella Fitzgerald, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Louis Armstrong, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Television. Let’s face it, there are too many great artists, writers and producers to list but I especially like to listen to a lot of soul music including music from the Stax and Atlantic labels, Motown, 70s soul, doo-wop, be-bop, early rock and roll, ska, reggae and New Orleans R&B.

Review of Neil Young at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Jan 2009

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a rather wonderful outdoor venue in the
heart of Melbourne’s King’s Domain. A natural amphitheatre with a large
stage and a covered area for those who can afford the expensive seats!
For once, I paid the extra to get up close to one of my major musical
heroes. I was accompanied by my wife Marjie and my son Samuel, both
also Neil Young fans.

But it was just too hot for me to really enjoy this show. I’ve been in
Melbourne for twelve years now, but for a Northern Ireland kid these
40+ days are hard to take, especially when they drag on for too long a
period! And after a long hot day and a scorching walk to the venue,
you’re not exactly in the mood to rock and roll all night long, free
world or not.

I regret that we stayed in our seats under the dome as it was indeed
like baking in an oven, but the heat was also making us feel so tired
that we were reluctant to move back to watch and listen from out in the
open air. I now wish we had, judging from other people’s comments.

I’m a long-time Neil fan (ever since I heard a track from the new album
Zuma in 1975 while listening to the John Peel Show on a little
transistor radio underneath my pillow) and his playing has influenced
me more than any other guitarist’s. Anyone who knows me will attest
that I am a huge Neil enthusiast.

And I’ve only seen him twice before – the last two and a half songs
(don’t ask!) of a show in Vancouver back in the early 90s and his last
appearance here in Melbourne on the Greendale tour, which was really
great but not a typical performance.

I’d read very good things about this tour, with the British leg being
hailed as his best since the famous Crazy Horse shows of the mid-70s.

So I was primed for this to be the “gig of a lifetime”, but it was not
to be – which was probably more due to the scorching weather, my
fragile physical state (for various reasons), poor sound from where I
was sitting, a guy to my left who was not large but somehow took up way
more space (mine) than was justified, and a song selection which was
not to my taste. So I’m surprised to be writing a
less-than-enthusiastic review and I apologise for it, because I think
most people there enjoyed it more than I did.

The Greendale show had been at the same venue, and from our vantage
point then, much further from the stage, the sound was perfect.
Tonight, down near the front, it was rather boxy and unfortunately the
drums were mixed way too loud and reverberant like any crappy bar band,
which was annoying most of the time, but especially in the ballads,
when it was completely ridiculous. I guess the covered part of the
venue (50 years old next month) was acoustically designed for classical
music, but that’s not good for rock’n’roll! And from where I was,
Neil’s acoustic guitar sounded really bad and that spoiled songs that
should have been good, like “The Needle And The Damage Done”.

I thought the backing vocals were spot-on and beautiful, especially
Neil’s wife Pegi‘s, and the playing was generally sympathetic, but I
couldn’t really hear the piano at all from where I was. And as for the
bass, it was pretty much impossible to clearly identify any particular
note, so we just got a general boominess in the lower registers.

Anyway, Neil was full of energy, which amazed me given the extreme
heat. He was wearing a white open-necked shirt and Eric Morecambe style
khaki Bermuda shorts. His voice was sounding fairly strong despite the
acoustics, however at the Greendale show five years ago his voice was
astoundingly good, in fact I didn’t even know he *could* sing like that!

And despite regretting not moving back, it was good to be close enough
to really *see* Neil and observe what he was doing with his guitar.

It was also a treat to see Ben Keith – someone who’s played with Neil
since those far-off legendary days of the early 70s. The full line-up
was Ben Keith (pedal steel, guitar, piano, organ), Rick Rosas (bass),
Chad Cromwell (drums), Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young (backing vocals,
piano and guitars).

An early song was a fave of mine, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
with its delectable la-la-las. But for my particular taste there were
just too many songs that I find mediocre, with throwaway tunes and
sophomoric homespun cod-religious or philosophical lyrics which are
probably crowd-pleasing but lack the depth of which he is capable. Many
of them had failed to interest me on the original albums and these live
performances didn’t enhance them any. I noticed that Marjie and Samuel
laughed heartily at some of them, and not in a good way!

An exception was “One Of These Days” which I had never liked much but
which suddenly rung very true on this occasion, and I guess it’s
moments like that which make a show worthwhile!

“Four Strong Winds” came across quite well too. The harmonium on
“Mother Earth” was nice, but, well, the song is laughable, really! I
mean, you’d think you can’t go wrong with the tune of “O Waly Waly“,
but the words… This was one which really had Marjie and Samuel
cracking up and who could blame them? (Flame away – we all have our
likes and dislikes and I’ve already stated that Neil is one of my absolute
fave artists so I don’t feel guilty!)

As others have commented online, “Cortez The Killer” was, well, killer,
and the only song of the night where he really let his guitar do what
it does so well – sing. (But you know, even though that song is one of
the best tracks on my favourite Neil album, the sentiment still really
bugs me because he suggests that sacrificing children is OK if you
think you’re going to get some mystical benefit from it. It doesn’t
exactly support his case against Cortez. There – I’ve written a song
about that, but now I’ve said it openly for the first time!)

For me, another highlight of the evening was “Words”. That was the only
song in which Neil played his white Gretsch and I hate to say this,
but it sounded way better than his legendary Les Paul, “Old Black”. I
think the cleaner, bitier sound helped make up for the muddiness of the
PA. I had never really loved this song on Harvest, but tonight the 11/8
time signatures (or whatever they are) sounded perfectly natural and
even swinging. Marjie hated it though!

The finale of “A Day In The Life” was brilliant. It’s a great song that
the Beatles made kinda difficult to cover (although I have a 45rpm
record of Wes Montgomery doing it) but it was good to hear it being
done so well by Neil. He and his band are as capable of doing
cacophonous wig-outs as anyone, as we all know, but they somehow
managed to make the orchestral crescendos sound remarkably like the Sgt
Pepper version! I was sure I could hear the swirling strings but it was
coming out of bass, drums, piano, organ and guitars. For the second
crescendo he proceeded to break all the strings on “Old Black” and thrash the
pickups with them, at great length and to noisy effect. The middle bit
(woke up, fell out of bed) was perhaps a little off, and Nil seemed to
be forgetting the words or forgetting to go up to the microphone, but
the overall effect was unforgettable.

Pegi had utilised the illuminated vibraphone in a pleasantly Motownish
way earlier in the evening, but for the climax of “A Day In The Life”
Neil ran up to where it was located at the back of the stage and hit a
percussive version of the Beatles’ famous piano chord. Not quite as
cute as the Rutles’ “plonk”, but a good way to end.

Review by DC Cardwell (www.dccardwell.com)

FULL SET LIST (thanks to http://www.setlist.fm)

1. Love And Only Love
2. Sea Change
3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
4. I’ve Been Waiting For You
5. Spirit Road
6. Cortez The Killer
7. Cinnamon Girl
8. Mother Earth
9. The Needle And The Damage Done
10. Light A Candle
11. Four Strong Winds
12. Unknown Legend
13. One Of These Days
14. Get Back To The Country
15. Words
16. Just Singing A Song
17. Rockin’ In The Free World
18. A Day In The Life

DC’s Top 20 Albums

[From Facebook – occasionally I give in and respond to these things…]

Here we go again… how did this happen to me!

THE RULES: Think of 20 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life… dug into your soul. The ones that you know backwards, forwards, up, and down, and are now a part of you. Then when you finish, tag 20 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.
____________________________________

I thought this would be hard but I found it surprisingly easy to think of 20 that were pivotal in my life, at least as far as music goes. Only a few have affected me in non-musical ways.

And it was actually easier to put them in (roughly) chronological order of when I first fell in love with them, which I guess indicates how important they were to me. No modern music at all, because there is no good music any more. You kids don’t know squat.

I applied the usual rule of one-album-per-artist.

And as is often the case, black music and pre-rock music of all genres is woefully under-represented because there’s less of a focus on albums. My actual listening habits are very, very broad. I love all genres, and hate most music.

– DC

01. Larry Norman – Only Visting This Planet
02. Led Zeppelin – IV
03. Neil Young – Zuma
04. Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home
05. Buzzcocks – Love Bites
06. The Beatles – Revolver
07. Al Green – The Belle Album
08. Hank Williams – 40 Greatest Hits
09. Alpha Band – The Statue Makers Of Hollywood
10. Aretha Franklin – 30 Greatest Hits
11. Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions
12. Various Artists – 20 Reggae Greats
13. Stevie Wonder – The Original Musiquarium
14. Charlie Parker – some old “Giants Of Jazz” LP
15. Ella Fitzgerald – The Cole Porter Songbook Vol. 1
16. Sam Phillips – Cruel Inventions
17. Crowded House – Woodface
18. The Mutton Birds – Salty
19. Dave Dobbyn – The Islander
20. The Strokes – Room On Fire

SEE ALSO: Marjorie’s Top 20 Albums

Musical Coincidence #3

Yesterday Marjie, Samuel and I were practicing music for a party this weekend and one of the songs we played was “Halfway To Paradise” by Goffin & King, which we know from Nick Lowe‘s version.

(You can hear our version at http://www.myspace.com/marjiesothersongs)

Pretty much straight after finishing our rehearsal we sat down to watch our new DVD box set of “Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads”, the classic British TV series from the early 70s, and what song should Terry and Bob be quoting at length to each other?

“Halfway To Paradise” of course!

Another Musical Coincidence

Today, while I was reading aloud at the dinner table that the world’s oldest woman AND the world’s tallest woman had died this year at the same nursing home in Indiana, Marjorie pointed out that the song playing on our stereo was The Pioneers’ Long Shot Kick De Bucket!

Musical Coincidence

A long time ago I was sitting in our kitchen and Marjorie was in the living room. The Byrds were playing on the stereo.

“Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” was on and I slowly realised that the clock in the next room was ticking in exact time with it – no matter how long the song went on for, the clock tick didn’t deviate, which is pretty amazing. Just as this started to dawn on me, Marjie called in from the other room pointing out the same thing, and I was very surprised that she had noticed as well.

After another minute or so it dawned on us both that the clock was one which Marjie had customized by inscribing around its perimeter the verse from Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven”!

~ DC

Musical Feel!

If you’re interested in nuances of sound and feel in music you might enjoy this video by Evelyn Glennie. I did!

~ DC

Larry Norman Is No Longer Visiting This Planet

[imported from Myspace]

I was very saddened to hear today that Larry Norman has left us. Many millions of people have been touched by him, his music and his message over the last 40 or so years, and yet the world at large doesn’t know he existed.

I have already read so many blogs that say what I’m thinking, only much more eloquently than I could, so I’ll just let his own words speak for him.

The Tom Song – Milestone or Millstone?

[imported from MySpace, appropriately enough]

OK, so I really was thinking of deleting it and pretending it never existed. I mean my song “Tom Is Everybody’s Friend”, which is about Tom Anderson, the founder of MySpace.

But I see it’s very nearly up to 20,000 plays, so I guess I should let the clock tick round a bit more before I do anything rash.

It’s not that I don’t like it – I actually think it’s one of the best things I’ve done, but, well, you know, MySpace was sooo 2006 and the song is inextricably linked with it to most people. (Although I don’t see why it shouldn’t stand up on its own – you don’t have to know who the Maharishi is to appreciate Sexy Sadie.)

And over a year later, I guess MySpace Tom isn’t going to make it the MySpace anthem and somehow make me a lot of money out of it.

I was thinking of re-recording it with some other name to try and cash in on some other craze. Maybe even “cash in” literally this time. Any ideas?

– DC

ADDENDUM, 2012

Tom Anderson finally heard the Tom song and commented on it when I sent it to him on Google + in July 2011!

 ———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tom Anderson (Google+) <noreply-58f0a4f0@plus.google.com>
Date: Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 6:17 PM
Subject: Re: Fun Photos for Google+ Part II
To: dc.cardwell

+DC Cardwell nice song! There was a guy who wrote about 10-15 — an entire album “songs about Tom” — they were parodies. I’d never heard yours ; it actually sounds legit 🙂

Some less well-known MySpace artists that I like (by DC)

[imported from MySpace – note that some of these links may well be dead by now]

Again, this list could be a mile long. I’ve been really enthralled by a lot of beautiful music on MySpace over the last year or so. I’ll try to keep adding to (or amending) this list, but it’s like “top friends”, it’s impossible to truly represent my feelings! Tell you what, though – these artists are all well worth listening to so why don’t you click on a few and tell them I sent you!

  • Don McGlashan (Former leader of the wonderful Mutton Birds and certified National Treasure in New Zealand – unquestionably a genius, and one of the best singers you’ll ever hear)
  • The Desert Downtown and Marshmallow (One of the secret weapons of The Mutton Birds was their bass player/occasional songwriter and singer, Alan Gregg, and these are two of his projects, both achingly tuneful in nature)
  • Maxi Dunn (One of the few women on the Jellyfish Tribute album. She’s just so good. I don’t know what it is about her songs – I can’t analyse why I like them so much. On the surface they sound a little 80s-ish for my taste, but I just want to play them over and over again, so she’s doing something that moves me!)
  • Martin Okasili (He’s from my hometown of Portadown, Northern Ireland, but I never met him. I read a rave review of him in Mojo once and eventually found him here on myspace, and, would you believe it, it turns out he is brilliant!)
  • The Electrolites (Don’t miss them)
  • Darren Sheppard (Clever guy from England who still knows how to write and play songs like the British bands of the 60s – many try but few succeed)
  • The Taters (Actually, this band from Virginia do a pretty good job at capturing that 60s sound, too! And I’ve heard first hand that they’re one of the greatest live acts on the planet!)
  • Steve Singh (Like the Beatles, but not like The Beatles. You know what I mean, even the Beatles were “like the Beatles, but not like the Beatles”, in that they never did what anyone expected)
  • Linda Draper (I love this music deeply)
  • Tender Slider (Brilliant music from my good friend Achim Degen in Germany)
  • The Aloha Mountain Groove Band (The name says it all! Features Renn Tiki)
  • Mike Dees (Rootsy pop songs from Memphis)
  • Crab Bubbles (Infinitely enjoyable pure pop from Japan)
  • Peter Farnan (This guy from Melbourne is a treasure – spends a lot of time working in various projects but is working towards a solo album which I’m looking forward to)
  • Jane Bayley (Partner of Mr. Farnan and equally wonderful – check out her Blossom Dearie-esque “Lovely Wife”)
  • Darren Keith (Amazing range and depth of material)
  • Jenny Queen (Americana, but don’t let that put you off!)
  • Teri LaBrecque (Writes and records all her stuff at home by herself, just like myself, but she’s a better singer and plays a more interesting range of instruments!)
  • Honest John (Sydney band – just got their new EP and it’s as good as anything new I’ve heard this year!)
  • Marty Williams (Marty is kind of a perfect singer and a great supporter of local music round here on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, and he’s also in this band with his brother…)
  • Cousin Leonard (You’ll never see a happier crowd than those at their regular Sunday afternoon gigs at the Heritage in Balnarring!)
  • President Roots (Another excellent band from here on the Mornington Peninsula – their leader, Simon has a new song about Professor Longhair that I heard him play recently, and it’s an instant classic.)
  • David Rice (Folksy yet Beatle-tinged and eclectic Swedish artist.)
  • themillionstars (I’ve just discovered this duo, Rose and Malcolm Moore and I fell in love instantly. They make tough music.)
  • Father Bloopy (Quite a few people have likened me to Ray Davies and the Kinks, but this band’s singer deserves the comparison. Even better, the band have brilliantly strong songs and sound.)
  • Hugh Hamilton (Never mind his beautifully accomplished guitar playing and crafty songwriting, check out that wonderful Claptonesque voice of his!)
  • Ernie Dufour (This guy’s singing really affects me – you know how singers used to be back in the good old days of the 60s and 70s?)
  • Richard Cummins (Richard lives very near where I used to live in Canada, but we never met each other back then. He’s very accomplished and makes beautifully Beatlesque music in an effortless manner.)
  • Marjie Cardwell (Marjie is my wife and after a break of some years she has been doing some new recordings with me – on this page she has posted some covers that we have done live in our home studio, with Marjie and me on guitars, Samuel on bass and Chris Haylock on drums.)
  • The Good China (This band’s from here in Melbourne, where there’s a lot of good music made, but not much of it sounds like this. There are, like, nine people in it and they are a little like a slightly mellower New Pornographers. Nice visual style too!)
  • We All Want To (This band’s also from Australia – and, like the band above, they also sound like a more human New Pornographers. This is my kinda thing!)
  • Victor Stranges (Victor is a Melbourne artist with a huge talent for songwriting and a big, expressive voice. If you like classic Elvis Costello you’ll definitely like his songs and his sound. Check out his Myspace and say hi – he’s a nice guy too!)

Honest John is an Australian band I just got their new 5-track EP and it’s absolutely excellent. Not earth-shatteringly pushing forward the boundaries of music or anything like that, but there’s something about Glen Colley’s voice and his songs and the way the band delivers them that gave me the kind of feeling I used to have as a youngster when I discovered for myself people like Neil Young.

Another band is from here on the Mornington Peninsula – President Roots. I know their leader, Simon, and on Wednesday night he came along to the Balnarring Muso’s Night that Marty Williams runs. He did a few songs, sounding fantastic as usual, and he included a new one he’s just written which was just thrilling – a bit of a Nirvana feel to it, but it’s all about Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and, oh, just all kinds of mad stuff and it gave me a real kick!

Oh, and, to round the evening off he did “Dancing Queen”, segueing into about 6 other tunes, with me on bass and, though we say so ourselves, it was pretty darn funky and the dancefloor was hot! It was a little different from my rare version of Dancing Queen which brings out the song’s depressing, morose side.

~ DC