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.

I know it’s uncool, but I also do covers! PLUS Marjorie’s health.

Paul McCartney cover by DC Cardwell - still from video

When I was young it was considered pretty naff to do cover versions, and even now I feel a little guilty about it. Especially covers of songs by old dinosaur rock stars. But that’s what really got me into singing to begin with. As our two boys started to grow up and play various instruments, they started to jam with me, and their teenage friends would come over and join in. But like a lot of teenage boys the jams tended to consist of endless 12-bar guitar noodling or one-chord funky workouts. Or sometimes it was the Sunshine Of Your Love riff. Just the riff.

Which is why I started to sing – just to give us a bit of direction. Beatles, Neil Young, Zeppelin, old blues songs – the kind of things teenage guitarists always seem to develop a fondness for no matter what decade it is. I used to feel bashful croaking tunelessly even in front of the kids, but really, without that impetus I would never have developed either the voice or the confidence to sing in public.

Anyway, this is all by way of drawing attention to the fact that I have a channel on YouTube (youtube.com/DCCardwellsCovers) devoted entirely to cover versions. I planned to do one a week, but, of course, things get in the way and I haven’t kept up that pace.

Here’s my latest, a Paul McCartney song I recorded on the spur of the moment for my wife Marjorie on the eve of Valentine’s Day, and with me having just quit my day job and started music 100% full-time, the words seemed roughly appropriate!

And speaking of Marjorie, this may not be the place to go into personal details but I’d like to mention that just a few days ago she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has to have emergency surgery, which should happen within the next two weeks at the latest. The good news is that it’s almost certainly benign and the outlook is very good, but we’d still value your prayers as brain surgery is no walk in the park.

~ DC

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.

OK, OK, I’ve finally given in and DONE one of these things!

[One of those Facebook questions doing the rounds that I finally answered…]
___________________________
THE RULES: Just copy and paste and put your own answers in. The purpose of this is to get to know your friends better. Have fun! Here are the rules – post this list on your profile (in Notes) replacing my answers with yours. Tag 25 people to do the same thing. If I tagged YOU, it’s because I want to know more about YOU!

And even if I didn’t tag you… feel free to do the survey and drop me a note to let me know!

1. WHAT IS YOUR GIVEN NAME AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN? – David, which means “beloved”

2. DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME? – Yes, except for one little problem… when I tell people here in Australia my name, they never understand what I’m saying because of my accent! They’ll reply, “How’re ya goin’ Devon?”, or “Pleased to meet you, Derek”, or, “Good morning, Divot”. And I use “DC” as my nom-de-rock because there are already several other notable David Cardwells on Google. And it really annoys me that Facebook won’t let me use the name “DC Cardwell”.

3. IF YOU COULD PICK ANY NAME IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK? – I once dreamt that my stage name was “Nick Shade”, which is just about as cool a name as you can imagine. But when the time came for me to actually pick a stage name, I decided it was way too cool for me.

4. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU CRY, WHAT MOVES YOU? – The last time I cried was a few days after the Melbourne bushfires – I’d been numb, like a lot of people, and then one day I was reading the day’s newspaper accounts and I just burst out in tears. Not so surprising.

5. ARE YOU RIGHT OR LEFT HANDED? – Neither hand is much use for anything these days.

6. STAR TREK, STAR WARS, OR FIREFLY? – Star Trek. Watched it when I was little. I don’t mind Star Wars but it never had the same impact on me that it did on everyone else. Never seen Firefly.

7. WHAT ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE FOODS? – I’m useless at picking favourites but I like anchovies, mushrooms and Cadbury’s chocolate.

8. DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING WITH CHILDREN? – As long as they can hold down a groove.

9. WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

10. WHAT TYPES OF HUMOR DO YOU ENJOY MOST? – The funny sort.

11. LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY POTTER, OR THE GOLDEN COMPASS? – The Lord Of The Rings is the only one I have read but I think I can safely guess that it would be my favourite anyway.

12. WHICH LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK? – Ulster, with a smidgen of French, German and Latin.

13. HAVE YOU EVER INTUITIVELY KNOWN ABOUT SOMETHING BEFORE IT HAPPENED? I knew you were going to ask that.

14. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS? – All colours deserve to be treated equally.

15. YOUR LEAST FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS? Except maybe the colour of fried junk food.

16. WHAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? – It was never going to kill me but I started to cut the end off a pencil once with an extremely sharp one-sided microtome blade, and just as my fingers started to press down on it I realised it was upside down. I still shudder at the thought.

17. WHAT IS YOUR SILLIEST FEAR? – Spiders.

18. YOU WOULD RATHER SWIM IN A SWIMMING POOL, LAKE, RIVER, OCEAN? The ocean. The thought of swimming in (most) lakes and (all) rivers disturbs me.

19. FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO? – Paul McCartney is the most common one. And he’ll do.

20. LEAST FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO? – Pierluigi Collina.

21. FAVORITE FILM: DRAMA? – Skip Tracer.

22. FAVORITE FILM: COMEDY? – Gregory’s Girl.

23. FAVORITE FILM: ACTION? – I prefer films with no action.

24. FAVORITE FILM: ROMANCE? – Un Chien Andalou

25. FAVORITE FILM: DOCUMENTARY? Wayne’s World

26. FAVORITE FILM: CHILDRENS? – That animated Robin Hood one with Roger Miller

27. FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION? – A pub with a single good friend.

28. LEAST FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION? – Anywhere with lots of people and music that is not worth listening to but too loud to speak over.

29. THE CAUSE OR CAUSES THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? – Helping widows and orphans.

30. THE CHARITY THAT YOU MOST RECENTLY DONATED TO? – The Cliff Richard Restoration Fund

31. STRANGEST CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER? – Larry Norman with sparkly beret dancing in the disco at a hotel in Lurgan.

32. QUALITIES YOUR FRIENDS SAY THAT THEY MOST VALUE IN YOU? – I’ve been told a number of times that I have a calming influence in the workplace.

33. WHICH CULTURES INTEREST YOU MOST? – American

34. FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVE VISITED? – Marysville before it was destroyed by fire.

35. PLACES THAT YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO VISIT? – Places that I haven’t been to already? Southern USA, Russia, The Holy Land.

36. IF YOU COULD TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS PASSED AWAY, WHO WOULD YOU PICK? – Adam.

37. WHAT ARE YOU IGNORING RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS LIST? Recording music.

38. WHAT IS PLAYING ON THE TAPE/CD/MP3 IN YOUR CAR THESE DAYS? “Mental Notes” by Split Enz

39. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? This is just getting silly.

40. WHAT SKILLS WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN THAT YOU HAVEN’T YET LEARNED? – Memorizing lyrics.

41. DO YOU PLAY A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT? Guitar and bass, mainly, but I also have a go at piano, drums and a few other things – whatever it takes to record my songs.

42. FAVORITE SMELLS? – Apart from food and drink… I like some smells that other people hate, like ammonia, mothballs and hexamine. And marijuana when other people smoke it. Toy gun caps. Matches.

43. FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITES? – Walking down the street.

44. FAVORITE LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE? A clear, dark frosty winter’s night in Northern Ireland with the smell of coal fires in the air.

45. HAIR COLOR? Greyer than before.

46. EYE COLOR? Slate grey with a greenish tinge. Although they look penetratingly blue in that profile photo I’m using right now.

47. WHAT IS THE LAST MOVIE YOU LOVED? Ghost Town.

48. ARE YOU A HUGGY PERSON? I would be if people didn’t run away screaming.

49. WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU MOST RECENTLY READ? – I’m currently doing my duty and reading Outliers.

50. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? – The Bible, G.K. Chesterton, Dickens, How To Lie With Statistics, P.G. Wodehouse, ‘The Expert Encyclopedia Of Recording’ by Rick Clark, Solzhenitsyn… there are more in my “info” tab.

51. WHAT IS THE PICTURE ON YOUR WALL CALENDAR? Don’t have one. The wallpaper on my computer is a photo that a Facebook friend took of Led Zeppelin in Iceland in 1970 that I did a little bit of restorative work on this morning.

52. FAVORITE SOUNDS? – The Beatles

53. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? – The Beatles

54. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? – I cut extremely good frozen sections of human tissue.

55. DO YOU HAVE RECURRING DREAMS, OR A FAVORITE DREAM? Seeing aeroplanes crashing, or spacecraft or missiles flying or crashing or exploding.

Some musicians that I love and that have influenced me in one way or another (by DC)

[imported from Myspace profile]

  • 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 and his brilliant collaborators
  • 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. Listen to my favourite radio program, Mohair Slim ‘s “Blue Juice” on Melbourne’s PBS 106.7 FM (www.pbsfm.org.au) and you’ll get a pretty good idea!

~ DC