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.

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!]

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

DC Cardwell records with Jaymee Carpenter in LA [Newsletter 21st Jan 2011]

Hello! DC here…

I told you in last month’s newsletter about my impending trip (in December) to Los Angeles to record some songs for a movie. Well, it all went very well and I had a fantastic time!

Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio.
Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio.

The producer, Jaymee Carpenter, was a joy to work with and we managed to get six songs done in five days which was pretty good going. The director of the film, Michael Garcia, dropped by and seemed very happy with the songs and what we were doing with them. And I enjoyed every minute of my time there… now I can’t wait to go back!

Jaymee has a very impressive resumé which includes writing music for That 70’s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun. He also composed the music for Crime After Crime which right now is nominated for an award at Sundance Film Festival. Also, Jaymee has two songs in the new Paramount Pictures blockbuster The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale & Amy Adams. So you can see what a privilege it was to work with him.

[Addendum from 2012] I started out by recording the acoustic guitar for each song, followed by a guide vocal. Then, unlike my own recordings, most of the overdubs were by Jaymee and his regular session men. Jaymee overdubbed drums, and then Bryan Fouts put on some lovely bass. Jordan Shapiro brought along a large selection of guitars and amps and overdubbed 6 and 12 string electric, dobro and pedal steel. I played piano on a couple of tracks, and overdubbed harmonica on “A Minute Of Your Time”, and then on the last day I overdubbed the final vocals, much faster and in fewer takes than I would have at home!

The full list of songs we recorded is:

  • I Am Still The Same
  • Know Me
  • A Minute Of Your Time
  • Peace And Love
  • The Way Of A Woman With A Man
  • Birthday Present

The first five were destined for the movie in question. However, as of late 2012 the news is, unfortunately, that the project has been shelved and Jaymee and Michael are no longer involved with it. This is unfortunate news for me, however Jaymee intends to use my songs for some other project at some point so hopefully all the work will “pay off” eventually!” [end of Addendum]

And don’t don’t forget, my album Some Hope has been released in the US. 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 worldwide from CD Baby, my website (dccardwell.com) and our own Madcar Records website. Or you can download the album or individual songs from Madcar Records, iTunes or Amazon.

Anyway, after you’ve bought my album 🙂 come back and watch this little video I made about my experience in LA… and you can hear some of the music we recorded there…

Click here to watch “DC In LA”!

Sensory Lullabies No. 35 on Amazon!

[imported from Myspace]

Here’s a note from Burning Sky Records – apparently the Jellyfish Tribute album is number 35 on the compilation charts at Amazon!

It would be great if some of you good people who have purchased it would head over there and write a quick review, too.

Cheers – DC
____________________

Jellyfish fans,

As of 9pm US Eastern Standard time tonight, “Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Tribute to Jellyfish” had reached number 3,408 overall at Amazon, and number 35 in Music Compilations!  This is great news!

The numbers move around a lot, but I’m still kind of blown away.  I honestly believe that if people give “Sensory Lullabies” a chance, they’re really going to like it.  Hopefully, the good news will continue.

If you have already received your copy of “Sensory Lullabies,” you might want to leave a review of the Album at Amazon – you’d be amazed how many people see those reviews.  There are a couple of great reviews posted already – thank you, Dave and Tim!!!

McFly’s “Baby’s Coming Back” rockets to number 1 in the UK in May, “Sensory Lullabies” hits number 35 at Amazon, “Beatnik Beatch” gets re-released next month, Sextus’ debut Album is coming out soon, and we here at Burning Sky Records may be releasing a bunch of incredible unreleased Imperial Drag material soon – it’s a great time to be a Jellyfish fan!

Cheers, and thank you so much for all of your support!

Alan and the Burning Sky Records Jellyfish Tribute Album Team

Sensory Lullabies-Tribute To Jellyfish featuring DC Cardwell
Sensory Lullabies CDs featuring DC Cardwell and many other artists!

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

Interview with DC Cardwell from The Table Tribune, Indiana, 2007

Interview from 2007. Updates in red.

1. DC, have you always lived in Australia?

No, I moved to Australia in 1996 with my wife and two sons. Before that I lived in Vancouver, Canada for 8 years. I’m originally from Northern Ireland, as is my wife Marjorie. My eldest son, Joel was born there and my younger son Samuel was born in Canada.

DC Cardwell in 2006

2. Have you ever been to the United States?

Yes, we used to pop over the border to Bellingham to buy cheap gas, milk and cheese. We made it as far as Seattle a couple of times.

3. What is the hardest thing about being in the music industry in Australia?

I hate to admit it, but I’m not really *in* the music business in Australia, or anywhere else, for that matter. Until now all I’ve done is write and record a few songs at home. I haven’t yet figured out the “business” side of “music business”. It took me long enough to figure out the music part. However, in September my name will appear on a “proper” CD for the first time. That’s when “Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Jellyfish Tribute Album” will be released. Track four on disc one is my version of “I Wanna Stay Home”. I’m excited!

4. How often do you write songs? Is it a routine, or do you write when inspiration strikes?

There’s hardly a day when I don’t have some song ideas going through my head, but most of them just disappear into the ether as I don’t have time to write them down or record them. I manage to hold on to some of the better ones and once in a while I get time to sit down and get a song going. I usually start with a phrase relating to some concept I’m interested in and the phrase will pretty much instantly suggest some kind of melody and feel, and I just take it from there. The biggest problem is narrowing the ideas down to something concise.

5. What was the one thing that inspired you to become a musician?

Hmmm, hard to narrow it down to one single thing, but perhaps it was when a distant relative, Steve from Australia, was doing the typical Aussie round the world jaunt and stayed with my family in Northern Ireland for a few weeks. He had a battered guitar and would sing the usual wandering hippie songs such as “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, “Blowing In The Wind” etc, along with what I now know to be classic Australian art songs, for example, “Pub With No Beer”. My two sisters were very impressed by this handsome beach bum and soon afterwards they both bought guitars and learned to play. I would sneak into the sitting room and secretly strum on them. I played so quietly, using the pad of my thumb,  that I could barely even hear it myself, but I gradually figured out how to play better than either of my sisters!

8. What song of yours do you like most. Why?

My favourite song of mine is “Nobody Taught Me”. I guess it’s because it’s in a style that I really like, and I’m perfectly happy with what the words are saying and I think they say it simply, directly and elegantly. I think both guitar solos are among my best, and I like the way I played almost pure blues guitar against a fairly non-bluesy chord progression.

9. How can we get one of your fine CDs of their very own?

Time for another “hmmm…”

Hmmm… good question… At present I don’t have much of an infrastructure to produce very many CDs. As I mentioned before, I make them all by hand. For anyone on Myspace, if they add a song of mine to their profile or send out a bulletin with my widget in it, or in any way help to promote my music, all they have to do is send me their email address and I’ll send them a link where they can download the whole album for free!

Anyone who’s interested could also order a copy of “Sensory Lullabies” – just follow the link on my Myspace page (www.myspace.com/dccardwell). As well as my version of “I Wanna Stay Home” there are two whole CDs of amazing covers of both Jellyfish albums in their entirety, along with a number of rare songs.

10. Would you be willing to autograph them for a limited time?

If anyone would like to copy my autograph that’s OK! Well, perhaps, if someone really, REALLY wants an copy of my CD actually autographed by me (why!) they can harass me at www.myspace.com/dccardwell or email me and I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps I could trade it for something or they could buy me something from my Amazon wish list. Be warned, though… eventually I’ll get organised enough to start charging for it!

2012 UPDATE: “Way With Words” was expanded into DC’s first official album “Some Hope” which is available from MadcarRecords.com and also on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc. For more details click on STORE on the menu above or go HERE. If you’d like your copy autographed, just order it from Madcar Records and add a note to that effect and I’ll happily do it! The Jellyfish album is still available on iTunes and a few CD copies may still be available from Burning Sky Records.

11. What rock star/band deserves a big smack in the mouth and why?

Hmmm, hard to narrow it down to one single rock star.

– DC Cardwell


Interview by Nancy Allen, The Table Tribune, Indiana