Friday, April 18, 2014

Song of the Week #294

Song of the Week comes to you on this auspicious occasion from Port Macquarie on the New South Wales coast. It's a top spot for a bit of a break. DJ Al-ee-sun and I were here in 1993 on our honeymoon. This time it's most likely our last family holiday before DJ Z-boots leaves home.

Let's get the occasion out of the way first. It's my birthday. That's 43 laps around the sun completed. Frankly I feel a lot younger than I did a few years ago and that's a good thing. I think the upside of giving away triathlon and especially running in favour of so much cycling is that my back is a lot happier. I had a running battle (good pun there folks) with my knees and back for years and it really ground me down. Cycling seems to have been the answer.

Speaking of riding, let me just say again that although Port Macquarie has roads deader than a dodo, the drivers here are fantastic. So many of them have given me heaps of room as well as a smile and a wave. The beat up about cyclists vs motorists is nearly all down to the media in my opinion. There are stupid drivers and stupid cyclists too but they are the minority.

H-Block 101 - Group Dynamics -

On Wednesday DJ Ali-G and I took a drive out to Laurieton, visited the bike shop (well worth a look) and scoped out North Brother Mountain. It's a 5 km climb that just doesn't let up. DJ Ali-G did the sensible thing and drove home the next morning...early. I was less sensible and rode the 33km into a headwind on harsh roads to the base of the climb. And then after a deep breath I rode up. And up. And still up. It was a cracker of a hill and I almost didn't make it. However, after 29 mins I was there - but only just. Coming down was insanely scary and I'd rather climb the hill again than repeat the descent.

In groovy birthday news the family got me an iRig HD. What? It's a connector for a guitar that allows connection to an iPhone/iPad or computer. Once you download the app that goes with it you get access to tons of different amplifier and effects simulators. The free downloads that I have here sound pretty authentic. When I get to a better internet connection I'll look at some more. I've only played with it for a little while but I can see some excellent rehearsal, recording and performance applications for the iRig.

H has reported in from Canberra that ticket sales for both Oils shows are solid. If you're thinking of coming along then book NOW by giving Teatro Vivaldi's a call. Also have a look out in the current issue of "Canberra Weekly" for a full page spread about the band and shows. Don't miss out this time as the only other way to see this show will be to come to Tingha in the middle of the year.

There was a lot of speculation during the week about the health of AC/DC founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. It took a while but the word from the band is that he is unwell and would appreciate some privacy. They also said that the band would make music again so that's a good thing. I wonder if they were thinking of this song when they thanked their "legion of fans"...

AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) -

Tomorrow is Record Store Day here in Australia. Can I encourage you to get out and support your local independent store? Mine is Landspeed Records in Canberra and they are great. Sadly I'll miss out this year being away but they get enough of my money anyway! There are some cool special discs to be had and tons of good deals. If you're an NPR listener then check them out online for some unreleased gems from artists like The Pogues, Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen.

When my family asked me what I wanted for my birthday I threw together a list of options to give them some clues. One thing on that list was a rock t-shirt. After all, one can never have too many. Well, the really hit the nail on the head with a Bruce Springsteen shirt - too cool!

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire -

That'll do this week. 

And for those that know me very well...yes; I HAVE been to the beach. Sand has not touched my feet but I was there.

DJ Rob
"If you don't like Hank Williams buddy, you can kiss my..." - Kris Kristofferson -

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

World Wide Woozle on the road April 2014 #1

Welcome to a holiday extra episode from the team that brings you Song of the Week. This week, HQ World Wide Woozle has relocated to the mid north coast town of Port Macquarie. It's pretty good so far with great weather, decent coffee and good company. Apart from the family I brought along my road bike, guitar and the ancient netbook that I'm typing on now. I'm fairly sure that this netbook will soon have the Linux distro called "Elementary" installed on it as Windows is running like a slow dog panting on a hot day. All I really need to do is check that it'll recognise my Garmin (bike GPS computer) without Windoze.

I brought along my little Blackstar 1 watt valve guitar practice amplifier as well. Until the other day I hadn't realised that it also has an input jack for an MP3 player. I plugged the iPod into it and I must say that even though its only got a small speaker the sound is better than most docks I've used. At the moment a classic Australian album is pumping out in glorious mono; Tumbleweed's "Galactaphonic". Probably one of the best stoner rock LPs I've listened to.

Tumbleweed - Hang Around -

Port Macquarie is the home of Ironman Australia and I must give a huge amount of respect to anyone who has done the race. DJ Big-Al and I have ridden most of the bike course the last two mornings. I must admit that I am truly horrified that an Ironman event would be conducted on such a dreadful surface. Apart from being quite dead, it's full of potholes and nasty patch jobs. I must give a shout out to the majority of car and truck drivers around here though, they are courteous and watchful for bikes. After poor weather and illness last week meant my lowest kilometre count in 18 months (for 7 days) it's been great to be out in the sunshine riding.

In last week's regular episode I spoke about iTunes radio and the general hilarity and coolness that was the "Hair Metal" channel. Well, I'm sorry but you're all going to have to wait until I have a more reliable internet connection for me to recommend tunes and provide you with links. Maybe it's the hotel, maybe it's the weather or maybe it's a plot by mainstream radio to keep me from sharing hook laden egocentric rock and roll with you! Let's see if I can get just one link as a taster...

Dokken - Burning Like A Flame -

Speaking of radio, Triple J has obviously recognised that they have alienated a fair percentage of their "older" listening audience. The announcement that Double J radio is starting up shortly with people like me (original JJJ listeners who grew up) in mind. Sadly, it's only available on digital radio and the nation's capital won't get it broadcast here anytime soon. It's all good if you're in Melbourne or Sydney and already have a decent range of radio stations...grrrrrrr!
Righto, I'm on holidays so that'll do for today. Watch out on Friday for a regular Song of the Week episode. 

DJ Rob

Friday, April 11, 2014

Song of the Week #293

With  only a few weeks to go until I hit 300 episodes there are changes afoot here at the World Wide Woozle. For a start I'm going to focus a little more on why I've chosen the tunes and perhaps the artists as well. For a while at least there may be a few less songs but quite possibly just as much to read. If you don't like it then tell me. If you do then I'd love to know as well. You'll read more about other changes in the weeks to come. I can also promise some bumper "side editions" as I'm on holidays for a couple of weeks. These will appear in the blog ( and if you're subscribed to that you'll see them as well as via notifications on Facebook and Twitter (@robwoozle),

A quick update on the saga of my old red guitar. I went and collected it today. The repair guy (Nick at Better Music, Canberra) has been great. He's kept me informed via phone and email at every step and has answered all my questions with good grace and humour. Anyway, when I picked it up he plugged it into a rather tasty Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp and turned it up LOUD. Yep, it sounded great. I'm hoping that the guitar and my small amplifier will fit in the car to go away - I've got loads of tasty Strat style songs just itching to be played!

So, for song number one this week we'll have one of the masters of the Stratocaster. I once played in a band with a guy who could play almost anything Stevie Ray Vaughan did seemingly without effort. It was a joy to play rhythm behind him. My love of SRV started way back in the early 90s and continues to this day. In terms of a tasteful blues player they don't come much better. Really any of his albums is a good starting point but 1989's "In Step" is probably the best in terms of production, consistency and great playing. Stevie was sober for that album...but for none of the previous ones.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Crossfire -

My second song this week comes from John Cougar Mellencamp. I've played in bands that have played a couple of his songs, usually "Jack & Dianne" or "Lonely Old Night". But when I started hanging around with DJ Al-ee-Sun she had a copy of his "Scarecrow" album. It's a great listen from start to finish. If you like good honest rock 'n' roll with lyrics about real people and a tinge of country then you won't be disappointed. If, like me, you love the sound of guitars played straight through a classic amplifier without much high tech wizardry then, again, give it a spin.

John Cougar Mellencamp - Rain On The Scarecrow -

Finally we have Gary Moore. I went back this week and watched his live DVD which was a tribute to Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. Gary played with Thin Lizzy for a while and then became a rock god and then a blues genius later on. Sadly he died in his early 50s. The DVD showcases his beautiful thick bluesy guitar tone and tasteful playing. He can go from a full on roar to a whisper with consumate ease. To be honest, his rock stuff was always my favourite but, I'm in a blues mood so see what you think of this...

Gary Moore - Walking By Myself (live) -

So there you have it. A short, but focussed episode. Look out during the week for a bit of a "hair metal" special edition inspired by my almost instant hatred of Triple J radio coupled by my recent conversion to iTunes Radio. If you like bands like Poison, Faster Pussycat, Extreme, Guns n Roses, LA Guns and Winger then tune in....

That's it. Goodnight all.

DJ Rob
"You've got to put your faith in a loud guitar..." - KISS, 1991.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Song Of The Week #292

Yesterday I went on an excursion to the steel works at Port Kembla. The last time I was there was as a university student on a similar tour. All those years ago the good people at BHP weren’t all that happy about me calling them “environmental terrorists”. And while I stand by the comments at that time and place I can reassure you all that I was well behaved yesterday. It was a very long day trip this time compared to the two or three days we spent in the area back in the early 90’s when we stayed in a dodgy pub!

Blackfoot - Diary of a Working Man -

I was educated on the bus with a couple of movies watched en route. Note that this was a Year 9 outing. The funniest moment was me realising that Channing Tatum was a boy’s name. Oh, and if I never see another Miley Cyrus movie it will be too soon. At least they watched Captain America.

We love rain here in Australia but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it just needs to rain in the evenings. All this daytime rain is getting in the way of cyclists all over the place especially me. The only good thing about the car, other than being safe and dry, is the stereo. Some songs just seem made for the sound systems in a car, here’s a case in point.

Sammy Hagar – There’s Only One Way To Rock –

It’s 20 years since Kurt Cobain from Nirvana died. I was fairly harsh at the time about the circumstances of his death. These days, with a little more life behind me I’m rather more thoughtful.

Nirvana - Aneurysm (live) -

Also 20 years ago I was away with the Army learning how to take over the world with computers. DJ NotSoFatHenry and I met on this three month course and remain firm friends to this day. We both worshipped at the altar of Henry Rollins' album, "Weight". I have him and his wife DJ Ducky to thank for getting me into Bowie and some other cool music. The guitar squeals in this one are a real treat.

David Bowie - The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell -

Some fads are cool and some are just annoying. The "selfie" craze drove me mad yesterday. Here's two songs that I thought of ...

Ringo Starr - Photograph -

Carly Simon - You're So Vain -

I heard Dan Sultan playing this week on SBS TV's "RockWiz". I was struck by the smoothness of his voice and also that he had a banjo player with him. Cool song...album released today!!

Dan Sultan - The Same Man -

I read this week that Nils Lofgren has been playing with the Boss for 30 years now. You can read the article here should you so choose. He recalls playing some cover songs on the recent Australian tour. Nils also says that no-one plays The Easybeats "Friday On My Mind" because it's too much work....oh really....

Gary Moore - Friday On My Mind -

The Rubens - Friday On My Mind -

David Bowie - Friday On My Mind -

Point made.

Here's a few songs that I've enjoyed playing live in the past. The Midnight Oil tunes are a lot of fun but the concentration that goes into a lot of them at the moment is fairly intense. These are simpler tunes that were just fun to bash out.

First up is one that every single Mr. Walker (my first real band) gig started with...

Georgia Satellites - Hippy Hippy Shakes -

Then there's this one...I enjoyed it because it meant the other guitar player wailed on the sax and you could hear me playing!

Beast of Burden - Bette Midler -

And another gig starter with a different band...

The Screaming Jets - C'mon -

Earlier this week the band played a closed rehearsal to a select audience. A month out from the two Canberra shows we felt that some feedback from punters was a good idea. It was pretty cool to line up the gear as it will be on stage and then proceed to rock out for a couple of hours. Getting Zoë up to sing some backing was a lot of fun as well. No-one would deny that there are still areas that need polishing but the show’s looking good. Seats are selling well so book soon or miss out. Teatro Vivaldi’s at the ANU is the place to throw into your search engine of choice.

Motorhead - We Are The Road Crew -

Anyone would think that I only liked loud music after this episode. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in today. But in the interests of balance wrap your ears around this effort from Nils Lofgren. It's a quiet version of a classic.

Nils Lofgren - Like A Hurricane -

Repeat after me, "no rain tomorrow, no rain tomorrow, no rain tomorrow....". My first guitar teachers loved this song.

Joe Feliciano - Listen To The Rain -

I'll finish with the sobering thought that Syrian refugees now make up 1/4 of Lebanon's population. Something to think about whilst our government pats itself on the back for stopping boat people trying to come here.

That'll do pig, that'll do,

DJ Rob

"And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem" - Steve Earle, Jerusalem, 2002 (song starts about 5:45)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Song of the Week #291

Will it ever stop raining on one of the driest continents on the planet? And why does my guitar still buzz after $400 worth of repairs? Will I get saturated on the bike this weekend? These questions may or may not be answered in this episode.

The Angels - After The Rain -

I got my beloved red guitar back from the repair guy this week. I spent up big to get it into shape. It got the equivalent of a whole new engine in the old body. As you can imagine I was LESS than impressed to plug it in at home and have it buzz like a herd of wild African wasps stuck in a jam tin. Thankfully the repair guy has now responded to my email and wants it back to look at. Lucky for him. Watch this space.

Throwing Muses - Buzz -

I try not to go on and on about my kids here at the World Wide Woozle but this week I might. I'm really proud of Angus. He's not the biggest fan of homework even though he is more than capable of doing it! Over the last week or so he had to write a creative response (we called them stories in my day) to a film they'd watched in class. He's done drafts, been to the teacher, refined and even polished his work. His teacher told him it was really good and had he considered becoming a writer?! Persistence does pay off. I'm not sure how he'll fit it in between being a rugby referee and business tycoon but I guess we'll see soon enough.

The Beatles - Paperback Writer -

Zoe has narrowed down her plans for 2015 to include every science course in the country that has chemistry in it as well as a range of gap year opportunities. What I think is great is that there are so many options for her to explore. At times it is a bit intense but overall rather exciting.

Beastie Boys - Sounds of Science (demo)

Last week I ranted about cyclists. This week it has rained enough to keep me on the bus. Luckily it's an easy week in my training! But my good friend DJ HB is in Italy training hard and hoping for a spot at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The other day her Strava feed popped up a training ride to Switzerland. That's pretty cool!

Hawkwind - Silver Machine -

DJ KatesDaddy put me onto some YouTube clips of what I imagine is some kind of rock music academy in the USA. The kids play really, really well and the clips are professionally put together. I think it is fantastic that they have the chance to play and record such good stuff at an early age. Check this one out...

Aaron's students - No More Tears (Ozzy cover) -

I'm going to finish up this week with a massive shout out to DJ M-L-Ee. She's in hospital at the moment after having surgeons dig around inside her head. I can't imagine how scary that would be for her and her family and I know that she's dealing with some serious pain whilst in recovery. Hopefully a tune might cheer her up. Now I haven't seen DJ M-L-Ee for a few months now but the memories I have include a huge smile that lights up a room. Get well soon and we'll see you in a few weeks.

Axiom - Little Ray of Sunshine -

Knights and Dames have been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. This isn't England, it's Australia. The only Knights here should be the ones on the telly playing Rugby League. Wake up Tony and do something worthwhile with your time.

Midnight Oil - Truganini -

Thanks for reading this week,

Sir DJ Rob

"Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset" - Billy Bragg

Friday, March 21, 2014

Song of the Week #290

On the front page of a major newspaper’s website this morning was the headline, “why cyclists and motorists hate each other so much”. What a load of bollocks. I would say load of sh*t but this is generally a family show. I’m a cyclist, and like most other cyclists I know, I’m a car driver as well. I don’t hate people in cars, in fact I don’t think I hate anyone. What I do dislike intensely is motorists and cyclists who are inconsiderate of each other. Drivers seem to moan a lot about cyclists running red lights. Of course no one in a car has ever done that have they? Yesterday I was out riding with one of my closest friends. As we waited to cross a set of lights another cyclist went straight through the red light. My friend gave her a loud reminder that she was being a loser. There is also a time and a place to ride on the road and, like it or not cycling Nazis, a time to ride backstreets or cycle paths. 5pm on a choked, busy main road is time to suck it up and ride somewhere else. You’ll never win in a collision with a car even if you do have the high moral ground. Finally huge thanks to DJ Ducky who is a driving instructor. She pointed out that if you’re in a car it is your responsibility to check outside before opening the door.

Weddings, Parties, Anything – Wide Open Road -

I’m a fairly serious cyclist in that I ride a lot of kilometres. Racing really isn't my thing at the moment, I just like the way I feel when I ride and as a result of it. Canberra is a fantastic place to get out on two wheels whatever level you are at. There’s flat loops around the lake, great hills out on the Cotter/Uriarra loop and a long hard ride out on the wide shoulder of the highway to Goulburn. We’re spoiled for choice. I like to commute mainly on bike paths because that’s where the cars aren't at busy times of day. Yesterday I was meandering through the ANU campus on the road when I noticed a big blue car coming towards me. I could almost see the driver’s head move in recognition of sighting me…and then his car crossed the centre line aimed straight at yours truly. Fortunately he missed me by a small margin and I’m still here typing but you have to wonder what moronic thought went through his one or two remaining brain cells as he pointed a ton of steel travelling about 50km/h at me and my 10kg bicycle.

Rollins Band - Stop, Look and Listen -

On Wednesday evening DJ Al-ee-Sun and I headed out to see Billy Bragg and his band at the Canberra Theatre. If you were reading this blog last time he was in town you’ll know that I was less than impressed at the gig that time. Thankfully my faith was restored on Wednesday as the show was top class. I do have a few minor quibbles about why we couldn't hear the other guitar player (who was excellent) in a lot of songs and also why Billy needed to change guitars almost every song but they are the equivalent of first world problems. The band was tight, the set list was great and Billy was in fine form.

Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute -

As you all know by now, Billy has done a lot of work with Woody Guthrie's lyrics and music. He told us that he's started playing this next tune again because it resonates so much with him regardless of what year it is. I was introduced to the tune via a tribute album and whilst I love Billy, I think Bruce has the song nailed...

Bruce Springsteen - I Ain't Got No Home -

I took delivery of two cheesy 80s heavy metal CDs today. Autograph's "Sign in Please" and Quiet Riot's "Metal Health". I plan to annoy all and sundry at some stage over the weekend with some fist pumping and headbanging. Neither are particularly serious purchases; it's hardly high art. But sometimes you just want to nod your head to a good tune without having to think too hard. I think it was AC/DC's Malcolm Young who said something along the lines of, "if you want to worry about the lyrics then listen to REM"!

REM - What's The Frequency, Kenneth? -

Scott Asheton,  the original drummer for The Stooges died during the week. His brother Ron who played guitar in the band passed away in 2009. I was a bit too young to appreciate the band until relatively recently. Their influence on rock music is undisputed and of course they launched the career of Iggy Pop.

Iggy & The Stooges - Loose (live 2003) -

Some albums are timeless. For me, one of those is "Xenophobia Why?" by Spy v Spy. Released in 1988 it has some classic songs on it. But what did, and continues to hook me with this LP is the guitar sounds - they are jangly without being harsh and driven without being fuzzy. The lyrics really do have something to say and really haven't dated at all. If you come along to the Oils shows in May you'll probably hear some Spies songs through the PA before the show.

Spy vs Spy - Clarity of Mind -

Spy vs Spy - Soldiers -

Billy Bragg had an Australian singer/songwriter called Courtney Barnett along as his support act. I was apprehensive after watching a few YouTube videos. She played solo which really leaves nowhere to hide! Courtney played scratchy, bluesy Telecaster guitar and the sound filled the room well - almost raspy but not quite. Her lyrics were often very personal and with an almost Dylan-esque delivery as well as having a sneaky sense of dry humour. Vocally she reminded me a bit of Neil Young as well in that you think she won't quite make a note but she gets there in the end. I thought she was pretty good really and if she'd played one or two more songs I wouldn't have complained. Try this one out...

Courtney Barnett - History Eraser -

Every now and then you need to listen to something a bit out of left field. Only people who've seen Billy Bragg on this tour will know why I've been playing this for the last couple of days and loving it!

Kraftwerk - Autobahn -

To close the show, here's a song I was reminded of this afternoon at a most inopportune moment. I was discussing something from my childhood and...ok, ok, it was the Famous Five books, how embarrassing! Anyway, this is a song we sang at school a fair bit in class. Great soaring melody and beautiful lyrics.

John Denver - Annie's Song -

That's all folks,

DJ Rob

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me" - ABBA, Thank You For The Music, 1977

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Song of the Week #289

This delayed episode of Song of the Week is brought to you by the
slowest Telstra NBN connection imaginable. Obviously something is up on
the network somewhere. My apologies.

Football season is upon us here in Australia, and not before time. It
was about 190 days between last year's final and the start of the new
season. Whilst my beloved Magpies were comprehensively thrashed last
night in the opening game it's still better than cricket. Here's a blast
from the past to get you all in the mood.

The Two Man Band - Up There Cazaly -
Little River Band - Playing To Win -

Learning all about Australian Rules Football was essential when I moved
here as a kid. At my new school I remember being given the weekend to go
home and choose a team or risk a bashing on the coming Monday morning.
It was a rough school but in the country you had free choice about who
to support. It wasn't hard to learn to love the game though as it is
fast, skillful and back then was full of characters. I enjoy all kinds
of football but I maintain that Aussie Rules is the best for spectators
by a mile.

I hot footed it into my local record store today to grab a copy of David
Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" on 45. It's a brand new 40th anniversary edition
and it's one of my fave Bowie songs. But I was distracted by other stuff
and anyway, the price was a bit steep! Somehow I came home with some
Springsteen (High Hopes) and Rolling Stones (Hyde Park Live).

David Bowie - Rebel, Rebel -

The live DVD that the above Bowie tune is from is an absolute cracker. I
would highly recommend it.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - No Surrender (live 2013 in
London) -

Michael Sweet who sings and plays guitar for Stryper has released a solo
album. It's not a far stretch from Stryper and that's not a shock. It's
not bad though and as always, there's a message if you're interested.
This track is written ti support abused kids. Well worth a look and listen.

Michael Sweet - I'm Not Your Suicide -

Neil Young raised a huge wad of cash this week on Kickstarter for his
high fidelity portable music device called PONO. The idea is that the
depth of sound is many times better than that of even CD audio.
Personally I think that if Apple is apparently discontinuing the iPod
Classic then Neil may be a few years too late. It will no doubt have a
niche market for audiophiles but will mainstream listeners care enough
to spend $400 on an ugly triangular device?

Neil Young - Computer Age -

Billy is here this coming week. Woo Hoo!! Look out for a report next time.

Billy Bragg - It Says Here -

I'm going to cut this episode short as the internet connection is just a
joke. Again my apologies and I hope that this post actually makes it out
into the ether! I'm going to ride my bike.

Presidents Of The USA - Video Killed The Radio Star -

Up yours Telstra,
DJ Rob