Category Archives: music

Beth Orton

Review: Music

Beth Orton and Sugaring Season (Deluxe Edition) 2013

Beth-Orton-Sugaring-Season-e1341933656637Sometimes you buy an album then life gets in the way and you do not get to the chance to really get into the music. This has happened several times to me with the music of Beth Orton. It was a case of bad timing.

I have had albums by Beth for a decade or more but it was only very recently, last week in fact, that I was able to dedicate serious time to sit and listen to her albums. I am recommending her music and would love to see a stage performance. Just dreaming!

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Lucinda Williams

Announcement: New Album by Lucinda Williams

Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Lucinda_Williams_singerBy the time you read this the new album by Lucinda Williams may have been released. All the reviews have been very positive and given the previous albums have been amazing, this definitely bodes well for another great listening experience. As you may have gathered, I rate Lucinda Williams very high on my list of musicians.

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Linton Kwensi Johnson

Music Review online

Linton Kwensi Johnson, more time, from Paris Live, 2004

photo_We have been bombarded recently with a lot of neo-conservative rubbish about how everyone needs to work longer hours and stay in work for more years. There’s so much indoctrination being put about how people need to do more and expect less. I disagree.

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Colour Music at the ANU Drill Hall

Review: Visual Arts

Colour Music at the ANU Drill Hall

P1070401I wandered into this exhibition with some doubts given the title. I have long been sceptical of the direct link that some artists and authors make between music and the visual arts. This is not to say that some visual artists may be influenced by some music or rhythms.

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Geraint Watkins, Moustique

Review: Music
Geraint Watkins, Moustique, 2014

moustiqueGeraint Watkin’s albums have been few and they have not commanded a lot of attention. I suspect this is because of the idiosyncratic mix of music styles.

This 2014 album by Geraint Watkins has dominated the car stereo for quite a while now.  It is fun to hear the music close up.  This album is recommended if you like this sort of mix.

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Music as Corporate Symbol

Review: Music
Hunters & Collectors: Throw Your Arms Around Me (1986)

HuntersCollectors2The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.

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John Hiatt, Terms of My Surrender

Review: Music
Terms of My Surrender, John Hiatt 2014

john-hiatt-terms-of-my-surrender-insetApparently John Hiatt described himself on this album as being  “John, the Troubadour Folk Singer Blues Guy”.  It is true and this is a very good album.

If you already know John Hiatt’s work, this is the 22nd Album, then I can recommend you add this album to your collection. It is that good. If you are unfamiliar with any or most of his albums, than start right here. It is that good.

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Eliot Fisk & Paco Peña

Music online
a real gem on NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

There’s not much more to say about Eliot Fisk & Paco Peña than as stated online: Eliot Fisk looks like the happiest man on the planet. Watch that face as he plays guitar. Between performing music by J.S. Bach and partnering with the world’s best flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, Fisk can barely control his joy.

Paul Costigan, 7 July 2014

Joe Cocker

Review: Music
Joe Cocker: Mad Dog 1970 to Fire It Up 2013


It was in a Newcastle (NSW) cinema that I first experienced the power of Joe Cocker’s voice and his music. It was 1971 and they were showing Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Somehow the advertising may have confused some, as not long after the movie started several older people departed. Those that stayed were rocked out of our heads!

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Leon Russell

Review: Music
Leon Russell, Life Journey, 2014

LeonRussel-LifeJourneySeeing a CD put out by Leon Russell throws up a host of memories. I remember the first time I saw him perform and heard that voice. That was back with the release of the film, Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen. (there’s a review of Joe Cocker to follow soon)

In between there have been countless albums, several of which have found their way to my collections.

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Aaron Neville

Review: Music
Aaron Neville, My True Story 2013

Cover_Final_My_True_Story_lo-205x205Aaron Neville’s voice is the real thing. He is now over 70 years old and he sounds fantastic. Having several of his CDs in my collection, it was with heightened interest that I approached this one given the publicity that he was revisiting songs from his own childhood.

If you are interested in some fantastic new versions of doo-wop music, then this album will bring you hours of pleasure.

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Ray Charles and Country & Western

Reviews: Music
Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2

Sid_Feller_with_Ray_Charles_-_ca_1962These two albums were released in the early 1960s and they still hold up; they sound great.

The release of these albums was a landmark at the time as it saw this successful singer-songwriter cross over from his usual rhythm and blues and gospel singing to interpret classic country & western music.

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Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones

Review Music
Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones
Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles (2011)

Here_We_Go_Again_Celebrating_the_genius_of_Ray_CharlesThis labour of love is a live tribute album to Ray Charles. The album is of a 2009 performance by Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones.

I have reviewed a similar collaboration by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis that was previously released – Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008  – for my comments on that album  –  click here.

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Mary Gauthier

Review: Music
Mary Gauthier’s Mercy Now ( 2004 ); and Between Daylight and Dark (2007)

colour-picI am not sure when I became interested in Americana music. Some people think Americana is another part of American country music. Not for me. It sits somewhere between country, rock and at times a there’s a little of the blues and ever now and then throw in a folk ingredient.

This is roughly where I put these two albums by Mary Gauthier. She has since put out three others and is due any week now to release another.

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William Elliott Whitmore

Review: Music
William Elliott Whitmore: Field Songs (2011) & Animals in The Dark (2009)

whitmoreReviewers love to be able to link a singer’s style to others. In reviewing William Elliott Whitmore they surely do struggle.

While his sound is definitely within the broad Americana set, his folk-blues voice makes him sound much older than he is, which is in his mid thirties. At times he sounds something like an old style preacher with a husky tone. Most of his songs centre around the American landscape, farming, life and death and all things in between.

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Wynton Marsalis / Willie Nelson

Review: Music
Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis

Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008

MI0001977326Take two musicians with different musical styles. One a jazz trumpeter and his band.

Then add an individually styled country singer, who has stayed outside the mainstream country music, and has produced a huge number of records often with different approaches and different bands.

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Suzanne Vega

Review: Music

Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles. 2014

If you are one of the many who enjoyed Suzanne Vega’s words and music, then I can almost guarantee that you will love this new album. This new album is Suzanne Vega at her best.

Her humour is there as is her wonderful grasp of story telling and wisdom of dealing with some of the big life issues – although she has layered some of this with a little folklore approach.

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Ian Moss

Review: Music

Ian Moss: two acoustic albums: Six Strings and Let’s Get Together

moss-letsgetLooking back into my collection and listening to music that has been neglected over the last decade, I have focused on the music of Ian Moss and two acoustic albums. Six Strings (2005) &  Let’s Get Together (2007)

There’s a lot of other music by Ian Moss and his music was a key to the success of Cold Chisel. The other musician that I have followed post Cold Chisel is Don Walker; more about him some other time.

All good Australian music!

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Peter Green Splinter Group

Review: Music
Peter Green Splinter Group: Robert Jonson Songbook


Digging back into my collection and listening to music that has been neglected over the last decade, this time the  focus is on the music of Peter Green Splinter Group.

The history of Peter Green as a musician is best described as mixed.  You are talking about one the best British blues guitarists with connections to John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, and much more.

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Joe Henry

Review: Music

Joe Henry – Civilians (2007)

This is an exercise of revisiting some music that was bought at the time (being 2007) but only in recent days have I had the time to give it a serious listen, or two.

Joe Henry has been making music for a long time and is also well established as a producer of other musician’s albums.

His music changed in slightly about 10 years ago; as a singer songwriter he settled into a comfortable mix of styles. It remains hard to define.

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Pete Seeger

Notice: Pete Seeger 2019 – 2014

Of course I go back to the days of Peter, Paul and Mary and their concerts. In fact somewhere deep in the cupboard, there’s a vinyl album or two of Peter, Paul and Mary. Maybe a little worn out but just playable.

I had not followed Peter Seeger’s career that closely, until I watched the movie in 2008 , Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007). I then noticed that he was still out there and  I observed that he appeared on the news occasionally taking a stand with others. He was still taking risks.

Watching that movie made me think again about being true to your beliefs. And that  occasionally we have to take a stand on issues and sometimes there are consequences.

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Neil Young and honour the treaties

Neil Young:
Canada’s Conservative government exploit Alberta tar sands

from the Guardian: 14 January 2014

Neil Young has entered into a war of words with Canada’s Conservative government, accusing officials of “killing” First Nations through their exploitation of the Alberta tar sands. The Toronto-born singer has exchanged verbal volleys with the office of prime minister Stephen Harper, who replied that “even … rock stars” rely on oil.

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Natalie Merchant

Review: The Music of Natalie Merchant

Neil Young sings a song with the line: singing a song won’t change the world! I do not necessarily agree as sometimes the song will add public and high-profile voice to issues. But that could be what he meant.

The issues that people need to take a stand on are endless. People do need to speak up and not be silenced for fear of speaking out. I have witnessed so many people in this category of being silent when it would have been timely, and maybe risky, to express a point of view publicly or in support of others. Continue reading Natalie Merchant

The Vinyl Record

Opinion: Music
The new interest in vinyl Records

indexIn case you are wondering, this album cover was deemed very un-Beatle and was withdrawn.

The album covers were things that many of us used to enjoy a lot. The covers were something we would read, admire the graphics and then prop them up so that we could look at them while the vinyl was being played. It was a visual experience.

Mind you there were many crap album covers that made you wonder, What were they thinking? Then there were those tapes in those plastic cassette cases in the eighties. The rectangular boxes just did not measure up aesthetically.

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Neil Young

Re-Posted -from Rolling Stone

An Update: Review of concert in NY

Neil Young Stuns With a Spellbinding Carnegie Hall Show of a marathon set featuring a wealth of Seventies classics 

Early last year (2013) I was blown away (literally) by the very loud concert by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. At the concert, and apparently some others around the world, many in the audience expressed some desire for Neil to play more of his older materials. And Neil Young just loves people from the audience who tell him what he should do!

Some I noticed departed half way through the concert. They had obviously not been listening to his later materials and had ignored the sign that said Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The Crazy Horse ingredient always means loud rock and grunge music.

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Roasanne Cash

Review: Music

Rosanne Cash, The List 2009

Rosanne Cash is about release a new album in mid January 2014.The album is titled The River and the Thread.

This news sent me back to play some of her other work, including two favourites, Black Cadillac (2006) and the more recent The List (2009). (she has not released an album since then)

In Rosanne’s on words: “When I was 18, I was on the road with my dad (Johnny Cash). One day, we were sitting in the tour bus, talking about songs, and he mentioned a song, and I said, “I don’t know that one.” He mentioned another one, and I said, “I don’t know that one, either.” Then he started to get alarmed, so he spent the rest of the day making a list on a legal pad, and at the top he put “100 Essential Country Songs.”

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Neil Young

Review: Music

Neil Young: CD  At The Cellar Door

Here’s another live set from Neil Young’s archive. There’s been a few of late and as before the critical response has been fairly positive. This one is a selection of live recording of Neil by himself over several nights in late 1970. At first I was not so sure but I have warmed to it with a few adjustments. Having heard so many of the songs in different versions, when I am listening to this stripped down early version, I suspect that my listening is layered with memories of the other versions.

Warning: I have been a fan of Neil’s music from early 1971.

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Nick Cave

 Review: Music

Nick Cave Live from KCRW

Just when I thought I had all my own Christmas purchases sorted, along comes another.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have announced the release of the new album – ‘Live from KCRW’.

The live album features a stripped-down line-up performing classic Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material alongside four songs from their recent album ‘Push The Sky Away’.

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Caro Emerald

Music Review: Caro Emerald

Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, 2011

The Shocking Miss Emerald, 2013

Do you want to dance around the house? Want to dance away the night? Want to lift your spirits? Want to sing along and swing to some great music?

Then let me introduce you to Carlo Emerald and two CDs that you should consider adding to your music library.

If it was possible for me to wear out a CD, or the digital version of same, then Caro’s 2011 Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor is one of these. Whenever I playing this CD, it spins on the player for days – or more.

This music will cheer you up! and make you dance.

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Music: Patty Griffin

Review: Music

Music of Patty Griffin

Over the last decade I have dipped in and out of the music of Patty Griffin. Americana and some country music and several in between are some of the many lines of my music interest. In this case I do like the concept of Americana meets Led Zepplin!

Yes Robert is Patty’s partner. Here’s a couple from her current album, American Kid. Robert appears on several of the songs.

and there’s more..

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Music: Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt

Review: Music

Night: Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt

nightThis is something I stumbled onto one late night.

Mix a country singer with a classical pianist and you get this wonderful music.

Admittedly songs about night always appeal.

Here are three You Tube clips – beginning with the main song from the album – night and dreams.

Continue reading Music: Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt

Lou Reed

Music Music Music

Lou Reed has left us. Too many lyrics and tunes in my head to make much of a comment. We need voices to question our society. Not so sure that the next generations of singers are so committed.

We will have to play a few of his albums this week.

Thoughts go to Laurie Anderson. Another strong voice on so many things.

Here’s a link.


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