Saturday, 18 December 2010

Ten Wicked Cool Christmas Songs...

It's Christmas time, and there's plenty need to be afraid.
So if your petrified of hearing Mariah Carey one more fucking time, then you don't need to give up on christmas songs altogether. Here is your present from me, ten christmas songs that are freakin cool.

10. Joe Pesci - If It Doesn't Snow for Christmas.
Pesci, of Goodfellas (and Home Alone) fame, one hell of a funny song.

9. Leadbelly - Christmas is a-Comin.
Blues legend Leadbelly, just a great singer. On his childrens album - one of the few ex-cons to have realeased a christmas album.  Recorded around 1941.

8. Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
Just because he is the Boss. But seriously, wtf is Little Steven wearing on his head. Hilarious.

7. Corey Taylor - XM@$
Here's mr slipknot himself. Only heard this today on radio. I feel this way sometimes. Especially when I was in Manchester town centre today on the saturday before christmas - not a wise move. Needless to say i didn't last long. 'Fa la la la la go fuck yourself'. Possibly my favourite christmas line of all time.

6. Clarence Carter - Back door Santa
Ah, nothing like a good christmas innuendo.

5. Keith Richards - Run Run Rudolph
This is what christmas songs should be, blues mannn.

4. The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight)
Proof that a cool christmas song doesn't have to rebel.

3. The Brian Setzer Orchestra - Santa Drives a Hot Rod
Incredibly cool man.

and press the blue play button in the window thing - it'll be worth it.

2. Boss Martians - 3 Ghosts.
Ok the Muppets Christmas Carol was pretty cool, but hey, bet you never thought you'd hear Charles Dickens' masterpeice condensed into two minutes of rock and roll.
(Could only get a link to theire myspace)

1. Bob Dylan - Must Be Santa
Big surprise, I put Dylan top. But this song is cool because it's so out of character. And he wears some sinister wig in the video. Plain wierd, and for some strange reason which I can't explain - awesome.
Its christmas, just a little bit disturbing, And i like that.

So there we are. Now you don't have to sit through incessant ramblings of all that other shite.
Peace out.

Monday, 6 December 2010

61 Reasons to be thankful for Tom Waits...

A happy 61st birthday to a true great, actor, singer, soundsmith, whatever.
I don't know who said it, but they put it far better than I ever could...
"If America was a nation of circus freaks, Tom Waits would be Bruce Springsteen."
So sit back, stick on some of his classics, pour yourself a coffee or a brandy and crack open a 20-deck... Some of his most memorable facts, songs, quotes, photos and film/tv appearances...
Here we go, it's gonna get wierd....
Also, please remove your shoes when you enter and leave them by the door. No dogs allowed.

1. He claims he was born in the back of a taxi in Pomona California, popped out, had a shave then grabbed a beer.

2. His first album, Closing Time has Tom crooning like a jazz-singer, this was way before the voice became what he is now famous for. Check out 'Ol' 55' later a hit for the Byrds.

3. He says that the place he hates the most in the world is Disneyland - he said it primes kids for Las Vegas.

4.  He sued Doritos for copying his style on an advert which ripped off his song 'Step right Up'. And won the case!

5. He wrote a play, Frank's Wild Years which debuted in 1986.

6. His appearance in Shrek 2, a cartoon version of himself singing 'Little drop of Poison'.

7. On Portobello Road in London there's a massive tom waits album painted on the wall...

8. He once said 'My father was an exhaust manifold, and my mother was a tree'

9. "The other day I heard my older kids talking to my younger boy, and they were saying 'dont EVER, dont EVER ask Dad to help you with your homework'. They said I made up a war once."

10. Tom on Keith Richards - 'He's been borrowing money from me for so long that I had to put a stop to it. He's a gentleman, he came into the studio and took his hat off and all these birds flew out.'

11. The lyric 'The moon ain't romantic, it's intimidating as hell.'

12. He once opened for Frank Zappa.

13. The fanastic wierdness of Rain Dogs, from the film BigTime... Some nice dancing too, and the accordian player is cool as.

14.  He loves climbing trees.

15.  He was even on family guy...

16. 'You know, I don't like straight lines. The problem is that most instruments are square and music is always round'

17. He has a guitar made out of a 2x4 plank of wood he bought in Cleveland. He said 'You know in Iraq, you can't have a guitar in the window of a music store because it's too sexy, you know the curves. So I could go over there with these 2x4 guitars and really take the country by storm.'

18. The song Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the wind in Copenhagen'. About throwing up in another country!

19. He makes smoking look like an art-form.

20. Even his album titles sound cool, i'd just buy them on the name itself...wait I already did.
Mule Variations, Bounced Cheques, Blood Money, Glitter & Doom, Nighthawks at the Diner, Swordfishtrombones.

21. 'I don't get played on the radio. Marcel Marceau gets more air play than I do'

22. God's Away on Business - why is he in this video in a room with a load of emus! Awesome.

23.  No matter how wierd he gets, he can also shock you with something just as beautiful and calming. Some of the best love songs ever written.

24. Ralph the dog on Sesame street was modelled on him.
25. "A gentleman is someone who can play the accordian, but doesn't"

26. His recent collaboration with rapper Kool Keith.

27. He's an amzing source of interesting (useless?!) facts.. here are a couple...
In Claradon Texas, it's illegal to dust any public building with a feather buster.

28. 'The barnacle is the animal with the largest penis in proportion to its body'

29. 'In washington, it's illegal to paint polka dots on the american flag'

30. 'There are only two things you can throw out of the window of a moving car, legally. Do you know what they are? Water, and feathers. Everything else you can get in trouble for.'

31. He did his first real interview in years for his record label, but insisted on interviewing himself.
You can read the whole thing here - lots more interesting facts promised...

32. His 'press conference' launching the Glitter and Doom tour... Brilliant.

33. 'I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotamy'

34.  'I dont't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't get a drink'

35. This stroke of genius...

36. "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things."

37. "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.

We are monkeys with money and guns"
38. "You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her."

39. "I've never been a fan of personality-conflict burgers and identity-crisis omelets with patchouli oil. I function very well on a diet that consists of Chicken Catastrophe and Eggs Overwhelming and a tall, cool Janitor-in-a-Drum. I like to walk out of a restaurant with enough gas to open a Mobil Station."

40. His appearance with Iggy Pop in the film Coffee & Cigarettes.

41. Toms appearences on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. Just brilliant from two absolute legends.

42. He even tells childrens storys...

43. "Most of the people I admire, they usually smell funny and don't get out much. It's true. Most of them are either dead or not feeling well."

44. His album Raindogs, one of my personal favourites. It switches between tender and melodic, to plain wierd.

45. The percussion on the song 'Earth died Screaming'. It's just like banging two sticks together.

46. On nighthawks at the diner, when he says 'I'm so horny, the crack of dawn better watch itself around me.'

47. (When asked for advice for younger musicians) "Break windows, smoke cigars, and stay up late. Tell 'em to do that, they'll find a little pot of gold."

48. He played the Devil in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnaccuss, the last film with Heath Ledger in.

49. As heard in the intro to Train song on BigTime...
"All right. Actually I get asked... Well... look, I think the question I get asked the most is... I mean, it happens a lot. Enough that I would remark on it. A lot of people come up to me and they say, 'Tom, is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?' And my answer is always the same. I say, 'Well, listen. We're gonna have to go all the way back to the Civil War.' Apparently, a stray bullet actually pierced the testicle of a Union soldier, and then lodged itself in the ovaries of an eighteen year old girl, who was actually a hundred feet from him at the time. Well, the baby was fine. She was very happy, guilt free and... Of course, the soldier was a little pissed off. When you think about it, it's actually a FORM of intercourse, but... not for everyone. Those who love action maybe." (Transcribed by Ulf Berggren. Tom Waits eGroups discussionlist, 2000)

50. Bruce's Version of Jersey Girl (alright i'm still not sure whose i prefer actually, but they are both amazing)

51. "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

52. He even turned up alongside Kiera Knightley in Domino...

53. Ok heres one for all you fans of 'The Wire'

54. This photo...

55. He recorded his own version of the Dwarves song from snow white, heigh ho...

56. All stripped down sounds like Ned from South Park...

57.  He even rocks the christmas lights...

58. His voice was described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourdon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."

59. He takes himself out on dates - The Heart of Saturday Night

60. He even does christmas songs...

61. And we'll finish with this one, - seeing as it is his birthday...

Thanks again. Hope you like. Come back, have a watch.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Top 50...

 Bob Dylan's Top 50 Songs...
(in my opinion, hopefully yours will be different - if not then we do live in a strange old world)
Please comment what you think, some choices will be obvious, some not so obvious. Some glaring omissions - hey it's personal taste folks.

Also - please click on the follow blog button above, i'm just starting out and will be doing lots of music blogs, on gigs I go to, and stuff similar to this on other artists (The Band, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Springsteen etc) and spread the word.
So here we go, my top 50 Bob Dylan songs (either written or recorded by the man at some point).
And believe me, it was hard to get it down to fifty - if you know me, you know my obsession with the bloke. I tried to get a good mix in of new and old.
This is in no way a greatest hits list, if you want that, get the CDs. This is pretty much, if I was told i could only listen to 50 Bob Dylan songs ever again... It was really hard too - to leave out such gems as Blowin in the Wind and Knockin on Heaven's Door.

So i've listed them here, I tried not to waffle on too much. Maybe it's a nice introduction to those unfamiliar. For those who are experts, i'd love to hear what you think and i'll happily explain in more detail my choices and why things were left off.


50. Someone's Got a Hold of my Heart - The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 - 1991 (rec 1985)
So in at fifty, never released on an album, and an early draft for what become Tight Connection to my Heart. I just prefer the lyrics so much, and stripped back feel.

49. Romance in Durango - Desire - 1976
One of many Dylan songs that could have been made into an entire film. Scarlett Rivera's violin and gypsy beat - absolute quality. Also check out Dylan performing it in 2003 in London, the first time it was revived since the Rolling Thunder Revue in 76.

48. Silvio - Down in the Groove - 1988
Perhaps pre-eminating one of the greatest TV characters in history, Silvio Dante (Little Steven) in the Sopranos. Its a fast paced fun song with the great line 'Silvio, I gotta go, find out something only dead men know.' Like with most Dylan lyrics, I'm not intelligent enough to know or even conjecture what it means ( usually nothing) while self professed 'Dylanologists' ponder endlessly. (self ordained professors maybe?)
I just know it sounds freakin cool.

47. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You - Bootleg Series Volume 5 - 2002 (rec 1975, written 1969)
Ok sure most of you will know that this song first appeared on Dylan's country outing Nashville Skyline in 69, however the version I love it this raucous re-interpretation from the Rolling Thunder Revue Tour.
With some great lyric changes, the crashing drums.... Get Ready!!!!

46. You're a Big Girl Now - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
The first song on the list from my favourite album of all time. Not going to get into which version is better, then New York or Minnesota. Dylan's voice here is fantastic. 'A change in the weather, is know to be extreme. But what's the sense of changing horses in midstream'

45. Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Bringing it all Back Home - 1965
The lyrics in this. Once again 'My love is like raven, at my window with a broken wing'. Just sounds great, no idea what it's meant to mean, dont really care.

44. Sara - Desire - 1975
Probably one of the most personal of Dylan's songs, sung directly to his (soon to be ex) wife.
The imagery here gets me everytime.

43. Sign on the Cross - (Unreleased) - Rec 1967 (Genuine Basement Tapes)
Ok, this one has never had an official release. Recorded in the basement of Big Pink with the Band after the infamous bike crash. Dylans voice and Garth Hudsons organ make it a kind of spooky hymn. If you dont know this one - try and get yourself a copy. Or ask me!

42. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands - Blonde on Blonde - 1966
Epic 11 minutes of thin wild mercury sound. A great story from Al Kooper on the sessions, where the band thought it was just a four minute song, so every chorus after that point was played like it was the climax and Dylan kept going.

41. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Freewheelin Bob Dylan - 1963
Apocalyptic genius. Still as relevant today.

40. When I Paint My Masterpeice - Greatest Hits Vol 2 - 1972(?)
Ok the definitive (opinion) version here is that by The Band on Cahoots (1971), with the european sound. Love the 'dirty Gondola' line.

39. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Highway 61 Revisited - 1965
The organ makes it. Always a good live one too.

38. Changing of the Guards - Street Legal - 1978
The wild organ, the backing vocals, the lyrics. Again could be a film. (theres gotta be a blog about songs that could be entire movies soon).

37. Every Grain of Sand - Shot of Love - 1981
Perhaps the greatest song to come out of the 'Gospel' period. I ain't gonna preach, just listen to it.

36.  Ain't Talkin - Modern Times - 2006
So modern Bob, if you can get past the voice (i love it), this is a wierd story - with end of the world, kind of religous elements. The misty garden etc. Another live stalwart, saw this live in Birmingham UK in 07, best song of the night.

35. Things Have Changed - Wonder Boys Soundtrack - 2000
Oscar winning soundtrack (If you see him live, he always has his oscar statue on top of his amp), see the great video with Bob and Michael Douglas (and Katie Holmes!). I used to care, but things have changed. I know how ya feel Bob.

34.  Can you Please Crawl Out Your Window - (Single) - 1966
Recorded for the Blonde on Blonde sessions with the Band (then the Hawks). Just way cool.

33. With God on Our Side - The Times they-are a Changing - 1964
I just love the MTV Unplugged version. It's hard to think lyrics like these were written by a human (were they?). And did Judas Iscariot have God on his side?

32. The Times they are a Changing - The Times they are a Changing - 1964
Era defining, I must have heard this song thousands of time. Timeless and as valid as ever.

31. I Feel a Change Comin' On - Together Through Life - 2009
Bob's latest album, released just after Obama moved into the White House. Possibly social commentry from a guy who hasn't done for a while (maybe). Or just a cool song. His voice sounds great IMO. (ed. Just listened to this back, wow - some lines here. 'I'm listening to Billie Joe Shaver, and i'm reading James Joyce. Some people they tell me, I got the blood of the land in my voice.'

30. It's All Over Now Baby Blue - Bringing it all back Home - 1965
I can remember the first time i heard this song, and actually listened to the lyrics. I was 14. The rest is history. (IMO Them's version of this is the best Dylan cover of all time - yeah that's right better than Hendrix doing Watchtower)

29. Simple Twist of Fate - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
Simple love story - maybe. Chillingly tender. Just awesome.

28. Workingman's Blues #2 - Modern Times - 2006
Another live classic, if it wasn't for number ??? this would be the best Bob live song i ever saw. Phrasing, melody, its got the lot.

27. Mr Tambourine Man - Bringing it all back Home - 1965
Predictable yeah. So what. Surprised it's not higher, yeah maybe you're right. All versions of this, from Live 66, to Budokan to the Byrds.

26. Blind Willie McTell - Bootleg Series Vol. 3 - 1991 (rec 1983)
One of life's biggest mysteries. Why the hell was this left off Infidels. Ah well, just be glad we have it. Also check out The Band doing this one on their 1993 album Jericho.

25. Brownsville Girl - Knocked out Loaded - 1986
Arguably the best thing to come out of the 80s for Dylan ( some would say not that great a title). But still, this is another epic story. Gregory Peck would have made a great (not) Henry Porter.

24. I'm not There (1956) - (Soundtrack) - 2007 (rec 1967)
Another basement tape classic, remained unreleased for forty years. The quality isn't great, but there's definitly something special going on here.

23.  High Water (For Charley Patton) - Love & Theft - 2001
This ominous banjo tune, on the album released September 11th 2001. I just love the line - 'I ain't no pig without a wig I hope you treat me kind.'

22. Cross the Green Mountain - (Soundtrack) - 2003
Another epic, a civil war song. See the cool video for Dylan wearing a wig as a civil war general. From the Gods and Generals film.

21. Not Dark Yet - Time out of Mind - 1997
The highlight of the wonderful comeback album. Daniel Lanois produced. Pretty special.

20. Visions of Johanna - Blonde on Blonde - 1966
What can I say, surely nothing that hasn't been said better elsewhere.
'The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face' - is this the greatest lyric of all time - discuss.

19. Masters of War - Freewheelin Bob Dylan - 1963
Again, I can't tell you much about these. Expect how special they are. Some of the live versions from this year have been good. With Dylan repeating the last line of every verse. 'And i'll stand over your grave till i'm sure that you're dead'. Still sends chills.

18. Just Like a Woman - Blonde on Blonde - 1966

17. Lily, Rosemary and Jack of Heart - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
This deserves a discussion of its own. The film, who would play Lily, Big Jim, The Jack. Would love the see Jack Nicholson as Big Jim.

16. Idiot Wind - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
The imagery, when this comes on my ipod I still always have to stop what i'm doing.

15. Ballad of a Thing Man - Highway 61 Revisited - 1965
For some reason youtube doesn't have many Dylan videos anymore - so these will have to do. I guess i don't need to explain these top songs, so i'll let the songs do the talking. Or listen to the original. Tried to find Bob doing the songs where I can. Better videos appreciated if you know of any.
From the film - I'm Not There

14.  Don't Think Twice It's Alright - Freewheelin Bob Dylan - 1963
Johnny Cash Cover

13.  Forever Young - Planet Waves -1974
Here's the real Bob at the Last Waltz

12. Ring Them Bells - Oh Mercy - 1989
Sufjan Stevens

11. Mississippi - Love & Theft - 2001
Dixie Chicks (sorry!)

10. Shelter from the Storm - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
Live Bob Dylan on the 78 Tour

9. Positively 4th Street - (single) - 1965

8. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - Bringing it all Back Home - 1965
Dylan live 65

7. Hurricane - Desire - 1975
Couldn't even find a decent cover, so here's the backstory to the song.

6. I Shall be Released - Greatest Hits - (written 1967)
The best version is on the Band's debut, music from Big Pink. Richard Manuel - enough said.

5.  If You See Her - Say Hello - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
Keef himself doing his best Dylan impression - not great quality
4. Desolation Row - Highway 61 Revisited - 1965
Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead

3. Jokerman - Infidels - 1983
It won't let me embed the video, so view it here - you won't regret, the original version.

2. Tangled up in Blue - Blood on the Tracks - 1975
Dylan Live in 75, amazing version

1. Like A Rolling Stone - Highway 61 Revisited - 1966
The greatest song of all time (arguably, or possibly not). Here it is on the 66 'Judas' tour.

Well thanks, I hope that's been a fun time for you all. And if nothing else kept you from doing something boring for half an hour. Please follow the blog and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Miz - New WWE Champion

So, Fizz cashed in Money in the Bank on the raw after a very dissappointing Survivor Series and pinned Orton to win his first championship. I still don't like him, but maybe it will make things interesting for a while.

Basically Cena got fired or summet in the storyline unfortunately only, he bitched about for a bit. For some reason him an Orton are mates now when they were tearin each other apart a year ago. Then Orton had a title match with Wade Barrett, won then Miz came out.
Ok it was quite good.
Give Santino the title, then i'll stop moanin.

Happy 60th Stevie

Here's wishing Happy 60th to the coolest cat around, call him what you will;
Miami Steve, Little Steven, Stevie Van Zandt or Silvio.
Guitarist, songwriter, human rights whatever, actor, dj - legend.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Monday Cover Version...

It's monday, so a classic cover version. Doesn't get much better than this cockers.