Not Only But Also...
~ Political Song
Writing an essay on Political song writing...
~ Favourite Things
Jim lists a few of his favourite things...
~ Singing the Blues all
aspiring blues artists should read this...
Island Disks if you could take only 10 disks to a desert island,
what would they be?
Island Films and which 10 movies would you take with you?
That Stopped Me In My Tracks
When was the last time a song stopped you in your tracks?
If you had to spend a year on a desert island, and could only take 10
CDs with you, what would they be? Here, in alphabetical order, Jim chooses his favourite albums,
and explains why.
get one thing straight, right from the start - this is an impossible task.
I currently own around 500 CDs. Choosing just 10 to take on this mythical
desert island should be classed as cruel and barbaric treatment! Having
now got that off my chest, here are my
Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited
An instant classic. It's either this
or Blood on The Tracks, and I'd take this, because Dylan has finally
found his rock groove after his early experiments on Bringing
it all Back Home.
There are so many great tracks on this - but then there always were on
Dylan's early albums: the seminal Like a Rolling Stone; It Takes a Lot
to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry; Ballad of a Thin Man; Highway 61
Revisited; and finally, one of the all time great Dylan masterworks, Desolation
Who cares if we don't understand what Desolation Row (and most of
the other songs on the album), are about? Maybe even Dylan himself doesn't
know - it doesn't matter. The songs roll forward, one after the other,
crushing all before them. Resistance is futile. After this album, rock
music would never be the same again.
Lallement: Missa Gallica
Missa Gallica is in the
tradition of other popular folk Masses such as Missa Luba (which
draws on African music), Missa Criolla (Latin American music), and Missa
Flamenca (Flamenco music). You don't have to be Catholic or religious
to enjoy this beautiful music. It is reverential, uplifting, and deeply
moving - often all at the same time.
If I was going to
spend a year on a desert island, this would be the perfect album to play
each morning, while
sitting on the beach, watching the sun rise in the east.
I love Bjork. This really is Bjork's debut as a solo artist, and
what an introduction to the Icelandic star it is. Human Behaviour;
Venus as a Boy; the disco laced There's More to Life Than This;
the torch song, Like Someone in Love; the exhilarating Violently
Happy. If only her song Bachelorette were on this album, it would have
been even more perfect than it already is. Still, it ends with the
wonderful Play Dead, and that will have to do.
Springsteen: The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle
Yes, I know he has released more
'popular' albums, but this, his first album (released in 1973), and Greetings From Asbury Park
Springsteen at his poetic best.
From the exuberant opening of The E Street Shuffle, and on through
a selection amounting to just seven tracks, Springsteen paints a series of
New York portraits, each of which could almost be short movies staring
characters called, Kitty, Wild Billy, Sandy, Spanish Johnny, and
The musical styles on the album range from funk (Kitty's Back), to
acoustic (Wild Billy's Circus Story), to straight out rock and roll
(Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).
As I listened to the album again, while writing this, I couldn't help
thinking that it would be virtually impossible for an artist to get a
major label like CBS (Springsteen's label), to release an album like this
today, and we would all be the poorer for it.
This is not fair. I'm already four CDs in, and haven't even made it past the letter 'B'. Who's idea was this anyway?
Clash: The Essential Clash (2 CDs)
Hey, it's not my fault it's a double
album. At least I haven't chosen my four CD, Yes Songs, collection!
I rediscovered The Clash via a double album compilation of their songs
(covered by other artists), released with the December 2003 issue of UNCUT
I'd forgotten what a great body of work The Clash had produced during
their heyday, and went out looking for a 'best of...' collection. As you
might expect, The Essential Clash, containing 41 songs, has all of
their best material and then some.
Songs like London Calling, Rock The Casbah, Ivan Meets
G.I. Joe, Bankrobber and Somebody Got Murdered will
remind me that my island idyll will one day come to an end, and that the
'real' world is still out there, waiting to welcome me back to reality.
Sylvian: Dead Bees on a Cake
I was driving down Semaphore Road
towards the ocean late one Saturday afternoon listening to Three D Radio,
when they began playing a song I'd never heard, by a performer I had
previously been unaware of.
A golden sun was setting over the ocean as I reached the Esplanade. The combination of sunset, and this amazing piece of music was too much to
resist. I pulled into a parking bay on the foreshore, and sat in the car and watched the sun
dip below the horizon as the song played on and on.
When the announcer came back on air and mentioned the performers name, I
grabbed a piece of paper and wrote it down - David Sylvian. A week
later I found a copy of this album and reacquainted myself with David's nine and a half minute opus, Surrender. I did - and ever since I have been hooked on this album.
Young: Live Rust
This is the album I'd play as I
sharpened my spears before setting out for the day to hunt wild boar! You
want to be pumped before hunting boar, and this album is about as
primal as it gets.
Actually, with 16 tracks on the album, I'd probably start sharpening my
spears at track 11 with, Powderfinger, the next song, Cortez The
Killer, would see me applying my camouflage paint (a mixture of boar's
blood and charcoal). By the time Like a Hurricane ends two songs later,
I'd be primed to kill! Spareribs, anyone?
Lens: Flamma Flamma
If Missa Gallica (see above),
is the album I'd play at the start of each day, this is the
album I'd play at night, as I threw another piece of driftwood on the fire
to create a bed of hot coals on which to roast my day's catch of wild
I first heard Nicholas Lens' amazing
work Flamma Flamma: The Fire Requiem, at its Australian premiere, when it was used as
the theme for the opening ceremony of the 20th Adelaide Festival Of Arts
in 1998. The opening ceremony is traditionally a free community event held at Elder
Park, which sits between the Festival Centre and the River Torrens. As
you might expect, fire was the main element or theme that featured
throughout the Festival's opening event.
I remember dozens of huge papier-mâché statutes, illuminated from within
by candles, and these structures and the people who bore them aloft, wound
their way in three long, slow processions through the 25000 people who had gathered
in the park to experience and take part in this incredible event. I
remember archers shooting flaming arrows onto barges floating on the
water. Structures on the barges subsequently caught fire and burnt as they floated down
river. All this and much more was taking place as Flamma Flamma was
being performed live on stage.
I also remember being overwhelmed by the whole event. By the wonderful music,
by the atmosphere present on the night, and by the sheer spectacle
unfolding before me. I have been to opening events for the Adelaide
Festival, before and since 1998, but none of them have left the impression
on me that Flamma Flamma did on that perfect summer night in
Paul & Mary: Lifelines
I picked up this amazing album for a
couple of dollars, and was blown away by the great collection of songs,
and guest performers featured on it. I must confess, before buying this
CD, I hadn't listened to Peter, Paul & Mary for almost 30 years. While
I still have vinyl copies of some of their albums from the 1960's, I had
no idea of what to expect from this 1995 release.
To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Even without the
help of Judy Collins, B.B. King, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Holly Near
and several other guest singers and musicians, I still think this album
would be a classic and worthy of inclusion on this list.
PP&M were always great interpreters of other people's songs, and this
hasn't changed. The 15 songs on this collection range from the
traditional, River of Jordan, House of The Rising Sun, to the
contemporary, The Kid, Home is Where The Heart Is, For The Love of It
All, and many others.
It reminded me why PP&M rose so quickly to the top of the folk tree in
the early 60's: great songs, wonderful melodies, beautiful harmonies, and
a trio of performers who clearly love and respect each other, even after more
than forty years of singing and recording together.
Forbert: Mission of The Crossroad Palms
The vastly underrated Mr. Forbert has
released a string of consistently wonderful albums since his debut, Alive
On Arrival in 1978. To relegate him to the pantheon of 'one hit
wonders' (after his one hit, Romeo's Tune), is to do the man a
I had a lot of trouble deciding between this 1995 recording, or his
follow-up album, Rocking Horse Head, released in 1996, while
putting this list together. Both of them offer a collection of outstanding
songs, but I've finally gone with Mission... because of its sense
of optimism and fun. Even when he is dealing with serious themes,
Steve sounds like he is having an absolute ball recording this album, and
his enthusiasm is quite infectious.
There are so many other albums I could have chosen: Van Morrison's Inarticulate
Speech of The Heart; Braver Newer World by Jimmie Dale Gilmore; Curtis
Mayfield's New World Order; Joni Mitchell's Hejira, Nick Drake, Paul Kelly,
Salif Keita, Talking Heads, Tom Russell, and on and on...
10 CDs would you take on your twelve month desert island stay?
Go straight to CD Baby and order the CD...
Go straight to CD Baby and order the CD...
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