Category Archives: FROM THE VAULT

From the Vault Friday: Tom Waits

On the city end of Oxford Street, just down from the inglorious glow of the Gloria Jeans coffee shop, just up from the fluorescent fervour of the IGA supermarket, lies my favourite Sydney restaurant, The Falconer. The food is great, the staff are knowledgeable (and bearded) and there’s a record player that spins old school records of the Neil Young variety all night long. Good times! I try not to go there too often because I don’t want to sabotage the joy I feel when dining there by making it too much of an everyday occurrence, and also, I am all too aware that I need more whiskey sours in my life like… you know where I am going…

Anyhow, last Friday, my gal pal Anna and I polished off two delicious mains and a bottle of plonk and were considering our late night dancing options when the dessert menu so politely placed on our table started to woo our already bloated bellies.

Alongside a fairly forgettable, though I’m sure delicious selection of classic after dinner sugar hits, there was one dessert singing to us in a gravelly, come hither, what you don’t really want but what you really, desperately need voice: The Tom Waits. What a name! And ingredients to match! It was a dark chocolate mousse with tobacco syrup, whiskey ice-cream and meringue powder.

Over more wine, Anna and I shared Tom Waits. He was delicious. I’ve thought about him non-stop ever since. And so here he is again, on a Friday, in fine but not food form.

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From the Vault Friday: Old Man 1971 via Father’s Day

Of all the Hallmark holidays, it’s Father’s Day that fills me with the greatest sense of dread. My Dad is long gone. He had a massive heart attack on a cold June night seven years ago. He was 47. I was 21. I broke. There is much more to this, much more to this, but it’s bigger than the blog. But where were we? It’s Father’s Day this weekend.

My Dad was a drinker and a gambler and a smoker. A lovable but essentially hopeless bastard. He had two great loves: my mother and the Labor party. He taught geography and economics at school but at home he educated me on the things that would become my life obsessions: literature and music. After I’d left home he would call my share house after too many schooners and we’d talk for hours. There would be a brief catch up on family matters: hurt hearts, sibling rivalries, fiscal nightmares and then we’d get down to the nitty gritty: would any author anywhere write anything better than The Alexandria Quartet?

In literature he loved (and taught me to love) Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and D.H. Lawrence. In music it was Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Michelle Shocked and the man who features in today’s video, Neil Young.

For years I loved all of them, without hesitation, except Mr Young, who I thought sang like a frog and wrote about shit I thought I understood and therefore hated (cue: ‘A Man Need’s A Maid’). Years later of course, it’s Neil I love the most.

This Sunday, when most my friends are spending quality time at family events, I will do as my Dad would have wanted. I will go to the pub, get drunk, have a punt and watch the footy. But this Friday, for From the Vault, I will post some Neil Young. Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

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From the Vault Friday: Lessons in Life & Love from the First Lady

It took me a long time to ‘get’ Tammy Wynette. I have loved Dolly and Linda and Emmylou for what seems like forever. But it’s only in the last six months that I’ve taken a shine to country music’s First Lady.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I think the path to Tammy had a fuck-off block in the middle of it called ‘Stand By Your Man’. But I’ve done a bit of reading on Tammy of late and found that despite singing a song that pretty much says “put up with his crap, he’s got a dick, he can’t help it”, Tammy got married five times. So technically, she didn’t really Stand By Her Man, she jumped into bed with another one as soon as things turned to shit. Hello, sister!

Here are some other great facts about Tammy that make me think she might actually end up being my favourite country personality of all time.

***When her first husband left her, instead of moping around with her three kids, she packed up her stuff (and by stuff, I mean kids) and moved to Nashville to make a living from music.
***Her favourite country singer was George Jones. When Tammy met George, she did what any true fan would do: married him.
***When she had George’s baby, they named her ‘Tamala Georgette’.
***After splitting with George, she was romantically linked to Burt Reynolds!
***She didn’t just sing country music, she was country music, saying: “I believe you have to live the songs”.

All of the above gives me good reason to looking forward to a long and happy love affair with Tammy. Enjoy the video and the weekend, party people!

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From the Vault Friday: Stevie, Stevie, Stevie

So it’s not folk but it’s so sublime it has to be shared. Stevie Nicks. Backstage rehearsing Wild Heart. Dressed in apricot, hair perfectly tousled, even in this briefly captured rehearsal moment every lyric is so felt it forces you to recall every time you ever broke a heart or had yours broken and recall it as though it were moments ago. Tell it like it is, Stevie.

Where is the reason/ Don’t blame it on me/ blame it on my wild heart

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From The Vault Friday

Yee-hah, folks it’s the end of the working week! And what better way to celebrate than to step back in time and celebrate with some music videos of old.

Since I’ve just posted on my recent chat with Tex Perkins about Johnny Cash, I thought it might be time to share some vintage Man in Black goodness. Cash die-hards out there will already know that the singer had a musical variety show in the early seventies, imaginatively titled The Johnny Cash Show. It featured many amazing artists of the time including Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson. Sounds pretty awesome, huh?

Naturally I’ve spent many productive hours in the office checking out some of the quality performances on the show, and for this week’s From The Vault, I thought I’d share this duet between Johnny Cash and Linda Ronstadt. Oh look, just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend… ‘I Never Will Marry’.

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