What an incredible body of work Dylan has put out, and he (or his record company) continues to do so at an ever-increasing rate, both new material and, with the Bootleg Series, a large archive of previously unreleased music. And for fans, almost all of it is precious in one way or another.
The Basement Tapes
Marjorieand I fell in love with the original Basement Tapes when we got the album way back just a few years after it was finally released on LP, a staggering eight years after it was recorded. I know, it doesn’t quite seem the eon that it did at the time. In 1975, 1967
seemed almost antediluvian! And these recordings, made by Dylan and the band in the basement of their Woodstock abode, Big Pink, and in various other domiciles, had become the stuff of legend. Some of the tapes had been passed around as demo tapes for other artists to cover, and had found their way into the hands of collectors, eventually being released on what is considered the first ever bootleg, The Great White Wonder.
I’ve been listening to that original release again very recently and it’s still amazing. Sure, you have to have a certain appreciation of absurd humour to appreciate most of the original songs, seemingly composed on the spot in many cases. And it’s not glossy, it’s jammy, offhand playing, although it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than the home-recorded circumstances might have suggested.
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
So now we have SIX CDs of it to look forward to!
Newly discovered tapes have added to the archive, and the compilation has been overseen by Garth Hudson and Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust.
The original release focused on original songs, but this hugely expanded release ranges from traditional folk, country, blues and gospel to more recent and contemporary songwriters such as Hank Williams,Johnny Cash, even the likes of Bob Crewe and Curtis Mayfield.
I actually found out about this when I reloaded the fascinating and ground-breaking iPhone app: “Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series“, which originally only dealt with the recent expanded Self Portrait release. The app takes the old art of liner notes to a new level, being an extensive compendium of photos and information about the music, and the ability to play the songs while reading about them.
Anyway, as I was saying, I went back to the app last night and discovered that there’s a new song on there! “Odds And Ends” from the upcoming expanded Basement Tapes! How cool!
BOB DYLAN – THE BASEMENT TAPES COMPLETE:
THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 11
(all songs written by Bob Dylan unless otherwise noted)
1. Edge of the Ocean
2. My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It (written by Clarence Williams)
3. Roll on Train
4. Mr. Blue (written by Dewayne Blackwell)
5. Belshazzar (written by Johnny Cash)
6. I Forgot to Remember to Forget (written by Charlie A Feathers and Stanley A Kesler)
7. You Win Again (written by Hank Williams)
8. Still in Town (written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard)
9. Waltzing with Sin (written by Sonny Burns and Red Hayes)
10. Big River (Take 1) (written by Johnny Cash)
11. Big River (Take 2) (written by Johnny Cash)
12. Folsom Prison Blues (written by Johnny Cash)
13. Bells of Rhymney (written by Idris Davies and Peter Seeger)
14. Spanish is the Loving Tongue
15. Under Control
16. Ol’ Roison the Beau (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. I’m Guilty of Loving You
18. Cool Water (written by Bob Nolan)
19. The Auld Triangle (written by Brendan Francis Behan)
20. Po’ Lazarus (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
21. I’m a Fool for You (Take 1)
22. I’m a Fool for You (Take 2)
1. Johnny Todd (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. Tupelo (written by John Lee Hooker)
3. Kickin’ My Dog Around (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 1)
5. See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 2)
6. Tiny Montgomery
7. Big Dog
8. I’m Your Teenage Prayer
9. Four Strong Winds (written by Ian Tyson)
10. The French Girl (Take 1) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
11. The French Girl (Take 2) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
12. Joshua Gone Barbados (written by Eric Von Schmidt)
13. I’m in the Mood (written by Bernard Besman and John Lee Hooker)
14. Baby Ain’t That Fine (written by Dallas Frazier)
15. Rock, Salt and Nails (written by Bruce Phillips)
16. A Fool Such As I (written by William Marvin Trader)
17. Song for Canada (written by Pete Gzowski and Ian Tyson)
18. People Get Ready (written by Curtis L Mayfield)
19. I Don’t Hurt Anymore (written By Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
20. Be Careful of Stones That You Throw (written by Benjamin Lee Blankenship)
21. One Man’s Loss
22. Lock Your Door
23. Baby, Won’t You be My Baby
24. Try Me Little Girl
25. I Can’t Make it Alone
26. Don’t You Try Me Now
1. Young but Daily Growing (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. Bonnie Ship the Diamond (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
3. The Hills of Mexico (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. Down on Me (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
5. One for the Road
6. I’m Alright
7. Million Dollar Bash (Take 1)
8. Million Dollar Bash (Take 2)
9. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 1)
10. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 2)
11. I’m Not There
12. Please Mrs. Henry
13. Crash on the Levee (Take 1)
14. Crash on the Levee (Take 2)
15. Lo and Behold! (Take 1)
16. Lo and Behold! (Take 2)
17. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 1)
18. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 2)
19. I Shall be Released (Take 1)
20. I Shall be Released (Take 2)
21. This Wheel’s on Fire (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
22. Too Much of Nothing (Take 1)
23. Too Much of Nothing (Take 2)
1. Tears of Rage (Take 1) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
2. Tears of Rage (Take 2) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
3. Tears of Rage (Take 3) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
4. Quinn the Eskimo (Take 1)
5. Quinn the Eskimo (Take 2)
6. Open the Door Homer (Take 1)
7. Open the Door Homer (Take 2)
8. Open the Door Homer (Take 3)
9. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 1)
10. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)
11. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 3)
12. All American Boy (written by Bobby Bare)
13. Sign on the Cross
14. Odds and Ends (Take 1)
15. Odds and Ends (Take 2)
16. Get Your Rocks Off
17. Clothes Line Saga
18. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 1)
19. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2)
20. Don’t Ya Tell Henry
21. Bourbon Street
1. Blowin’ in the Wind
2. One Too Many Mornings
3. A Satisfied Mind (written by Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
4. It Ain’t Me, Babe
5. Ain’t No More Cane (Take 1) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. Ain’t No More Cane (Take 2) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
7. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
9. Mary Lou, I Love You Too
10. Dress it up, Better Have it All
11. Minstrel Boy
12. Silent Weekend
13. What’s it Gonna be When it Comes Up
14. 900 Miles from My Home (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
15. Wildwood Flower (written by A.P. Carter)
16. One Kind Favor (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
18. It’s the Flight of the Bumblebee
19. Wild Wolf
20. Goin’ to Acapulco
21. Gonna Get You Now
22. If I Were A Carpenter (written by James Timothy Hardin)
23. Confidential (written by Dorina Morgan)
24. All You Have to do is Dream (Take 1)
25. All You Have to do is Dream (Take 2)
1. 2 Dollars and 99 Cents
2. Jelly Bean
3. Any Time
4. Down by the Station
5. Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. That’s the Breaks
7. Pretty Mary
8. Will the Circle be Unbroken (written by A.P. Carter)
9. King of France
10. She’s on My Mind Again
11. Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
12. On a Rainy Afternoon
13. I Can’t Come in with a Broken Heart
14. Next Time on the Highway
15. Northern Claim
16. Love is Only Mine
17. Silhouettes (written by Bob Crewe and Frank C Slay Jr.)
18. Bring it on Home
19. Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
20. The Spanish Song (Take 1)
21. The Spanish Song (Take 2)
* * * * *
BOB DYLAN- THE BASEMENT TAPES RAW:
THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 11
(all songs written by Bob Dylan unless otherwise noted)
1. Open the Door, Homer (Restored version)
2. Odds and Ends (Alternate version)
3. Million Dollar Bash (Alternate version)
4. One Too Many Mornings (Unreleased)
5. I Don’t Hurt Anymore (Unreleased) (written by Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
6. Ain’t No More Cane (Alternate version) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
7. Crash on the Levee (Restored version)
8. Tears of Rage (Without overdubs) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
9. Dress it up, Better Have it All (Unreleased)
10. I’m Not There (Previously released)
11. Johnny Todd (Unreleased) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
12. Too Much of Nothing (Alternate version)
13. Quinn the Eskimo (Restored version)
14. Get Your Rocks Off (Unreleased)
15. Santa-Fe (Previously released)
16. Silent Weekend (Unreleased)
17. Clothes Line Saga (Restored version)
18. Please, Mrs. Henry (Restored version)
19. I Shall be Released (Restored version)
1. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Alternate version)
2. Lo and Behold! (Alternate version)
3. Minstrel Boy (Previously released)
4. Tiny Montgomery (Without overdubs)
5. All You Have to do is Dream (Unreleased)
6. Goin’ to Acapulco (Without overdubs)
7. 900 Miles from My Home (Unreleased) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
8. One for the Road (Unreleased)
9. I’m Alright (Unreleased)
10. Blowin’ in the Wind (Unreleased)
11. Apple Suckling Tree (Restored version)
12. Nothing Was Delivered (Restored version)
13. Folsom Prison Blues (Unreleased) (written by Johnny Cash)
14. This Wheel’s on Fire (Without overdubs) (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
15. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Restored version)
16. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (Alternate version)
17. Baby, Won’t You be My Baby (Unreleased)
18. Sign on the Cross (Unreleased)
19. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Without overdubs)
To me, this is John Lennon at his most eloquent, his thoughts beautifully animated in this short film produced in 2008 by Jerry Levitan, who interviewed him as a 14-year old in 1969.
You should watch this if you’ve got five minutes, and even if you don’t agree with everything John says or the way it’s interpreted, you might agree that a masterful work of art has been built on his generous impromptu interview.
The film was directed by Josh Raskin and the illustrators, James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina, have beautifully enhanced and elevated an amateur “rock interview” with arguably the greatest rock star of them all.
PS: John’s kindness to this kid, in contrast to the more acerbic (or worse) way he might often treat other people, reminds me of the scene in that Imagine film where the stoner guy comes to the door of his house, and Lennon really goes out of his way to spend time talking with him and try to help him. It conjures up in me an idea that he may well have been being similarly nice to Mark Chapman in his last moments.
My webcasts went down so well that I’m starting a regular series called Friday Night Free! I’ll be doing a webcast on the first Friday of each month – a different time every month to cater for different time zones.
That means, for this month, it’s SOON! Less than 24 hours away! (Yes, I left it to the last minute to get organized – we’re kinda busy around the Cardwell household.)
It’s on Fri 6th June in Canada/US/South America. And it’s on Saturday 7th June in the afternoon if you’re in Australia/New Zealand.
And it’s at an awkward time in the middle of the night in Western Europe (sorry!).
PS: You can watch on a smartphone or pad (as well as a computer) but if it’s an iPhone or iPad you will need to download a browser named PUFFIN beforehand as the site uses Flash. Future webcasts might not have this issue but for now it’s a must on Apple devices.
PPS: If you haven’t seen any of our earlier webcasts and you’re wondering what we sound like, it’ll be something like this, except tomorrow I might have two sons playing with me!
I think this is good! To tell you the truth, I’d never previously used the service before, although I’ve signed up for it now, as a user as well as an artist. I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with it. (At least those of you who live in the US, Australia and New Zealand – it’s restricted to those territories for the time being.)
What is Pandora Radio?
It’s been around for a while. Much longer than Spotify, in fact it was founded in 1999 – that’s the last century! A long time ago in the world of music streaming. Many years ago I was visiting a new acquaintance and, to my amazement, she and her teenage kids were happily enjoying music streamed from Pandora into their living room. I’d vaguely heard of it but was actually quite surprised and impressed that people I knew were actually using it! It seemed a bit Jetsons to me. In a good way. Oh yes, this was just down the road, but my friend was American so that explained why she was using something so cool and modern! Some things never change – she probably had a microwave too.
If you’re not familiar with it, basically, the deal is that you tell it some of the artists you like, and it suggests other music that it feels is similar to what you like. You can then give thumbs up or thumbs down to what you hear, and Pandora will refine the music it plays for you. You can listen to it in a web browser (i.e. what you browse the internet with) or with an app on your iPhone or similar smartphone.
The Music Genome Project
This is all done by a combination of science and human experts, as far as I can tell. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, which was (very loosely speaking) a massive scientific project to identify the components up of human DNA. Well, Pandora is based on The Music Genome Project, which, according to Wikipedia, was “developed by [Will] Glaser with musical input from [Tim] Westergren. The idea was to create a separate, individualized radio station for each user having just the “good” music on it, with none of the “junk” that other users like. In order to achieve that goal, they had to bring different styles
of music together into a predictable pattern for analysis. They created 400 specifications for each song that is then compared to the listener’s preferences in order to suggest other songs or artists with similar characteristics.”
The writer of this articleassumes that “Pandora’s team of curators expects excellence from all the music they accept. As Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder, has said: “You have to earn your way into Pandora.””
So that’s nice
Is it Really A Good Thing?
There has been some controversy recently about Pandora’s rates of payment to the artists. I’m not really interested in getting into that argument in this post. At this point in my career I only know one thing for sure – that my main aim is to get my music heard by as many people as possible! And it seems to me that Pandora is a good way of getting it into the ears of the very people who might like it, but would never have heard it otherwise. We all know that algorithms are changing our lives in ways that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Well, for me, right now, I’m happy to have the Music Genome Project’s algorithms on my side.
What can YOU do to help?
Don’t sign up for Pandora simply because of me! But, on the other hand, it’s easy to signup, and, well, I’ve had it trundling along in another browser tab while writing this post and, I have to admit, it’s been really effective at playing music I like.
I’m really fussy about the music I listen to (“No! You’re kidding!” – my sarcastic friends), but it has kept it on the right path so far – I have enjoyed practically everything I’ve heard, to my amazement, really.
OK, I’ve helped it out by clicking the “Add Variety” button and typing in the names of artists I like, and you can do that to, but it’s also come up with a lot of other artists I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I’ve given two or three thumbs down, that’s all. (Not telling you who to!)
So if you’re already using it, or fancy giving it a chance, you could help me by typing in MY name. Or just find me at http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell – and when my songs are playing, click on the THUMBS UP button!
How To Get Your Music On Pandora Radio
Having said that, until recently it really was difficult to be featured on Pandora unless you were signed to a major record label or publisher. But they have at last made it possible for anyone to apply for submission. There are certain conditions you have to fulfill, and even then you’re not guaranteed to be accepted. Obviously they still want to maintain their reputation of serving up good music for their listeners. But if you’re an artist, you can submit your music at Pandora Submission Page. You should set up your own listener account first, unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have the service, in which case you should first email [email protected] and they will help you.
on 26th April 2014: our cover of Larry Norman’s beautiful song “Goodbye Farewell”
Samuel is playing our Tanglewood TW15CE-B guitar and I’m on my old Mugen “the ’78”
To receive news about future webcasts, please sign up to our newsletter using the form to the right, or simply go here!
This is taken at a bit of a clip, I think! But you can hear the songs at a more stately pace in this old video of me performing it a few years ago:
LYRICS & CHORDS
(written by Larry Norman)
Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,) Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7) I pray that you will stay with God (G, Em, D, Bm) Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)
The light grows dim but in this hour (D, Bm, F#m,) I have no tears to cry. (D, Bm, F#m, A7) My heart is full, my joy complete. (G, Em, D, Bm) Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)
I feel no loss of hope as I’ve grown older. (Bm, G, D) Only this world’s weight upon my shoulder. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)
My heart beats to a slower song, (D, Bm, F#m,) So softly in my veins. (D, Bm, F#m, A7) The night is warm, but in my sleep (G, Em, D, Bm) I dream of heaven’s reign. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)
Everything I am I’ve tried to show you, (Bm, G, D) In this life I’ve been so blessed to know you. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)
Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,) Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7) I pray that you will walk with God (G, G#dim, F#m, Bm) Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, Bm, E7) Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, D)
Well, if you’re viewing this Instagram post here, you’re already on our website!
Have a look around and use the comment box below (or the contact form on the menu) to tell us what you think of it. Is there something that needs fixed? Anything that particularly appeals to you? Stuff that you don’t like? We’re open to all comments and criticisms!
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Cordner & Rudolph in England!
Exactly 26 years ago, on 7th May 1988, we left Northern Ireland, but for nearly 10 years before that we played all over the country with Rod Cordner and spent a huge amount of time with him, his wife Jennifer, and his whole family, to whom we are eternally thankful for their inspiration, friendship, prayers, love and kindness.
In those years we also became great friends with French virtuoso violinist Jean-Pierre Rudolph, who became Rodney’s musical partner when he toured all over Europe, which he did frequently. And, again, we have much to thank Jean-Pierre and his wife Anne for – we even managed to avail ourselves of their generosity when we were in their home town of Strasbourg, France and Anne put us up for a few days even though we’d never met her before!
We catch up with Rod and Jenny every time we’re back in Ireland, and their home is still the haven it always was for us when we visit Portadown, where we both grew up.
Sadly, I haven’t seen Jean-Pierre (or Paddy-John as we used to call him) since we both happened to be back in Ireland at the same time in 1996, and I would love to be able to see the two of them perform together again. But if you’re in England you have a chance to catch them on this short tour in June.
If you do make it along, say hi to Rod and Jean-Pierre for us. And if you can, grab a little bit of video on your mobile phone and share it with me, OK?
Here’s a photo that I took of them when they played at Greenbelt Festival in England in 1986.
Tuesday 3rd June 2014
Bradford BBC Radio 106.6FM
Drive programme with John Hebden, 4-6 pm www.bcbradio.co.uk
Listen LIVE HERE!
Friday 6th June 2014
Hartlepool TS24 0QJ
Contact David Taylor (see poster for phone no.)
This is a complete version of this song from one of our first live webcasts in April 2014. You may have seen a snippet of it if you watched the “highlights” video.
It’s probably Neil Finn’s most famous “Melbourne song”, the achingly beautiful Four Seasons In One Day, from my favourite Crowded House album, Woodface. He wrote and recorded it when the band was based in Melbourne. It’s a common saying that Melbourne can have “four seasons in a day” because the weather can be quite changeable. Rather unusually, the temperature often does “drop away” by as much as 20℃ in a half an hour or so, especially after a period of extremely hot weather.
I won’t deny it – Neil does this better than I do! But I hope you enjoy this version nonetheless. Samuel helps out with some nice guitar and background harmonies.
I enjoyed our last webcast so much that I'm doing another one on 25/26th April, 2014 (depending on your timezone!) ♫ To find out the exact time in your timezone, see my amazing time-chart at bit.ly/dcwebcast3 ♬♫ It's part of an Aussie special "Flash Festival" on Numubu ♬♫♪
And for the actual webcast, go to numubu.com/dccardwell and click on "Live Broadcasts" on the left hand side. (You don't have to be signed up to Numubu!)
And if you want to get an idea of how the last one went, here's a highlights reelwith some short snippets at the beginning, and if you keep watching, longer segments and complete songs later on. ♫♪♪♬♫
I can't guarantee that either of the cats will show up the next time, though!
If you want to be sure not to miss out on these live webcasts, make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and I'll send out a note for each event with all the details!
Momentous news! I will be making my first live webcasts on 17th & 18th April 2014!
Yes, two of them, so that you’ll able to find one that suits your time zone no matter where you are in the world.
What will I be playing?
Samuel will be playing with me on at least one, and maybe both shows. I’ll be playing some old faves, along with new songs from my upcoming album. I might even throw in a cover or two! We’ve practiced songs by Neil Finn and The Band but it will depend on how the mood takes us… or you can always fire requests at us via the live chat box.
(But we probably won’t do Freebird or Khe Sanh no matter how much you beg, I’m just telling you now.)
Thanks to NuMuBu
Music network NuMuBu is the platform I’ve chosen for this broadcast. You don’t have to be a member to watch, and you’ll be able to chat with me live during the shows. There will also be a “tip jar” but it’s free to watch so there’s no obligation.
(Although you don’t have to be a member, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend NuMuBu, especially to musicians, but also to music fans. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll be amazed at how many famous, nay, legendary artists are actively involved!)
When and where?
See the table below for a guide to the times in various time zones. And when it’s time to watch, just go to numubu.com/dccardwell and click on “Live Broadcasts” on the left hand side. Easy!
You can even watch on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, but you will have to first download the Puffin browser and use that to view the shows. (But bear in mind that the free version of Puffin only works from 9 am to 4 pm! Huh… how about that!)
Yesterday (8th Jan, 2014) a Facebook friend of mine, Bill Mallonee, posed the following question:
10 life changing records. (I know! It’s impossible!) Take a deep breath & list ‘em in less than 3 minutes. Don’t over think it.
Well, you know what? I did over-think it. It’s pretty easy to reel off some of your favourite records, like I did here and here, but (being a pedantic git) I felt that if you’re going to describe something as life-changing it had better be something that really did have some particular concrete effect on your existence. So it took me longer than 3 minutes, but not much longer. Here’s a slightly edited and expanded version:
Ten Records That Changed My Life
DC’sResponse to Facebook post by Bill Mallonee, 7th Jan, 2014
Life changing? Life. Changing. Lifechanging. Records that really, really truly changed my life. Hmm. Not necessarily albums. Nor my favourite, nor the best, nor the coolest records.
1: Johnny Cash‘s first gospel LP (Hymns by Johnny Cash) – My parents had it it and it was probably the first record that felt blissful to me – that showed me how powerful music could be, even before I really became a “music fan”
2: Elton John‘s Crocodile Rock. For some strange reason hearing it on Top Of The Pops was a revelation to me that stupid, freakish, long-haired, ungodly, noisy rock’n’roll music was actually really great. [I know Crocodile Rock, while great, is not exactly the pinnacle of the form, but for me it was the key that unlocked the door.] It was the first record I ever bought and it instantly made me into a “music fan”.Ø
3-5: Larry Norman‘s three albums Upon This Rock, Only Visiting This Planet and Bootleg – My sister borrowed them and they taught me that rock’n’roll wasn’t evil and you could be funny, clever and talk about whatever you wanted [The Ku Klux Klan, Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, venereal disease, Jesus] while making music that felt blissful.
6 – Neil Young‘s Zuma – I heard John Peel play the track Looking For A Love on the little transistor radio under my pillow one night in 1976. I’d never heard Neil Young before but I fell for the sound immediately. I went out and bought the album and it’s still, in my mind, the definitive “perfect electric guitar sound” that I basically strive for in my playing [much of the time, anyway].
7-9: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers‘ Rock’n’Roll With The Modern Lovers, Patrik Fitzgerald‘s Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart E.P.* & Wild Man Fischer‘s Wildmania!§ – the fact that Marjorie owned these three records that I also loved was a major factor in bringing us together at school in 1977, and we’re still married.
10 – Crowded House‘s Woodface – I’d gradually grown fond of them on the radio (They played Better Be Home Soon, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Fall At Your Feet, Sister Madly quite often on CFMI) when we lived in Vancouver, and finally bought the CD. Marjorie and I felt it was immediately fell for the album in a very, very deep way, particularly the first half, which seemed to representative another kind of perfect sound which we felt we’d been looking for all our lives. Marjorie loved them so much that (to cut a long story short) she went to New Zealand to see them, stopped off in Melbourne (where they had formed and developed) on the way home, fell in love with it, and so we moved here, to Melbourne, Australia. That’s life-changing!
11 – Some other Johnny Cash record – I was listening to him one day at work in the lab about ten years ago [I can’t remember which song but I think it was from his Sun years] and I thought, “If he can make records, with a wobbly voice like that, then so can I!” That was the moment when I decided to do the unthinkable and become a singer.
Ø I subsequently bought the Daniel and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 45s and was settling in for a lifetime of brilliant Elton John releases, but I wasn’t so sure about Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (it was OK, but I could think of better things to spend my 45p on) and never again bought another Elton John single, or, for that matter, a post-1973 album of his. This was my first lesson in pop disappointment.
* Patrik was the first “folk-punk” guy (to release a record) in the original UK punk scene of 1976-78. I’ve always thought that Marjorie and I don’t have an “our song” in the way that Americans talk about it, but I guess Patrik’s Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart was Our Song!
§ Wild Man’s first, and most famous album, was the double album An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, about eight years before Wildmania!. This was his “comeback album”. John Peel played a track every night and I taped the whole album. I used to go round school singing the songs from it (and to think I say I only became a singer about ten years ago!) and some of the songs became quite popular among my friends. (“My name is Larry, I have a canary”, “I went to a disco in San Francisco” – you can see why).
One day Marjorie told me she’d got the album. I actually thought she was only joking as it wasn’t the kind of thing you’d find in the records shops in Portadown. And I think she was disappointed but didn’t really impress the fact on me. But some time later, when we were closer friends, I found it in her record collection and nearly died! It turned out she’d ordered it from “overseas” (i.e. England) out of an ad in the NME.
I spent years wondering how I could get the first album and I eventually found it in a shop in London. But despite it being, by far, the most famous and well-regarded, it’s nowhere near as good as Wildmania!, which, in my opinion, is where his art all came together in its most cohesive and beautiful form; in short, his masterpiece.
Yes indeed, we all know how hard it is to think of original gifts to give to our family and friends each year when the holiday season comes around (never mind birthdays!) I know I’m terrible at coming up with gift ideas, year after year!
But you probably like the music of at least one independent musician who prints 1000 CDs and then has 850 taking up space under his or her bed, and that’s after sending out all the free promotional ones for reviews and airplay!
If you’ve already bought a copy for yourself and you know it’s a good one, you’re in even safer territory! There’s no law that says you can’t buy more copies of the same CD
It Really Does Make A Difference
It really means a lot to musicians who don’t have a record label, and the good news is, most of the money goes straight to them! If you buy, say, a Beatles CD, almost all of the money is going to the store, the middle-men, record companies, publishers, manufacturers… countless other people who had nothing to do with creating the music. Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr get only a very small percentage of the money you spend on their album.
However, if you buy, oh, one of ours, for example, it’s different, most of the money goes into our accounts, and helps us to pay for our instruments, strings, amps, recording gear, CD-pressing, time, and all of the other things over many years that have culminated in us writing and recording music that means something to someone somewhere.
If you buy a CD from our Bandcamp site (the best way!), 85% of the money goes straight into our account.
And if buy it from CD Baby (not a bad idea if you’re in the US and you want to get the CD really quickly!) we still get a fairly decent amount of dollars out of the total amount.
CD’s, fair enough… but downloads? MP3s?
Even if it’s from iTunes, we ourselves get 65%, which is pretty good compared to what a major artist gets after everyone else is paid. Although I find the idea of *gifting* iTunes albums a bit odd!
However, that ever-excellent musicians’ friend, Bandcamp have just recently introduced a “Send as Gift” button right beneath their “Buy Now” button (see screenshot on the right), which is pretty neat. You’d need to be sure your recipient was OK with mp3 downloads, but if they are, it makes a nice, quick and easy gift. For details see the Bandcamp blog post here. (Although there’s not much to know beyond what I’ve just written!)
Pass the word around!
Of course, you can share this post (and we’d love you to!) but it was inspired by this Facebook Event that my friend, Canadian boogie-blues singer Sunday Wilde set up, so if you’re on Facebook, please invite all your friends to it and share it on your wall etc! bit.ly/buy-indie-cds-for-xmas
Support The Arts
So you truly are “supporting the arts” if you purchase CDs from people like us.
Obviously it doesn’t have to be our CDs – there’s an incredible variety of independent music out there, and it’s easy to find. The quality varies, naturally, but there are even quite a few artists who used to be major artists who now operate independently like us. I just read an article this morning about the legendary folk singer, Tom Rush who went indie a long time ago when he realised it was far better than being signed to a major label – I think that was another inspiration for this post!
And you know what – a lot of major label CDs these days consist of the single and 11 tracks of filler material. Whereas I find that with most good indie artists they put the same amount of care and creativity into every single song.
My Tasmanian friend Mondo Quinn has a new double-A side single out. He recorded it at my studio a couple of weekends ago. Both songs have got his usual early-Beatles melodic verve: they’re what I believe the young people are calling “earworms“.
Mondo is on lead vocals and played all of the electric guitars. I think it’s his best vocal performance yet – I told him to sing more aggressively and do his best “John Lennon voice” and he came up with the goods admirably! We double-tracked them and that was it – no need for multiple takes and a lot of “comping”.
As well as producing it, I played everything else and helped a little bit with the arrangements. But Mondo writes such perfect little melodic songs that they don’t need much dressing up. I particularly love the clever, slightly “rushed” transitions into the different parts of “Love Is The Reason“. The whole thing moves along with a great sense of momentum, which is something I love in a song!
It’s up on Bandcamp on a “pay what you want” basis, in other words you can put in zero dollars and get it for free – Radiohead-style! The address is mondoquinn.bandcamp.com – that takes you to his main Bandcamp page.
DC Cardwell is a singer-songwriter, originally from Northern Ireland, now based in Melbourne, Australia. This part-universal, part-personal post was prompted by a question from a friend on “how social media has helped musicians”.
I believe that social networking has had the most profound impact on the relationship between musician and listener since the twin-pronged technological advances of recording and broadcasting in the early 20th century.
Both of those inventions allowed musicians to reach the listener without having to be in the same physical place and time. Before they came along, almost the only ways for an artist to propagate their music were by printed sheet music or by the folk process of memorization and repetition.
The value of social networking for music-makers is perhaps most starkly illustrated when we’re talking about a particular class of artists, of which I am one.
I’m referring to that large set of creative musicians who have learned to play music in their youth, been incredibly passionate about it, but never done it seriously or professionally. Instead, they’ve put the bulk of their resources and energies into other careers, marriage, raising children, other non-musical pursuits, or less creative musical occupations.
I found myself firmly entrenched in this position during the “noughties”. Any chance of a music career had slipped away many years previously. I’d married young and my children were already well on their way towards adulthood. I’d had a perfectly good career in pathology for many years, but, for me, it had simply been a way of putting food on the table.
However, during those years just after the new millenium began, I acquired some computer recording software and a few microphones and started to make the kind of music that I’d been developing in my head over the years. Primarily a guitarist, I even learned to sing a bit, just to make things more interesting, and I began writing songs that I thought were reasonably OK.
I was astounded to find that I could record tracks that were of near-studio quality. Due to digital technology and decreasing costs, I could make music that, twenty years previously, would have required the finances and resources of a large record company and an expensive recording studio.
But who was going to hear this music? Sure, I could burn a few CDs and pass them around to friends. I could do some gigs around town, but it was far-fetched for a middle-aged family man with a mortgage to pack his gear into a van and hit the road, widening his audience by traveling the length and breadth of the country playing to whomever would listen.
It was also a long-shot to expect any record company to be interested in a distinctly unglamorous looking forty-something.
Tom Is Everybody’s Friend: MySpace changes everything!
WARNING: stuff about me for a while here!
But around 2004-05 I started hearing about MySpace. I was fortunate to be one of the computer-literate people who was already very comfortable with the Internet, and had even had some experience of primitive social networking. For example, by playing an online word-game I’d found that I could easily make friends with people from around the world. MySpace amplified this ability a hundredfold, also adding images and music to the mix.
I uploaded one or two of my songs to that pioneering network, and to my surprise and considerable delight, discovered that some people actually quite
liked my songs and even my hitherto unknown singing voice.
I even wrote a song about the network’s founder, “MySpace Tom” Anderson – not a joke song, but a wry 60s/70s-style pop song which answered a question I was often asked by newcomers: “Who is this Tom guy on my friend list?”
My song was called “Tom Is Everybody’s Friend” and, for a few days after it got mentioned on Tom’s own page, it went viral (or, at, least semi-viral) before the term was even known. I watched my friend count shoot up rapidly and had to field a huge amount of comments and messages. Suddenly I could really see the power of this new social network to get my music out to people all over the world. It was pretty amazing!
Meet The Author: How has social networking helped my music career?
That was the real birth of my new career. Since then I haven’t been one of those lucky enough to make large amounts of money from my music, but I’ve released my first album, Some Hope, recorded some songs in Los Angeles for a film, won a song contest, played a fair number of live shows in my own city of Melbourne, and, above all, developed a faithful, far-flung following of fans all over the world!
I’ve even gone one step further and quit my lifelong career in pathology to do music full-time.
(I’ve been very fortunate in that my wife, Marjorie Cardwell (now there’s a singer!) began a new career after several years of study, and now she supports me as I previously did her. With my new-found skills I was also able to record an album for her, release it and do the bulk of the necessary social networking required to build a fan base for her.)
Most of my middle-aged peers don’t reach that stage of being able to quite their day job, but the point remains – they can still find (and be found by) fans and distribute their music to the four corners of the earth, largely by means of social networking.
Of course, other ancillary online tools, such as blogs, Tunecore, CD Baby, iTunes, FanBridge,Internet radio etc. are also important, but social networking is thehuman factorof the Internet by which the independent artist connects with existing and new fans.
And, as we all know, the scene doesn’t remain static. We’ve talked about MySpace, and that was the beginning for many of us slightly older folk. But MySpace suddenly lost ground to Facebook and Twitter.
YouTube has of course, become a major platform for people to find and listen to music, and I did go through a phase of serious networking on it, despite its inadequate social interface. However, a while back my YouTube channels were suddenly shut down, I lost all my followers and view counts, and I had to start all over again so that was a bit of a setback from which I haven’t yet recovered! Google has been making improvements to the YouTube interface but in my opinion it’s still, unfortunately, too clunky to be taken very seriously as a social network. Speaking as a video creator, I do hope that it improves in that regard. But I suspect most video consumers aren’t particularly hungry for a better social experience on YouTube. At present, Youtube’s main role is as a repository for our “product”.
Similarly,Reverbnation and Soundcloud have bubbled along as perhaps the best frees platform for uploading pure music to be shared on Facebook, although, for me, their social value has been much less significant.
Right now (late 2013) my main social platform of choice is Instagram, which may surprise some. For some reason Twitter never quite clicked with me in a sustainable way, but the addition of photographs and removal of the 140 character limit just happens to sit well with my personality.
Way With Words: How does social networking work for musicians?
Social networking is, of course, mainly a verbal medium. Photographs, sounds and videos can be a part of it, but the glue that holds it together is words.
I remember how, as a young music fan, I was hungry for any information about my musical heroes. I used to collect interviews and articles – physically cut them out of magazines (I can hear some of you young kids sniggering down at the back) – and file them away. You couldn’t just look stuff up. Articles and photographs came in a trickle and you had to be alert in case you missed anything.
If I ever got the chance to say one or two words to an artist I loved it was just unbelievable good fortune! Can you imagine how unlikely that was back in those days?
But that human factor is much more readily available these days, if the artist is savvy enough to use the social networks. I’ve had conversations online with many of my favourite artists. And I’ve also found myself chatting with people I didn’t know and only later discovering that they are brilliant singers, songwriters or musicians. It’s quite nice when friendship comes first and fanship comes afterwards.
Very often people get to know me, and I get to know them, and it’s quite some time before they even find out that I make music. I’ve always been very careful not to be mercenary or cynical in my approach. I really, genuinely, do make friends with the people I meet online! People are smart and, by and large, they know if you’re being disingenuous.
However, I suspect that even if you’re not that good at chatting with people online, you can still make good use of social networking to advance your music career. It isn’t all about lengthy heart-to-heart conversations. here are other ways of using your natural characteristics to attract friends/followers/fans online. If you’re blessed with pithy wit I’m sure you can use that to gather followers. (I suspect that kind of person is even more likely to find their true home on Twitter.) You might be very knowledgeable about some subject – perhaps your favourite band or music style. You might be very beautiful (or at least buff up really well for photographs.)
Social networking is a reflection of life so there is no set way to make things work for you or for me. If it’s not an organic, dynamic process it’s probably doomed to failure. And I know that some artists will just never get it – will never be able to sit at a computer, or stare at their smartphone and see it as a portal to real, living, breathing people. You have to admire people like that, you really do! And just hope that they find another way of getting their music noticed.
In A Thousand Years: What does the future hold for social networking?
It’s hard to imagine social networking going away. Like the post office or telephone they are simply a part of life now. Many websites and platforms that aren’t primarily social still have a social networking element to them. In a way, it’s simply another string to the technological bow. But in my opinion it’s a game changer (I know, we all hate that cliché!) for musicians, and for anyone who is creative and wishes to make their art findable.
We’ve all read about how some extremely famous artists (if I mention Justin Bieber will it put this post up the rankings?) have made their careers solely by virtue of social networking platforms. And sometimes it’s even true. But for every megastar who has shot meteorically to worldwide fame, there are a thousand creative musicians who have slowly and steadily gathered many friends and fans who are hungry for good music.
And the good news is that, unlike major record companies, unlike the press, unlike radio and TV, these social networks are available to all!
Of course, none of this applies solely to people who had previously considered themselves “past their use-by date”. It’s just as important for most younger musicians. But I feel that examples such as mine are illustrative of the power in social networking.
Social networking is (or can be) important for almost every artist today! And even more so for every one who doesn’t have a record company, agent, publisher or other corporate entity to spread their music for them.
But for the non-touring, day-job-working, family-raising, or just stay-at-home artist, it’s absolutely essential and it makes possible what was previously impossible.
Twenty years ago almost every truly independent artist was severely restricted in their reach. Yes, there were a few early pioneers who kicked down doors and walls through sheer force of will. But with the advent of social networking the world became smaller – a lot smaller – for those of us who want our music to be heard beyond our own four walls.
Know Me: True fulfillment as a musician.
That connection with the listener, and therefore the realization that my music is being enjoyed and appreciated, is the single most important thing for me as an artist. It’s worth more than money, by far. It’s what tells me what I’m doing is worthwhile!
Yes – I’m enough of an artist that self-expression is absolutely essential to me. And my motivation is, as I often say, “to make the kind of music that I want to hear.”
But beyond the actual act of making music, the most gratifying moment for me is when someone says to me, “Your song means a lot to me!” Or “Those words made me cry because I can relate to what you’re saying.” Or, “I can’t get that riff of yours out of my head!”
Or, perhaps best of all, that most profound of inarticulate phrases, “Your music rocks!”
And the true beauty of social networks to me is that I get this kind of affirmation almost every day!
There’s a brand new video for Marjorie‘s beautiful song “Hole In My Head!”
And she’s made the most gorgeous animation on her iPad to illustrate the song.
Some of you will know that the song was inspired by her experience last year of being diagnosed with a brain tumour. (Don’t worry – she’s fine now. The tumour was benign and even though she had very major brain surgery she has recovered very well.) She actually wrote most of the song while she was in the MRI machine getting her pre-op scan. We recorded it quickly right before her operation and I (almost) finished it off with some overdubs.
But I couldn’t figure out a good solo to put over the instrumental section. In the car one day, on the way to one of her appointments, I asked Marjorie for ideas. She said, “How about a euphonium?”
And, to our everlasting delight, one of our musical heroes, Don McGlashan(of legendary New Zealand band The Mutton Birds) agreed to play a sublime euphonium solo on it, as only he can do! (I think Marjorie secretly had this in mind.) He recorded the solo in the boatshed on the New Zealand coast that he uses to write his own songs, and sent it to us by email. It’s everything we hoped for and more.
If you enjoy it, please leave a comment underneath the video on Youtube (or here!) and PLEASE share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Home of Irish-Australian indie-pop singer-songwriters Marjorie and DC Cardwell. Music, videos, news and… all kinds of rubbish really! Smart-phone friendly too :)