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Music Lynx

Theres a lot of music I like and here is a list of some of my favourites....there are many more but I didn't want to get too carried away. Anyway my main musical tastes are broadly african root derivative and in order of evolution, blues, jazz, funk, reggae and rap. Add to that flamenco, metal, alternative and fusions, theres little music I won't give a listen to.

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine burned bright and loud for a short while, they have had many imitators, none of whom matched their intensity and passion. Ironically they are the only band who's cd I have ever bought from an advertisement, I heard the opening refrains of Killing in the Name of, and the name of the band, and I knew this was something I had to have a listen to. Their first self titled album is an acknowledged classic, the second had a couple of classic songs on it like People of the Sun and No Shelter, their third album and last major release Battle for Los Angeles is another classic. They also have an album of live songs which is worth buying just put on and pump up their cover of Bob Dylan's Maggies Farm. A few years ago I entered a "Get a Free Book" competition on their website and they sent me a book called Democratising the Global Economy, which was pretty cool.
Gil Scott Heron
I have this great Gil Scott Heron album where Jackson Browne introduces him with the compliment that he is "a political man". He is also a poet and a deeply soulful musician. Like all great experimental musicians, there are going to be a number of songs by him that positively grate on you, but the ones you like, like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Pieces of a Man, will stick in your head forever. Great rhythmical music, intelligent lyrics, with Scott Heron playing the organ and backed up by other great musicians like Brian Jackson on flute, the right mix of his music makes for a mellow Sunday morning.
Public Enemy
When I grew up a lot of the rap being played on music video shows was stuff like the Rock Steady Crew, and although I watched the movie Beat Street many times, I wasn't ready to get into rap. As my musical tastes broadened, I remember a friend of mine playing me Fear of a Black Planet, and I was hooked. Chuck D is intense, and I have also bought and enjoyed his solo album, the Autobiography of Mr Chuck. Their DJ is called Terminator X and I've also bought one of his albums which is another great record, up there with PE's best but very different as well. Flava Flav kind of weirds me out a bit, with his big clocks and song justifying his wife beating, he does add a "zanier" element to some of the songs which mellows out Chuck D's intensity a bit. So yeh, Fear of Black Planet is a classic, other albums of note are all their early stuff, Apocalypse 91 and Greatest Misses (an album of off cuts they made when their label asked them to do a greatest hits album). You can just see the first glimmers of decline in Muse Sick'n'Hour Mess Age, but by anyone elses standards it's still a great album, and most of the albums after that have one or two decent tracks on them.
Bob Marley
Bob Marley - Legend. What can I say, I find his lyrics and the mood of his songs so inspiring, I have been listening to him for almost 20 years now and I've never tired of hearing even his classics Could You Be Loved, No Woman No Cry. There's an honesty in his music, and an emotion that is totally missing from todays commercial music. The third worlds first superstar who died in the early eighties still has much to teach us today.
Ella Fitzgerald
I have heard it said of Ella Fitzgerald by another famous singer "of all of us who sing, she was the greatest". She grew up amidst the oppression of apartheid USA, and battled on to become a jazz singer who's voice was so sweet it can be dreamlike. I must admit to being more of a fan of her mellow material than her upbeat jazz, but then I listen to Slayer and Pantera, if I want something upbeat I'm not going to muck around. If on the otherhand I find myself relaxing on a quiet evening, Ella's beautiful voice is perfection itself. I can't mention Ella without mentioning Billie Holiday, her version of Strange Fruit is to me one of the first triumphs of modern music.
If you like musical fusion then Fishbone is the logical evolutionary musical endpoint for you. Fishbone are the sum total of every musical style humankind has ever created and I'm sure in their albums you'll find a few more uniquely Fishbone styles. Jazz, funk, hard rock, ballads, blues, country, swing....and thats all just on one album like Truth and Soul. Every Fishbone album is a classic, they are one of the most under-rated bands on the planet, if people had any taste they would be superstars. Listening to a band like Fishbone is a good cure for the sudden hatred of music hearing someone like Usher can inspire.
"When a man lies he murders a part of the world". Seeing as eardrums are part of the world, Metallica can also be blamed for murdering part of it. Metallica are just awesome, Kirk Hammet is one of my favourite guitarists of all time, and seeing them play live was a revelation. They may be a bunch of nutters but their music is heavy rock at it's best, as greats of the genre they are up there with Black Sabbath. Of course they don't need anyone to recommend them, I remember being at a party once and the Metallica song "One" came on, you could see all the guys in the room sort of starting to get distracted from their conversations a little bit, and then as the heavy part of the song kicks in every guy in the room starts banging his head and rocking out. Website's is ok, I like how you can theme it according to different albums.
Arrested Development
Arrested Development, like Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye are a bit too religious for my liking. Like Bob they also have a social conscience and great mellow grooves so you can forgive them. Well the constant anti abortion rants are pushing my political envelope, but I guess I can understand where they are coming from. In moments they remind me of some of Gil Scott Heron's African influenced stuff. This is great, happy, rhthymical music which it is hard not to like. Though if you think an external religion sounds easier than years of doubt and thought, then music like this will be a bad influence on you.
Ahhh Pantera, one of the times in my life when I could clearly state "this is my favourite band". A friend of mine bought around Sepultura's Arise and Pantera's Cowboys from Hell and I was blown away. Their next album was it though, for a while I had been looking for a certain sort of music, a singer that could sing high without sounding ridiculous and heavy without being incoherent, a guitarist that could switch between heavy groove and intricate lead with ease and a drummer who is hard, fast, funky, precise and didn't spare the double kick. That album was Vulgar Display of Power, I think they went a bit downhill from there which might have had something to do with the lead singers increasing dependence on heroin. Dimebag, recently shot to death by a crazed fan, rounds out my favourite three guitarists along with Hendrix and Hammett.
I only have one Ministry album called Another Fix. This is one of those albums that I forget about, randomly pick out of the cd rack every now and then, and it blows me away. Heavy, hard cord riffs, I have no idea how they can make music this good and be so out of it on heroin.
Jimi Hendrix
What can one say about Jimi Hendrix? He is probably most famous for having his birthday the day after mine. Earning his keep as a blues session musician, he finally ended up in London in the mid sixties where he had fans the like of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, with guitar playing that was as soulful as it was technically brilliant. He is an artist with the electric guitar, and that is not a statement I would make about any of my other favourite guitarists. For once the hype about a musician is true about Hendrix, when he plays Manic Depression, the riff he plays expresses the emotion as much as the words. He is idolised as this peaceful icon, but he was far more flawed than that, addicted to drugs, violent to his band members and groupies, confused about his place in pop culture he was a troubled person who revolutionised the electric guitar and died before he could see his place in the history of the instrument.
Faith No More
We Care A Lot was the first song I heard from Faith No More, and although I liked it, it wasn't until I heard Epic that they got a spot in my musical rotation. The album the Real Thing has some classic tracks on it, but it was their next album Angel Dust which I think is their masterpiece. Crossing all sorts of musical boundaries, with the seemingly limitless range of Mike Patton on vocals, its cover is an accurate representation of the art contained within. Funnily enough the biggest hit, their cover of "Easy" is one of the weaker tracks on the album. Anyway if you like heavy music, you need to listen to Woodpecker from Mars from The Real Thing, as far as I am concerned it's one of the best rock instrumentals anywhere. Saw them live in Melbourne and they were fantastic.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Ahh the Chili Peppers....so much of my life has associations with them. Listening to Uplift Mofo Party Plan lying in front of my friends open fire, playing Mothers Milk to the guys I used to work the late shift with, grooving to Blood Sugar Sex Magick with my first girlfriend, sitting in my kitchen listening to One Hot Minute with Irene, jamming on songs from Californication with my friend Paul. The Chili Peppers have been the sound track to much of my life. Didn't really get into them that much live, but I love their music so much they had a lot to live up to, and they'd just got a new guitarist on their Australian leg of the Blood Sugar tour, so I'll forgive them. Get any of the albums I've mentioned and you're into for a funkin good time.
Mother Earth
Initially I couldn't get into Mother Earth, people kept playing them to me and I kind of thought they were 20 years too late for their style of music. Finally a guy I lived with gave me the album and as it goes I started liking one song, which made me play the album and the rest is history. The song Jesse off "The People Tree" is one of my favourites of all time, so, so cool, too cool perhaps to be a hit. "Apple Green" is another epic track off it, for which I will forgive them "Stardust Bubblegum" ; )
Sly and the Family Stone
Sly and the Family Stone, how could a band with a name like that not be funky? "If You Want Me To Stay" is such a classic track, sung as only Sly could. They are a great group which leave you feeling really positive after you listen to them, "Stand" is rated as one of the great albums of all time, and if you like funk at all, you should buy if only for the history lesson.
Peter Tosh
Bob Marley's guitarist, though he might have riled at being categorised that way, I seem to remember him saying "Bob Marley was my student". Tosh was much more politically hard core than Marley, and got more so as he got older. He has some great albums "Legalise It" is worth buying just for the cover, and amidst his other albums there are some classic modern reggae songs. A political man who was shot to death in a break in (though his friends who witnessed the killing say he was murdered in a conspiracy to silence him), if you like Marley give Tosh a listen as a way to get into other Reggae.
Jimmy Cliff
The other great Jamaican superstar with Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff spent much of his youth trying to break into the music business playing beneath palm trees for anyone who would listen. He finally cracked the big time, and had some songs that are considered reggae standards, most famously The Harder They Come and Many Rivers To Cross which was played at Bob Marley's funeral. He can sometimes be a little too cheery, but even those songs are ok once or twice, but don't have the staying power of his other tracks. His cover of Synthetic World is a classic, like so often with reggae, he is at his best with a deep political and spiritual message.
James Brown
James Brown is the Godfather of Soul. Not to know who he is, is musical ignorance.
Friends had played Soundgarden to me quite a bit, and I always liked them but they didn't hit home. They did at the Big Day Out in about 1994 (along with the Ramones and Primus). I was standing very merrily on a grassy knoll overlooking the Daly Plaza, and Chris Cornell started singing Rusty cage. Four cd's and many years later they are still regular visitors to my cd player. Like the Chili Peppers each of their albums offers something different and interesting, so they have enough range and depth to sustain repeated listening. Hard to pick out great songs but "Louder Then Love", "Jesus Christ Pose", "Slaves and Bulldozers", "Limo Wreck" and "Burden in My Hand" are all epics.
Janes Addiction
Art and music. With the corporate machine that has become the music industry these two words appear to have lost any correlation, as have lyrics and poetry. That is why Jane's Addiction were such an important band, they reminded me that music is more than a emotional tool. Heavy, mellow, grungy, artistic, weird, drugged out, another of my favourite bands that I found dissappointing in concert, if I remember rightly the guitarist walked off for a little while in the middle of the set and Perry's voice was a pale imitation of their recorded stuff. Heroin and a long tour can probably do that to you though. Nothings Shocking is their first studio album and it has songs you just have to hear on it, the next Ritual de Habitual is an artistic masterpiece. After almost a decade they released an album recently, cover was shocking but the music still has an edge that is unmistakably Jane's Addiction, and therefore worth listening to. One of the most important bands of recent music history, unfortunately few have been able to emulate the path they trod.
Slayer....one of the best bands I have ever seen live, at the end of their concert I had taught myself the double kick drum version of the air guitar. Unfortunately they didn't have their usual legendary drummer Dave Lombardo on tour when I saw them, but I might commit a heresy and say that in parts the guy they had sitting in was as good and even better. Slayer are just great heavy fun music, they sing about Satan but I think if they believed he actually existed for a second they might do otherwise, apparently they only started doing it when some fundamentalist christian neighbours told them to turn their music down one too many times, and they turned the amps to the wall and started singing about Satan. These guys are wicked musicians, much emulated, Reign in Blood is one of the classic metal albums of all time from Angel of Death onwards.
Marvin Gaye
What's Going On was voted in the top five albums of all time, which just shows that the poll was obviously amongst musical people because most people don't have a good grasp of who he is. Sexual Healing is a great track, but it's his protest album What's Going On that I listen to repeatedly (trying to ignore the repeated god and "save the babies" references). Turn the lights off, mellow out and put on this album. Mercy, mercy me...
Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson is deep, deep blues. Recorded in the thirties in a little recording shed, he laid down 29 tracks and then was killed for something involving a woman. It's is mind boggling what he can play and sing at the same time, if you are looking for the roots of almost any modern style of the blues, it is probably encapsulated in a single riff in one of Johnson's songs. If you consider yourself someone who likes blues, you should know about Robert Johnson just for history's sake. I remember seeing an interview with a fellow blues man who knew him and the thing that most impressed him about Johnson, was how he could roll his suit up in his swag, and take it out and having it looking freshly pressed....that's about as authentic as the blues down on the Mississippi Delta gets.
Another of the best lives bands I've ever seen. Badbrains do hard hitting grooving riffs in one breath, and then roll out sugar sweet reggae the next. Starting out as a dreadlocked punk band in the eighties, their music matured and grew until it would be difficult to place them in any one category. Full of esoteric rasta propaganda, listening to a Badbrains album is an experience.
Queen were the band that taught me to appreciate music beyond what was in the top 40. I still think they have many great songs, but theres a whole bunch of crap particularly in the last few albums that put me off their music for many years. Finally I remembered their least popular album, and the only one to be ignored on their greatest hits album, Queen II. It really is something of a masterpiece, forged in a time when a record meant something more than market position and key demographic. One for a dark house on a sleepy summers night.
Henry Rollins Rollins is undeniably hard core. Appearing in movies, documentaries, tv shows, doing spoken word tours, writing books and of course playing great music, he is nothing if not interesting. Seen him live a couple of times and he doesn't miss a beat, putting an intensity into his music only a health fanatic could. A friend of mine told me he saw him doing weights before his concert and it shows, when he comes out on stage he is pumped.

Cameron Green
Last Updated - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:04:48 -0600