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Cowboys In Cyberspace - December 2001

"A Christmas E-Carol"

Once upon a time, in the dead of night, the Ghosts of Christmas did come to visit, bearing shiny silver discs. First came the Ghost of Christmas Past. In his hand, Roots, Volume 1, on which the incomparable Merle Haggard takes a look back and honours some of the country stars who inspired him. Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams and Hank Thompson. Adding that special authentic touch is the presence of longtime Frizzell guitarist Norm Stephens. Merle even shunned modern technology in an effort to get the sound just right. "We took the old microphones and got ourselves set up in a room in my house", he explained. "...The sound, well, it's just setting there naked so to speak. There's none of that crap that we've all become used to hearing on records nowadays." Not surprising then that his label, Anti, has the slogan "Real artists creating great recordings on their own terms".

Santa

"Technology can be good", chipped in the Ghost of Christmas Present. "Speaking of real artists, I was just on the Web reading about the new George Jones album, The Rock: Stone Cold Country 2001. He's a classic himself, with one foot firmly in the present. He may have just turned seventy, but he can still hold his own, even when duetting on the song Beer Run with that young upstart Garth Brooks. If you think that song is a bit controversial because of the interface between George's car and a bridge, don't miss the disclaimer in the fine print. "George asks: If you drink, do so responsibly".

elves

The Ghost of Christmas Future just smiled. In his claw like grip was the new version of the Windows operating system, Windows XP. If Santa is bringing you a brand new computer, it will probably have this latest Windows eXPerience already installed for you. It certainly has appeal for computer newcomers, automating many of the tasks involved in E-mailing photos and managing or creating your digital music collection. It incorporates several programs for these sort of tasks that would normally have to be acquired separately, further enhancing Bill Gates' dream of Windows on every computer, everywhere! The lone voice of Ebenezer Scrooge might suggest that Windows XP is not an urgent or essential upgrade for experienced users. They would do also well to check that their older machines have enough grunt to cope with the demands of this latest version of Windows, before they part with their hard-earned pennies.

So ends A Christmas E-Carol, according to cyberBob Cratchit.

barbed wire
barbed wire

JUBILEE:
LIVE AT WOLF TRAP
(DVD)

DVD cover
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Most modern computers now come equipped with a DVD-Rom drive, and with the rise in popularity of 'home theatre' systems that include a stand-alone DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) player, it is estimated that in Australia, 2.8 million homes will be DVD enabled by the end of the year! If you're trying to choose a DVD to put in someone's Christmas stocking, look no further:

Recorded in 1995, this show has Mary Chapin Carpenter performing before a huge hometown crowd, loving every second of it, and now you can too. Definitely one of the best films of a live concert ever shot - reproduced here on DVD with stunning clarity of vision and sound. Interview snippets between each track never intrude on the live performance action, but do provide a thoughtful insight into her work and writing. Her love and respect for the band as they unite to serve the music is apparent in her dialogue, and gratifying as you watch them in action. While she has been to Australia in acoustic mode, we have yet to see Mary tour here with her whole band. You can enjoy them here however, in a programme that perfectly balances her reflective acoustic compositions with the more raunchy electric numbers. To watch her strut on the stage singing I Feel Lucky is sheer delight. A gem.

SONY CVD50126 ( 88 mins)
Track Listing:

  • 'Why Walk When You Can Fly'
  • 'Passionate Kisses'
  • 'I Feel Lucky'
  • 'Jubilee'
  • 'Shut Up and Kiss Me'
  • 'A Keeper For Every Flame'
  • 'That's The Way Love Goes'
  • 'Come On, Come On'
  • 'The Last Word'
  • 'John Doe No. 24'
  • 'Only A Dream'
  • 'I Am A Town'
  • 'Can't Take Love For Granted'
  • 'Stones In The Road'
  • 'The Hard Way'
  • 'Quittin' Time'
  • 'He Thinks He'll Keep Her'
  • 'Down At The Twist &: Shout'
  • 'Jubilee (Reprise)'

There are plenty of other new and updated sites for you to check out this month. Here are just some of them:

The long awaited Compass Bros. Records Web site has arrived, giving Adam Brand and Melinda Schneider fans a wealth of pictures, audio and video to explore. You'll also find this award-winning pair at the ACE Awards site.

Kylie Sackley has had a colourful year as the current Toyota Star Maker Quest winner. You can check out her fun photos and more at Kylie's new site.

The Tania Kernaghan Web site has had a makeover in keeping with her new album Big Sky Country. Fans have the opportunity on Saturday December 8th, to see Tania on-line via Web-cams as she answers questions from her chatroom during a special Saturday Night Country radio broadcast. Check in via Tania's site.

The Guitar Show is a new television series, currently airing on MusicCountry, about guitars and the people who play them. Each episode has a number of regular segments, the most important of which is a feature interview that takes the viewer backstage and onstage with a major guitarist. They discuss the influences and inspirations behind their playing, tell us how they get their sound, talk about their instruments and technique, and offer some musical and technical tips along the way. Interviews have been carried out with every major guitarist who has toured Australia this year including Steve Morse from the Dixie Dregs, Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, Tony Joe White, National steel guitar virtuoso Bob Brozman, Buddy Miller, Will Ray, Jerry Donahue, Rod McCormack, and Roger McGuinn.

Kasey Chambers - Tabs and Chords - the title of this site says it all. Another worthwhile addition to the growing number of unofficial Kasey sites.

Harvey Dickson's Country Music Centre is 5km from Boyup Brook in Western Australia. They have live shows and the Record Room, with its abundance of Elvis Presley memorabilia. Outside, three 45-foot Guitar Men tower over this popular tourist stop. If you can't get there in person, drop in on your trip along the Internet highway.

The Northern Suburbs Country Music Club in Brisbane has been the starting place for many Country Music journeys, including that of Keith Urban. (site currently down).

Having a certain theme for a web site can certainly make it stand out from the crowd. Have a peek at at the gorgeous scrapbook of singer-songwriter KAREN LYNNE - just click on the lock to open it.

You are sitting in a booth at the Two Doors Down Club. There is a jukebox in front of you and the TV above you is showing Dwight Yoakam. Through the window you can see a number of stores, a library and a hotel. If you're a Dwight Yoakam fan, it won't matter which door you choose. Even if you're not a fan, check out this site's amazing interactive interface.


If you want to share the location of an interesting site you've seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA (98.9 FM in Brisbane) and Barbara Morison on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney). Until next time, happy surfing.

LAST MONTHHOME COWBOYNEXT MONTH

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© 2001 Bob Howe Productions - ShowNet