TURN UP YOUR RADIO, the Master’s Apprentices 1970 declaration that they were now a rock band rather than a teeny bopper sensation, opened our Australia Day show, featuring 40 years of Australian Classic Rock. They quite rightly remind us that rock n roll started a good 15 years before this but there was no way that we were going to fit 55 years of rock into a two hour show, so 1970 seemed a fitting start. Check out this video when Glenn Wheatley was still working the bass guitar:
Daddy Cool’s EAGLE ROCK was recorded in 1971 and went onto become the best selling Australian single of the year. According to songwriter and singer, Ross Wilson, he was inspired by the popular 1920s black dance performed with the arms outstretched and the body rocking from side to side which was called the Eagle Rock. ‘Doing the eagle rock’ is also a metaphor for sexual intercourse.The accompanying promotional video was put together quickly for $300 and shows the band in some old Melbourne haunts including the Dolphin Café in Clarendon St., South Melbourne and St. Kilda’s Aussie Burger Bar opposite Luna Park as well as live shots from the 1971 Myponga Festival held in South Australia.
In early 1972 Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs released what became their biggest hit, and Thorpe’s signature tune – MOST PEOPLE I KNOW (THINK THAT I’M CRAZY), a song now widely regarded as one of the classics of Australian rock. It was a huge hit for the Aztecs, propelled to the top of charts by the band’s triumphant appearance at the 1972 Sunbury Music Festival. Thorpe himself claimed this as a pivotal moment in the development of Australian music, thanks to the promoters’ decision to feature an all-Australian lineup, rather than relying on imported stars.
And here’s an interview with the late great Billy Thorpe at Sunbury:
After the demise of the Easybeats in 1969, Stevie Wright embarked on a successful solo career. In 1974 he released the epic EVIE, an 11-minute 3-part classic, which to this day remains the longest song ever to reach #1 on any chart in the world.
In 1975 AC/DC released the album T.N.T. with the iconic track IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YOU WANNA ROCK N ROLL). Written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, its notable for combining bagpipes with hard rock, electric guitars, drums and bass. In the mid-part of the song there is a duet between the bagpipes and the electric guitar.
Two very influential Australian bands that were at their best in the mid 70′s were The Angels and The Saints. The Saints, in particular, are considered to be one of the first and most influential punk rock groups. By 1975, The Saints were employing the fast tempos, raucous vocals and “buzzsaw” guitar that characterised early punk rock. With their first single, I’M STRANDED, in late 1976, they became the first punk band outside the United States to release a record, ahead of better-known punk acts like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. According to Bob Geldof, “Rock music in the seventies was changed by three bands – the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and The Saints”.
Meanwhile Cold Chisel were about to record the song that quite frequently tops those ‘best of’ lists, so it couldn’t be left out of this playlist: KHE SANH. I’ll dedicate this one to Chisel drummer Steve Prestwich who passed away last week at the very young age of 56.
Midnight Oil and Men at Work released songs like THE POWER AND THE PASSION and DOWN UNDER, that have become Aussie anthems. And then in 1983 The Choirboys came into their own with their first single NEVER GONNA DIE .
By 1984 INXS were breaking out internationally with songs like ORIGINAL SIN and Chrissie Amphlett and The Divinyls proved that a female lead singer could rock it out as well as the boys on songs like PLEASURE & PAIN:
In the mid 80′s Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls released the Gossip album and proved that there was a place for consummate storytelling in Australian rock music. The hit single from the album was BEFORE TOO LONG:
Hunters & Collectors came together in the early 80′s and were a blend of pub rock and art-funk. While they attracted a growing fan base both here and overseas, their first real recording success was with the 1989 album Ghost Nation which featured the hit single WHEN THE RIVER RUNS DRY.
The most successful Australian rock band ever, though, continued to be AC/DC. Unfortunately Bon Scott passed away in 1980 but the band bounced back and found a worthy replacement for Scott in Brian Johnson. They kept performing and releasing albums throughout the 80′s and in 1990 they released what was considered their major comeback album The Razors Edge. Here they are performing my favourite track from that album, THUNDERSTRUCK. Go Angus!
Also in the 90′s bands like The Screaming Jets and the Baby Animals were making an impact on the local scene.
Killing Heidi’s first single WEIR was released in August 1999 and reached #6 on the Aria charts (and Platinum sales) by the end of 1999. The band’s debut album Reflector was released in early 2000 and debuted at #1, quickly becoming the fastest-selling album in Australian music history. Here are Ella and Jesse Hooper performing live on TV show The Panel around that time:
Also around that time Powderfinger were emerging as a force to be reckoned with. As was Spiderbait who had a #1 hit with their terrific version of BLACK BETTY in 2004.
But the standout band of the new millenium has to be Silverchair who have received the industry’s flagship gongs, the Aria Awards, a record 21 times as well as six APRA Awards. They’ve sold over 6 million albums. Here’s STRAIGHT LINES from the 2007 album Young Modern:
We finished the show with some hard rock: Wolfmother performed here in Byron this week and were amazing. Their song NEW MOON RISING was released in 2009 and its still one of my faves. And the perfect finale followed: AC/DC with HIGHWAY TO HELL. Here’s Wolfmother performing live on Jools Holland Later in October 2009.
Next week’s show has been suggested by the lovely Ros, and I can’t resist because its a goodie: SONGS ABOUT OTHER MUSICIANS. If you have any suggestions for tracks to include, leave me a message here. Meanwhile here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Turn Up Your Radio (1970) – Masters Apprentices
Eagle Rock (1971) – Daddy Cool
Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy (1972) – Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs
Evie – Let Your Hair Hang Down, Pt. 1 (1974) - Stevie Wright
It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) (1975) – AC/DC
(I’m) Stranded (1976) – The Saints
Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (1977) – The Angels
Khe Sanh (1978) – Cold Chisel
Down Under (1981) – Men At Work
Power And The Passion (1982) – Midnight Oil 2
Never Gonna Die (1983) – Choirboys
Original Sin (1984) – INXS
Pleasure & Pain (1985) - The Divinyls
Before Too Long - Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls
When The River Runs Dry (1989) – Hunters and Collectors
Thunderstruck (1990) – AC/DC
Better (1991) - Screaming Jets
One Word (1992) - Baby Animals
My Happiness (2001) – Powderfinger
Weir (2000) - Killing Heidi
Black Betty (2004) - Spiderbait
Straight Lines (2007) - Silverchair
New Moon Rising (2009) - Wolfmother
Highway To Hell (1979) - AC/DC
Next week: SONGS ABOUT OTHER MUSICIANS
Now, you may think I’m a bit behind the eight ball, doing a show on RESOLUTIONS AND FRESH STARTS in mid January, but I have a policy of not even thinking about New Year Resolutions until after my birthday, which is around this time. I’m not prepared to give up my wicked ways until those celebrations are well out of the way. And, to be honest, that could take up to 6 months at least.
So, I’ll allow the playlist to do the job for me. The wonderful Nina Simone set the tone with FEELING GOOD. She’s full of optimism because it’s a new day, a new life and she’s feeling good. I wonder how long that lasted? Because, as we all know, new resolutions and fresh starts are often accompanied by regret and, unfortunately, they almost always carry the potential for failure. But, let’s at least try and maintain some hope.
The Allman Brothers Band have had their ups and downs, so on a song like CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING they’re sounding mighty ambitious. But hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
It was great to have Blues/Roots duo The Fridays in the studio for a chat and some live music. They’re from Adelaide and presently in Byron performing and promoting their EP Woh Oh. Kimberly McKenzie and Kelly Breuer’s original material melds rock out riffs with beautiful harmonies. A couple of the songs had me laughing out loud. As well as playing ROMANCE COMEDY from their EP we were able to have them perform two other numbers live and it was such a pleasure. If you get a chance to catch them perform, anywhere, don’t miss out on supporting some fantastic up and coming Australian talent.
Motown giants The Supremes and The Temptations got together to record a version of Dee Dee Warwick’s I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME and it became a huge hit for them in 1969. We followed that with the very appropriate NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS from two more soul greats, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.
If only Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynot had followed through on his resolution, he might still be with us. Instead, I’VE GOT TO GIVE IT UP, is a sad memorial to this amazing talent who died at 36.
Something a little less serious: Husker Du reckon they’re NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN. Oh come on guys, never say never. Bob Dylan is equally resolute. He swears he’s never going to work on MAGGIES FARM no more. Fair enough.
The Who are convinced that they WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN. A good resolution if ever I heard one, but, like a lot of resolutions, not that easy to keep.
Mama Kin is very convincing on her resolution song I’M GONNA DO IT. As is Bobby Bland who says he AIN’T GONNA BE THE FIRST TO CRY.
John Legend gets a little bit of help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. On this video clip he carries the day on his own (and you get the bonus of Spottie as well). Its a live performance in London with a terrific band and back-up.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers contributed one of those songs full of promises. You know the ones: men make them in order to win the woman of their dreams. In this case George says I’LL CHANGE MY STYLE.
Bobbie Gentry, who’s obviously met a few ‘Georges’ in her time swears I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN.
Nick Cave, apparently has all the right intentions, he just has trouble delivering on his resolutions because RIGHT NOW HE’S A ROAMING. Steve Winwood knows that if you’re really serious about wanting a fresh start you have to make it happen WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE.
Somehow I don’t think Ian Dury and the Blockheads were serious at all when they sang I WANT TO BE STRAIGHT.
Princess Superstar’s QUITTING SMOKING SONG was edited a little, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to play it on radio, and that would have been a pity, I reckon. Meanwhile, Black Kids are promising I’M NOT GOING TO TEACH YOUR BOYFRIEND HOW TO DANCE WITH YOU. Quite right too.
A fun couple of songs to exit on: Mary Martin and the cast of South Pacific with I’M GONNA WASH THAT MAN RIGHT OUT OF MY HAIR. And one of my favourites, the wonderfully eccentric and optimistic Jonathan Richman, who knows all about fresh starts on I’M JUST BEGINNING TO LIVE.
Thanks to The Fridays for coming in and entertaining us in the first hour of the program. Don’t forget they’re performing at the Rails Hotel in Byron Bay on Thursday January 20th so get along and support them.
Thanks also to Lina, Chilla, Shel, Allan, Andy and Victoria for letting us know what their New Year Resolutions were for this year.
Next week’s show will be ALL AUSTRALIAN. Lots of nostalgia and some new stuff as well.
Until then, here’s this week’s playlist:
Feeling Good / Nina Simone
Change My Way Of Living / The Allman Brothers Band
Romance Comedy / The Fridays
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me / The Supremes
New Year’s Resolution / Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
Got To Give It Up / Thin Lizzy
Never Talking To You Again / Hüsker Dü
Maggie’s Farm / Bob Dylan
Won’t Get Fooled Again / The Who
I’m Gonna Do It / Mama Kin
I Ain’t Gonna Be The First To Cry / Bobby “Blue” Bland
I Can Change ft. Snoop Dogg / John Legend
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again / Bobbie Gentry
I’ll Change My Style / George Thorogood and The Destroyers
Right Now I’m A-Roaming / Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
I Want To Be Straight / Ian Dury and The Blockheads
While You See A Chance / Steve Winwood
One Way Or Another / Blondie
Quitting Smoking Song / Princess Superstar
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You / Black Kids
I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair / Mary Martin and The Girl’s Chorus of South Pacific
I’m Just Beginning To Live /Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
Next week: 40 YEARS OF CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN ROCK
This week’s theme is inspired by the fact that Iggy Pop is headlining our major youth concert, The Big Day Out this month. And Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull will all be here in April for the Byron Blues Festival. I’m a baby boomer, so I’m ecstatic to be able to see all my heroes from the 60′s still performing. But, I have to ask: what is it about the first generation of rock n rollers – what keeps them going?
The reality is that from the moment rock music arrived on the scene it was a young person’s game: music made by young people for young people. It never intended to grow up or grow old. But it did. So what happens when rock’s youthful rebelliousness is delivered wrapped in wrinkles?
Lemmy from Motorhead has a formula for staying alive. He reckons you just breath (at all times). Lemmy, like Keith Richards, is one of the all time rock n roll survivors and therefore much revered by fans of a similar vintage.
Much to the dismay of our children, we baby boomers have carried on being the oldest swingers in town. We haven’t shown any sign of giving up on rock concerts, taking recreational drugs, (if we want to), and staying up all night. It’s why the biggest earners for rock concerts aren’t the Lady Gagas of the world, but veteran performers like AC/DC, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and The Who.
On MY GENERATION The Who were actually saying that they hoped they’d die before they got old. Hey, hold on a minute, they’re still singing it and they ARE old. What happened?
What happened started in the 50s when an entirely new species emerged with its very own music. They were called teenagers. And their music was called rock n roll:
Rock n roll created something special: The joy of hearing your parents shout out: “Turn that bloody racket down!” Because one of the social functions of rock has always been the defiance of the older generation. For performers like Elvis every gesture, every note was all about social disenfranchisement and rebellion. Elvis hit the scene wearing pink and black and leather outfits. He looked more like a pimp than a musician. “Outrageous!” reeled the grown-ups. But to the teenagers, he represented an escape from the stuffiness of the post-World War Two era.
No-one, even the musicians themselves, took rock and pop seriously, though. It was seen as a novelty, something that wasn’t meant to last. As the soundtrack to growing pains, it was temporary and disposable just like the people who made it.
By the early 60′s Beatlemania was gripping youth’s attention. The Establishment, however, remained doubtful that it was a fever that would last. Even the Beatles accepted the idea of their own inbuilt obsolescence.
With Beatlemania, and the British Invasion in general, many of the young established groups were being left behind. The tyranny of youth dictated that if you didn’t change with the times, you were old hat. One of the new incumbents was the band Manfred Mann.
In 1965 The Who recorded one of the ultimate anthems to youth, one that damned growing up and growing old. The young went on the offensive claiming their territory through guitar, bass and drums. The older generation were still recovering from a World War and all they wanted was some peace and quiet. To the younger generation old age just seemed really boring.
Ironically, the British Beat boom of the mid 60′s was based on music that was already old. Bands like the Stones, The Animals & Manfred Mann worshipped American Blues of the 20s 30s and 40s. Their recording heroes were still alive, but by rock roll’s new standards they were old men. Charlie Parker was born in 1920, Miles Davis in 1926 & Muddy Waters in 1913.
The self-absorbed rebelliousness of rock n roll gathered speed with the Rolling Stones. While the Who were busy burying the older generation, the Stones were singing about finding their satisfaction in sex.
The arrival of album culture in the late 60s proved that rock n roll was now thinking more in the long term. It didn’t sound disposable anymore. It was growing up, just like the people who made it. The Beatles Sgt Peppers album dared to imagine what life would be like at SIXTY FOUR. Up until now that was completely unthinkable for the baby boomer generation.
In the same year that the Beatles released the Sgt Peppers album, Procol Harum had a hit single with WHITER SHADE OF PALE. Things had started to get serious. The more experienced young musicians began wondering how far they could take their music. And they took their diehard fans with them. In many cases the fans had grown up with these bands and, along the way, they’d developed an appreciation of lyrics and music with more depth.
The end of the sixties saw the beginning of the rock n roll casualty list. The death of Brian Jones in 1969 seemed to crystalise a ‘live fast, die young’ attitude and brought a new reality to “I hope I die before I get old.” Janis Jopliin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix all died at 27, confirming the myth that if you wanted to be a rock legend you had to die young.
The Stones, however, seemed determined to mature. After the death of Brian Jones they picked themselves up and went back on the road. For the band, it wasn’t over yet.
By the end of the 60′s the Stones had discovered the secret of survival, at least for now. Unfortunately, the Beatles didn’t. As if to prove that longevity and rock n roll was difficult for a group of young guys growing up together, they split in 1970. The Fab Four would go on to enjoy successful solo careers for many years to come but the surge of creativity that fed them in their youth proved more elusive for them and their generation as they grew older.
Today, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Pete Townsend can play arenas 45 years after they first had hits. Which is great. But the real question is: are they writing great songs? Or is the outpouring of creativity that launched their careers a factor of youth?
Herman’s Hermits got together in 1963 when lead singer Peter Noone was only 16. Their very first release, I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD, was a #1 hit and although future recordings would get into the top ten, they were never to have a UK #1 again. The band, without Noone, continue to perform to this day and Peter Noone has gone on to have a successful career as both a singer and actor.
In the early 70′s, no performer demonstrated rock n roll’s reliance on youthful invention and raw power more than Iggy Pop. Here’s a great little doco that illustrates why he is known as the “Godfather of Punk”:
Not all rock n roll of the early 70′s was an expression of sexual energy and youthful physicality. By now prog rock was plundering the classical music collections so beloved of its middle class parents, as proof of its intention to last. It’s perpetrators, bands like Yes & Jethro Tull, seemed to be contemplating careers beyond the age of 30.
Performers found themselves living with their songs and growing into their material. One of the most requested songs from troops serving in Vietnam was I GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE by Eric Burdon & The Animals. Burdon continues to perform this song today when he entertains servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, it’s written into his contract. That’s what they call an anthem, folks.
In 1976, before the 60′s generation had a chance to mature, they were rudely cast aside by punk. It was a three-chord reign of terror, the ultimate Oedipal act. Snarling, spitting and clawing its way to the stage.
These weren’t the kids of the optimistic 60′s but a new young generation who felt abandoned. Everyone was in their way and, as always, no one understood them.
The bands of the post-punk era, like the Specials and Madness, while less dismissive of the past, still believed that rock and pop music were part of an essentially young experience.
In the early 80′s the Stones were back, yet again, having been absent from the stage for 6 years – while punk and its aftermath were the centre of attention. They were proving that they were in for the long haul.
In July 1985 the benefits of hanging in for the long term reached unexpected and unprecedented heights, with Live Aid. The international event sometimes looked like a version of Dad’s Army with acts like Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Who, and the Beach Boys joining pop stars of the 80s on stage. Watched by more than 400 million viewers in 60 countries, this was the rock n roll survivor’s finest hour. Suddenly being 40 didn’t seem so uncool. These were the masters, the legends, the acts deemed capable of feeding the world.
A lot of young people heard some of the older bands for the first time, saying “These bands are fantastic.” And then, the most hated people in their musical vocabulary, their parents, responded with “Yeah, we know, we love them too!”
What had begun with Live Aid in the 80′s continued into the 90s with projects like War Child. Performers from three generations of rock n roll – Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher recorded COME TOGETHER, in the new spirit of multi-generational tolerance. It was no longer a case of ‘My Generation’ but ‘Your Generation too”. Just as importantly, audiences for the music also started to span generations.
The new millennium witnessed an entirely new phenomenon: the revival and the comeback. Leonard Cohen, already in his 70′s, had decided to stop performing and recording altogether. At least that was the plan. But after having all his money misappropriated by a crooked manager, he had to go back on the road. And guess what, he loves it!
Audiences who had grown up and grown old with their heroes wanted them back. Age had invested their favourite bands with a new authenticity. Performers couldn’t believe their luck. Even Brian Wilson returned from the wilderness to be a Beach Boy once again.
Rock n roll is now revelling in a long life. What was about risk and youth is now about enjoying a grand old age. It’s about longevity, survival, nostalgia. Refusing to grow up, give up or shut up. The whole point of the baby boomer generation is that we made it up from the beginning and we’ve been making it up ever since. We’ve been pushing the boundaries, and unlike our parents, we’ve refused to accept old age.
Many thanks to BBC and You Tube community for the wealth of material, without which this week’s show would not be possible.
Next week, my special guests will be The Fridays, performing live in the studio, plus lots of songs about RESOLUTIONS. Any suggestions/requests, please leave me a message here.
In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Lust For Life, Trainspotting soundtrack, Iggy Pop
My Generation, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack, The Who
Johnny B. Goode, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, Chuck Berry
Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley
Get A Job, Get a Job, The Silhouettes
Paul McCartney quote
Twist And Shout, Please Please Me, The Beatles
Paul Jones quote
Come Tomorrow, The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, Manfred Mann
(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, Muddy Waters
Let’s Spend The Night Together, Hot Rocks 1964-1971, The Rolling Stones
When I’m Sixty-Four, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
She’s Leaving Home, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
A Whiter Shade Of Pale, The Big Chill soundtrack, Procol Harum
Brown Sugar, Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones
Peter Noone quote
I’m Into Something Good, The Original 60′s Summertime album, Herman’s Hermits
Iggy Pop i/view
Search And Destroy, Raw Power, Iggy Pop & The Stooges
Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll, Too Young To Die, Jethro Tull
We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place, The Most of the Animals, The Animals
God Save The Queen, Never Mind the Bollocks, The Sex Pistols
Too Much Too Young, The Singles Collection, The Specials
Baggy Trousers, Complete Madness, Madness
Mick Jagger quote
Start Me Up, Tattoo You, The Rolling Stones
Rockin’ All Over The World, Rockin’ All Over The World, Status Quo
Surfin’ USA, Endless Summer Legends, The Beach Boys
We Will Rock You, News of the World, Queen
Come Together, Help (War Child Benefit), Paul Weller & Friends
1969 (with i/view), Iggy Pop
In My Secret Life, Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen
God Only Knows, Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
Forever Young, Napolean Dynamite soundtrack, Alphaville
Next week: RESOLUTIONS
If you’re a regular Theme Park listener you’ll know that I have what they call an ‘eclectic’ taste in music. And it comes in handy when you’re putting together a show each week on random themes, I tell you! This week, just to prove that I do listen to new music, I decided that I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia this week, all new music and a look-see at what arrived in my Xmas stocking, all 23 albums! Thank you Santa!
Here’s my rationale for how I devised my list: It’s the age of the singles download, but there are just some albums that you can’t cherry pick from. My list represents those albums: the ones that work best when listened to as a whole experience. Having said that, it is only a two hour program, so a choice had to be made about what singles to play from those albums. So, here goes:
Caribou, otherwise known to his Mama as Daniel Victor Snaith, is a mathematician by trade who, in his spare time, delivers beautiful and captivating electronic music. His 2010 album Swim is the first of my favourites and we opened the show with the track ODESSA. Even if you’re not an electronica fan, (and I’m not particularly), this album successfully crosses over and appeals to almost everyone who listens to it.
Next on my list the album Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz. Hard to pick one track from this incredibly diverse album. It was a toss-up between MELANCHOLY HILL and SUPERFAST JELLYFISH, featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul. The chance to also play some De La Soul put the latter track on the list in the end. And, I’ve got to say, I’m very jealous of anyone who saw Gorillaz on their recent Plastic Beach tour!
One of the most beautiful songs of the year is PIECES by the Irish band Villagers. Singer Conor O’Brien totally rocks. The song is from their debut album Becoming a Jackal. Check out this live performance from their very first headline show in 2009. Amazing.
My favourite video clip of the year goes to Janelle Monae for TIGHTROPE. It’s from the album The ArchAndroid which is nothing if not ambitious. The album was a very nice surprise indeed. Featuring everything from power ballads right through to the ferocious energy of her signature dance tracks, this is one hot album. Here’s the clip that has garnered so much YouTube attention:
Another surprise favourite for me was Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It finally convinced me of this guy’s talent. I’ll try and overlook his arrogance for the sake of the music and some of his fine collaborators. One of the best tracks features Ben Iver and its called LOST IN THE WORLD.
Down the Way by Angus & Julia Stone was the biggest-selling Australian album of 2010, and it certainly shows the growing maturity of this brother and sister duo. BIG JET PLANE is the standout track from this album.
Another great Aussie group is You Am I. Their best record in more than a decade is self titled. My favourite track is the second single of that album, TRIGGER FINGER. The clip features Lanie Lane who also supplied backing vocals.
I’m a big fan of the soulful voice of Ray LaMontagne. His 2010 album with the Prairie Dogs, God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise has a number of great tracks on it. Here he performs BEG STEAL OR BORROW in the studios of Oui FM in France.
Another exquisite song is RUBY from the album Ali and Toumani, released in February 2010. It’s a series of duets from two of Africa’s most distinguished musicians, the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure and kora player Toumani Diabate.
The same kind of purity can be found in a completely different genre by a group called Mountain Man. They’re actually an all girl trio from Vermont who recorded their album Made the Harbor in a disused ice-cream parlour. The whole album is mostly a capella, which just goes to show that the voice really is the ultimate instrument. We played their sublime version of HOW’M I DOIN’.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who thinks that Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy is completely underrated as a singer and a songwriter. This band has been around for about 20 years and yet we’re almost a secret society of fans. Hopefully their latest album Bang Goes the Knighthood will get them the recognition they deserve.
The Roots have also been around a while, 1987 to be exact, and HOW I GOT OVER is their 11th album. They’re all great albums, but this one is possibly their best:
Despite already declaring that I’m not a big electronica fan, here’s another electronica album in my 2010 faves: LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening album can’t be overlooked. I CAN CHANGE is one of the best tracks from the album. Thank God for Jools Holland (what a great show btw). Here’s a great clip from that show:
The Vampire Weekend’s album Contra came out just in time for my birthday in January 2010. Here’s the very energetic track COUSINS from that album:
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released a very Bluesy album called Mojo this year which I really love. I particularly like their version of the old standard CANDY.
At the other end of the spectrum, Danger Mouse got together with James Mercer to invent a new group called Broken Bells. They released their first album together in 2010. Here they are performing THE HIGH ROAD, from that self-titled album, at Lowlands 2010.
Two more albums that I’ve been listening to non-stop this year are Arcade Fire’s THE SUBURBS and The Black Keys album BROTHERS. Here are the Black Keys performing I’M HOWLIN FOR YOU from that album, on Jools Holland:
A new discovery for me late in the year was Diane Birch. She released her first album, Bible Belt, in 2009 and the EP Velveteen Age just before Xmas this year. She’s only in her mid twenties but wow, what a voice.
And talking of great voices, soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples released a wonderful album this year called YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy who also wrote two of the songs on the album. Two of my all time favourite artists on one album. Heaven. Here’s a sample of what we’ll be seeing at the upcoming Byron Blues Fest in April. I, for one, cannot wait!
Ex Czars frontman, John Grant, gives a substantial nod to Supertramp and Bread on his debut album, Queen of Denmark. But hey, who else is doing that kind of material these days? The track I WANNA GO TO MARZ features the band Midlake and its a beautiful song based on Grant’s own childhood experience of escaping to the local sweet shop. In his own words, the song “is a gateway back to childhood and innocence before things have become complicated.”
A band that also sounds a lot like a few bands of the 70′s is The Russians. But gee, what a great job they do of it. Their album Crashing The Party is full of retro power pop/rock melodies. Sort of like Big Star, but , (dare I say it?) better.
We finished up with the song that’s been on everyone’s lips this year, Cee-Lo Green’s F**CK YOU. I had to play the clean version for radio, of course, which he conveniently included on his Lady Killer album as FORGET YOU. This album is more than the sum of its parts, that’s for sure. With its deliberate nods to Motown, 80′s soul and classic pop, its right up my alley. Hey, you’ve seen the official F**CK YOU clip a million times, (well, actually 33 million hits on YouTube!). So here he is, with his rockin’ all girl band on Later with Jools Holland (have I said already that I absolutely love this show?).
Next week will be the first show of the new year! I’ll be welcoming band Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They’re from the UK and are touring Australia. Think big band with lotsa high energy swinging sounds with flavours from the Balkans, Oompah, Gypsy and New Orleans. Should be fun. AND the theme will be the show will be MULTILINGUAL SONGS, by which I mean songs that have at least two languages in the lyrics. Any suggestions? Then leave me a message here!
Here’s the playlist, and accordingly, my favourite albums of 2010 (in no particular order):
Odessa – Swim, Caribou
Superfast Jellyﬁsh Ft. Gruff Rhys & De La Soul – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz
Pieces – Becoming A Jackal, Villagers
Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) – The ArchAndroid (Deluxe), Janelle Monáe
Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
Big Jet Plane – Down The Way, Angus & Julia Stone
Trigger Finger – You Am I, You Am I
Beg Steal or Borrow – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, Ray LaMontagne/Pariah Dogs
Ruby – Ali & Toumani, Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté
How’m I Doin – Made the Harbor, Mountain Man
The Lost Art Of Conversation – Bang Goes The Knighthood, The Divine Comedy
How I Got Over – How I Got Over, The Roots Feat. Dice Raw
I Can Change – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
Cousins – Contra [Bonus Tracks], Vampire Weekend
Candy – Mojo, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The High Road – Broken Bells, Broken Bells
The Suburbs – The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Howlin’ for You – Brothers, The Black Keys
This Corrosion – The Velveteen Age, Diane Birch
You Are Not Alone – You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples
I Wanna Go to Marz – Queen of Denmark, John Grant
Sober and Un-upsetting – Crashing the Party, The Russians
Forget You – The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green
Next week: MULTILINGUAL SONGS
This week’s theme was motivated entirely by a need NOT to do a show full of Xmas tunes. And while I know it was a risk choosing DRINKING as a theme, you’d be surprised how few songs there are that actually praise boozing. So expect a few remorseful anecdotes, a couple of hangover songs and a precautionary tale or two. But, for those of us who don’t mind a tipple, not to worry – I included a few good old fashioned drinking songs as well. Hey, we couldn’t ignore Xmas altogether, could we?
We got the show rolling with the very upbeat WINE WINE WINE from the brilliant pioneers of electric blues and rock, Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Buddy Miles on drums. Here they are in their heyday in 1967:
One of the great things about living in such a great area as Byron Bay is that we get all the best musical acts coming through here to perform. Recently Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings peformed at our local pub and consummate storyteller Mary Gauthier was here for the Mullumbimby Music Festival in November. Sharon contributed JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN to the playlist and Mary gave us I DRINK, which has become a bit of a signature tune for her.
West Australian band Eskimo Joe’s album BLACK FINGERNAILS, RED WINE was released in 2006 and the single of the same name went on to win single of the year at that year’s Aria Awards.Here’s why:
When it comes to the Blues, up there with the best is the late great Luther Allison. Love his rendition of CHERRY RED WINE and then it was the ‘King of Soul’, Otis Redding, with CHAMPAGNE & WINE.
Tom Waits was in total denial about his drinking habits back in the late 70′s. He’d have you know that THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING (NOT ME). David Crosby, also had his moments will alcohol and other substances. He wrote EVERYBODY’S BEEN BURNED for The Byrds and its a very telling, and quite melancholic take on self-control and trust.
LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening is one of the best albums of 2010 (so there!) and the video for DRUNK GIRLS is crazy. What’s with the Pandas – I have no clue!
I found Lonnie ‘The Cat’ on one of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Hour compilations. His song I AIN’T DRUNK was recorded in 1954 with the Bobby Hines Band which included Ike Turner on piano. “I don’t care what the people are thinking. I ain’t drunk, I’m just drinking.” Brilliant.
Steve Earle’s signature tune is a story about a family who love their moonshine. Earle has been quoted as saying that COPPERHEAD ROAD is the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass. Not sure about that, but it’s certainly a great song.
ZZ Top’s contribution to this week’s show was BEER DRINKERS & HELL RAISERS. They’ll be making their way to the Byron Blues Fest in 2011, and I, for one, can’t wait. Here’s what we have in store for us:
We followed the absolutely crazy ALLIGATOR WINE from Screaming Jay Hawkins with a 1949 recording from Betty Hall Jones, BUDDY, STAY OFF THE WINE. And then it was AIN’T GOT THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE DRINK from George Zimmerman & The Thrills with the Bubber Cyphers Band (Whew). That was recorded in 1956.
I don’t think any song in the playlist was as serious as Gil Scott-Heron’s story about the effect of alcohol on family and community: THE BOTTLE.
We can’t stay very serious for long on the Theme Park, so a couple of light-hearted songs about drinking followed: Monty Python’s BRUCE’S PHILOSOPHERS SONG and The Rovers, recalling what sounds like a pretty good get together, on WASN’T THAT A PARTY.
Three more recent recordings, that just might make you think twice about partying too much over the holidays, had to make the list: THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME from Modest Mouse, IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS WE DO from The Zutons and MY ALCOHOLIC FRIENDS from the very lovely Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.
Personally, I never developed a taste for whiskey. And maybe that’s a good thing, according to Skip James who doled out a little advice about BAD WHISKEY. The Rakes then gave us, what they claim is a true story, with THE GUILT. And then it was drinking music from two of the greats: Nina Simone with a live version of GIN HOUSE BLUES and Billie Holiday with GIMME A PIGFOOT AND A BOTTLE OF BEER.
Before I knew it it was last call for our show on DRINKING and we finished on a very infectious note: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy reckon YOU AND ME AND THE BOTTLE MAKES THREE. And then it was the sublime Peggy Lee who doesn’t need alcohol at all. She says I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. Awwww.
Next week is the last show of the year, so I thought I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia next week, all new music and a look back at the year that was.
The week after, January 4, I’ll be welcoming members of Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They have wowed audiences at Glastonbury & Edinburgh and will be coming to Byron directly from their performances at Woodford. So make sure you tune in then. Oh, and the theme will be Multilingual songs, by which I mean any song which features two or more languages in the lyrics. Come on, its not fun if its not challenging, right?
As promised on my Facebook page (what? you didn’t know about Theme Park Radio’s Facebook page???), here’s my tried and true recipe for a champagne cocktail: It goes particularly well with hot jazz and good times:
Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, Saturate the cube with two dashes of Angostura bitters (don’t leave this bit out – essential). Then add 1 oz of brandy and then gently pour some very chilled champagne into the flute. Yum.
Have a safe and happy Xmas.
Here’s the playlist:
James Bond movie clip – Shaken Not Stirred (movie clip)
Wine, Wine, Wine – The Electric Flag
Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In – The Dynamic Funk and Soul Sound of Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
I Drink – Mary Gauthier
Black Fingernails, Red Wine – Black Fingernails, Red Wine, Eskimo Joe
Cherry Red Wine – Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues [Disc 5], Luther Allison
Champagne & Wine – The Immortal Otis Redding, Otis Redding
The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) – Small Change, Tom Waits
Everybody’s Been Burned – The Byrds Box Set (Disc 2 -Cruising Altitude), The Byrds
Drunk Girls – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
I Ain’t Drunk – Lonnie ‘The Cat”
Copperhead Road – Essential Steve Earle, Steve Earle
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers – Tres Hombres, ZZ Top
Alligator Wine – Frenzy Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Buddy, Stay Off The Wine – Betty Hall Jones
Ain’t Got The Money To Pay For The Drink – George Zimmerman & The Thrills
The Bottle – Winter In America, Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
Bruce’s Philosophers Song – Monty Python
Wasn’t That A Party – Cleveland International Records 1977-1983, The Rovers
The Good Times Are Killing Me – Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse
It’s The Little Things We Do – Tired Of Hanging Around, The Zutons
My Alcoholic Friends – Yes, Virginia…, The Dresden Dolls
Bad Whiskey – She Lyin’, Skip James
The Guilt – Capture/Release, The Rakes
Gin House Blues – Nina Simone: The Tomato Collection [Disc 2], Nina Simone
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer – Sophisticated Ladies [Disc 3], Billie Holiday
You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three – Swingers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
I Get A Kick Out Of You – Sings For You, Peggy Lee
Next week: MY FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010
We’re well and truly into Summer and where are all those beautiful sunny days that this season promises? As I write this, I’m looking out at torrential rain. So, it was definitely wishful thinking that propelled me into this week’s playlist on THE SUN.
We opened the show with a song that radiates optimism, the Beatles GOOD DAY SUNSHINE, written by Paul McCartney and released on the 1966 album Revolver. A relatively new track comes from Michael Franti. I dedicated THE SOUND OF SUNSHINE to the lovely Suzie M. and her grandchildren, Reem & Aliyah who are huge Michael Franti fans.
Local lad Christian Pyle did a great job at the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival and although I played RAY OF YOUR SUNSHINE during my interview with him a couple of weeks ago, it such a great number I had to play it again. It’s from his Nothing Left to Burn album.
The Cream’s SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE is an absolute classic and is still their best-selling song of all time. Here’s Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce playing live circa 1968.
Beth Orton does a brilliant cover of The Ronettes I WISH I NEVER SAW THE SUNSHINE. I found it on the soundtrack to the film Twentyfourseven (brilliant film btw), but its also on her 1996 debut album ‘Trailer Park’. Here she performs live and is accompanied by the very talented Ted Barnes.
The wonderful Katie Noonan possibly does the best cover ever of Soundgarden’s BLACK HOLE SUN that I have ever heard. I usually don’t like to play videos that are simply photo montages, but I can’t give up the opportunity of putting her voice out there. Sublime.
There was no way I was doing a show on THE SUN without playing Stevie Wonder’s YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE. Here he is giving a rare studio concert at London’s Teddington Studios following the release of his ‘Conversation Peace’ album. A sensual ride for an intimate audience of less than 200 fans. You get the bonus of SUPERSTITION on this clip too, which I have to admit is actually my favourite Stevie Wonder number.
Bobby Hebb’s SUNNY is another very optimistic song, considering that it was written in response to his brother’s violent death which occurred on the same day of JFK’s assassination.
Two great songs that were released in 1966 are Donovan’s SUNSHINE SUPERMAN and The Kinks’ SUNNY AFTERNOON. The Kink’s strong Music Hall flavour and lyrical focus was part of a stylistic departure for the band, who had risen to fame in 1964-65 with a series of hard-driving, power-chord rock hits. Ironically, the promotional video for the single featured the band performing in a cold, snowy environment:
Nina Simone’s cover of George Harrison’s HERE COMES THE SUN is an almost religious experience. Starting slowly at first it builds to a flood of warmth and wonder. Unlike the weather here at the moment, unfortunately.
For Ros, and all the other reggae fans, we played Bob Marley’s SUN IS SHINING and followed with the Bill Withers standard – a perfectly apt song for Byron Bay at the moment: AIN’T NO SUNSHINE.
Let’s don’t get too despondent about the weather. As Elaine Page suggests “the sun will come out TOMORROW“. From the musical Annie that song went out to BayFM’s Tommy T-Jet who hosts All Things Camp Friday’s at 1pm.
The Eagles song TEQUILA SUNRISE was written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and is from the album Desperado. I’ve been meaning to do a show just on The Eagles and its certainly on the agenda.
A show on THE SUN wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t include the Beach Boys. I had lots of suggestions for various tunes but I chose the very evocative THE WARMTH OF THE SUN. It was the B-side to Dance, Dance, Dance released in 1964.
Violent Femmes released their debut album in 1982. The music was an innovative combination of American folk music and punk rock, which would much later come to be known as “folk punk”. The lyrics were the common themes of yearning for love, sex and affection. The group quickly gained a following that never veered into mainstream commercialism. One of the songs that gained recognition was A BLISTER IN THE SUN.
2010 is the 25th anniversary of the very infectious WALKING ON SUNSHINE released by Katrina and the Waves. Can you believe it?
I don’t think the The Beloved were getting up with the birds to see the SUN RISING. Somehow I imagine they were on their way home from a big night out.
Australian band The Waifs recorded their 2007 album SUN DIRT WATER in Nashville and it was released on Jarrah Records, a fully independent label they share with John Butler Trio and MGM Distribution.
A couple of oldies but goodies come in the shape of THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE from The Walker Brothers and DON’T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING from Gerry & The Pacemakers.
A while back I put together a show of songs that ask questions. And here’s a couple more: The Velvet Underground want to know WHO LOVES THE SUN and They Might Be Giants ask WHY DOES THE SUN SHINE?
The Spazzys is an all girl punk band from Melbourne who are heavily influenced by the Ramones. They’ve even taken their band’s name as their surname – Kat Spazzy, Lucy Spazzy and Ally Spazzy. Cool. The song SUNSHINE DRIVE is on their Aloha! Go Bananas album released in 2004 but my copy came from the soundtrack of the very good Australian film Suburban Mayhem.
One of The Kinks best known and most acclaimed songs is WATERLOO SUNSET. Ray Davies says, in a 2008 interview, that the song was a fantasy about his sister going off with her boyfriend and emigrating to another country.
Little Village were a supergroup who only released one album. Band members included Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keitner. Sung by John Hiatt, the track SOLAR SEX PANEL certainly suggests a good use for the sun’s rays!
We closed the show with Pink Floyds’s very trippy SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN.
Next week, I’m going to celebrate the Xmas Party season with SONGS ABOUT DRINKING. I’m looking for everything from rowdy singalongs to barfly melancholia and guilty hangover confessionals. That should cover everything! It will be the day after the BayFM Xmas party, so I should be suitably hungover!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Good Day Sunshine – Revolver, The Beatles
The Sound Of Sunshine – The Sound Of Sunshine, Michael Franti and Spearhead
Ray of Your Sunshine – Nothing Left to Burn, Christian Pyle
Sunshine Of Your Love – Eric Clapton Story, Cream
I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine – Twentyfourseven Soundtrack, Beth Orton
Black Hole Sun – Time To Begin, Katie Noonan
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Ballad Collection, Stevie Wonder
Sunny – Rhythm & Blues, Bobby Hebb
Sunshine Superman [Extended] – Try For The Sun, Donovan
Sunny Afternoon – Lost And Found 1962-1969, The Kinks
Solar – Chet In Chicago, Chet Baker
Here Comes The Sun – The Very Best Of Nina Simone, Nina Simone
Sun Is Shining – Bob Marley Collection, Bob Marley
Ain’t No Sunshine – Lean On Me: Priceless Collection, Bill Withers
Tomorrow – Elaine Paige LIVE , Elaine Paige
Tequila Sunrise – The Very Best Of The Eagles, The Eagles
The Warmth Of The Sun – Shut Down Volume 2, The Beach Boys
Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
Walking On Sunshine – Sounds Of The Eighties: 1985, Katrina and The Waves
The Sun Rising – Single File, The Beloved
Sun Dirt Water – Sun Dirt Water, The Waifs
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying – Gerry & The Pacemakers, Gerry and The Pacemakers
Who Loves The Sun – High Fidelity [Bonus Tracks], The Velvet Underground
Why Does The Sun Shine? – Severe Tire Damage, They Might Be Giants
The Sunshine Drive – Suburban Mayhem Soundtrack, The Spazzys
Waterloo Sunset – The Ultimate Collection [Disc 1], The Kinks
Solar Sex Panel – Little Village, Little Village
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun – A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd
Next week: SONGS ABOUT DRINKING
Sexuality, as the openly gay Michael Stipe has said “is a really slippery thing”. He says he’s not homosexual or heterosexual, he’s just sexual. I call that covering all your bases! With November 27th being Australia’s National Day of Action for Marriage Equality and December 1 being World Aids Day, it was a time for a show on HOMOSEXUALITY. I also wanted to pay tribute to a community who are still fighting for basic human rights. India held its very first gay pride march on the weekend after repealing laws against homosexuality only last year. In the US, only California allows same-sex marriages and in countries where these marriages are legal they don’t necessarily come with the right to adopt children. And in Australia our Prime Minister, Julia Guillard, shocked her (until now, anyway) supporters with her stand against gay marriage. So there’s obviously still a long way to go.
For the record I identify myself as straight so, just to give me some credibility, I invited two beautiful and brazen gay friends into the studio to help present the show: fellow BayFM announcers Tommy T-Jet from ‘All Things Camp’ and the lovely Lou from the Tuesday morning breakfast show, ‘Cock a Doodle Doo’.
We opened with a song for Tommy: Elton Motello’s JET BOY JET GIRL is a risque little number about a 15-year-old boy’s sexual relationship with an older man, who then rejects him for a girl. With its chorus of “ooh ooh ooh ooh, he gives me head,” it has been embraced as something of a punk gay anthem. Talking of punk, one of the best bands to emerge from the Queercore movement that started in the 80′s is Pansy Division. They have a huge repertoire of funny and pertinent punk songs about the gay experience and I played one of my faves, FEM IN A BLACK LEATHER JACKET. Part silly, part raucous, part earnest, you cannot ignore them, that’s for sure!
As far as I know Ben Harper is straight. And he’s a good example of your typical New Age Sensitive Guy with an evolved attitude about sexuality. He does a great acoustic number about a woman who leaves her abusive husband for a relationship with a woman. It’s called MAMA’S GOT A GIRLFRIEND NOW.
Marc Almond (ex-Soft Cell) takes Charles Aznavour’s WHAT MAKES A MAN and gives it a whole new meaning. Here he is appearing at the Royal Albert Hall:
I caught up with Melia and Nerida from Scarlett Affection at the Mullum Music Fest and among other things we discussed gay marriage from a straight girl’s point of view. As they quite rightly state, it’s all about love. We followed it with another sister act, the openly gay duo Tegan and Sara with I WAS MARRIED. This video clip was shot at their show at the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary. Love, love, love Tegan and Sara.
Gay icon k.d. lang is a girl with an appetite and she blames it all on CONSTANT CRAVING. This video looks amazing as does k.d.
The Gossip’s lead singer Beth Ditto wrote STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL as a response to the US government’s opposition to same sex marriage. Check this vid of them performing live and then try and tell me that Beth D. doesn’t absolutely rock! So good to see a young rock band with political attitude and a young woman not starving herself to death to fit the media’s idea of what’s sexy.
Jens Lekman is fed up with being a pretend boyfriend for his lesbian mate on A POSTCARD TO NINA. In this videoclip, shot when he performed live in Melbourne in 2006, his guitar died so he played the song on his ukelele while his band mates tried to sort out technical difficulties. Is he as cute as a button, or what?
Franz Ferdinand are, (I think) heterosexual but that didn’t stop them from playing the homoeroticism game on the track MICHAEL. Look, if its good enough for Bowie, then why not? Pete Shelley, on the other hand, isn’t shy about his sexual preference. The post-Buzzcocks pop single HOMOSAPIEN was banned by the BBC for its “explicit reference to gay sex”. Dear oh dear, when is the BBC going to get with the program?
Lou thought the list was getting a little male-dominated, so we couldn’t have that! She had a great suggestion – Ani DiFranco with BOTH HANDS. Following that I proved that Katie Perry is just another copycat. A cute copycat, but a copycat nonetheless. Jill Sobule’s I KISSED A GIRL was a hit way back in 1995. Check this out:
While I was at the Mullum Music Festival I spoke to volunteer David about his thoughts on AIDS and HIV awareness. His opinion is that there is a growing complacency within the gay community about safe sex and my guest presenter Tommy agreed with this. Yes, there is medication these days that can prolong your life but who wants to be on medication for the rest of their life? As with all diseases, prevention is always the best option.
A reminder that December 1 is WORLD AIDS DAY. The theme this year is TAKE ACTION. NO DISCRIMINATION. The aim is to encourage all Australians to be aware of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; and to accept individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Bruce Springsteen’s STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA was written for the first mainstream film to confront HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia. Philadelphia was released in 1993. It was inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers, an lawyer who in 1987 sued the law firm Baker & McKenzie for unfair dismissal in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. Here’s Bruce baby with the official clip for the song which went on to win an Academy award:
I was feeling the need for an anthem and you can’t go past Gloria Gaynor’s I AM WHAT I AM. The song originally featured on the Tony award winning Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. Here’s Gloria in 1984:
Next up it was the always briliant Scissor Sisters with TAKE YOUR MAMA. Apparently, the band took their name from a sexual position between two women. Lou refused to elaborate! Here are they are performing at the 2010 Brit Awards. So wish I had been in that audience!
Our Gig Guide was ushered out with the very silly, but quite infectious, GAY BAR from Electric Six. It seems that we don’t have any lesbian or gay bars up here in the Byron shire. According to my panel of experts its all a bit underground. Oooh.
Time to get a bit more serious with my favourite socialist, Billy Bragg singing TENDER COMRADE and then a request from one of our listeners, Ryan, was granted with The Lemonheads singing BIG GAY HEART.
I absolutely adore the Joan Armatrading song THE WEAKNESS IN ME. Hard finding a decent videoclip of her performing it, but here’s one where she’s accompanied by keboards only. It’s not a great quality video but had to include it. What a voice.
Before I knew it the two hours was up and it was time to close the show and it had to be with the polymorphously perverse David Bowie and QUEEN BITCH. The year was 1972. Not sure what I think of the introduction of Bowie as a ‘self-constructed freak’. I have the feeling that he might have enjoyed that!
Huge thank you to Lou and Tommy for their help this week and allowing me to be a gay for a day.
For more information on community based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender health issues contact ACON via their website at: http://www.acon.org.au/ or use their Free Call number 1800 063 060.
Thanks to Tommy T-Jet for editing the opinion sections of the show. You can listen to us having a bit of a chat between songs at: http://soundcloud.com/tommytjet/theme-park-30th-november-2010-homosexuality
Next week I’ll be ushering in the Summer season with a show on the SUN. Please leave me a message here if you would like to request a track. Until next week, remember to love one another (anyway you like!).
Here’s the playlist:
Jet Boy Jet Girl – Jet Boy Jet Girl, Elton Motello
Fem in a Black Leather Jacket – The Essential Pansy Division, Pansy Division
Mama’s Got a Girlfriend Now – Pleasure and Pain, Ben Harper and Tom Freund
What Makes A Man – 12 Years Of Tears – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, Marc Almond
I Was Married – The Con, Tegan and Sara
Constant Craving – Live By Request, k.d. lang
Standing In The Way Of Control – Standing In The Way Of Control, The Gossip
Do You Come Here Often – Telstar The Tornados
A Postcard To Nina – Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens Lekman
Michael – Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Homosapien – Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits Of The 80′s, Pete Shelley
Both Hands – Ani DiFranco, Ani DiFranco
I Kissed A Girl – Hottest 100 Vol 03 [Disc 1], Jill Sobule
Streets of Philadelphia – Philadelphia Sountrack, Bruce Springsteen
I Am What I AM – I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
It’s Alright – Shaming of the Sun, Indigo Girls
Secret Love – All Blues, Chet Baker
Gay Bar – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 11 [Disc 1], Electric Six
Tender Comrade – Workers Playtime, Billy Bragg
Big Gay Heart – Come On Feel The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads
The Weakness In Me – The L Word Full Soundtrack [Disc 2], Joan Armatrading
Queen Bitch – Hunky Dory, David Bowie
Next week: SONGS ABOUT THE SUN
Drive to Mullumbimby on any given day and you will find buskers on sitar, buskers on guitar and kids out-busking them all. There’ll be a shirtless bloke in a kilt on his mobile, a nice neat Nana off to the doctor and a seedpod of single mums outside Santos health food store sharing tips on crystal deodorant. There’s pie eating workmen, emo teenagers skipping school and eating chips on the pavement, a hot pink mariachi man hitching a ride home and some disheveled rock star buying his groceries. In ‘Mullum’ the whitened teeth brigade hold court with the toothless, and everywhere people are talking, laughing, hugging, complaining, gathered in groups, dotted in shops, drinking coffee, playing drums: it’s a small town symphony of noise. This is a vibrant, flawed gloriously messed up cacophony of community. Mullumbimby needs to be heritage listed. They just don’t do small towns like this anywhere else in Australia!
Once a year the town of Mullumbimby opens her arms to the world and invites them to experience one of the most unique music events in the country: The Mullum Music Festival. This year, from Thursday to Sunday 25 – 28 November, venues throughout the town host over 100 performances, with festival goers able to amble from gig to gig through the streets of Mullumbimby. It’s a festival for everybody with men, women, children and clowns, able to participate in this demographically and stylistically inclusive event.
One of the big drawcards of this year’s festival is Washington. Megan Washington was unearthed by Triple J only a year ago and since then she and her band have been on a non-stop round of performances culminating in the recent Aria Awards where she scored six nominations and won two awards in the categories of Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artist. The festival’s program promises an all singing, all dancing affair with costumes and cupcakes and plenty of suprises. I think she’s going to be huge and this may be one of the last chances we have to see her in such an intimate environment. Here she is talking about the inspiration for her album I Believe You Liar.
I had hoped to have the director of the festival, Glenn Wright, into the studio for a chat but with only two days to go before lift-off, Glenn didn’t make it. But he very generously donated a day pass to the festival for one of the BayFM subscribers and that was one by Jay. Congrats and thanks to Glenn for your generosity.
If you’re a fan of reggae, rock steady and ska then Sydney group King Tide are for you. They’ll perform at the festival on Saturday night. I particiularly like the track ROCKERS STYLE. Just to prove the diversity of the festival’s line-up we followed with Nashville singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier with MARCH 11, 1962 from her latest album, Foundling. Produced by Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, it’s an amazingly honest album that draws inspiration from her own life. Achingly beautiful. Here’s an amateur video taken at a performance in London June 2010:
We followed with Heath Cullen & The 45s with BREAK MY HEART, which might just have a back-story of its own. Heath is a highly regarded guitarist having graced all of Lucie Thorne’s most recent recordings, amongst others. In this video clip he’s performing with the 45′s: Jay McMahon, drums; David Hibbert, guitar; Robyn Martin, bass; Jason Coman, guitar; and Pete Wild, keyboards.
Tijuana Cartel are amazing. They’re the band to see if you want to get up and dance. It’s a wild combo of funk, hip-hop, reggae, flamenco with a Middle Eastern flavour. We played an oldie but a goodie of theirs: RISE UP from their debut album Frequent Flyers Redeemed.
A late addition to the festival is UK singer Gemma Ray. Here’s a brilliant video clip of the track 100MPH (IN 2ND GEAR). Directed by Miranda Bowen and edited by Leo Scott its got an almost Lynchian sensibility. Love the song, love the video.
One of my favourites is the gorgeous sister act, Scarlett Affection. Nerida and Melia will be performing at the festival in their own right and will also be supporting students from their new contemporary music school. A little birdy told me that there is some amazing talent coming out of the Scarlett School, so I’m really looking forward to that performance on Saturday in the Civic Hall. One of my favourite songs of theirs is ROMANTIC from their album Our Sweet Ambush.
Sunshine Coast based Oka are a genre defying group who know how to get a room up and moving. MUSIC MAKES ME HAPPY showcases the throbbing, earthy beats of tribal music for the digital age.
Pieta Brown comes straight from the American heartland. Her father is renowned folk singer Greg Brown whose songs have been covered by Willie Nelson among others. Described as a cross between Loretta Lyn, P.J. Harvey and Cat Power, she’s one of the highlights of the festival. Here she sings HEY RUN from the Remember The Sun album.
Jazz fans won’t be disappointed as the much admired Vince Jones returns to Mullum. We played his very smooth rendition of AUTO FREAKS and followed with another brilliant local artist, Gyan, with a track from her latest album Superfragiistically, WWW.
It was great to be able to speak to two of the artists appearing at the festival, live in the studio. First up, comedian, acrobat, juggler extraordaire Joel Salom had me in stitches as we talked about his gig as MC of the opening night on Thursday and his solo slot on Friday night. Here he is performing with Circus Oz and he did suggest that there may be some ‘accidental’ stripping at Mullum as well.
The opening night of the festival not only features Joel as MC but it features an amazing line-up of talent: Pieta Brown, The Rhythm Hunters, Nano Stern, Flap!, Dick & Christa Hughes and Mama Kin. Quickly gaining a reputation for an act not to be missed, Mama Kin’s music is powerful stuff. We featured I’M GONNA DO IT, from her album Beat and Holler.
Local musician and producer, Christian Pyle, also paid us a visit and it was a pleasure speaking to such a down to earth artist who is clearly very talented. We played two of the songs from his solo album, Nothing Left to Burn – RAY OF YOUR SUNSHINE and TREES & STONE. Christian will be peforming on Saturday and, as well, he’ll front up with the band Ghost Mountain on Sunday. Christian told me that with Ghost Mountain they’re a very seasoned band who all bring their own influences to the music. We played EVERYTHING’S OK from the album Art Without Audience.
Christian also produces an array of artists out of his studio in Goonengerry. One of them happens to be one of my favourites of the moment. M. Jack Bee is a storyteller par excellence and his latest album, In Loops is a beauty. I particularly like the track MOTH. This video clip was filmed by Christian in his studio when they were recording the song. Watch to the end when Christian makes his own appearance. Let’s call it a Hitchcock moment!
Also returning to the festival, and all the way from Darwin, is Leah Flanagan. I saw her perform last year and she was brilliant. She plays a mean ukelele, so for me that just makes her show compulsory. Another group returning to Mullum are the equally talented Tinpan Orange. Their latest album THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE is a great indication of the breadth of their talent.
How good is Jordie Lane? His song FELL INTO ME from his album Sleeping Patterns, is on constantly at my house at the moment. He’s performing on Saturday and Sunday at the festival and also on Sunday with Jen Cloher, which should make a hot double-bill. Here he is talking about how he recorded his previous album, Lovers Ride, for under $A150! Incredible.
We finished the show on a suitably alternative note with Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants. What can you say about these all-round performers who meld jazz, rock and punk into a vaudevillian show that is pure entertainment. Here they are performing CATCH A FIRE at another of the great festivals that we host up here in the Northern Rivers, The Byron Blues Fest:
Thanks so much to everyone at the Mullum Music Festival, in particular my guests Joel Salom and Christian Pyle.
Next week, I’m rec0gnising World Aids Day (December 1) with SONGS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY. Now before you all start leaving me messages about HIV and AIDS not being a gay disease. I know that! But let’s recognise that its the gay community that have been at the forefront of political activism, not only fighting discrimination but also promoting understanding and support for ALL people suffering from this dreadful malady. So let’s celebrate the gays! Any suggestions? Let’s concentrate on the song, rather than the singer. Just because Dusty Springfield was gay doesn’t make The Look of Love a gay song, now does it? Hmmmm.
So, while you’re pondering that list, check out this week’s:
I Believe You Liar – I Believe You Liar, Washington
Rockers Style – RoOTS POP Reggae, King Tide
March 11, 1962 – The Foundling, Mary Gauthier
Break My Heart – Heath Cullen
Rise Up – Frequent Flyers Redeemed, Tijuana Cartel
100 mph (in 2nd Gear) – Lights Out Zoltar!, Gemma Ray
Romantic – Our Sweet Ambush, Scarlett Affection
Music Makes Me Happy – Music Makes Me Happy, OKA
Hey Run – Remember the Sun, Pieta Brown
Auto Freaks – Moving Through Taboos, Vince Jones
WWW. – Superfragilistically, Gyan
Ray of Your Sunshine – Nothing Left to Burn, Christain Pyle
I’m Gonna Do It – Beat And Holler, Mama Kin
Trees & Stone – Nothing Left to Burn, Christian Pyle
Everything’s OK – Art Without Audience, Ghost Mountain
Moth – In Loops, M. Jack Bee
Tipsy Tango – Making Waves, Leah Flannigan
The Bottom Of The Lake – The Bottom Of The Lake, TinPan Orange
Fell Into Me – Sleeping Patterns, Jordie Lane
Catch a Fire – Sellin’ You Salvation, Mojo Juju and The Snake Oil Merchants
Next week: SONGS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
Ok, so there are intros and then they’re are great intros. What qualifies as great in my books? In this week’s playlist some songs feature opening segments that are totally independent from the rest of the track. Others just start with the main riff. Our opening song, INTRO/SWEET JANE is from Lou Reed’s live album Rock n Roll Animal, released in 1974, and it’s a terrific example of a great intro. The opening jam from guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner creates an air of anticipation for what is still to come. The quality of this video clip isn’t great but I had to include it because any chance to see Lou and the band performing in 1974 is worth the annoyance.
The Breeders, (what a brilliant name for an almost all girl band), was formed in 1988 by Kim Deal of The Pixies and Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses. Their most successful album Last Splash produced the hit single CANNONBALL and the outstanding part of that song’s intro is the bass line, performed by Josephine Wiggs. The music video was directed by Kim Gordon and Spike Jonze and its a doozy:
The opening salutation on Stevie Wonder’s SIR DUKE is not an introduction that blends into the song; those actual chords are never repeated. It’s a tribute to Duke Ellington and so the intro sets the tone for the piece as a whole, foreshadowing the looser, jazzier solos later in the song.
On Isaac Hayes’ brilliant funk version of the Dionne Warwick classic WALK ON BY the intro becomes a song within a song. On this clip Isaac performs live at Music Scene in 1969. OMG: Sex on a stick. But, about those girls dresses…..
The song ONE STEP BEYOND is from the Madness album of the same name. It was originally written and recorded by the Jamaican ska musician Prince Buster. The spoken line, “Don’t watch that, watch this” in the intro is from another Prince Buster song The Scorcher. Here they are at Glastonbury 2007 showing why they have such a great reputation for live performance:
One of the most recognisable intros in rock history is HOTEL CALIFORNIA from The Eagles. But when it comes to intros that get your attention and then drag you in, kicking and screaming, it has to be rock legends Led Zeppelin. IMMIGRANT SONG is famous for Robert Plant’s distinctive wailing cry at the beginning and the recurring staccato riff from Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and, (sigh), John Bonham.
The Rolling Stones’ GIMME SHELTER starts rather timidly, with Keith Richards’ set of wavering chords, but it soon builds into a crescendo dominated by the lead guitar line. Here they are performing live in Amsterdam, 1995 with Lisa Fisher on back-up. Watch until the end and get a little bonus from Charlie Watts.
SMOKE ON THE WATER from Deep Purple is known for Ritchie Blackmore’s instantly recognisable opening riff. The lyrics of the song tell a true story: on 4 December 1971 Deep Purple had set up camp in Montreux Switzerland to record an album using a mobile recording studio at the entertainment complex that was part of the Montreux Casino. On the eve of the recording session a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert was held in the casino’s theatre. In the middle of Don Preston’s synthesizer solo on “King Kong”, the place suddenly caught fire when somebody in the audience fired a flare gun into the rattan covered ceiling. The resulting fire destroyed the entire casino complex, along with all the Mothers’ equipment. The “smoke on the water” that became the title of the song referred to the smoke from the fire spreading over Lake Geneva from the burning casino as the members of Deep Purple watched the fire from their hotel across the lake.
It was difficult to pick from AC/DC’s repertoire of great introductions but I went with my all-time favourite, THUNDERSTRUCK. Angus Young gets the crowd going during this intro at Donnington 1991:
Derek & The Dominoes’ LAYLA has got to be one of rock’s definitive love songs. The introduction contains an overdub-heavy guitar solo, a duet of sorts between Duane Allman’s slide guitar and Eric Clapton’s bent notes.
A couple of controversial tracks followed, both with unique introductions. FIRESTARTER, by UK band The Prodigy, caught attention because the song was deemed, by some, to be violent. The video clip, directed by Walter Stern, further fueled these claims. Shot in stark black and white, in an used part of the London Underground, some television stations refused to air the clip. Which just makes me want to show it to you, even more! I think its brilliant.
The Prodigy are a hard act to follow but I think we succeeded with the compelling and dark Massive Attack track INTERTIA CREEPS. It’s from their excellent album Mezzanine.
When The Temptations’ PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE was released in 1972 it was 12 minutes long! Thankfully there is a shorter version that’s suitable for radio that keeps that amazing intro intact. It begins with an extended instrumental starting with a solo plucked bass guitar, backed by hi-hat cymbals. Other instruments including a blues guitar, wah-wah guitar, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, handclaps, horns and strings gradually join in.
In 1974 David Bowie became obsessed with soul music and it resulted in the album YOUNG AMERICANS, which he created with the help of the great soul singer Luther Vandross. Here’s the Thin White Duke on the Dick Cavett Show in 1974 with, amongst others, Vandross singing back-up! Loving the shoulder pads.
The Beatles track I FEEL FINE was the first recorded song to feature guitar feedback. The story goes that, while recording, John Lennon accidentally left his guitar too close to his amp, producing the interesting whine that’s in tune with the riff’s opening note.
As an intro to our Gig Guide, I couldn’t resist playing some of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I PUT A SPELL ON YOU. The demented opening and the cabaret style act, together with a cigarette smoking skull called ‘Henry’, laid the foundation for future ‘shock rock’ performers like Dr. John.
Another iconic opener belongs to the The Small Faces tune TIN SOLDIER. Here’s some rare coverage of the band with P.P.Arnold on Belgium TV in 1968. Go the Mods!
Quentin, from BayFM’s ‘Q’s Blues & Jazz’ suggested I do a show on Roads and Streets but I’d already done that quite a while ago. (I know, even I can’t remember what themes I’ve covered most of the time!). But she planted a seed that led me to Gerry Rafferty BAKER STREET and that consequently led to this week’s theme. So thank you Q! BAKER STREET has a stand-out opening with its prominent eight-bar saxophone hook, played by Raphael Ravenscroft.
As we headed for the close of the show, my favourite rock groups came to the fore. Pink Floyd’s MONEY had to be included for its distinctive opening of an impressive bass line and its seven-beat loop of money related sound effects.
While the Beatles may have been the first band to use feedback on a recording, the incredible Jimi Hendrix perfected the art. Again, which track to choose? FOXY LADY has always been a favourite and it does feature that almost excrutiating feedback at the beginning.
Our final track had me pushing up the sound and dancing out of the studio. Led Zeppelin seem to specialise in fantastic opening segments. A track that I absolutely adore is KASHMIR.
Next week we’ll be previewing the Mullumbimby Music Festival. Lots of great music and, I hope, an interview or two. Should be fun.
Here’s the complete playlist from this week’s show on Great Introductions:
Intro / Sweet Jane – Rock And Roll Animal, Lou Reed
Cannonball – Last Splash, The Breeders
Sir Duke – Songs In The Key Of Life [Disc 1], Stevie Wonder
Walk On By – Dead Presidents, Isaac Hayes
One Step Beyond – Total Madness: The Very Best Of Madness Madness
Hotel California – Hotel California, The Eagles
Immigrant Song – Rock 3, Led Zeppelin
Gimme Shelter – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2], The Rolling Stones
Wipe Out – The Perfect Wave, The Surfaris
Smoke On The Water – Machine Head, Deep Purple
Thunderstruck – Razor’s Edge, AC/DC
Layla – Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek and The Dominos
Firestarter – Fat of the Land, The Prodigy
Inertia Creeps – Mezzanine, Massive Attack
Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – Motown: The Classic Years [Disc 2], The Temptations
Young Americans – Young Americans [Bonus Tracks], David Bowie
I Put A Spell On You – Replay/Gold – Vol 1 No 5, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I Feel Fine – Beatles 1, The Beatles
Tin Soldier – The Best Sixties Album In The World Ever III-[Disc 2], The Small Faces
Baker Street – City To City, Gerry Rafferty
Money – Pink Floyd, Pink Floyd
Foxy Lady – Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix
Kashmir – Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin
Next week: MULLUMBIMBY MUSIC FESTIVAL PREVIEW