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CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES & FUNFAIRS

I can’t believe that going into our 5th season I still hadn’t put a show together on carnivals, circuses and the like. Well, we remedied that this week. A great introduction was supplied by Eddie Izzard doing a cover of The Beatles BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR KITE. It’s from the soundtrack to the film Across The Universe directed by Julie Taymor. “Just tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch on, switch off, and explode!”


Yes, I know that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do a great version of LOVE ROLLERCOASTER, but it was the original that made the playlist. It first appeared on the Ohio Players Honey album in 1975. In this clip from the television show Midnight Special, you get the bonus of Wolfman Jack doing the intro and some crazy boy dancers.  Ahhh the 70’s.

Thanks to Ku Promotions for our giveaway this week: two tickets to The Audreys’ concert. They’re a band of four boys and one girl, playing rootsy kind of music and are based in Adelaide, Australia. They have released two records, one in 2006 called Between Last Night and Us and one in 2008 called When the Flood Comes, both of which has won the ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album. I’ve seen them perform twice now and they really are a knockout. Their latest album, Sometimes the Stars, features the track TROUBLE SOMEHOW:


I love the collaborative work between Mark Lanegan (ex Queens of the Stone Age) and Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastian). THE CIRCUS IS LEAVING TOWN is from their latest album, Ballad of the Broken Seas. Here’s a great interview with them which features a slice of the song within it. It was shown when Isobel won the Mercury Prize for the album, which she produced.

Total change of pace came with a couple of tracks from the 60’s: Al Johnson with CARNIVAL TIME from his 1962 album, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Freddie Cannon with his hit, PALISADES PARK. And just to mix it up a bit I threw in some Fun Lovin’ Criminals with CONEY ISLAND GIRL.

The Stylistics were one of the most successful soul groups of the early 70’s and their song SIDESHOW fitted the theme perfectly. As did a true classic from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – THE TEARS OF A CLOWN.

Nellie the Elephant is a classic children’s song written in 1956. It became a UK #1 hit for punk band, The Toy Dolls, when they covered the song in 1983. Michael ‘Olga’ Algar, led vocalist, guitar and bass player, is the only remaining member of the original line-up, who continue to perform. I love the way that they used the aesthetics of punk to express a real sense of fun.

This following clip is from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz, a documentary of the concert by The Band, held on Thanksgiving Day, November 25 1976. It was advertised as the group’s last show and they were joined by an illustrious line-up of talent including Van Morrison. Here they are with CARAVAN:

The Decemberists’ songs range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads, and often employ instruments like the accordian, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer organ and upright bass. In their lyrics, the band rejects the angst and introspection common to modern rock and instead favour a storytelling approach, as evidenced in songs such as MY MOTHER WAS A CHINESE TRAPEZE ARTIST. It’s from the  5 Songs EP.

The 1986 Madness song (Waiting for) THE GHOST TRAIN was actually about apartheid in South Africa but hey, I love the title and based on that alone it made the playlist.

“I got blisters on my fingers!!!!” yells Ringo Starr, (I think), at the end of The Beatles’ frenetic HELTER SKELTER. Written by Paul McCartney, he deliberately tried to create a sound that was as loud and dirty as possible. Done.

Moving onto something a lot more mellow, it was Alison Goldfrapp with the very beautiful CLOWNS from her 2008 album Seventh Tree. And you thought I only played the old stuff. Oh you of little faith!

With his astonishingly accomplished guitar playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan ignited the blues revival of the ’80s. He was inspired equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters and  rock & roll players like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack as well as the stray jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, developing a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre. It’s been said that Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock like no other artist had since the late ’60s. His tragic death in 1990, at the age of 35 in a helicopter accident, only emphasized his influence in blues and American rock & roll. Here he is with Double Trouble performing TIGHTROPE:


There Goes Rhymin’ Simon is the second solo studio album from Paul Simon, released in 1973. the album covers several styles and genres. Our choice from the album was, of course, TAKE ME TO THE MARDI GRAS.

Natalie Merchant has been quoted as saying that she named her first solo album Tigerlily because the word evoked a feeling that was both ‘fierce’ and delicate’. Released in 1995 the album included the hit single CARNIVAL in which the protaganist compares the colourful sights and sounds of New York with being at a carnival.

A trio of guilty pleasures were lined up next: Back in 1967  The Hollies released  ON A CAROUSEL and Manfred Mann were also were enraptured with the circus on  HA! HA! SAID THE CLOWN. But the guiltiest of pleasures was still to come: In 1971 Cher released her first chart-topper, as a solo artist, in the United States: GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND THIEVES. Come on, you’ve gotta love Cher!

Swedish group, The Cardigans, had their first international breakthrough with their 1995 album Life which included the track CARNIVAL, a very cruisy pop tune with the gorgeous Nina Persson on vocals.

Beirut is an interesting band. They’re American yet their music combines elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music. They successfully fuse mainstream and indie-rock with the World Music market and consequently have a very unique sound. CAROUSELS, from their 2007 album Lon Gisland, is a great example of their work.

Beirut proved to be a great lead in to our final song of the day, the very gothic CARNY by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. I love the use of  accordian on this track (thanks to Warren Ellis). It gives the song an even more intense circus-like feel.

I’m happy to say that I’ll be back for another season of the Theme Park, same time same airspace. So keep listening locally on BayFM99.9 or streaming live on BayFM.org. And I’d love to get your suggestions for next week’s show, which will be on GAMBLING.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite – Across The Universe, Eddie Izzard

Carnival – The Black Rider, Tom Waits

Love Rollercoaster – Funk Classics, The 70’s, Ohio Players

Enter The Circus – Back To Basics, Christina Aguilera

Troubles Somehow – Sometimes the Stars, The Audreys

The Circus Is Leaving Town – Ballad of the Broken Seas Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Carnival Time – Mardi Gras In New Orleans, Al Johnson

Palisades Park – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classics, Freddy Cannon

Coney Island Girl – Come Find Yourself, Fun Lovin’ Criminals

Sideshow – Ultimate Slow Jams 9 [Disc 4], The Stylistics

The Tears Of A Clown – Motown’s Biggest Pop Hits, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Nellie The Elephant – The Wonderful World Of The Toy Dolls, Toy Dolls

Caravan – The Last Waltz [Disc 2], The Band + Van Morrison

My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist – 5 Songs, The Decemberists

Goodbye Cruel World – Jukebox Hits 1961, James Darren

The Ghost Train – Rock TV Classic, Madness

Helter Skelter – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 2], The Beatles

Clowns – Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp

Tightrope [Live] – SRV (Disc 3), Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Take Me To The Mardi Gras – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon

Carnival – Tigerlily, Natalie Merchant

Fire Eater – Naturally, Three Dog Night

Ha! Ha! Said The Clown – Manfred Mann

On A Carousel – The Hits Of 1967, The Hollies

Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves – Billboard Top Rock ‘N’ Roll Hits: 1971, Cher

Carnival – Life, The Cardigans

Carousels – The Lon Gisland EP, Beirut

The Carny – The Best Of,  Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Next week:  SONGS ABOUT GAMBLING

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

INSECTS & SPIDERS

Insects and spiders can be an absolute nuisance, especially in summer. They get in our hair, on our skin, even in our beds. They suck our blood and destroy our veggie gardens. But they also keep nature in balance, if we don’t go crazy with insecticides that is. And without those busy little bees we wouldn’t have all that lovely honey. So, like most of the subjects I pick for this show, our relationship with these creeping, crawling, flying and buzzing creatures is a complex one.

James Brown knows what I mean. He’s got ANTS IN HIS PANTS AND HE NEEDS TO DANCE Ouch! A great follow up to that was English soul singer Alice Russell with A FLY IN THE HAND. Here she is performing live in 2008. Great voice.

The B-52s’ song JUNE BUG is about a little beetle that only comes out at night. Sounds like a friend of mine. Lead singer, Fred Schneider, says the song’s message is to “go organic, don’t use pesticides”. Excellent. Loving the sound effects too.

Jason Mraz followed with a nice piece of pop about a BUTTERFLY and then it was Nina Simone with probably the best title for a song this week: FUNKIER THAN A MOSQUITO’S TWEETER. What is a mosquito’s tweeter? I have no idea and neither did any of our listeners when I asked. Anyone who does, please let me know.

The Eels do a great song about relationships, (the love/hate kind), called ANT FARM. And I’ve always loved Carly Simon’s version of ITSY BITSY SPIDER too. Who knew that there could be so many good songs about insects?

The Blues artists know how to make a song on any subject sound provocative. Slim Harpo does it to perfection with the very suggestive I’M A KING BEE. But if you want a funny song about a creepy crawly then you can’t go past country singer Jim Stafford’s rendition of  SPIDERS & SNAKES.

Our hard-working BayFM President, Ros, suggested Ziggy Marley’s DRAGONFLY. Did you know that dragonflies can fly both forward and backward? And they can fly up to 30 miles an hour. Perfect choice for someone who doesn’t ever seem to stay still.

The Who’s BORIS THE SPIDER was written by the band’s bassist John Entwistle. It was supposedly Jimi Hendrix’s favourite Who song. Go figure.

I love the quirkiness of the Presidents of the United States and BOLL WEEVIL is a great example of their crazy novelty punk style. It’s from their self-titled album, released in 1995.

Butterflies have to be one of the most beautiful creatures on earth and they are just so important ecologically, as agents of pollination. So I made sure that there were a few songs about these wonderful flying insects in the show. One of my favourites is by Corrine Bailey Rae. She says that the song BUTTERFLY was written with her Mum in mind.

Another terrific butterfly song is by Chakra Khan. It’s called PAPILLON, which if my schoolgirl French serves me correctly, also means butterfly.

Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. So it seemed the right time to introduce Adam Ant with his signature tune, ANTMUSIC.

Louie the Fly introduced a couple of songs about a much maligned little insect:

SHOO FLY PIE AND APPLE PAN DOWDY, by Doris Day, isn’t so much about a fly than about a pie made with molasses. This sticky, sweet substance attracts flies that have to be “shood” away. Tim Buckley’s song BUZZIN’ FLY is also about being attracted to something sweet, but in this case it’s a girl’s affections.

Did you know that the humble cockroach has been around for over 350 million years?

They Might Be Giants, do a very cheeky version of the SPIDER MAN theme song that had to be included. And then it was another suggestion from Andrew, one of the few Theme Park listeners who could come up with a suggestion for this week’s topic.  It was a terrific song that I had totally forgotten: A SONG FROM UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS by Magazine. Here they are performing on the Jools Holland show in 2009:

We definitely needed a bit more Blues in the show, especially as I was giving away a great DVD, RED, WHITE AND BLUES,  part of the 7 part series on the Blues by Martin Scorsese. This part, on the Blues in Britain, was directed by Mike Figgis, director of the film Leaving Las Vegas. Congratulations Mike who won that. Enjoy.

So, looking for more Blues, I couldn’t go past John Lee Hooker’s song about spiders, CRAWLIN’ BLACK SPIDER.

Robyn Hitchcock has a bit of a thing about spiders with both an album and an EP with tarantula in the name, but INSECT MOTHER is actually from his first album with The Egyptians, Fegmania.

Andrew had another great suggestion: Iggy Pop’s LOCO MOSQUITO. Heres a bit of insect trivia for you: Did you know that a mosquito beats its wings an amazing 500 times per second? No wonder I can never catch the little buggers.

The Dire Straits song THE BUG is about how random life is. One minute you’re the windshield, the next you’re the bug. So yeah, live life to the fullest is what I suppose they are suggesting, because you never know when it might all end.

On that note, its only fair that we finished the show on an up note. What better than something from disco diva Tina Charles. She’s been bitten by the best bug of all: THE LOVE BUG.

I’d love to have your suggestions for next week’s show which, as a lead up to my election show the following week, will be on TRUTH AND LIES. I think this has the potential to be a really interesting show, so get your thinking caps on.

For now, here’s this week’s full playlist:

I Got Ants In My Pants -The Big Payback, James Brown

A Fy in the Hand (Remix) – Alice Russell

Junebug – Cosmic Thing, B52s

Butterfly – We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, Jason Mraz

Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter – Nina Simone

Ant Farm – Electro-Shock Blues, Eels

Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider –  Greatest Hits Live, Carly Simon

Glow Worm Cha-Cha-Cha – Ultra Lounge, Jackie Davis

I’m A King Bee – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Slim Harpo

Spiders & Snakes –  Jim Stafford

Dragonfly (Live) – Love Is My Religion Re-release, Ziggy Marley

There’s A Change In The Weather (extract to intro Weather update) Preservation Act 1, The Kinks

Boris the Spider – My Generation: The Very Best of the Who,  The Who

Boll Weevil – The Presidents of the United States, The Presidents of the United States

Butterfly – Corinne Bailey Rae, Corrine Bailey Rae

Papillon – The Platinum Collection, Chaka Khan

Antmusic – Antbox 2, Adam Ant

Louie the Fly  (Mortein ad)

Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy – The Story of Jazz, Doris Day

Buzzin’ Fly – The Dream Belongs To Me, Tim Buckley

La Cucharacha – Born Free, The George Mann Orchestra

Spider Man – They Might Be Giants

A Song from Under the Floorboards – Real Life and Thereafter / Forum, Magazine

Crawlin Black Spider – Boom Boom CD2, John Lee Hooker

Loco Mosquito – The Best of Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop

Insect Mother – Luminous Groove, Robyn Hitchcock And The Egyptians

The Bug – On Every Street, Dire Straits

Love Bug – Greatest Hits, Tina Charles

Next week: TRUTH & LIES

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

Music & The Movies

I’m loving all the good movies out there at the moment, so with Oscars week as my inspiration, it was surely time for a show about Music and The Movies. Yes,  two hours of bliss for film and music fans. The show wasn’t just about soundtracks or great music in the movies. There are just some classic movie moments where a song totally complements or enhances the action. These were the songs that I looked for this week. Songs or pieces of music that, when you hear them, you immediately ‘feel’ the scene from the film. 

Naturally, time is always an issue, so many great movie/music moments didn’t make the cut.  But there will be other shows. If you want to contribute to that list, send me a note and I’ll start compiling now for a program down the line.

We opened the show with a snippet from the 1937 animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – ‘Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go’. Not only was this Disney’s first feature animation, it was also the first real soundtrack album ever released. The film is a classic as were the next three numbers: Marlene Dietrich with ‘Falling in Love Again’ (from Blue Angel), Dooley Wilson with ‘As Time Goes By’ (from Casablanca) and Gene Kelly singing the title song from Singing in the Rain. By the way, ‘Singing in the Rain’, you will remember, was also used to terrifying effect in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.  But in these gloomy times, I think I’d rather remember the absolute joy of Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain. Have a look:

The first hour was jammed packed with great moments: ‘Rock Around the Clock’ from Blackboard Jungle, ‘Mrs. Robinson’ from The Graduate, ‘Everybody’s Talkin” from Midnight Cowboy. And we had movie tickets to give away, thanks to the Dendy Cinemas here in Byron Bay. 

midnight_cowboyIt was also fun using some of the iconic pieces of music composed for the screen. Who can’t recognise, in a nano-second, the music from Psycho‘s shower scene? Or the opening music for Star Wars? And as our competition proved – everyone immediately knew the music from 2001 A Space Odyssey.In the second hour we played some Eric Clapton, Jimmy Cliff, Ray Charles, Creedence Clearwater Revivial and some Bob Dylan, among others. And of course I played my favourite – Roy Orbinson. Despite not particularly liking the film, it had to be ‘Pretty Woman’.  Films covered included Blue Velvet, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid….. whew, we flew through the show.

I’m a big Martin Scorsese fan. Do you remember the scene from Mean Streets where he used the Rolling Stones song ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’? Johhny Boy, played by Robert de Niro, walks into the bar to meet Harvey Keitel’s character (looking incredibly young btw). It was shot in slow motion with the Stones song playing in the background. His character is summed up in less than 30 seconds: he is trouble with a capital T. He’s exciting and full of nervous energy – he is Jumpin Jack Flash. Wow! Scorsese is the master of film scores in my mind. I do love the way that Tarantino plays with image and sound, but for me Scorsese is king. Check it out on this You Tube grab:

Bruce Springsteen’s  ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ from the film Philadelphia is a great song and it was good to hear that again. And I really enjoyed including Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Green River’ from the film Indian Runner. This film might not immedately come to mind, but it is well worth finding at your local video store. It was directed by Sean Penn. As you know, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his role of Harvey Milk in the film Milk – well worth catching, too.

I was very sad to hear of Blossom Dearie’s passing a couple of weeks ago. This wonderful jazz singer was unique and I was happy to play a song that was included in the indie film Kissing Jessica Steyne: ‘I Wish You Love’ as a dedication to her.

And to close the show, a great song from Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’ – from the film Trainspotting. This film was Danny Boyle’s breakout hit in 1996 . So great to see the enormous Oscar success of his latest film Slumdog Millionaire. I’ll leave you with some of the lyrics from ‘Perfect Day':

Just A Perfect Day, Feed Animals In The Zoo Then Later, A Movie, Too,
And Then Home.
Oh It’s Such A Perfect Day, I’m Glad I Spent It With You.
Oh Such A Perfect Day

Here is the playlist, with the films they featured in:

 

Hi Ho Its Off To Work We Go.  Frank Churchill/Larry Morey  – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Falling In Love Again. Marlene Dietrich - Blue Angel (1930)

As Time Goes By. Dooley Wilson – Casablanca (1942)

Singing In The Rain. Gene Kelly - Singing in the Rain (1953) 

Rock Around the Clock. Bill Haley & His Comets - Blackboard Jungle (1955) 

Psycho/The Murder. Composer Bernard Hermann/Los Angeles Philharmonic - Psycho (1960) 

Baby Elephant Walk. Composer Henry Mancini-  Hatari (1961)

Mrs Robinson. Simon & Garfunkel - The Graduate (1967)

The Blue Danube Waltz. Johann Strauss Ⅱ/The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)

Everybody’s Talkin’. Harry Nilsson - Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Raindrops Keep Falling on my head. )  B J Thomas - Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969) 

Born to Be Wild. Steppenwolf - Easy Rider (1969)

Theme From Shaft - Issac Hayes Shaft (1971)

Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The Rolling Stones - Mean Streets (1973)

Knockin On Heaven’s Door. Bob Dylan - Pat Garret & Billy The Kid (1973)

Many Rivers to Cross.  Jimmy Cliff  – The Harder They Come (1973)

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.  The Shirelles(with DJ Wolfman) – American Graffiti (1973)

Tears on my Pillow. Little Anthony and the Imperials - Grease (1978)

Blue Velvet. Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet/(1986)

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. The Rolling Stones - Apocalypse Now (1973)

I’m Easy.  Keith Carradine - Nashville (1975)    

Taxi Driver clip (1976) - composer Bernard Hermann/ Robert de Niro vocals - Taxi Driver (1976)

Staying Alive. Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Star Wars Theme. Composer John Williams/London Symphony Orchestra - Star Wars (1977) 

Shake A Tail Feather.  Ray Charles - Blues Brothers (1980)

Be My Baby.  The Ronettes - Dirty Dancing & GoodFellas (1987)

Oh, Pretty Woman. Roy Orbison - Pretty Woman (1990)

Unchained Melody. Righteous Brothers - Ghost  (1990)

Sunshine Of Your Love.  Eric Clapton/Cream – Goodfellas (1990)

Green River. Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Indian Runner (1991)

Streets of Philadelphia. Bruce Springsteen - Philadelphia (1993) 

I Wish You Love. Blossom Dearie - Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)

Perfect Day. Lou Reed - Trainspotting (1996)

Tune in next week, when the show will be about that thing that I never seem to have enough of: TIME!
Catch Lyn McCarthy at The Theme Park, on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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