Category Archives: Australia
As someone who relies on trying to create a diverse playlist, week after week, the topic of MUSIC GENRES is one that’s dear to my heart. Useful as they are though, identifying genres is a murky and nebulous exercise, open to countless individual interpretations. Just go into any music store and try to establish why Ian Dury’s Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll can find itself in pop, rock and alternative, all at the same time, and you’ll know what I mean.
In 1979 Malcolm McLaren’s art school classmate Robin Scott had a one hit wonder with POP MUZIK, an ironic and mischievous little tune, under his pseudonym, M: “New York, London, Paris, Munich…. everybody’s talking ’bout pop music.”
According to Bob Seger, today’s music doesn’t have the same soul. He’s feeling nostalgic for some OLD TIME ROCK N ROLL. Sugarhill Gang, on the other hand, are more interested in hip-hop. Their song, RAPPERS DELIGHT, while not the first single to feature rapping, is generally considered to be the song that first made hip hop popular.
Wild Cherry’s song PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC is autobiographical in that Wild Cherry was mostly a hard rock outfit. In 1976, however, the Disco era was all the rage and many of the group’s loyal followers were asking for more dance songs. And so was born the request: “play that funky music, white boy”:
Back in 1970, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground celebrated ROCK & ROLL with their hit song of the same name. By 1977, Bob Marley – together with Steve Tyler & Joe Perry – were giving us three genres for the price of one on ROOTS, ROCK AND REGGAE.
Punk rocker Wreckless Eric took a swipe at the record companies, for the pressure they put on artists to produce a hit single, on POP SONG: “Just a two minute song with a snazzy middle eight.” Yeah, that’s all they wanted.
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band refuse to take anything too seriously, even the blues. So if you merge music hall and blues, it begs the question: CAN BLUE MEN SING THE WHITES? Our girl Joan Jett is nothing but a rock chick so of course she’s going to sing, I LOVE ROCK N ROLL.
Brooklyn rappers Stetsasonic responded to early criticisms of their sampling by releasing TALKIN’ ALL THAT JAZZ which used a clever collage of borrowings from the likes of Lonnie Liston Smith and Donald Byrd.
I think Lynyrd Skynyrd may know a little bit about the track, SWAMP MUSIC. This style of music is particular to America’s south, particularly Louisiana and Southeastern Texas but it’s developed a worldwide following and I, for one, love it.
It’s both funny and revealing that The Killers wrote INDIE ROCK N ROLL to poke fun at the pretentious and sterile independent scene in their native Las Vegas, only to find that the song was embraced world-wide as a cheerfully un-ironic anthem. Here they are playing live and sounding great:
The Beatles take Chuck Berry’s ROCK N ROLL MUSIC and attack it with such intensity that it seems to symbolise what became known as the British Invasion of the 60’s. In total contrast is Wilco’s wistful ode to youth on HEAVY METAL DRUMMER, from the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot:
Stevie Wonder ‘s contribution to this week’s topic came in the form of his dedication to Duke Ellington and other jazz greats on SIR DUKE. Arthur Conley did something similar, with his shout out to all the soul icons, on SWEET SOUL MUSIC:
Time for some blues, Creole style, with BOOGIE WOOGIE ZYDECO from Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band. Then it was a great piece of music, that recognises the enormous influence of Jazz on all kinds of music: JAZZ THING from Gang Starr. It’s from the soundtrack to the Spike Lee film MO BETTER BLUES, starring Denzel Washington. Absolutely brilliant clip.
There are so many songs that pay tribute to rock n roll that I had to be careful to not let them dominate. But there’s one that I couldn’t leave out – Ian Dury and the Blockheads with the rock n roll anthem, SEX & DRUGS & ROCK N ROLL. I hate the overuse of the word ‘awesome’ but in this case, it’s warranted – AWESOME!!
A song that merges soul and reggae is the very appropriately named REGGAE GOT SOUL from Toots and the Maytals. There are also loads of songs with Blues in the title, so many in fact that I had to restrain myself in this department too. But if you’re going to play one of them, you can’t get better than Buddy Guy with THE FIRST TIME I MET THE BLUES. In this clip he performs with bass player David Myers. It’s from the film CHICAGO BLUES, made in 1970. Now that’s what I call real music.
Bet you thought I wouldn’t give classical a mention. Well, Chuck Berry helped me out there with ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN. Here he expresses the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music on his local radio station. On this video clip he’s having a little bit of fun on a French TV show. Not sure of the year, but the song was recorded in 1956:
Couldn’t let disco get away with just a passing mention, so space was made for FRENCH DISKO by Stereolab. The Ramones rescue their disco queen and introduce her to something a bit more rebellious. Now, SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER.
We closed the show with a classic from Dire Straits – a song about a jazz band called SULTANS OF SWING.
Love to have your input for next week’s show. The theme is FUNNY SONGS: Songs that make you laugh or at least smirk because they are clever and witty. Ooh I’m looking forward to seeing what you send me.
Meanwhile, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Pop Muzik – Pop Muzik, M
Old Time Rock N’ Roll – Bob Seger
Rappers Delight – Sugarhill Gang
Play That Funky Music – Those Fabulous ’70s, Wild Cherry
Rock and Roll – Velvet Underground
Roots, Rock, Reggae – Chant Down Babylon, Bob Marley + Steven Tyler + Joe Perry
A Pop Song – Big Smash, Wreckless Eric
Can Blue Men Sing The Whites? – Cornology [Disc 1], Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett
Mambo Italiano – Latin Fever [Disc 1], Shaft
Talkin’ All That Jazz – Hed Kandi: Back to Love, Vol. 4 Disc 2, Stetsasonic
Swamp Music – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Indie RnR – Demo, The Killers
Rock And Roll Music – Live At The BBC [Disc 2], The Beatles
Heavy Metal Drummer – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco
Sir Duke (Duke Ellington) – Songs In The Key Of Life, Stevie Wonder
Sweet Soul Music – 60’s Soul, Arthur Conley
Boogie Woogie Zydeco – Boogie Woogie Zydeco, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
Jazz Thing – Moment of Truth, Gang Starr
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – No Thanks! – The ’70s Punk Rebellion (Disc 3), Ian Dury
Soul Makossa – Makossa Man: The Very Best Of Manu Dibango, Manu Dibango
Reggae Got Soul – True Love, Toots & The Maytals
First Time I Met The Blues – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues – A Musical Journey, Buddy Guy
Roll Over Beethoven – 1956-Rock & Roll Era, Chuck Berry
French Disko – Refried Ectoplasm, Stereolab
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – All The Stuff (And More), The Ramones
Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
When it comes to song lyrics, the most common causes of TIREDNESS are those that also create the most activity: we’re talking sex and drugs again people. Edwin Starr doesn’t mention anything about stimulants to keep him awake, however. The powerful pull of a sexy woman seems to be all he needs to keep him walking those TWENTY FIVE MILES to see her. He must be keen because it’s going to take three days and two lonely nights to get there. No wonder he’s exhausted:
There is a song that appears to be simply about tiredness from working too hard. On WORKING IN THE COALMINE, Lee Dorsey sings that by Saturday he’s too tired to have any fun at all. Pearl Bailey is TIRED of just about everything. Oh dear. Here she is with a brilliant performance from the 1947 film Variety Girl:
The Cox Family is a Bluegrass family group who became world-known when they appeared on the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film O Brother Where Art Thou . The song I AM WEARY is particularly poignant. In July 2000, shortly after recording the song, Willard Cox and his wife Marie were seriously injured in a traffic accident near their home in Cotton Valley. In February 2009, Marie died from cancer. Alison Krauss was among the many that attended the funeral.
A triple-play, that gave our theme of TIREDNESS a real work-out, included Fats Domino with SICK AND TIRED. Then a brilliant suggestion from Andrew: TOO POOPED TO POP from the La De Das, followed by the all girl band The Hissyfits (how good is that name?) with a song that expresses how fed up they are with a certain relationship. It’s called simply, TIRED.
Tired of being lonely seems to be a recurring theme in these tiredness songs. One of the best ever recorded, and requested here by Claire, is TIRED OF BEING ALONE from the Reverend Al Green:
Another track, with the same name, came from Clifton Chenier. His version of TIRED OF BEING ALONE was sung Creole style, known as the Zydeco Blues. And talking of Blues, I found a great tune from the 40’s: Washboard Sam also sounds pretty fed up on I’M JUST TIRED.
THE WEARY KIND, sung by Ryan Bingham, is the excellent theme song to a great film, Crazy Heart. Jeff Bridges’ performance won him an Academy Award and Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett also won Best Song at the 2009 Academy Awards as well as a Golden Globe.
Just to prove that a show about TIREDNESS could also be a lot of fun, I included the very funny I’M TIRED from the film Blazing Saddles. Madeline Kahn, otherwise known as Lily Von Schtupp is all tuckered out. As she puts it, “Let’s face it, everything from the waist down is kaput”. Hysterical.
Indie rockers, The Zutons, have no patience whatsoever. As they sing it, they’re TIRED OF HANGING AROUND. Country icon Chet Atkins has a beef with his girlfriend. He asks her, AIN’T CHA TIRED OF MAKIN’ ME BLUE? A close relative of country music is Rockabilly. Another great suggestion from Andrew filled that bill – Eddie Cochran is exhausted from walking up twenty flights of stairs to see his lover, when the elevator breaks down. The song: TWENTY FLIGHT ROCK. Here’s a scene from the film The Girl Can’t Help It on which the song featured:
Mose Allison’s SO TIRED was requested by jazz aficionado, Quinton, from BayFM’s Q’s Jazz & Blues. So happy to oblige.
Time for some more indie rock. The Pixies love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. They even reference them on I’VE BEEN TIRED. Charlotte wanted to hear IF ONLY TONIGHT WE COULD SLEEP from The Cure. But my favourite had to be Weezer who say they are making love every night of the week. It should be noted that Lyn get’s a mention on Tuesdays. How appropriate. Turns out though, like all of us, they’re really looking for true love and reckon they’re TIRED OF SEX. And you thought that meaningful lyrics were a thing of the past! Here they are performing live in Japan:
An interesting track comes from a Spanish group from the 80’s called Mecano. It’s their debut single HOY NO ME PUEDO LEVANTAR which translates as I CAN’T GET UP TODAY. It’s a song about youth, boredom and hangovers. I think we’ve all been there, right?
A couple of great suggestions from Des followed: John Lennon is losing sleep because he can’t stop thinking about his lover on I’M SO TIRED. It’s from The Beatles White Album. Then it was The Kinks with TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU.
I had to include Eric Clapton’s SICK AND TIRED and fellow Brit Blues artists, Savoy Brown, with I’M TIRED before bringing in k.d.lang, with a song that offers a solution to all this tiredness: BLACK COFFEE.
You all know by now that I love Roy Orbison. So it was great to welcome him back to the playlist with a Travelling Wilburys’ track. On their song, HANDLE WITH CARE, Orbison has the most relevant lines for this week’s theme: “I’m so tired of being lonely, I’ve still got some love to give.”
MOONLIGHT MILE is a rare example of Mick Jagger letting go of his public persona and singing of the weariness associated with keeping up appearances as a sex-drugs and rock & roll star. Ah yes, Mick, I’m sure it’s very tiresome! Seriously though, great song from the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album and a terrific close to the show.
Next week’ program, which I’m really excited about, is shaping up to be a doozy. The theme is MUSIC GENRES. I’m looking for songs that make reference to a particular style of music: it could be rock’n’roll, blues, country, rap, reggae, swing – in fact the quirkier the better. Think of tracks that shed some light on the topic. Suggesting every song ever made with the word “blues” in the title is just too easy. I know you’re all smarter than that, so put your thinking caps on. Thanks to the Parkies who contributed to this week’s list: Andrew, Claire , Quinton and Des and apologies to those whose requests didn’t make the list. Keep them coming though!
Here’s this week’s complete list:
Twenty-ﬁve Miles – Billboard Top 100 of 1969, Edwin Starr
Working In A Coalmine – Replay/Gold – Vol 1, Lee Dorsey
Tired – Let There Be Love, Pearl Bailey
I am Weary – O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Cox Family
Sick And Tired (Digitally Remastered) – Rock ‘N’ Roll Jukebox, Fats Domino
Too Pooped To Pop – The La De Das
Tired – Letters From Frank, The Hissyﬁts
Tired of Being Alone – Greatest Hits, Al Green
Tired Of Being Alone – Zydeco Festival, Clifton Chenier
I’m Just Tired – Washboard Sam Vol. 7 1942-1949, Washboard Sam
The Weary Kind – Original Motion Picture OST ‘Crazy Heart’, Ryan Bingham
Sleep Deprivation – Attack Decay Sustain Release, Simian Mobile Disco
I’m Tired – Blazing Saddles Soundtrack, Madeline Kahn/Mel Brooks
Tired Of Hanging Around – Tired Of Hanging Around, The Zutons
That Lucky Old Sun – All Time Greats Vol 3 – The People, Dean Martin
Ain’ tcha Tired of Makin’ Me Blue – High Rockin’ Swing, Chet Atkins
Twenty Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran, Eddie Cochran
So Tired – Gimcracks and Gewgaws, Mose Allison
I’ve Been Tired – Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim, The Pixies
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (MTV Unplugged) – The Cure
Tired of Sex – Pinkerton, Weezer
Hoy no me puedo levantar – Ana Jose Nacho, Mecano
All Tired Horses – Self Portrait, Bob Dylan
I’m So Tired – White Album (Disc 1), Beatles
Tired Of Waiting For You – Greatest Hits, The Kinks
Sick And Tired – Pilgrim, Eric Clapton
I’m Tired – Rock ‘N’ Roll Warriors, Savoy Brown
Black Coffee – Live By Request, k.d. lang
Handle With Care – Traveling Wilburys [Disc 1], Traveling Wilburys
Moonlight Mile – Sticky Fingers (2009 Remastered Version), The Rolling Stones
Next week: MUSIC GENRES
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Whenever I think of Spring, with its warmer days and all the pleasures the better weather inspires, I can’t help but want to put on some reggae. So IN THE SPRINGTIME from Maxi Priest was a perfect opener for this week’s show on possibly the best season of the year.
I must admit, too, that my mind also turns to Spring Cleaning. After all the rain we had during winter, I just want to air everything, get those windows clean and get ready for the beautiful weather ahead of us. Fats Waller’s energetic ditty, SPRING CLEANING, reflects that mood. Ella Fitzgerald has a different outlook on Spring. Without her man, she’s GOT THE SPRING FEVER BLUES.
Another wonderful jazz singer is Blossom Dearie and C’EST LE PRINTEMPS (IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING) was a great addition to the playlist. Sung in French, Blossom was actually American. She moved to France in 1952 and it’s where she met her future husband, the Belgian musician Bobby Jaspar. Blossom had an amazing career, performing right through until her 80’s. She passed away in 2009.
I dedicated that track to Ben from local band The Blackbirds, because I know he loves Blossom as much as I do. The Blackbirds need your support right now to fund their first independent album release and Australian tour. So if you would like to donate even the smallest amount, to this wonderful local group, go to fundbreak.com.au and search for ‘Blackbirds’.
You know, there are so many songs that link Springtime with Paris, that it’s almost a cliche. A version of I LOVE PARIS that surprised me was from the incorrigible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I also adore Little Willie John. He was actually the first one to record Fever, in 1956. It was made famous when Peggy Lee had a hit with it in 1958. His contribution to our Springtime show was I’VE GOT SPRING FEVER.
With all this jazz I thought I’d better slip in some 70’s rock/pop and who better than Electronic Light Orchestra? The track MR BLUE SKY is from their 1977 album Out of the Blue, written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne.
So many songs about Paris in springtime, so it was good to play an authentic French track. Jacques Brel’s AU PRINTEMPS was ideal. We followed with a nice jazz instrumental, I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRINGTIME from Jacky Terrasson. And to round things out, some Latin freestyle with Stevie B, SPRING LOVE. Does this one take you back to the 80’s?
New Zealand band Dragon’s APRIL SUN IN CUBA was written, like many of Dragon’s hits, by keyboard player Paul Hewson who unfortunately died from a drug overdose in 1985. Lead singer Marc Hunter also passed away in 1998 from smoking related oesophageal cancer. The band continues to perform and are currently led by Marc’s brother Todd Hunter. Here’s a clip of the original line-up.
A great Aussie band from the 70’s were the Go-Betweens. The version of SPRING RAIN we played was recorded live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. The focal point of the Go-Betweens was the song writing skills of Robert Foster and Grant McLennan. Described by Village Voice critic, Robert Christgau, as “the greatest songwriting partnership working today.” Grant McLennan died of a heart attack in 2000.
I must admit that I do like a bit of ukelele so Claire’s suggestion of Leah Flanagan’s SEPTEMBER SONG sat well with me. There’s something about the uke, isn’t there? You can’t help but think of sunny times.
Which bring me to HERE COMES THE SUN from The Beatles:
A great little double that plays on the notion that Springtime is the ideal season for mating followed: The Marvelettes with WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE and the Dixie Cups with CHAPEL OF LOVE. Here’s a clip of the Dixie Cups. Loving the frocks girls.
Here’s a unforgettable piece of comedy for you. It’s from the soundtrack to the film The Producers. Remember SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER?
How good is Dinah Washington? SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN was just one of a couple of songs that I was happy to include in our Springtime show. A track that’s usually associated with Christmas is IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE BUT IN MY HEART IT’S SPRING by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The show aired on the last day of Winter here in the southern hemisphere, so it was a perfect fit. We followed with Teena Marie’s YOU MAKE LOVE LIKE SPRINGTIME, whatever that means.
Next it was a song for all of you who supported BayFM during our Major Subscriber Drive. IF NOT FOR YOU from Bob Dylan.
Jolie Holland reckons that SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU. Hope not. A really beautiful tune is ANDORINHA DA PRIMAVERA from Portugese band Madredeus. They became world renowned after performing on the soundtrack of the Wim Wender’s film ‘Lisbon Story’.
The Flaming Lips reckon that YOU CAN’T STOP THE SPRING. This song is full of imagery, some of which I can’t pretend to understand, like “There she was just walking down the street, Smoking with her hands and walking with her feet, Keeping her paint cans underneath the seat, Keeping her hair dryer on her favorite piece of meat.” Hmmm.
The Magnetic Fields certainly know how to play with imagery too. Case in point: LOVE GOES HOME TO PARIS IN THE SPRING. Does it matter that they’re probably singing about Paris Tennesee, not Paris France? Not really.
The Velvets just tell it like it is on the doo-wop tune SPRING FEVER. And then it was time to close the show which we did with the very appropriate EVR’Y TIME WE SAY GOODBYE from Dinah Washington and YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME from Chet Baker and Art Pepper.
A big thank you again to all of you who subscribed to BayFM and mentioned Theme Park. Congrats to all our winners especially Carolyn Adams who gets to donate the Camp Quality holiday to a family in need, in her name.
Next week’s show reflects how I’m feeling right now: SONGS ABOUT BEING TIRED will be the theme. I tell you, we worked really hard during the Major Subscriber Drive! So get your thinking caps on and see what you’ve got for me. Here’s some inspiration: TIRED OF SEX by Weezer or WORKING IN THE COALMINE from Lee Dorsey. You get the idea.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
In The Springtime – Best Of Me, Maxi Priest
Spring Cleaning – Fats Waller Essential 15, Fats Waller
I Got The Spring Fever Blues – Ella Fitzgerald – All My Life, Ella Fitzgerald
C’est Le Printemps – From State Fair/Jazz Goes Hollywood, Blossom Dearie
I Love Paris – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I’ve Got Spring Fever – Essential Masters, Little Willie John
Mr. Blue Sky – Out of the Blue, Electronic Light Orchestra
Au printemps – Jacques Brel, Jacques Brel
I love Paris in the Springtime – Jacky Terrasson
Spring Love – Stevie B.
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom – Perez Prado & His Orchestra
April Sun in Cuba – 30 Years of Classic Hits of the 60’s, Dragon
Spring Rain – Live at the Tivoli, Brisbane 06/08, The Go-Betweens
September Song – Nirvana Nights, Leah Flanagan
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
When You’re Young And In Love – Tamla Motown Gold (Dics 2), The Marvelettes
Chapel Of Love -Replay/Gold – Vol 1 No 5, The Dixie Cups
Springtime for Hitler – The Producers
September In The Rain – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington
It May Be Winter Outside – Now Thats What I Call Xmas, The Love Unlimited Orchestra
You Make Love Like Springtime – Irons In The Fire, Teena Marie
If Not For You – Essential Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan
In the Spring – Steppin’ Out, Braxton Brothers
Springtime Can Kill You – Springtime Can Kill, You Jolie Holland
A Andorinha da Primavera – O Paraiso, Madredeus
Love Goes Home to Paris In the S… 2:26 Magnetic Fields
Can’t Stop The Spring – Oh My Gawd!!, The Flaming Lips
Spring Fever – Doo Wop Classics, The Velvets
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington
Younger Than Springtime – The Route, Art Pepper/Chet Baker
Next week: TIREDNESS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
I love the major prize in BayFM‘s Subscriber Drive this year. It’s a trip to Broome and the Kimberley, in conjunction with the Save The Kimberley action group. So I thought it was a great opportunity to create a playlist on THE ENVIRONMENT.
We opened the show with a locally produced track from a group of young people who are concerned about climate change. They came together at a hip-hop recording workshop in the country town of Kyogle in 2007. The result: PROTECT THE WORLD. The kids were aged between 11 and 17 and wrote the words on the spot and played all the instruments. Check it out:
Another song about the environment that really hits home is GASOLINE from Sheryl Crow. She’s so great when she’s singing about something substantial, isn’t she?
The Cranberries tell us that TIME IS TICKING OUT: “We’d better think about the consequences, We’d better think about the global senses, The time went out, the time went out.”
Cerrone’s song SUPERNATURE was released in 1977 and crossed over to both pop and soul charts. An interesting bit of trivia: the lyrics were written by a young Lene Lovich, although she wasn’t credited.
Gorillaz is a band that fascinates me with its merge of music and art. They have a brilliant site, so rather than me babble on here about them, go to www.gorillaz.com. Right now I’m listening to their PLASTIC BEACH album. The track of the same name features Mick Jones & Paul Simonon from The Clash. Say no more.
Way back in 1971 Marvin Gaye broke ground with his song MERCY MERCY ME (the Ecology). It’s from his album, What’s Goin’ On and features The Funk Brothers on instrumentals and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore. Brilliant stuff. Here’s Gaye at the Montreux Festival, 1980:
The John Butler Trio’s song SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE was only released in Australia. It came out in 2004 and is an interesting blend of funk, rock, blues, roots and the traditional sound of a jam band.
An absolute classic is Joni Mitchell’s BIG YELLOW TAXI: “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot.” With that one line, Joni Mitchell created an everlasting metaphor for the ongoing effects of industrial development on the natural world. Big Yellow Taxi is one of the great environmental laments of the modern age, a breezy little tune that describes a world where DDT is used freely and trees are relegated to a museum.
I thought I might include some Kraftwerk for all the techheads and others (like me) who love this highly influential band from Germany. RADIOACTIVITY is perfect for this week’s theme:
Neko Case suggests that you NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH. It’s from her Middle Cyclone album. A prophetic follow up came from The Beach Boys with DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER:
Tegan and Sara are a Canadian duo (they’re actually identical twins). I love their song OUR TREES. A perfect follow up to that was Jack Johnson’s ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
Despite what Michael Stipe says about this song being about oppression, I always thought that the R.E.M. song, FALL ON ME, was about acid rain and it’s effect on the environment. Well I suppose you have a right to feel oppressed when governments keep refusing to do anything substantial about climate change.
Singer songwriter Missy Higgins is politically pro-active and it was great to air an interview with her during the show about Broome and the Kimberley. Here’s an extended version of that interview from the Save the Kimberley site:
Another activist/musician is, of course, Ben Harper. His song EXCUSE ME MISTER is just so relevant right now, with its mention of pollution of our waterways. Are you listening BP?
John Mayer is WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE. Me too John, me too.
Massive Attack were encouraged to get into the recording studio in 1991 to record their debut album Blue Lines, by Nenah Cherry. She consequently sang back up on our pick from this album, HYMN OF THE BIG WHEEL. In this clip Deborah Miller, who tours with Massive Attack on a regular basis, does a brilliant job of back-up/support.
MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN, is a song by the American alternative rock band, the Pixies. It’s from their 1989 album Doolittle. The song references environmentalism and biblical numerology and was the first Pixies song to feature guest musicians: two cellists, Arthur Fiacco and Ann Rorich, and two violinists, Karen Karlsrud and Corine Metter.
Our final song of the day was one I’d like to dedicate to all those lost in Pakistan’s devastating floods: Jackson Browne with BEFORE THE DELUGE.
I’d like to thank everyone who subscribed during Theme Park over the last two shows. Thank you so much! We’ll be drawing a winner for our Camp Quality holiday at Possum Creek Eco Lodge on next Tuesday’s show, so tune in then. And if you want to go into that draw, and you haven’t subscribed yet, that’s Ok. When you do subscribe just say that Theme Park is the show you want to be acknowledged on. We’ll give you a shout out next week. Good luck to all of you. I hope that you are lucky enough to win one of the daily prizes, the additional prize for business subscribers of 30 radio spots, or the major prize of the trip to the Kimberley.
I’d love to hear from you with your requests for next week’s show when the topic will be SPRINGTIME. Can you believe its almost here? Yay!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Protect the World – Kyogle Kids
Gasoline – Detours, Sheryl Crow
Time Is Ticking Out – Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, The Cranberries
Supernature – Cerrone
Plastic Beach Ft. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye
Something’s Gotta Give – Triple J’s Hottest 100 Volume 12, The John Butler Trio
Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell
Radioactivity – The Mix, Kraftwerk
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth – Middle Cyclone, Neko Case
Don’t Go Near The Water – Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys
Like The Weather – MTV Unplugged, 10,000 Maniacs
Our Trees – Tegan & Sara
Anything But The Truth – To The Sea, Jack Johnson
Fall on Me – Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M.
Going North – Missy Higgins
Excuse Me Mister – Fight for Your Mind, Ben Harper
Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer
Hymn Of The Big Wheel – Blue Lines, Massive Attack
Monkey Gone to Heaven – Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies, The Pixies
Before The Deluge – Late For The Sky (Gold Disc), Jackson Browne
Next week: SPRINGTIME
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Bette Midler opened the show with COOL YULE and that set the mood for what followed. I never thought I would see the day that Bob Dylan recorded a Christmas album, and isn’t he collecting some flak for doing so? But I, for one, happen to love the album Christmas in the Heart and appreciate the guts it took to release it. We played a couple of songs from the album. First up it was MUST BE SANTA. Check out the clip. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humour!
Now if you’re talking cool, there is no cooler, in my opinion, than ‘Keef’ Richards. My favourite Rolling Stone gave us RUN RUDOLPH RUN and then it was Patsy Raye & The Beatniks with BEATNIK’S WISH. All Patsy wants for Christmas is a man. Tall order Pats, especially here in Byron Bay!
I’ve got a question for you. Who’s feeling a bit grumpy this Xmas? Go on hands up… Well if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps, the perfect song for you is the Staple Singers with WHO TOOK THE MERRY OUT OF XMAS? Another for you mopers is Charles Brown and PLEASE COME HOME FOR XMAS. What you all need is the optimism of Darlene Love’s ALL ALONE ON CHRISTMAS. Lifted from the soundtrack to the film Home Alone, the famous sound of the legendary E Street Band and Love’s voice make being alone at Christmas almost OK. Check out the video if you don’t believe me:
Next up in our Cool Yule show was Bob Seger and The Last Heard with SOCK IT TO ME SANTA. And then it was The Kinks with FATHER CHRISTMAS and The Ramones with MERRY CHRISTMAS (I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT TONIGHT). Whew, that was a rockin’ set of Chrissie tunes. The three tracks came from a compilation album called Christmas A Go-Go, put together by Steven Van Zandt who also goes by the name Little Steven. As well as playing in Bruce Springsteen’s band and acting in the hit series The Sopranos, he also hosts an American radio program called the Underground Garage . Check out the website where you can listen to archived programs.
Tina Sugandh is also known as TablaGirl. Originally from India, now resident in the US, I love her version of WHITE CHRISTMAS with its Bollywood undertones. We followed with an oldie but a goodie, by Little Esther Phillips and the Johnny Otis Orchestra, FAR AWAY CHRISTMAS BLUES.
I had to include the 80’s New Wave group the Waitresses in the show because they recorded a song about something I really do loath: CHRISTMAS WRAPPIING. Yeah, yeah, bah humbug.
Something most of us have to be careful about over the holiday period is drinking and driving. A great song that deals with the repercussions of doing so is The Youngsters with CHRISTMAS IN JAIL from an album entitled Doo Wop Christmas. It wasn’t as serious as it sounds, honestly. And neither was the very funny version of JINGLE BELLS from the Electric Prunes, another great track from Little Stevie’s Christmas A Go-G0 album.
Rufus Thomas makes this rather scary offer: I’LL BE YOUR SANTA. And then it was time for a little Latin in our Christmas show. First up, The Enchanters with MAMBO SANTA MAMBO and the wonderful Celia Cruz with some salsa, FIESTA DE NAVIDAD.
A complete change of tone followed: Clarence Carter with the brilliantly bawdy BACK DOOR SANTA. This Santa makes all the girls happy while the boys are out to play. Naughty Santa.
Roy Woods was one of the founding members of Electric Light Orchestra and left to form Wizzard. Their song I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY was a huge hit for them. Check out the video, with lead singer Mike Morley looking rather like Kris Kringle himself:
The great James Brown injected a little politics into the show with SANTA CLAUSE GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO and then it was the extremely excited Jamaican DJ King Stitt with a little reggae. The song was CHRISTMAS TREE.
For all the cynics listening I had to include I DON’T BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS from the Sonics. And I’m sure all the rodders would have appreciated SANTA DRIVES A HOT ROD from The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Were any of you born on Xmas Day? My birthday is in January and that’s bad enough, but I’ve always felt sorry for people born on Xmas Day itself. Like here’s your Christmas and your birthday present. Gee thanks. But at least you don’t get everyone’s Xmas rejects as birthday presents as I do in January. Yeah, yeah, cry me a river. For all of you born on Xmas Day, we played I WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY from St. Etienne. It’s a nice piece of disco-pop, although I do worry about a band that named itself after a footie team.
The Cocktail Slippers, an all girl band from Norway, have been called “The 60’s Shangri Las meet the 70s Stooges meet the 80s Go Gos”. Loved their Christmas song, SANTA’S COMING HOME. I also don’t mind the occasional tribute band as long as they do it well. The Chesterfield Kings heavily mine The Rolling Stones for their garage sound and they do a great job with HEY SANTA CLAUSE.
Here’s the delicious Eartha Kitt, with the help of three ‘friends’ singing her hit of 1953 SANTA BABY. Hilarious.
We closed the show with the amazing Darlene Love with CHRISTMAS, (Baby, Please Come Home). The clip is from the David Letterman show of a couple of years ago. What a voice. Merry Xmas everyone!
Here’s this week’s playlist:
If they can have Xmas in July then I reckon I can do a show about the sea in winter. And I did. It was never going to be the kind of breezy show I would do if it was summer, because, for me anyway, at this time of the year the ocean appears even more immense and overwhelming. Many of the songs in this week’s playlist reflected that.
Our magnificent opening track by the O’Jays, SHIP AHOY, was a perfect example. It’s introduced by the creak of timbers and the crack of slave-owners whips and is an angry tour de force that presents the ocean as a partner in crime.
And while there were other serious songs in the line-up, there were plenty of frivolous and joyful tunes as well. And nothing could be more joyful than the sound of the ukulele: It was fantastic to have some live music in the show today as Ben, Renee and Azo from the group Blue Hulas took over the studio for a segment. They are the Northern Rivers original, (and, as far as I know, only), Hawaiian style band and their cruisy, island style music – complete with ukulele – was just right for this week’s theme.
The Beach Boys recorded a version of UNDER THE BOARDWALK, but it was the Drifters original version that I chose to play this week and gave some time to the Beach Boys for SAIL ON SAILOR, which is quite a serious song that uses the sea as a metaphor for life. Another serious song about the ocean is reggae star Fred Locks’ BLACK STAR LINER. The title refers to the shipping line that was used to transport black Americans to Africa as part of the Back-to-Africa movement of the 19th century.
Some light relief came from Bobby Darin’s hit from 1959, BEYOND THE SEA. I tried unsuccessfully to get a copy of the original version for the show: LA MER by French singer Charles Trenet. I’ll track this down, hopefully, and play in a future show.
A big welcome back to Roy Orbison with one of his best, LEAH. Check out this clip from the DVD Black & White Night where Roy is supported by Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d.Lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. Nice group of friends!
SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE from Queen was worth including just for its ending: ‘We all like to be beside the Seaside’. Other personal favourites that I played included LIGHTHOUSE from The Waifs and FROM THE SEA by Eskimo Joe. Talking of favourites: I had to include the Marvelettes with TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA and the gorgeous Blossom Dearie singing her version of BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.
How’s this for a diverse three in a row: An evocative piece of bubblegum from Aqua with WE BELONG TO THE SEA, a little reggae with ON THE BEACH IN HAWAI’I from Ziggy Marley and Led Zeppelin’s DOWN BY THE SEASIDE from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Whew. Here’s the beautiful lead singer of Aqua, Lene Nystrom Rasted, in the weird but wonderful video clip for WE BELONG TO THE SEA:
A request from Vanessa followed: Johnny Cash with SEA OF HEARTBREAK and I chose to follow that with Jenny Lewis singing BLACK SAND. For a little change of pace we played The Presets with GIRL AND THE SEA followed by Panic At The Disco’s BEHIND THE SEA. And then it was time for I’M THE OCEAN from the album Mirror Ball by Neil Young and featuring Pearl Jam.
Jason Mraz’s live rendition of WALK ON THE OCEAN was followed by the one and only Billy Holiday asking us HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN? And then the Ramones contributed ROCKAWAY BEACH. I can’t quite get my head around the Ramones singing about the beach, but what the hell do I know – it was the highest charting single of their career. Go figure.
We finished the show with Getaway Plan’s WHERE THE CITY MEETS THE SEA and the wonderful Cat Power with SEA OF LOVE.
Next week, I’m celebrating the SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS Music Festival being held here in Byron Bay. The show’s theme will be GRASS – no, not THAT grass – well maybe there will be some songs about THAT grass. And if I can’t find enough songs about grass I’ll move onto trees and flowers. I’d love to hear from you with your suggestions.
Here’s this week’s playlist on the SEA:
Ship Ahoy (2008 Single Version) – The O’Jays
Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters
Sail on Sailor – The Beach Boys
Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
Black Star Liner – Fred Locks
Leah – Roy Orbison
A Salty Dog – Procol Harum
A Drop In The Ocean – Moloko
Seven Seas Of Rhye – Queen
Lighthouse – The Waifs
From the Sea – Eskimo Joe
Too Many Fish In The Sea – The Marvelettes
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea – Blossom Dearie
We Belong to the Sea – Aqua
On the Beach In Hawai’i – Ziggy Marley
Down By The Seaside – Led Zeppelin
Sea Of Heartbreak – Johnny Cash
Black Sand – Jenny Lewis
Girl And The Sea – The Presets
Behind The Sea – Panic At The Disco
I’m the Ocean – Neil Young/Pearl Jam
Walk on the Ocean – Jason Mraz
How Deep Is The Ocean – Billie Holiday
Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
Oceans Away – The Fray
Where The City Meets The Sea – The Getaway Plan
Sea Of Love [Remastered Version] – Cat Power
Next week: GRASS (+ trees, flowers).
Listen to Lyn McCarthy on BayFM99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm (Sydney time).
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org.
Tragically, also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
And Twitter: http://twitter.com/themeparkradio
When it comes to songwriting and singing, no-one in the country, (with the exception of Kev Carmody), comes within co-oee of Archie Roach in expressing the suffering of Aboriginal Australia and the uphill battle of reconciliation. So, for me, the track LITTLE BY LITTLE from the album Ruby, was a perfect opener for our ‘All Indigenous’ show.
Throughout the program we showcased an enormous variety of music: Everything from classic digderidoo, jazz, blues, country, pop, rock and hip-hop. The show really got moving with an amazing didgeridoo composition from four didg virtuosos: David Hudson, Alan Dargin, Matthew Doyle and Mark Atkins delivering the very sweet MOUTHPIECE from the Sounds of Gondwana album. We followed that with a track I never tire of, just because its so joyful: Willcania Mob and DOWN RIVER.
Then it was the great Kev Carmody with FROM LITTLE THINGS BIG THINGS GROW. Kev co-wrote the song with Paul Kelly. Here’s a clip of Kev Carmody, John Butler and Paul Kelly performing From Little Things Big Things Grow at the Make Poverty History concert in Melbourne 2006.
I love Leah Flanagan. Her TYPSY TANGO from the Making Waves compilation album is a corker. She has a great voice that she utilises for any genre from jazz to folk to latin and she’s also a multi-instrumentalist, moving between guitar, piano, and ukelele. And if you’re a regular listener to my show, you’ll know that I do have a soft spot for the ukelele!
The Warumpi Band had a huge hit with BLACKFELLA, WHITEFELLA. Here’s their promo-video for that single, taken from the 1987 album Go Bush.
We had a giveaway worth mentioning in the blog this week. Soundtracks and signed posters from the film SAMSON & DELILAH. Directed by Warwick Thornton, the film recently won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s about two Aboriginal kids in an isolated community in the Central Australian desert, who take off on a journey of survival. The film has been getting rave reviews from every major film critic in the country, so personally I can’t wait to see it.
We played a few songs from the soundtrack album that includes everything from Mexican love ballads by Ana Gabriel through to country classics from Charley Pride. And, of course, it also features some of our best Indigeneous performers. Tracks we played included WALPIRI WOMAN from the Teenage Band, WASTING YOUR LIFE from the Tableland Drifters and NIGHTBLINDNESS from Troy Cassar-Daley.
Ruby Hunter is an amazing performer in her own right and she also happens to be the life partner of Archie Roach and that makes them a dynamic duo. She is a member of the Ngarrindieri tribe and often performs with Archie who she met at 16 while both were homeless teenagers. Check out the video for LET MY CHILDREN BE.
Jimmy Little is an icon of the Australian music industry, so I had to include his version of UNDER THE MILKY WAY. Then Blue King Brown livened things up with COME AND CHECK YOUR HEAD.
Although Geoffrey Gurrumul has been around for a while, singing with Yothu Yindi and, most recently, with The Saltwater Band, his self-titled album has been an international sensation. I chose to play WIYATHUL during this show but all of the tracks from this album were worthy contenders. When I saw him perform at the Blues Fest he literally brought tears to the eyes of this tough old broad. Check this out:
The rain is back again in Byron, after a few sunny days, so the very lovely Christine Anu’s SUNSHINE ON A RAINY DAY was more than appropriate. And I wish I had a video of Seaman Dan singing BLUES ON A UKULELE; I’d love to see him perform that. Very cute.
Our token bit of hip-hop came from the Morganics with a tune called ALL U MOB. This was followed by what has to be one of the most powerful Australian recordings ever: TREATY, by Yothu Yindi – a fantastic melding of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures, both in the bands’s line-up and in the music they create. Have a look:
The Stiff Gins gave us a nice piece of pop with DRIVIN’ and then it was more didg from the masters of the genre – David Hudson, Alan Dargin, Matthew Doyle and Mark Atkins. The track was DANCE THIS TIME AROUND. And I absolutely loved ABUCA from Dubmarine, JAILANGURU PAKARNU from the Warumpi Band and JAH IS THE LIGHT from David Dow. Talk about a diverse line-up!
Drawing the show to a close, I went with Casey Donovan, (remember her from Australian Idol?) with a very personal song that she penned herself called HELP ME. Gorgeous. And we had just enough time to fit in Dan Sultan with MONEY. We’ll be seeing him next year in the film version of Bran Nue Dae. Can’t wait for that.
What an amazing array of talent. It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to present today’s show.
Here’s the complete playlist for you:
Little by Little – Archie Roach
Mouthmusic – David Hudson, Alan Dargin, Matthew Doyle, Mark Atkins
Down River – Willcannia Mob
From Little Things Big Things Grow – Kev Carmody
Blackfella Whitefella – Warumpi Band
Typsy Tango – Leah Flanagan
Walpiri Woman – Lajamanu Teenage Band
Let My Childen Be – Ruby Hunter
Rain – Radical Son
Come And Check Your Head – Blue King Brown
Under the Milky Way – Jimmy Little
Wiyathul – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Christine Anu
Blues on a Ukulele – Seaman Dan
ALL U MOB – Morganics feat. Wire, Stingray & Haille Suspicious
Treaty – Radio Mix – Yothu Yindi
Nightblindness – Troy Cassar-Dally
Drivin’ – Stiff Gins
Dance this time Around – David Hudson, Alan Dargin, Matthew Doyle, Mark Atkins
Wasting Your Life – The Tableland Drifters
Abuca – Dubmarine
Jah Is The Light – David Dow
Jailanguru Pakarnu – The Warumpi Band
Help Me – Casey Donovan
Money – Dan Sultan
Next week’s show is on the OCEAN. Because we all like to be beside the seaside!
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM 99.9, Tuesdays 2-4pm (Sydney time). Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
Tragically, also on Facebook: http://http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
and Twitter: http://twitter.com/themeparkradio
And just in case you have been missing my usual inclusion of Roy Orbison in the show: here is Roy in Darwin in 1972, giving the didgeridoo a go. Imagine him as part of the Yothu Yindi line-up. OMG!
Our theme this week was the 60’s and, more specifically, the music that made up the playlists of Britain’s Pirate Radio Stations. There’s a fantastic new film being released this week, called The Boat That Rocked, about this era – and BayFM is hosting the premiere here in Byron Bay. So, yes, a blatant promotion for this film by Richard Curtis, the creator of Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the writer of the majority of the Blackadder series. But more importantly, a great excuse to play all those songs that made the Top 4o lists in the mid to late 60s, not just in Britain but quite often here in Australia as well.
We opened the show with the Kinks hit, ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ and then it was onto The Turtles with ‘Eleanor’, The Beach Boys with ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and John Fred & His Playboys with ‘Judy in Disguise’. That pretty much set the mood for two hours of nostalgia par excellence!
During this period, the Motown label proved that it could hold its own amongst the pop and the rock that made up the so-called ‘British Invasion’. Three of the best were represented here with ‘Dancing in the Street’ by Martha & The Vandellas, The Isley Brothers with ‘This Old Heart of Mine’ and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles with ‘Ooo Baby, Baby’.
Tommy James and the Shondells made one of the biggest hits of the 60’s: ‘Crimson and Clover’. The song is famous for a unique “wobbly” vocal effect near the end of the song. To produce this effect, Tommy James plugged his microphone into a guitar amplifier, flipped the tremolo switch, and repeatedly sang the line “crimson and clover, over and over”. As it was released in November, a lot of listeners thought he was singing ‘Christmas is Over’.
As well as ‘My Generation’, I also played The Who’s ‘I Can See for Miles’ from their album The Who Sell Out. Released in 1967, it’s an interesting one. A concept album, it’s formatted as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with fake commercials and public service announcements. The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London and the release was reportedly followed by a bevy of lawsuits due to the mention of real-world commercial interests in the fake commercials and also by the makers of the real Radio London jingles. We listened to ‘Heinz Baked Beans’ which was a bit of a hoot (and obviously influenced by Monty Python and The Goons). I also played a few sound grabs from the film, ‘The Boat That Rocked’ and gave away tickets to the film.
Now, how can you think about the music of the 60s and not play Roy Orbison? Orbison was a powerful influence on contemporaries such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In 1963, he headlined a British tour with The Beatles, but by the end of the tour he was playing second fiddle to the Fab Four, as Beatlemania gathered pace. John Lennon later claimed that he had joked to Orbison that the Beatles were tiring of opening for him so Orbison agreed to switch, but the audience greeted Orbison with such enthusiasm that the Beatles became concerned that they would not get to perform, and called out to him from backstage, “Yankee, go home.”
He became lifelong friends with the band, especially John Lennon and George Harrison. Orbison would later record with Harrison in the Travelling Wilburys. During their UK tour together, Orbison encouraged the Beatles to come to the United States. When they toured America in the summer of 1964, they asked Orbison to appear with them, but his schedule forced him to decline. Check out these photos to the left. That’s Macca and Orbison doing a ‘separated at birth’ moment.
Unlike many artists, Orbison maintained his success as the British Invasion swept America in 1964. His single, “Oh, Pretty Woman”, broke the Beatles’ stranglehold on the Top 10, soaring to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and No. 1 on the British charts. The record sold more copies in its first ten days of release than any single up to that time, and eventually sold over seven million copies.
Orbison toured with The Beach Boys in 1964, and with The Rolling Stones in Australia in 1965. He was arguably more successful in Britain than his home country, especially from 1963 onwards, logging three No. 1 hit singles and being voted top male vocalist of the year several times there. The song we chose to play in this show was ‘It’s Over’, a UK #1 single in June 1964. Look at this video and share my enthusiasm for one of the greatest voices of all time.
After I played Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, one of our listeners called in (sorry didn’t get the name) to let us know that the song was all about virgin soldiers going off to Vietnam. There are soooooo many theories about what this song is about and if you go to the Procol Harum fan site http://www.procolharum.com you’ll be able to read some of them. Here’s what Matthew Fisher had to say on BBC Radio 2 in 2000:
” I don’t know what they mean. It’s never bothered me that I don’t know what they mean. This is what I find rather hard, that, especially in America, people are terribly hung up about lyrics and they’ve got to know what they mean, and they say, “I know, I’ve figured out what these lyrics mean.” I don’t give a damn what they mean. You know, they sound great… that’s all they have to do.”
A prominent Aussie band during this period was The Easybeats, with their single ‘Friday On My Mind’. This British Invasion style number was a huge worldwide hit for the group in 1966, making #1 in Australia and #6 in the UK and #16 in the USA. So, of course, it had to be played. Have a look at this video and the very young, fresh-faced Stevie Wright. Not to mention the outfits! And check out the dancers! Great stuff.
Next it was Savoy Brown with ‘Stay With Me Baby’. And then it was onto the Rolling Stones with ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ and we finished with one of my favourites from the period – ‘Hang On Sloopy’ by The McCoys.
Whew. Great show, if I do say so myself. Here’s the complete playlist:
All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks
Eleanor – The Turtles Blues
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys
Judy in Disguise – John Fred & His Playboy Band
Dancing In The Street – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
This Old Heart Of Mine – Isley Brothers
Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson/The Miracles
Crimson And Clover – Tommy James & The Shondells
I Can See for Miles – The Who
Black Is Black – Los Bravos
With A Girl Like You – The Troggs
Heinz Baked Beans – The Who
Lady Godiva – Peter & Gordon
Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
She’d Rather Be With Me – The Turtles
Got to Get You Into My Life – Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers
Yesterday Man – Chris Andrews
I’ve Been A Bad Bad Boy – Paul Jones
I Feel Free – Cream
My Generation – The Who
It’s Over – Roy Orbison
The Wind Cries Mary – Jimi Hendrix
A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum
Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats
Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks
Nights In White Satin – Moody Blues
These Arms Of Mine – Otis Redding
Sunny – Bobby Hebb
I’m Alive – The Hollies The Hollies
Itchycoo Park – Small Faces
Summer in the City – The Lovin Spoonful
Stay With Me Baby – Savoy Brown
Get Off Of My Cloud – The Rolling Stones
Hang on Sloopy – The McCoys
Next week, to celebrate a great weekend of Blues at the Byron Bay Blues Festival – I’ll be doing Musical Instruments.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, on BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
Our theme this week was Communication – not the deep psychic stuff, but good old fashioned talking, letter writing and, would you believe telegrams (remember them?). I was going to play M.I.A.’s ‘U.R.A.Q.T.’ about texting (“you’re fuckin’ with my man and textin’ all the time…”) but I would have been in a bit of trouble over the expletives, I’m afraid. But I did play some other excellent hip-hop during the show, as well as my usual eclectic mix of rock, pop, blues, jazz and whatever I could find to fit the theme.
We opened the show with the Marvelettes ‘Beachwood 4-5789’. They also recorded the first Motown hit, ‘Please Mr. Postman’, but I had already showcased that one during the Motown Show in January. Besides, ‘Beachwood’ was a great opener for this particular show.
The telephone, whether it be landline or mobile, talking or texting, is still probably the most prominent way we keep in touch. So ‘Hanging Up the Telephone’, sung by Blondie’s Debby Harry was not only pop-punk perfection, but it also opens with the sound of a ringing phone. How good is that? Here’s the video from 1978.
Most letter songs feature absent lovers and none convey the absolute thrill of receiving a long awaited message better than ‘The Letter’ from the Boxtops. They were known as a major ‘blue-eyed soul’ group during the 60’s. Hard to believe that Alex Chilton, who later formed Big Star and went onto a solo career, was only 16 at the time this was recorded in 1967. The song has been widely covered, most notably by Joe Cocker, but this original version still stands up well.
Sonny Boy Williamson confimed what I have always knows, (that men are the worst gossips), with his rendition of ‘Don’t Get Me Talking’ while Buddy Guy and Junior Wells contributed ‘A Man of Many Words’ to the Blues segment of the show.
My Roy Orbison song this week was a great one: ‘Communication Breakdown’. Written by Bill Dees, whose collaboration with Orbison led to a string of successful hits for Monument Records including ‘Communication Breakdown’, ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘It’s Over’, just to name a few.
And then it was onto an absolutely divine song by Nina Persson of the Cardigans, ‘Communication’ – “If this is communication , I disconnect”. If only it was that easy. Here’s a video of them doing a live performance in 2007.
‘Hello Operator’ presented mobile phone refusenik Jack White choosing to use an operator, just like in the good old days. And, as if this was even too newfangled, by the second verse he’s trying to get his message out via canary. Ah ha, rightio then.
Remember when a wedding wasn’t a wedding without the best man reading out several telegrams from absentee friends and family? I haven’t been to a wedding in ages. Tell me, do they read out emails and texts? Just doesn’t seem the same does it? In ‘Western Union Man’ Jerry Butler gives us a passionate attempt at contacting a girlfriend who won’t answer his phone calls. And Chuck Berry tries to get in touch with people who have phoned him in ‘Memphis Tennessee’. Today we would be asking why the hell aren’t they on Facebook! And then there’s Twitter, but please can we not go there? (really).
Joe Jones seemed to be talking right at me with ‘You Talk Too Much’ and I loved Crowded House’s version of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’. But how good was Hank Penny’s ‘Sweet Talkin Mama’ recorded in 1938? You can find this terrific bit of country swing on the compilation album You Done Me Wrong (Vintage Country Cheating Songs 1929-1952) distributed by Buzzola.
There are lots of songs written in the form of letters. One of the best examples of this is Eminem’s ‘Stan’, a masterpiece of escalating desperation that exploits its conceit to its fullest. Sampling Dido’s ‘Thank You’ as the chorus is a piece of genius and the result is a song of chilling elegance that recognises that a letter is always a one-sided conversation.
We followed that with a total contrast – ‘Don’t Explain’ by Billie Holliday and then it was up to Muddy Waters to elevate the mood with ‘Long Distance Call’. There were so many other great songs. I particularly liked Bonnie Raitt’s take on people who talk behind your back. Her advice? Give them ‘Something to Talk About’. Absolutely.
We finished the show with one of my favourite Aretha Franklin numbers: ‘Say A Little Prayer’. This one had me up out of the seat and dancing. And then a fantastic close from Mr. Cool Jazz himself, Chet Baker, with ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’. I loved this week’s show and I had a blast. Hope you did too.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Beachwood 4-5789 – The Marvellettes
Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie
Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan
The Letter – The Boxtops
Take A Letter Maria – R.B. Greaves
Please Read The Letter – Alison Krauss/Robert Plant
Don’t Start Me To Talkin’ – Sonny Boy Williamson
A Man Of Many Words – Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley
Communication Breakdown – Roy Orbison
Communication – The Cardigans
Telephone Line – Electric Light Orchestra
Memphis, Tennessee – Chuck Berry
Hey, Western Union Man – Jerry Butler
Hello Operator – The White Stripes
You Talk Too Much – Joe Jones
Everybody’s Talkin’ – Crowded House
Sweet Talkin’ Mama – Hank Penny
Stan – Eminem & Dido
Don’t Explain – Billie Holiday
Long Distance Call – Muddy Waters
The Phone Call – The Pretenders
Ring Ring Ring – De La Soul
The Word – The Beatles
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Paul Weller & Amy Winehouse
What’d I Say – Ray Charles
People Are Talking – Shep & The Limelites
Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt
Answering Bell – Ryan Adams
I Say A Little Prayer For You – Aretha Frankin
Every Time We Say Goodbye – Chet Baker
Next week, the theme is Money. Any suggestions for songs for the show, or themes for future shows, are always welcome.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, on BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org