Category Archives: Etta James
The Theme Park is a two hour show. That’s 8.33% of my day! It’s 120 minutes… 7,200 seconds…. Whichever way you look at it, its a big slice of time and, every Tuesday between 2-4pm anyway, it goes very, very quickly. What am I going on about? You guessed it, the theme this week was Old Father Time.
The program was dominated with some of my favourite Blues & R&B numbers, although I made room for some Classic Rock and even a bit of Jazz, so, hopefully, everyone should have been fairly happy. And, I even got to read a bit of poetry: Charles Bukowski no less!
I opened the show with the Chambers Brothers’ hit of 1968, ‘Time Has Come Today’. Here’s a shorter version of it grabbed from the Ed Sullivan show. Cool set (and the drummer isn’t bad either!).
Did you know that a ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second? I’ll be careful about using the term in the future, ’cause I don’t think I can actually move that fast, contrary to popular belief.
I’ve played Billy Ward and His Dominoes’ song ‘Sixty Minute Man’ before, but if this show didn’t warrant a replay, then I’m not sure which would. Billy really likes to draw attention to his skills with the ladies, that’s for sure.
Talking of ladies, Irma Thomas, Grammy Award winning soul and R&B singer, is often called the “Soul Queen of New Orleans.” A contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, she never experienced their level of commercial success but has a large cult following among soul afficionados
We played her version of ‘Time Is On My Side’ which she recorded on the Imperial label in 1964, before the Stones had a huge hit with their version. Bad timing for Irma perhaps. In 2007, she won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in an acclaimed career spanning over 45 years. Great singer.
How cool is Dr. John? I loved playing his classic tune ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’. He’s 68 now and still going strong with his unique version of blues/boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll. Have a look at this clip – wouldn’t you have love to have been at that show!
We also played Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘Time Machine’ which led to a little bit of pondering on my part about the possibility of time travel. Well, according to Stephen Hawking, the absence of tourists from the future constitutes an argument against the existence of time travel. But Carl Sagan also suggested that maybe, just maybe, they are here but are disguising their existence or we just don’t recognise them as time travellers. Ooooh, spooky. I’ll never look at a back-packer the same way again.
Lots more music and a great poem was read – Charles Bukowski’s ‘throwing away the alarm clock’. It’s a bit too long to insert here, but try to find it (and all his poetry in fact). Often remembered as the ‘Poet Laureate of Skid Row’ his work is unpretentious and highly entertaining. And although all his work is, I believe, ‘poetic’ he also wrote many short stories and six novels, eventually having over 60 books in print .
And if you’re wondering whether I found a Roy Orbison song about time to play – Well, what do you reckon? Have a listen to ‘Wild Hearts Run Out Of Time’, from the Essential Roy Orbison CD. I continue to be amazed by his wonderful voice.
And now its time I went. But remember what Woody Allen had to say: ‘Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.”
Here’s the complete playlist:
Time Has Come Today – Chambers Brothers
Let The Good Times Roll – Louis Jordan
Midnight Hour – Clarence Gatemouth Brown
First Time I Met The Blues – Buddy Guy
Just In Time – Dean Martin
Can I Come In For A Second – Nat King Cole/Nellie Lutcher
Sixty Minute Man – Billy Ward & His Dominoes
Turn Back The Hands Of Time – Tyrone Davis
Time Is on My Side 2:55 Irma Thomas 1964 R&B
Good Morning Good Morning – The Beatles
Right Place Wrong Time – Dr. John
Time Machine – Grand Funk Railroad
Twilight Zone theme
Twilight Time – The Platters
Only Time Will Tell – Etta James
Good Morning, Heartache – Billie Holiday
Here Comes The Night – Van Morrison
All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks
After Midnight – Eric Clapton
Hard Times – Ray Charles
Woke Up This Morning – Ruthie Foster
Turn! Turn! Turn! – Byrds
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
Round Midnight – Amy Winehouse
Times They Are A-Changing – Bob Dylan
Comes a Time – Neil Young
Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline Patsy Cline
Wild Hearts Run Out Of Time – Roy Orbison
The Last Time – John Hiatt & The Goners
Just One More Time – Billy Gayles
Midnight Special Train – Big Joe Turner
Any Time At All – The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night
Stay Just A Little Bit Longer – Hollies
One Week – Barenaked Ladies
This week’s theme was all about sex and drugs, but not just rock n roll. In fact it was a lot of early blues. I just love those early (30s, 40s, 50s) gutsy hot mamas, like Barrel House Annie and Julia and Her Boyfriends who shed their inhibitions and sang about their desires. I also played some C.W. Stoneking, who with his wife Kirsty Fraser, know how to evoke and extend the highly provocative ditty – listen to ‘You Took My Thing’ to find out what I mean. And, of course, there was rock ‘n’ roll with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis as well as the great r&b/soul singers Etta James and Marvin Gaye. And that was just in the first hour!
One of my favourites from the show was Tina Turner singing Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”. Here’s a clip lifted from her ‘Simply the Best’ VCR for you to enjoy. Little wonder that I followed this with Tom Jones singing ‘Sexbomb’.
In the second hour I played a piece of Janis Joplin that clearly showed the influence of the great Bessie Smith. “Mary Jane” is a live performance, recorded in 1965 with the Dick Oxtot Jazz Band. If you want to track it down, look for the 1975 compilation album Janis or the 2007 compilation The Very Best of Janis Joplin. Did you know that Joplin so idolised Bessie Smith that she remedied the scandal of her unmarked grave by organising the appropriate carved inscription: “The greatest blues singer in the world will never stop singing”?
Another discovery for me, thanks to the Bob Dylan Theme Time compilation, is Mary Gauthier. Her song, “I Drink” cuts straight to the bone. What a potent and powerful song, both in its lyrics and its delivery. Apparently Gauthier is a recovered alcoholic who grew up in an abusive and alcoholic household. As Bob Dylan so eloquently puts it, “the song plays like a bittersweet farewell to a dangerous lover.”
Long before she carved out her hugely successful pop career with sensual versions of great love songs, the gorgeous voice of Dinah Washington was used to belt out some very suggestive blues numbers. I included the blatantly lascivious ‘Big Slidin’ Thing’ in this week’s show. It finds Washington pining for her absent man who’s apparently proficient with his extraordinary instrument – a trombone people, a trombone! Such a tragedy that Washington would die at 39, after an accidental overdose of prescription diet pills mixed with alcohol.
My Roy Orbison song this week was ‘Mean Woman Blues’, initially recorded by Elvis as part of the soundtrack for his 1957 motion picture, Loving You. Roy recorded it with ‘Blue Bayou’ in 1963, as a 45rpm single and it went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 1oo music charts. I love the line: ‘Well I ain’t braggin’, it’s understood. Everything I do, well I sure do good’. Oh yeah.
Finished the show with Verve’s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ which, although most listeners might assume is an anti-drugs song, is, in fact, about the father of one of the band members. He was being treated for cancer, the drugs stopped working and he died. Aaargh.
Sorry to end on a bit of a downer. So, let’s get cheerful next week. I overlooked the fact that January 12th (my birthday as well!) was the birthday of Motown. So next week its all things soulful on Theme Park. Hope to have you all listening in. Streaming details at end of this week’s playlist which follows.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Ian Dury
Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway
Dynamite – Cheech and Chong (Comedy clip)
The Old Dope Peddler – Tom Lehrer
Monkey On My Back – Ross Hannaford Trio
Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got – Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends
If it don’t fit – Barrell House Annie
You Took My Thing – C.W. Stoneking
The Girl Can’t Help It – Little Richard
Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
You Can Leave Your Hat On – Joe Cocker
Addicted To Love (with Brian Adams Live) – Tina Turner
Sexbomb – Tom Jones
I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Drug Lists (Movie Clip)
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Cocaine Habit – Captain Matchbox
Mary Jane – Janis Joplin
I Drink – Mary Gauthier
Rocket – Connie Lee
Big Long Slidin’ Thing – Dinah Washington
Afternoon Delight – Starlight Vocal Band
Itchycoo Park – Small Faces
Mean Woman Blues – Roy Orbison
Burning Love – Elvis Presley
Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles
Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones
Cold Turkey – John Lennon
The Drugs Dont Work – The Verve
Next week: The History of Motown!
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at ‘Theme Park’ on Bay FM 99.9, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org