Category Archives: Janis Joplin
Throughout the world, since 1975, we have set aside the 8th of March as a day to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. So a radio show airing on March 10, hosted by a pretty feisty woman at that, had a fairly predictable theme begging. I roped in young Zoe to help give the show a wider perspective and we got stuck into presenting some of our favourite female artists. That’s both of us at the end of the show, about to down a well earned shot of caffeine!
We opened the show with ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves’, from Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox. A great feminist anthem, the tune was recorded in 1985 – the year that Zoe was born! Feeling more than a little ancient, I squeezed in my favourite Blues singers – Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin – before handing over the program to Zoe’s first three choices – The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Feist and Robots in Disguise (‘their song La Nuit’ is great – I never thought I could be converted to Electro! Go figure). The video clip is mad, mad, mad…..
When I was putting together my choice for ‘rock chicks’, Zoe suggested Stevie Nicks (much to my surprise), and who was I to argue? The title of ‘Edge of Seventeen’ was inspired by Tom Petty’s wife Jane who has a strong Southern accent. When Nicks misheard her say ‘the age of seventeen’ as ‘edge of seventeen’ she swore that she would write a song with the latter as the title. The song’s lyrics came about as a direct result of the grief she felt over the death of both an uncle and John Lennon’s death in the same week of December 1980. The track became the 3rd single from her hit album Bella Donna. It was used in the film ‘School of Rock’ with Jack Black which brought the song, and Stevie, to the attention of a whole new generation.
I also totally approved of Zoe’s next three selections: M.I.A., Soko and Cat Power. M.I.A. is an interesting singer. We all know who she is now because of her Academy Award nomination (with A.R. Rahman) for ‘O…Saya’ as Best Song, from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. It didn’t win but now my generation is aware of this precocious young performer. An accomplished visual artist by 2002, she came to prominence in early 2004 through file-sharing of her singles ‘Galang’ and ‘Sunshower’s on the Internet.
But I have to say that Soko is my favourite of this bunch. She may turn out to be a one-hit wonder with her very cute and controversial song ‘I’ll Kill Her’ but if you keep your sense of humour intact, she is a rare and refreshing new talent. Here’s hoping that we hear more of her. She was supposed to have released an album in February of 2009 but her MySpace page, as of January, insists that she has quit singing. Hope not! Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25AsfkriHQc
There are so many other great female artists. My selection included the original rock chick – Joan Jett – more blues and r&b with Dinah Washington and Etta James and I even got in some country with Linda Ronstadt singing her version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Blue Bayou’ (and you were wondering how I was going to fit a Roy Orbison song into a show about women! No worries).
Zoe and I both wanted Nina Simone in there and what better song to showcase that amazing voice than ‘I Put A Spell On You’, originally recorded by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1957. And then, of course, there was Amy Winehouse, P.J.Harvey, Shirley Manson, Aretha Franklin and we finished the show with Regina Spektor’s fantastic version of John Lennon’s song ‘Real Love’. This is a song that Spektor contributed to the Amnesty International album to save Darfur. So many of the artists we showcased today are not only strong women artists but they are politically aware and contributing positively to change, not just for women but for all mankind. Respect indeed. Have a look at Regina Spektor at the Bonnaroo Festival in 2007:
Here’s the complete playlist:
Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves (1985) – Aretha Franklin/Annie Lennox
Billie’s Blues (1936) – Billie Holiday
One Good Man (1969) – Janis Joplin
Rich (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mushaboom (2004) – Feist
La Nuit (2005) – Robots In Disguise
Up The Neck (1980) – The Pretenders/Chrissie Hynde
Edge of Seventeen (1981) – Stevie Nicks
Bad Reputation (1981) – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Paper Planes (2007) – M.I.A.
I’ll Kill Her (2008) – SoKo
Sea Of Love (2008) [Remastered Version] – Cat Power
Crazy (1962) – Patsy Cline
Jolene (1973) – Dolly Parton
Blue Bayou (1977) – Linda Ronstadt (Roy Orbison cover)
Glory Box (1994) – Portishead
Bachelorette (1997) – Bjork
Big Long Slidin’ Thing (1954) – Dinah Washington
Tell Mama (1968) – Etta James
Push It (1986) – Salt N Peppa
I Put A Spell On You (1968) – -Nina Simone
Cupid (2006) – Amy Winehouse
Cry Baby (1971) – Janis Joplin (With Full Tilt Boogie)
C’mon Billy (1995) – PJ Harvey
Stupid Girl (1996) – Garbage (Shirley Manson)
Respect (1967) – Aretha Franklin
Real Love (2007) – Regina Spektor
Next week: Inspired by the this week’s leaping of generations, the theme next Tuesday will be ‘Age’ – young, old and in-between.
Tune into the Theme Park with Lyn at BayFM 99.9 each Tuesday 2-4pm (Sydney time), or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org.
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