This week’s theme was motivated entirely by a need NOT to do a show full of Xmas tunes. And while I know it was a risk choosing DRINKING as a theme, you’d be surprised how few songs there are that actually praise boozing. So expect a few remorseful anecdotes, a couple of hangover songs and a precautionary tale or two. But, for those of us who don’t mind a tipple, not to worry – I included a few good old fashioned drinking songs as well. Hey, we couldn’t ignore Xmas altogether, could we?
We got the show rolling with the very upbeat WINE WINE WINE from the brilliant pioneers of electric blues and rock, Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Buddy Miles on drums. Here they are in their heyday in 1967:
One of the great things about living in such a great area as Byron Bay is that we get all the best musical acts coming through here to perform. Recently Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings peformed at our local pub and consummate storyteller Mary Gauthier was here for the Mullumbimby Music Festival in November. Sharon contributed JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN to the playlist and Mary gave us I DRINK, which has become a bit of a signature tune for her.
West Australian band Eskimo Joe’s album BLACK FINGERNAILS, RED WINE was released in 2006 and the single of the same name went on to win single of the year at that year’s Aria Awards.Here’s why:
When it comes to the Blues, up there with the best is the late great Luther Allison. Love his rendition of CHERRY RED WINE and then it was the ‘King of Soul’, Otis Redding, with CHAMPAGNE & WINE.
Tom Waits was in total denial about his drinking habits back in the late 70’s. He’d have you know that THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING (NOT ME). David Crosby, also had his moments will alcohol and other substances. He wrote EVERYBODY’S BEEN BURNED for The Byrds and its a very telling, and quite melancholic take on self-control and trust.
LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening is one of the best albums of 2010 (so there!) and the video for DRUNK GIRLS is crazy. What’s with the Pandas – I have no clue!
I found Lonnie ‘The Cat’ on one of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Hour compilations. His song I AIN’T DRUNK was recorded in 1954 with the Bobby Hines Band which included Ike Turner on piano. “I don’t care what the people are thinking. I ain’t drunk, I’m just drinking.” Brilliant.
Steve Earle’s signature tune is a story about a family who love their moonshine. Earle has been quoted as saying that COPPERHEAD ROAD is the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass. Not sure about that, but it’s certainly a great song.
ZZ Top’s contribution to this week’s show was BEER DRINKERS & HELL RAISERS. They’ll be making their way to the Byron Blues Fest in 2011, and I, for one, can’t wait. Here’s what we have in store for us:
We followed the absolutely crazy ALLIGATOR WINE from Screaming Jay Hawkins with a 1949 recording from Betty Hall Jones, BUDDY, STAY OFF THE WINE. And then it was AIN’T GOT THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE DRINK from George Zimmerman & The Thrills with the Bubber Cyphers Band (Whew). That was recorded in 1956.
I don’t think any song in the playlist was as serious as Gil Scott-Heron’s story about the effect of alcohol on family and community: THE BOTTLE.
We can’t stay very serious for long on the Theme Park, so a couple of light-hearted songs about drinking followed: Monty Python’s BRUCE’S PHILOSOPHERS SONG and The Rovers, recalling what sounds like a pretty good get together, on WASN’T THAT A PARTY.
Three more recent recordings, that just might make you think twice about partying too much over the holidays, had to make the list: THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME from Modest Mouse, IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS WE DO from The Zutons and MY ALCOHOLIC FRIENDS from the very lovely Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.
Personally, I never developed a taste for whiskey. And maybe that’s a good thing, according to Skip James who doled out a little advice about BAD WHISKEY. The Rakes then gave us, what they claim is a true story, with THE GUILT. And then it was drinking music from two of the greats: Nina Simone with a live version of GIN HOUSE BLUES and Billie Holiday with GIMME A PIGFOOT AND A BOTTLE OF BEER.
Before I knew it it was last call for our show on DRINKING and we finished on a very infectious note: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy reckon YOU AND ME AND THE BOTTLE MAKES THREE. And then it was the sublime Peggy Lee who doesn’t need alcohol at all. She says I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. Awwww.
Next week is the last show of the year, so I thought I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia next week, all new music and a look back at the year that was.
The week after, January 4, I’ll be welcoming members of Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They have wowed audiences at Glastonbury & Edinburgh and will be coming to Byron directly from their performances at Woodford. So make sure you tune in then. Oh, and the theme will be Multilingual songs, by which I mean any song which features two or more languages in the lyrics. Come on, its not fun if its not challenging, right?
As promised on my Facebook page (what? you didn’t know about Theme Park Radio’s Facebook page???), here’s my tried and true recipe for a champagne cocktail: It goes particularly well with hot jazz and good times:
Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, Saturate the cube with two dashes of Angostura bitters (don’t leave this bit out – essential). Then add 1 oz of brandy and then gently pour some very chilled champagne into the flute. Yum.
Have a safe and happy Xmas.
Here’s the playlist:
James Bond movie clip – Shaken Not Stirred (movie clip)
Wine, Wine, Wine – The Electric Flag
Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In – The Dynamic Funk and Soul Sound of Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
I Drink – Mary Gauthier
Black Fingernails, Red Wine – Black Fingernails, Red Wine, Eskimo Joe
Cherry Red Wine – Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues [Disc 5], Luther Allison
Champagne & Wine – The Immortal Otis Redding, Otis Redding
The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) – Small Change, Tom Waits
Everybody’s Been Burned – The Byrds Box Set (Disc 2 -Cruising Altitude), The Byrds
Drunk Girls – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
I Ain’t Drunk – Lonnie ‘The Cat”
Copperhead Road – Essential Steve Earle, Steve Earle
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers – Tres Hombres, ZZ Top
Alligator Wine – Frenzy Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Buddy, Stay Off The Wine – Betty Hall Jones
Ain’t Got The Money To Pay For The Drink – George Zimmerman & The Thrills
The Bottle – Winter In America, Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
Bruce’s Philosophers Song – Monty Python
Wasn’t That A Party – Cleveland International Records 1977-1983, The Rovers
The Good Times Are Killing Me – Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse
It’s The Little Things We Do – Tired Of Hanging Around, The Zutons
My Alcoholic Friends – Yes, Virginia…, The Dresden Dolls
Bad Whiskey – She Lyin’, Skip James
The Guilt – Capture/Release, The Rakes
Gin House Blues – Nina Simone: The Tomato Collection [Disc 2], Nina Simone
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer – Sophisticated Ladies [Disc 3], Billie Holiday
You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three – Swingers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
I Get A Kick Out Of You – Sings For You, Peggy Lee
Next week: MY FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010
This week we’re celebrating that Australia finally has a female PrimeMinister in Julia Gillard – it only took 109 years! The show was on the F word, no not THAT word – I’m talking FEMINIST SONGS, GRRRL POWER. It’s a complex topic and I had to have a criterion for the list, otherwise I would have gone absolutely nuts trying to make a selection. So it came down to the lyrics. Obviously what I think makes a feminist song is totally subjective, but hopefully my choices made for an interesting and fun couple of hours.
Le Tigre kicked the show off with HOT TOPIC, a song that pays tribute to dozens of female visual artists, musicians, writers and feminists who have inspired them, including Yoko Ono, Aretha Franklin, The Slits and others. Le Tigre was founded by Kathleen Hanna. She’d previously fronted the band Bikini Kill, a leading light in the Gen X Riot Grrrl movement of the early 90’s. Riot Grrrls didn’t just create music. They published zines, produced their artwork and group exhibitions. The movement spawned current performance artists like Amanda Palmer, Peaches and M.I.A. Have a peek at Le Tigre:
Moving into the show proper, we travelled back in time to 1963 when Peggy Lee recorded I’M A WOMAN. This was at a time when multi-tasking meant being able to do all the housework andpowder your nose at the same time. By 1975 Loretta Lyn had released the first song about birth control, called THE PILL, about a little dose of hormones that would change society and history forever. Can you believe that it was banned from radio? In 1975! We have come a long way baby.
Now you were probably wondering whether any songs about women, written by men, met with my approval. Well, there were a few, (not many mind you). Here’s one: In 1978, Queen speculated that it wasn’t gravity but, in fact, FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS that made the earth go round. Fascinating. Thirty years later the scientific community is still to respond, even though Queen’s guitarist Brian May (who wrote this track) was studying for a PhD in astronomy at the time, which lends some sort of credibility to the argument don’t you think? Over the years this song has proved a useful rebuff to the portrayal of women in popular culture as little more than skinny minnies. And, at the very least, you have to congratulate a song with the lyrics, “Take me to them lardy ladies every time!”.
Keeping to the theme, let’s talk about an artist who has the sisterhood in a quandry. Beyonce sings all about being an independent woman and, yet, she still wants her fella to put a ring on it. But I must admit a liking for Destiny’s Child and especially the track BOOTYLICIOUS. Here are women in possession of their own bodies, their own sexuality and their own lives. When they solemnly announce “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” in their ode to the joys of shakeable bottoms, the cheering from millions of pear-shaped women world-wide is deafening.
We followed with a song by the Scissor Sisters called SHE’S MY MAN, a song that tells of a woman who “takes her drinks with dust and rusty razor blades”. It then goes on to assert that “She’s my man and we got all the balls we need”. Not sure if this is a tribute to a transvestite or a particularly gutsy woman, but I’m somewhat encouraged by the fact, that in this age of sexual equality, it doesn’t really matter.
A couple of great duets were lined up next: Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox with the 1985 anthem SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES and the 2003 release of CAN’T HOLD US DOWN by Christina Aguilerra and Lil Kim.
An artist who must surely qualify for our pro-feminist list is Peaches. She writes provocative lyrics that challenge traditional notions of gender. Her songs are nearly always sexually explicit which means that I can’t always include her in my playlists but there is one that did get away with playing this week, as it’s quite tame, for her anyway. Here she is with BOYS WANNA BE HER. Kick-ass band too.
The fight for sexual equality has always been one of the cornerstones of the feminist movement but back in the 40’s, way before we burnt our bras, the early Blues and jazz singers got away with murder with their proudly promiscuous and highly enjoyable music. You just heard Big Mama Thornton with her twist on the Sonny Boy Williamson song Good Mornin’ Little School Girl. Her version is called, what else, SCHOOL BOY. And then it was Julia and Her Boyfriends who know exactly what they want in GOTTA GIMME WATCHA GOT.
At the show’s half way mark Lesley Gore belted out YOU DON’T OWN ME, recorded in 1964 and covered later by Dusty Springfield and Joan Jett, among others. It also featured on the soundtrack of the film THE FIRST WIVES CLUB, a nice little revenge flick about three divorced women whose husbands have left them for younger models. It does happen you know! Here’s Lesley:
Next up it was a suggestion from Cath: Bluegrass duo Truckstop Honeymoon with BAD ATTITUDE. And to follow I chose an artist who has attitude with a capital ‘A’, M.I.A. with PAPER PLANES, on which she samples The Clash’s STRAIGHT TO HELL.
Had to include the wonderful Neko Case with PRETTY GIRLS, a song about abortion and the guilt-trip that’s put on women, particularly if they’re good looking. A nice pairing in tone, for this one, was WOMAN from John Lennon, a bloke who towards the end of his short life at least was very much the feminist.
If you’re looking for opinionated, then you can’t go past the next two tracks: First up, the great Patti Labelle with NEW ATTITUDE and Madison Avenue with WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
Just saw the new film RUNAWAYS which I thought was going to be about Joan Jet but its not. It’s based on Cherry Bomb, the vocalist with the band, played to perfection by Dakota Fanning. Couldn’t help but be disappointed however with Kristin Stewart’s depiction of Joan. So, let’s make up for it with the stand out ‘up yours’ track, BAD REPUTATION. Here’s Joan Jett & The Blackhearts:
This one was a given: Aretha Franklin with a song that served both the Women’s Liberation & Civil Rights movements equally well. It is, of course, her cover of Otis Redding’s RESPECT.
Ani DiFranco is certainly no damsel in distress on NOT A PRETTY GIRL from the album of the same name, released in 1995 on her own record label with the fabulous name of Righteous Babe Records. Way to go: control the means of production!
Had to include another John Lennon track because he really was a card-carrying feminist. Here’s a clip of him performing WOMAN IS THE NIGGER OF THE WORLD on the Dick Cavett show. Having said all that, it does disturb me somewhat how submissive Yoko appears to be. Hmmmm. And, like, what’s with the drumming?
Heading towards the end of the show, there was just time to play Jeannie C. Riley’s HARPER VALLEY PTA about the struggles of a single mum in a small town, recorded in 1968. Riley was the first women ever to top the US pop and country singles charts with this song. The achievement would not be repeated until 1981 when Dolly Parton topped the same charts with the song you heard next – 9 to 5 – from the movie of the same name, about equality in the workplace.
Who better to close the show than Janis Joplin? This song was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton and covered to perfection by Janis and Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1967. Here they are performing in Germany, 1969. The song: BALL & CHAIN.
Next week the theme will be UNLIKELY COVERS. Think Johnny Cash covering the Nine Inch Nails track HURT or Sonic Youth’s version of the Carpenters SUPERSTAR, that kind of thing. I’d love to hear from you with your own suggestions.
Here’s this week’s full playlist:
Hot Topic – Le Tigre
I’m A Woman – Peggy Lee
The Pill – Loretta Lynn
Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
Bootylicious – Survivor, Destiny’s Child
She’s My Man, Ta-Dah, Scissor Sisters
Courtship of Eddie’s Father – Movie clip
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves, Aretha Franklin/Annie Lennox
Can’t Hold Us Down – Stripped, Christina Aguilera and Lil Kim
Boys Wanna Be Her, Impeach My Bush, Peaches
Don’t Call Me Baby, Madison Avenue
School Boy – Ball n Chain, Big Mama Thornton
Gotta Gimme Watcha Got – Sugar in My Bowl, Julia & Her Boyfriends
You Don’t Own Me, Billboard Top 100 of 1964, Lesley Gore
Bad Attitude – Diamohds in the Asphalt, Truckstop Honeymoon
Paper Planes – Kala, M.I.A.
Pretty Girls – Blacklisted, Neko Case
Woman – Double Fantasy, John Lennon
New Attitude – Patti Labelle
Who The Hell Are You? – Madison Avenue
Women Know Your Limits – Harry Enfield BBC (Comedy Clip)
Bad Reputation – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Respect – Aretha Franklin
Not A Pretty Girl – Not A Pretty Girl, Ani DiFranco
Woman Is The Nigger of the World, The John Lennon Collection, John Lennon
Harper Valley P.T.A. – 60 Number One Hits of the 60’s, Jeannie C. Riley
9-5 – The Essential Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton
Ball & Chain – Cheap Thrills, Janis Joplin/Big Brother & the Holding Company
Next week: UNLIKELY COVERS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
I purchased my first Apple Computer in 1984 and have been a faithful user ever since. Personal computers were still fairly uncommon then even though, in 1982, Time magazine had declared them the first non-human recipient of its “person of the year” award. “The ‘information revolution’ that futurists have long predicted has arrived”, declared the magazine, “bringing with it the promise of dramatic changes in the way people live and work, perhaps even in the way they think. The world will never be the same.” How right they were.
But everything Time magazine said, in hundreds of words, had already been expressed the year before in the song that opened our program: HOME COMPUTER by Kraftwerk, and in just two lines of lyrics too! “I program my home computer, beam myself into the future.” The group has been incredibly influential ever since. Am I the only one to recognize the theme to Six Feet Under in there somewhere?
Music’s relationship with intelligent machines has been a mass of contradiction. On the one hand, there are songs that express a fear of technology – the harshness the unreliability and the lack of humanity. And on the other, there are songs that yearn for the simple life that machines seem to offer, especially when it comes to your love life. Way back in the 60’s Connie Francis was of the opinion that a ROBOT MAN would solve all her problems. Years later, in 2004, Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls also thought that an artificial partner could possibly have its advantages. The song was COIN OPERATED BOY.
YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS Pt 1 is from The Flaming Lips’ high concept album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The Lips were in top form in 2002 when this track was released. Apparently, the total destruction of evil robots is the name of the game here. More from the mighty Kraftwerk in the form of POCKET CALCULATOR: “By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody”. That one was for all the book-keepers and accountants out there.
On a show about machines we had to have a song about a Juke Box and what better than Joan Jett, with I LOVE ROCK N ROLL: Yeah, “Put another dime in the jukebox baby”. Other machines included a TIME MACHINE from Grand Funk Railroad and a FRUIT MACHINE from the Tings Tings. As Katie White tells it, she’s fed up with being treated like a gambling device.
Gary Numan and Tubeway Army recorded DOWN IN THE PARK in 1979. It was Numan’s first composition on keyboards and his first release to feature the electronic sound that would become his tradmark. The theme of the song is typical of Numan’s work at the time as it both embraced and feared technology. Here’s a clip from the DVD Urgh! A Music War (1981). Lady Gaga, eat your heart out:
Sufjan Stevens’ contribution to our theme was DEAR MR. SUPERCOMPUTER, from his Avalanche album, and we followed with Electric Light Orchestra and YOURS TRULY 2095 where we are asked to pity the “cold as ice” IBM that must tolerate a two-timing user.
Melbourne based, Swedish artist Jens Lekman’s A POSTCARD TO NINA has a shaky connection to this weeks theme. It’s really about him acting as a cover for a friend who is a lesbian but she doesn’t want her family to know. There is a mention of emails, and – wait for it – a lie detector – so hey, how could I leave it out? It’s also quite a nice song. Here’s a clip from a concert he did in Melbourne in 2006. His guitar died, so he played on the uke. Gorgeous. And love the reference to cult film ‘Buffalo 66″.
Are you a fan of Flight of the Conchords? I am. The song ROBOTS, also known as “Humans Are Dead”, is sung by both Bret and Jermaine. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic “distant future” where all humans are dead and robots have taken over the world. Within the context of the plot of the show, it’s the band’s first music video. Since the band has very limited funds, Murray constructs the robot costumes himself, (“they don’t look like Daft Punk -we wanted ones like Daft Punk”), and films the video using a mobile phone. Crazy stuff.
Hip-hop trio Deltron 3030 gave us a cartoon villain who loves the idea of creating a “VIRUS to bring dire straits to your environment”. It’s from their debut album Deltron 3030, released in 2000.
The only cover of a Who song to reach the Top 10, anywhere, is Elton John’s version of PINBALL WIZARD. It was featured in Ken Russell’s film version of the Tommy opera. The lyrics are forever planted in every baby boomer’s consciousness: “that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.” Here’s an outtake from the film. Makes me want to play pinball again!
James Brown reckons he’s a SEX MACHINE and who am I to argue? Well we had to have at least one song about man as machine didn’t we? And James Brown is the bomb.
I had to play, not one, but, two tracks from Radiohead’s OK COMPUTER ALBUM. First up it was FITTER, HAPPIER. It consists of samples of music, background sound and lyrics recited by a synthesized voice from the Macintosh Simple Text application. Written after a period of writer’s block, FITTER HAPPIER was described by Thom Yorke as a checklist of slogans for the 1990s, which he considered, the most upsetting thing he’s ever written. We followed with one of their biggest hits, PARANOID ANDROID. This clip was filmed at the 2003 Glastonbury Festival. I so wished I’d been there!
A nice piece of R&B followed with COMPUTER LOVE by Zapp Roger, featuring vocals by Shirley Murdock and Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band. And then it was Robin Gibb’s interesting attempt at reinventing himself in the 80’s with ROBOT. Sort of a techno/reggae/disco sound. Not sure what I think of it.
Swedish pop star Robyn contributed ROBOT BOY and then it was back to some electro with Daft Punk’s ROBOT ROCK. I’m not crazy about this French duo but of all their releases ROBOT ROCK is one of their best.
More to my liking is the theme to ROBOT CHICKEN, from the cult stop motion animated television series. Brilliant stuff. It was written by Primus lead man Les Claypool.
Styx contributed their classic ROBOTO, from their concept album Kilroy Was Here. The lines in the chorus DOMO ARIGATO, MR ROBOTO have become a catchprase and mean ‘
thank you very much’ in Japanese.
Kraftwerk deserved another outing. This German band came to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s and their distinctive sound was revolutionary then and continues to be highly influential across many genres of music today. We closed the show with COMPUTER WORLD.
This was my last week in the 2-4pm time slot. I’ll still be broadcasting on Tuesdays but I’m very happy to be moving to Drive Time 4-6pm. I hope you’ll continue to tune in to find out what crazy themes I get up to. I’ve been influenced by the move to create a playlist next week based on CHANGE. So if you have any requests, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Home Computer – Kraftwerk
Robot Man – Connie Francis
Coin Operated Boy – The Dresden Dolls
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 – The Flaming Lips
Pocket Calculator – Kraftwerk
Percolator – The Ventures
I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett
Time Machine – Grand Funk Railroad
Fruit Machine – The Ting Tings
Down In The Park – Gary Numan
Dear Mr. Super Computer – Sufjan Stevens
Yours Truly, 2095 – Electric Light Orchestra
A Postcard To Nina – Jens Lekman
Danger Will Robinson! (Sound grab from Lost in Space)
Robots – Flight Of The Conchords
Virus – Deltron 3030
Pinball Wizard – Elton John
Sex Machine – James Brown
Fitter Happier – Radiohead
Paranoid Android – Radiohead
Computer Love – Zapp & Roger
Robot – Robin Gibb
Robotboy – Robyn
Robot Rock – Daft Punk
Robot Chicken Theme – Les Claypool
Mr. Roboto – Styx
Computer World – Kraftwerk
All tracks available on iTunes.
Next week: CHANGE
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time