The mercury’s rising, summer is here and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot. So, it’s time to get the sarongs out, start mixing up a marghertia or two and celebrate our steamy weather. Yes, folks this week’s show was a sizzler.
We opened with THE HEAT IS ON from American soul and funk group, The Isley Brothers, released in 1975 on the album of the same name and then it was Buster Poindexter, otherwise known as David Johansen of the New York Dolls. His cover of Arrow’s HOT, HOT, HOT apparently haunts him to this day. Well Dave, thats what happens when you record a hit pop tune. Just be happy with the royalties. He’s not looking too unhappy in this clip:
If the weather doesn’t deliver, you can always find other ways to raise the temperature. Ask Martha and the Vandellas who gave us one of the greatest intros in pop music with their song HEATWAVE. The high octane James Brown knows a thing or two about the topic of his tune, BODY HEAT. Here’s a clip from The Lost James Brown Tapes, a 60 minute video tape available on DVD.
One of my all time favourite films is Napoleon Dynamite and the soundtrack to the film is great too. Check out one of the signature tunes, from the film, CANNED HEAT from Jamiroquai:
Every now and again I like to throw a bit of contemporary pop into the mix and this week it was Katy Perry with HOT ‘N’ COLD and we followed with one of my favourite dance tracks, Adam Freeland remixing the wonderful Sarah Vaughan’s version of FEVER.
Anyone remember glam rock? Marc Bolan & T-Rex were up next with one of the best examples of this genre: HOT LOVE. Check out this clip from Top of the Pops, 1971. Ah go-go girls, whatever happened to them? Well, the ones in this clip are probably all grandmothers now. Scary.
More roaming down memory lane: Style Council with LONG HOT SUMMER and then it was The Triffids’ dreamy and disturbing TOO HOT TO MOVE, TOO HOT TO THINK. The song reflects on our hot, Australian summer nights.
The idiosyncratic, and highly influential, Captain Beefheart divides people. I’m a fan, especially of our next song, HOT HEAD. The Captain takes the usual hot-love cliches to deliriously literal extremes with his funky brand of the Blues.
Ella Fitzgerald reckons it’s TOO DARN HOT and Prince Buster agrees. His delicious piece of Jamaican Ska, TOO HOT had me up and grooving in the studio. And then it was time for one of the highlights of the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival, Oka with THAT’S HOT.
I can never listen to Glenn Frey’s THE HEAT IS ON without conjuring up the film BEVERLY HILLS COP. So to put it into context, here’s the official video, using footage from the film, starring Eddie Murphy:
Another favourite of mine is John Fogarty, this time with the wonderful gospel group The Fairfield Four, singing A HUNDRED AND TEN IN THE SHADE from Fogarty’s Blue Moon Swamp album. Great album and worth a listen if you’re a Fogarty or Creedence fan. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:
Of course we had to include Billy Idol’s HOT IN THE CITY. Not so obvious, maybe, is the next tune we played: MELT YOUR HEART from the divine Jenny Lewis. A nice suggestion too, from listener Zoe: SUMMERTIME CLOTHES from Animal Collective. Andy’s suggestion was Nouvelle Vague’s I MELT WITH YOU and Lynden’s suggestion was a little on the obscure side. But when John Lennon’s goes COLD TURKEY his temperature rises and his fever is high. So, yeah, into the show on HEAT it went.
The great Ray Charles was next with IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT along with a little smooth jazz from Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, with Helen Rogers on vocals for BODY HEAT.
We closed the show with disco queen Donna Summer and HOT STUFF and the Godfather of funk, James Brown with HOT PANTS! Can you believe that this clip from 1985 was just a rehearsal?
Next week’s show is my Christmas A-Go-Go special, so tune in for some surprising Xmas tunes and I’ll have some giveaways especially for my lovely Theme Park listeners. In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist.
I’ve got something I want to tell you. I like grass. No, I’m not ‘fessing up to the local authorities. I really do like the smell and feel of good old-fashioned grass, the kind you find in paddocks, or lawns if you’re in the suburbs, especially after it’s just rained. And with the Splendour in the Grass music festival about to descend on Byron Bay once more, this week’s theme ‘GRASS’ seemed an obvious choice. And, yes, there was some mention of a certain recreational substance in the line-up this week. But hey, it was all in good fun and not necessarily an endorsement.
And talking of fun: Pink is in Brisbane next weekend as part of her FUNHOUSE TOUR. The tour’s major sponsor,Optus, kindly offered Theme Park two tickets to give away on air to one lucky listener. The winner, Vanessa, is off to see a dazzling carnival style set, daring aerial feats and the vocal powerhouse that is PINK. Thanks Optus!
We opened our show about grass with GRAZING IN THE GRASS from the Friends of Distinction and the R&B feel continued with a couple of songs about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence: Wilson Pickett’s advice is DON’T LET THE GREEN GRASS FOOL YA while Dr John still thinks that THE GRASS LOOKS GREENER YONDER.
After Tom Waites entertained us with the brilliant GREEN GRASS from the Real Gone album, it was QUIT PLAYING GAMES WITH GOD! from Mark Mothersbaugh (ex Devo), the theme music from a terrific documentary by Ron Mann called GRASS. You can watch the whole film, in several parts, on You Tube, btw. Thanks Ron! And then a perfect follow up: Petula Clark’s pop-hit about more castles in the sky: THE OTHER MAN’S GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER. As the lovely Pet puts it: let’s be thankful for what we’ve got. A track from 1966 that supports that notion is GREEN GRASS by Gary Lewis and the Playboys and it was great to hear that particular piece of pop again too.
The Ink Spots gave us a great, if somewhat strange, track called WHISPERING GRASS. A song about gossiping: Be careful what you tell those “blabbering trees” say the Spots. Okaaaaay. Time then for some vintage blues with Lil Johnson lamenting the fact that her best friend stole her man, the low-down dirty SNAKE IN THE GRASS. She’s talking about the friend there, not the boyfriend. Hmmmm. I think there might be two snakes in that crop of grass.
A couple more songs from the GRASS soundtrack followed: FRESH AIR from Quicksilver Messenger Service and John Prine singing ILLEGAL SMILE. Loving the help he gets from the audience at what sounds like a particularly good-time live performance. Yeah, they were ” just trying to have me some fun”. Fair enough too.
Buck Owens knows how to get to a woman: if you break up with him, he asks, WHO’S GONNA MOW YOUR LAWN? Yes, worth considering I’m sure. Check out this clip fronm 1969. Hee Haw indeed.
I had to have a chuckle when Japanese punk group Hi-Standard delivered the television theme GREEN ACRES for our listening pleasure. Nicely followed by Toby Keith and Tim McGraw with some serious country with WHERE THE GREEN GRASS GROWS and then it was the beautiful voices of the Everly Brothers with BOWLING GREEN, recently covered by Neko Case. But as much as I love Neko, you can’t top the original version.
Time then for some jazz and blues: Sarah Vaughan does a great version of BLUE GRASS that was recorded in 1947. I love the line – ‘you can’t keep me warm with a racing form’.
Cab Calloway’s REEFER MAN was followed by THE LUNATIC IS ON THE GRASS from Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of the Moon and then it was some Aussie nostalgia. A Glenn Shorrock double: Axiom with ARKANSAS GRASS followed by the Twilights with NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK. Let’s have a look at one the fastest songs ever: Cab Calloway and REEFER MAN. Loving the outfits!
Appropriately, we followed with KILLING JIVE from the Cats & The Fiddle, ITCHYCOO PARK from the Small Faces and RAINY DAY WOMEN from Bob Dylan. They made up a nice trio of ‘Grass’ songs dedicated to all my friends out at Nimbin.
Crazy about the experimental sound of Animal Collective, especially the track GRASS from their Feel album of 2005. Apparently they had a piano untuned (yes, you read that correctly) and then tuned all their instruments to the out of tune piano. Mad. Check out this video and then try to convince me that psychedelia is dead!
My last song about grass was the great soul sound of Ella Washington with THE GRASS IS GREENER.
The show finished with a tribute to Terrie Wells, otherwise known as Red Terra, one of BayFM’s most dedicated and skilled presenters who, sadly, died on Monday July 20th after collapsing at home on the previous Thursday. Our thoughts go out to her family and I know I speak on behalf of everyone at BayFM when I say that we will miss her passion and commitment to community radio and to the environment. She was simply an inspiration. The O’Jays STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN was played in her honour.
Here’s the complete playlist: