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TRUTH & LIES

We call them fibs, falsehoods, fish stories, tall tales, whoppers but what’s really true is that lies have become almost commonplace, and unfortunately we’ve come to expect them from our electioneering hopefuls. But I won’t lie to you: This week’s show was full of great music, all of it on the subject of Truth & Lies. And its a perfect topic for the lead up to our federal election here in Australia.

So, could I have chosen a better opening song than WOULD I LIE TO YOU from the Eurythmics?

The great Freddy Mercury kept the ball rolling with another song suitable for the upcoming election: THE GREAT PRETENDER:

Clarence Carter delivered a song about people who tell lies behind your back. The song’s called THE BACKSTABBERS. Another kind of liar that we seem to condone is THE CARD CHEAT. The Clash turn the concept of the poker face into a pretty good song.

Aretha Franklin begged us – DON’T PLAY THAT SONG, but we had to anyway. And Little Richard sang his 1967 hit DON’T DECEIVE ME.

Jack Johnson isn’t sure he has the answers or that he wants to know the reason we’re all here on ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH. And from that we had nowhere else to go than some pure pop with The Go-Gos and their 1981 pop hit, OUR LIPS ARE SEALED.

Eric Clapton, who knows just a little bit about an addict’s self-denial, gave us COCAINE. And we followed with another piece of self-delusion: Mary Gauthier’s I DRINK.

Okkervil River’s POP LIE was followed by a song that spoke to many during the Vietnam War. AMERICAN RUSE was recorded by MC5 in 1969 and it points out the American government’s grand deception during this time. Check out these early punk rockers. Excellent.

Lots of requests for Leonard Cohen this week. So IN MY SECRET LIFE made the list, especially for Robyn, Des, Julie & Waldo. I know its heresy to all you Cohen fans, but I haven’t been one of them. If any of his songs could convert me, however, it would be this one. And I’m a sucker for a quirky video clip:

The song LOLA is about someone who misrepresents their gender and gets the Kinks all in a lather. Better to do what Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood suggest and TELL THE TRUTH, I think.

Feist’s I FEEL IT ALL is the third single from her critically acclaimed 2007 album The Reminder.  It’s basically a love song about how lies can divide. Matchbox 20’s song BED OF LIES can be interpreted as not being who you really are within a relationship, or, just leading a life that’s not true to who you really are.

Regular contributor Robyn suggested a few songs this week but one that I had forgotten and had to include was The Thompson Twins with LIES. Couldn’t help myself and had to follow with The Monkees and I’M A BELIEVER. Take me back to 1966!

John Lennon, and I, have a message for all you politicians: (Just) GIMME SOME TRUTH. Fleetwood Mac, on the other hand,  only have love on their minds and they’d prefer that you TELL ME LIES. Depeche Mode have a similar opinion. They’re convinced that honesty’s not always the best policy on POLICY OF TRUTH. Released in 1990, its from their Violator album.

It was a toss up between The Who’s LA LA LIES and  IT’S NOT TRUE for inclusion this week, but went with the latter. Both songs highly underrated I think.

Love the high-octante performance here from Blondie with LITTLE GIRL LIES. Watch for when Debbie shouts: “Hey I want some back up!” Check out this live performance:

Aussie reggae band Blue King Brown aren’t going to take it no more. At least that’s what they’re saying on the brilliant MOMENT OF TRUTH.

We closed the show with the beautiful voice of up and coming musical star Megan Washington. The song I BELIEVE YOU LIAR is from the recently released album of the same name. Someone to watch for sure.

I’d love to have your suggestions for next week’s show, which will be on LIFE’S LESSONS. Songs that express what life is all about. They will have an element of advice about them, like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” . Come on, you know you like a challenge.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Would I Lie To You – Be Yourself Tonight, Eurythmics

The Great Pretender – The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo, Freddie Mercury

Backstabbers – Tarantino Experience II, Clarence Carter

The Card Cheat – London Calling, The Clash

Don’t Play That Song – Aretha Franklin

Don’t Deceive Me – The Explosive Little Richard, Little Richard

Anything But The Truth – To The Sea,  Jack Johnson

Our Lips Are Sealed – Beauty and the Beat, The Go-Go’s

Cocaine – Eric Clapton

I Drink – Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host Bob Dylan, Mary Gauthier

Pop Lie -The Stand Ins, Okkervil River

The American Ruse – Back In The USA, MC5

In My Secret Life – Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen

Lola – Lola vs Powerman, The Kinks

Tell the Truth – Live from Madison Square Garden, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood

I Feel It All – The Reminder, Feist

Bed of Lies – Mad Season, Matchbox 20

Lies – Classic MTV: Class of 1983, Thompson Twins

I’m A Believer – The Monkeys

Gimme Some Truth – Lennon Disc 2 John Lennon

Tell Me Lies – Fleetwood Mac

Policy of Truth – Depeche Mode

It’s Not True – My Generation Deluxe Edition (Extended Version), The Who

Little Girl Lies – Blondie, Blondie

Moment of Truth – Moment of Truth, Single, Blue King Brown

I Believe You Liar – I Believe You Liar, Washington

Next week: LIFE’S LESSONS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

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GRRRL POWER

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

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


SHELTER

This week’s theme is ostensibly about shelter which in the dictionary sense is a building. But it’s hard to express a real sense of bricks and mortar in a song. Let’s face it, do you learn anything about being in jail from Jailhouse Rock? Convincing songs about buildings, or shelters, are really songs about the people who find themselves in them, by design or not.

We started this week’s playlist with music’s most famous home away from home – Elvis Presley’s HEARTBREAK HOTEL. You’ll find it down at the end of Lonely Street. We followed with Lucinda Williams who gets a little bit of help from Elvis Costello. He’s a three-time loser and consequently she’s got a case of JAILHOUSE TEARS. The track is from the very excellent ‘Little Honey’ album.

The Rolling Stones’ GIMME SHELTER is usually associated with the Vietnam War (it was released on the 1969 album Let It Bleed). The lyrics, which speak of seeking shelter from a coming storm, painting a picture of devastation and disaster but it also talks of the power of love. We followed with a fantastic Irish singer, Mary Coughlan with a song about prostitution: THE HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE.

Aretha Franklin funks up Hal David’s lyric, “a-house-is-not-a-home” on THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT and we followed with The Temptations, who prove that even Motown wasn’t immune to the Psychadelic era with PSYCHEDELIC SHACK.

Can you believe that Bob Dylan has turned 69? Yikes. We wished him happy birthday for May 24 with SHELTER FROM THE STORM.  The Housemartins’ swansong was a song called BUILD,  about the widespread construction in the 1980s that spelt disaster for working-class communities.

A nice change of tone came from the gorgeous Julie London who wants you to COME ON A MY HOUSE. And she’s got candy. How good is that?

MANSION ON THE HILL is a Neil Young song from his 1990 album ‘Ragged Glory’. The clip is an absolute hoot. Enjoy.

Norwegian singer/songwriter, Ane Brun, who recently toured Europe with Peter Gabriel, sings a great song about shelter called  THE TREEHOUSE SONG. The Basement Jaxx song TAKE ME BACK TO YOUR HOUSE first appeared on their 2006 album ‘Crazy Itch Radio’. The album features Swedish popster Robyn among the guest vocalists. Another interesting video too:

Irma Thomas sent us a great message about the emotional refuge that a true friend can give you during hard times in the song SHELTER IN THE RAIN.  Jimi Hendrix sings about his house on the hill; He’s got a bad, bad feeling his baby don’t live there no more. But, as he so eloquently puts it, ‘That’s Ok cause I’ve still got my guitar”. The song is RED HOUSE.

Blur had a big hit with a song that tapped into a common ideal of escaping the rat race and living in a COUNTRY HOUSE.

SUGAR SHACK refers to a small building n which maple syrup is processed. Its also the name of a song written in 1962 by Keith McCormack and his aunt Fay Voss. It was a hit for Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs but I preferred to play the Ricky Nelson version.

Two songs that link houses with fire, at least metaphorically, are Natalie Merchant’s THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE and  BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE by Talking Heads.

Arguably the most idiosyncratic song in the playlist this week would be Mmmmm… SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU by Underworld, otherwise known to their Mums as Karl Hyde and Rick Smith. Not quite Kraftwerk, but still lots of fun.

The Rapture put a cowbell to good use in their very catchy dance-punk number, HOUSE OF JEALOUS LOVERS:

Elvis Costello celebrated the amazing art deco Hoover factory, that welcomes drivers entering London on the Western Avenue, in HOOVER FACTORY. While David Byrne, revisiting themes from his Talking Heads days,  gave us GLASS, CONCRETE & STONE. It’s about a weary worker whose residence is “a house, not a home”. There’s that Hal David lyric again.

The ultimate shelter song for Byron Bay, with our own iconic lighthouse is, of course, THE LIGHTHOUSE SONG from Josh Pyke.

We finished the show on an upbeat note with the B-52s and LOVE SHACK. The song’s inspiration was a cabin in Georgia, complete with tin roof, where the band conceived “Rock Lobster”,  a single from their first album. B-52’s singer Kate Pierson lived in the cabin in the 1970s, and the cabin existed until 2004, when it burned down in a fire.

The topic for next week’s show was requested some time ago by Nicole, but I’ve been waiting until I’m in the right mood. The theme is SEXY SONGS. Now I’m not suggesting that this is a playlist to have sex to. To be honest I don’t think I want to know what other people listen to in bed! Not all the songs will even be about sex, but they will have an erotic charge to them. And, yes, I know its all incredibly subjective but, hey, every week’s show is.  And I may just have a very interesting giveaway for you too. This is one that shouldn’t be missed!

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Heartbreak Hotel – The 50 Greatest Hits (Disc 1), Elvis Presley

Jailhouse Tears – Little Honey, Lucinda Williams (with Elvis Costello)

Gimme Shelter – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2], The Rolling Stones

The House of Ill Repute – Mary Coughlan

The House That Jack Built – 20 Greatest Hits, Aretha Franklin

Psychedelic Shack – My Girl: The Very Best Of The Temptations [Disc 2], The Temptations

Shelter From The Storm – Blood On The Tracks, Bob Dylan

Build – The Beautiful South & The Housemartins, The Housemartins

Come On -A My House – Swing Me An Old Song, Julie London

Rock House – Ultra Lounge, The Ernie Freeman Combo

Mansion On The Hill – Ragged Glory, Neil Young

The Treehouse Song – Ane Brun

Take Me Back To Your House – Triple J 14, Basement Jaxx

Shelter in the Rain – After the Rain, Irma Thomas

Red House – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Jimi Hendrix

Country House – Blur

Sugar Shack – Ricky Nelson

This House Is on Fire – Motherland, Natalie Merchant

Burning Down The House – Classic MTV – Class of 1983, Talking Heads

Mmm.. Skyscraper I Love You  –  Underworld

House of Jealous Lovers – Echoes, The Rapture

Glass, Concrete & Stone – Grown Backwards, David Byrne

Hoover Factory – Get Happy!! Elvis Costello

The Lighthouse Song – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 16 [Disc 2], Josh Pyke

Love Shack – B-52s

Next week: SEXY SONGS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


CHANGE

Theme Park is now in Drive Time! I’m very excited, (explanation points aside, can you tell?). To celebrate, the topic this week was CHANGE. There were songs about every possible variety of change: political, social, cultural, emotional, physical, even the kind you find at the bottom of your handbag when you most need it.

BayFM is now in its Winter season and with Theme Park’s new time of Tuesdays 4-6pm, you may have only just discovered us. So, if this is your first visit, the idea is not to find a list of the “best” songs on a subject, because “best” is boring and more or less just involves me reaffirming how great the Beatles, Radiohead and Roy Orbison are.  No, what we’re trying to create is a thematically coherent playlist with a mix of genres, eras and moods. Some songs you’ll already know; some, maybe, you won’t, and hopefully each week we’ll rediscover the classics, and discover new music, together.

We opened the show with Michael Jackson’s MAN IN THE MIRROR. And what a great message it is: if you want to change the world then start with yourself and your attitude to those less fortunate than yourself. We followed with something a little less serious: the great Ella Fitzgerald with ANYTHING GOES from her album ‘The Cole Porter Songbook’. It was the first album she recorded for the Verve album in 1956.

John Mayer is in Australia at the moment and I’ll forgive his indiscretions in recent interviews because WAITIN’ ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE is such a great track. Here he is with an acoustic version of the song. Very nice.

We followed with the  definitive cover of Bob Dylan’s ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER by Jimi Hendrix. Dylan wrote this song at a time that he was experiencing a complete life change, with two young children and a growing interest in the Bible. Hendrix’s version is so highly regarded that Dylan has been quoted as saying: “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

Everyone’s allowed to change their mind now and again. A couple of terrific songs about the subject are the Cardigans’ ERASE/REWIND and soul singer Tyrone Davis’ CAN I CHANGE MY MIND?

A completely different perspective on change came from the band Blind Melon. The track CHANGE is from their 1992 self-titled debut album and was the first written by lead singer Shannon Hoon, who struggled with a drug dependancy. The song encourages you to change your life when it gets too hard. Unfortunately Hoon found it difficult to take his own advice and he died in 1995, at 28, from an overdose. His grave is inscribed with words from the song.

Do you think money changes you? According to Cyndi Lauper MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING. Aretha Franklin, on the other hand, reckons MONEY WON’T CHANGE YOU. I think Aretha may have won that round.

Daniel Merriwether received a little bit of help from, rapper, Wale in the song CHANGE. The song and, in fact, the whole album was produced by wunderkid Mark Ronson. Rather than just play the official video clip, here’s a ‘making of’ that you might find interesting.

Country rockers, The Allman Brothers Band, sound as if they have hit rock bottom and are ready to do something about it in the very bluesy CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING.

Another great rock group is Muse. The song FEELING GOOD is probably best known for Nina Simone’s outstanding recording.  Here, Muse take the optimism of Simon’s standard to a whole other place.

We rounded out the hour with THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. Recorded in 1971, it’s a poem and a song by Gil Scott-Heron, generally considered to be the father of hip-hop and neo soul.

I’M COMING OUT is a joyous disco number from Diana Ross. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, of the 70’s Disco band ‘Chic’, wrote and produced the track. Rodgers got the idea for the song when he went to a transvestite club in New York City. He went to the bathroom, and while he was standing at the urinal, he saw three men who were all dressed as Diana Ross.

I love my R&B. Anyone who saw Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the Blues Fest a few years ago know what a dynamic group they are. A great song from them is SOMETHING’S CHANGED. We followed with A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. Sam Cooke’s Dylan-inspired, lump-in-the-throat protest song mourns both racial intolerance and his infant son’s fatal drowning. And it’s the most requested song in our list today.

Joni Mitchell’s song BIG YELLOW TAXI is about changes brought about by so-called ‘progress’; “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Sound familiar? And a big shout out to everyone in Mullumbimby, while we’re on the subject of unnecessary change.

David Bowie’s song CHANGES is one you must have predicted. And I’m nothing, if not predictable. We followed with another very predictable track: THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’,  although it’s not Bob Dylan but a wonderful version by Nina Simone.

Let’s talk physical change. Can you get any better than Lou Reed’s TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE? It’s from the Transformer album, recorded in 1972 and produced by David Bowie. “Plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs and then he was a she.” Yep, that’s what I call change.

Talking of changing teams, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood contributed a track from their Live From Madison Square Garden album, called, appropriately, TEAM CHANGES. And then it was time to head back to a song about political change: Tracey Chapman with TALKIN’ BOUT A REVOLUTION.

John Legend got some help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. That’s for the right girl,  he asserts. Yeah yeah, heard it all before Johnny.

The Audreys do a gorgeous cover of the INXS song DON’T CHANGE. It challenges you not to change. Because you’re perfectly OK as you are, you know. The song is from the album, Between Last Night and Us. Here they are performing at Woodford Folk Festival, 2009:

We closed the show with a beauty: the Beatles and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. “Nothings going to change my world.” Well, maybe, but one thing I do know is that change is inevitable and while we might not appreciate it at the time, its all good.

Next week’s theme will be MORE CRED WHEN DEAD. Yes, every track will be from an artist who has passed on to that big disco in the sky and more than likely became more successful after they were gone. Big list to choose from, so inevitably there will be some omissions. But let me know your requests anyway. Love to hear from you.

Here’s this week’s playlist. From this week, I’ll include the album names as well. You can find all songs on iTunes.

Man in the Mirror – Bad, Michael Jackson

Anything Goes – The Cole Porter Songbook (CD1), Ella Fitzgerald

Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer

All Along The Watchtower – The Ultimate Experience, Jimi Hendrix

Erase/Rewind – Gran Turismo, The Cardigans

Can I Change My Mind – Billboard Top 100 Of 1969, Tyrone Davis

Change – Blind Melon, Blind Melon

Money Changes Everything – Twelve Deadly Cyns, Cyndi Lauper

Money Won’t Change You – Lady Soul,  Aretha Frankin

Change – Love & War, Daniel Merriweather (and Wale)

Change My Way of Living – Where It All Begins, The Allman Brothers Band

Feeling Good – The Best of Muse CD2, Muse

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – The Breaks II, Gil Scott-Heron

I’m Coming Out – Floorfillers 80s Club Classics CD3 – Diana Ross

Something’s Changed – 100 Days, 100 Nights,  Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

A Change Is Gonna Come – The Man & His Music, Sam Cooke

Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell

Changes – Hunky Dory, David Bowie

The Times They Are a Changin’ – Forever Young, Gifted & Black, Nina Simone

Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Transformer Lou Reed

Team Changes – Live From Madison Square Garden Cd1, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood

Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman

I Can Change feat. Snoop Dogg – Get Lifted, John Legend

Don’t Change – Between Last Night and Us, The Audreys

Across The Universe – Let It Be, The Beatles

Next week: MORE CRED WHEN DEAD

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


SONGS TO MAKE SANDWICHES TO

sandwichThis week’s theme was a toughie: SONGS TO MAKE SANDWICHES TO was inspired by a forum on music mag Word’s site. While Word readers couldn’t take the subject seriously I figured there was room for someone who did. And who better than little ol’ obsessive me? So sandwiches it was, but I made it easier by also including hamburgers, hot-dogs and the like. I even allowed songs about stuff that goes into a sandwich, like honey, tomatoes, chicken. Still I suffered some abuse. Impossible, you emailed. Why not make it broader and include all food pleaded Lynden. Crap theme, too hard, moaned Zoe. Oh you listeners of little faith.

We opened with a novelty song: SANDWICHES ARE BEAUTIFUL from Bob King, but in case you’re worried about this setting a tone for the rest of the show, be assured – rockers, r&b artists and especially the alternative pop singers all delivered some edgy songs on sandwiches.

200px-John_Montagu,_4th_Earl_of_SandwichDo you know where the word sandwich was born?  London. 1762. An English nobleman, John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich was too busy gambling to stop for a meal even though he was hungry for some food. The legend goes that he ordered a waiter to bring him roast-beef between two slices of bread. The Earl was able to continue his gambling while eating his snack; and from that incident, we have inherited the fast-food product that we now know as the sandwich.

hamburgerToday, our favourite version of meat between bread is called a hamburger. So we got the show rolling with the Whitlams’ brilliant  I MAKE HAMBURGERS followed by The Flaming Lips and SHE DON’T USE JELLY. New York based, Japanese duo Cibo Matto were next with LE PAIN PERDU. The name of the band is Italian for crazy food and the title of the song is French for Toast. The lyrics in their songs are all primarily concerned with food, well seemingly anyway, and I liked them so much I also played another of their tunes, KNOW YOUR CHICKEN later in the program. Here’s the crazy video clip of that track and, although he doesn’t appear in the clip, that’s Sean Lennon on bass.

Two items that elevate ordinary old toast to dessert status are marmalade and honey. So any excuse to play Patti Labelle’s LADY MARMALADE and Aretha Franklin’s HONEY and I’m there. Yum yum.

Louis Jordan loves his BEANS AND CORNBREAD while Lil Johnson pushes metaphor to it’s limits with SAM THE HOT DOG MAN. Neil Young is partial to TUPELO HONEY on his sandwich, while  Jimmy Buffet can’t stop singing about a CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE.

When it comes to cheeseburgers, whether we like it or not, the burger with the highest profile has got to be MacDonald’s. Hell, there was a whole conversation about their burgers in the film PULP FICTION. Ah yes, how could we not include that iconic scene where John Travolta and Samuel Jackson discuss the merits of the French McDonald’s – ROYALE WITH CHEESE?

Two tunes that pay homage to the fact that a good cuppa is needed to wash down a sandwich or piece of toast were next.  Canadian Jeff Healey, gave Gertrude Lawrence’s A CUP OF COFFEE, A SANDWICH, AND YOU a burl and  then it was TOAST AND MARMALADE FOR TEA, a nice piece of bubblegum from the band Tin Tin.

Kaiser Cheifs reminded us of that vital sandwich ingredient – tomatoes –   with TOMATO IN THE RAIN. And then it was the hilarious TOAST from Paul Young and the Streetband. Classic. Take a look at this clip from 1978.

In Mexican cuisine, a sandwich is either a taco or a burrito. Beck didn’t sound too happy when he sang SATAN GAVE ME A TACO. It seems taking delivery of that snack had all kinds of repercussions. Meanwhile, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention went CRUISING FOR BURGERS. As you do.

All girl group Care Bears on Fire let loose with the precautionary BARBIE EAT A SANDWICH. Nice animated clip too. Check it out:

Let’s talk chicken. Here’s a question: What’s a chicken sandwich without MAYONNAISE? Smashing Pumpkins offered up a track dedicated to the condiment of all condiments. Mmmmm mmmmm: chicken, lettuce and mayo on white bread – can’t get better than that. The Detroit Grand Pubahs reinforced the fact that all songs, but especially those about food, are really about sex. The tune? The very cheeky WE CAN MAKE SANDWICHES. Here we go: another crazy video clip:

Out of the disco and out on the road: Little Feat are sang all about HAMBURGER MIDNIGHT and then John Mellencamp reckons that life is like choosing between HOTDOGS AND HAMBURGERS, (not sure what he’s getting at there).

Comedian Mitch Hedberg does a great skit on sandwiches and I particularly liked the bit about the Club Sandwich. We followed that with a dangerous piece of radio: Metal band Psychostick with THIS IS NOT A SONG, IT’S A SANDWICH!

After Psychostick we needed to calm down and what better way than with Feist and a song about the calming qualities of HONEY? You wouldn’t exactly call The Sugarcubes, (with Bjork), a calming influence. They can’t decide what to put on their sandwich and are threatening to EAT THE MENU. Check out the very young Bjork and a fabulous floating burger, all in one clip!

We closed the show with an oldie but a goodie: I LIKE BREAD AND BUTTER by the New Beats. Check out the clip from 1964:

Next week the show will feature Songs about Elvis; not by Elvis – although that would be good too – Songs about Elvis. Come on this one is easy, so start sending those requests in.

But for now, here’s this week’s playlist:

Sandwiches Are Beautiful – Bob King
I Make Hamburgers – The Whitlams
She Don’t Use Jelly – The Flaming Lips
Le Pain Perdu (Toast) – Cibo Matto
Lady Marmalade – Patti Labelle
Honey – Aretha Franklin
Sam the Hot Dog Man – Lil Johnson
Beans And Cornbread – Louis Jordan
Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison
Cheeseburger In Paradise – Jimmy Buffett
Royale With Cheese – John Travolta/Sam Jackson (Pulp Fiction)
Punk Sandwich – Dixie Dregs
A Cup Of Coffee, A Sandwich, And You – Jeff Healey
Toast And Marmalade For Tea – Tin Tin
Tomato In The Rain – Kaiser Chiefs
Toast – Paul Young & The Streetband
Hot Dog – Led Zeppelin
Satan Gave Me A Taco – Beck
Cruising for Burgers – Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Barbie Eat a Sandwich – Care Bears on Fire
Know Your Chicken – Cibo Matto
Mayonnaise – Smashing Pumpkins
We Can Make Sandwiches – Detroit Grand Pubahs
Hamburger Midnight – Little Feat
Hotdogs And Hamburgers – John Mellencamp
Sandwiches – Mitch Hedberg
This Is Not A Song, It’s A Sandwich! – Psychostick
Honey Honey – Feist
Eat the Menu – The Sugarcubes
I Like Bread and Butter – The New Beats

Next week: SONGS ABOUT ELVIS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

GREAT COVERS

So what makes a great cover? I think it’s when an artist makes a song his or her own, while still respecting the essence of the original. There are some SoundMusicexceptional covers that completely redefine a song to the point that we identify the tune with the cover artist forever more. And we had a few of those this week in our show about COVERS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS.

jazz-150-0John Coltrane transformed The Sound of Music’s perky pick me up MY FAVOURITE THINGS into something of a jazz landmark, so, as our opener,  it served as a very good example of a song that was reinvented for the listener. Another supreme example of a good cover is Ray Charles rendition of the Beatles ELEANOR RIGBY.  His powerful and  moving version uses R & B piano and gospel vocals to create something unique from what was a pretty perfect piece of pop to begin with. Check out this clip from the Dick Cavett show 1972. Loving the Raelettes moves, not to mention the pastel kaftans!

In his latter years Johnny Cash recorded a number of covers that, at first glance, seem at odds with his ‘country’ persona. None is more moving than HURT. Cash takes all the self-pity out of the Nine Inch Nails junkie confessional and turns it into an old man’s devastating deathbed testimonial. Take a look at this video clip. It’s a poignant performance that’s almost haunting, as it was created just prior to Cash’s untimely death. Whether or not you’re a Johnny Cash fan, this performance is powerful and deep with emotion. 

ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER from Jimi Hendrix was written, and first recorded, by Bob Dylan.  He’s one of the most-covered musicians in history for a reason: Besides writing some of the best songs of the rock era, he’s made lots of recordings that sound unfinished, even skeletal.The original of ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER is spine-chilling in its own strange way, but the song didn’t become a classic until Jimi Hendrix unleashed his version. Hendrix seems to channel pure myth and mystery. Of course, it wouldn’t work without Dylan’s lyrics and unsettling chords, but the Hendrix solos actually sound like wind howling and wildcats growling, don’t you think?

Canadian band, Cowboy Junkies, version of The Velvet Underground’s SWEET JANE was based on the one that was included in 1969: The Velvet Underground Live. Lou Reed himself described it as “the best and most authentic version I have ever heard”. At the risk of including way too many video clips, I have to show you this:

The Lennon/McCartney single, WE CAN WORK IT OUT, comes from the middle of The Beatles most radical creative reinvention, the 1965 shift from steviewonder13the straightforward pop of Help! To the multi-faceted Rubber Soul, which would revolutionise their music, and by extension, everybody’s else’s. So, it’s fitting that when Stevie Wonder covered the song on 1970’s Signed, Sealed & Delivered, he was in the middle of a similar transition from Motown’s teenage wunderkid to the socially conscious and superfunky artist he became in the mid 70’s. Wonder’s performance is so powerful, in fact, that it changes the meaning of the song without changing a word.

We teamed that with Ike & Tina Turner’s version of PROUD MARY. As Tina explains in the fairly subdued preface: “We never, ever do nothin’ nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough.” The Turners – and their band – then tear the intro to shreds by kicking up the tempo, adding horns and driving it all with a beat that practically demands that people dance. By comparison, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s original mid-tempo rock number sounds positively bland. 

One sure-fire way to reinvent a song is to flip the sex of the singer. Two examples of that are  Melanie’s version of the Stones’ RUBY TUESDAY and Regina Spektor’s version of John Lennon’s REAL LOVE

Another is  Janis Joplin’s cover of Roger Miller’s ME AND BOBBY MCGEE. Joplin’s version gave her the only number one single of her career and only the second posthumous number one single in rock n roll history (the first was Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding).

Back to boys on boys:   Edgar & Johnny Winter do a wonderful version of TOBACCO ROAD, recorded originally by the Nashville Teens. And idiosyncratic Melbourne performer,  C.W. Stoneking, puts a whole new spin on the White Stripes SEVEN NATION ARMY. The clip is from radio station’s Triple J’s ‘Like A Version’ series, available on CD/DVD. Wild.

My favourite number in this week’s playlist was suggested by a Sydney listener, Lynden (thank you!):  Jazz singer Patricia Barber with her interpretation of Sonny & Cher’s THE BEAT GOES ON. And then Stevie Ray Vaughan gave Jimi Hendrix a run for his money with his version of VOODOO WOMAN. 

Two of my all time favourite R&B artists followed: Al Green taking the Bee Gees ballad HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART to a whole new level and Aretha Franklin showing us how her version of Otis Redding’s RESPECT made it, not only an anthem for the feminist movement and the civil rights moviement, but, her very own signature song. Here’s a great little doco from Ovation TV looking at Aretha’s background and the important place that the song has in history.

English groups of the 60’s, in particular The Beatles, weren’t adverse to borrowing from the American R&B artists of the day to create some of their early hits (think of the Beatles Please Mr. Postman as an example). One R&B song that achieves a great transformation from R&B to rock is the Rolling Stones cover of the  Temptations JUST MY IMAGINATION.

Patti-Smith-799533A male rock song that benefited greatly from being sung by a woman is GLORIA. Patti Smith introduced bisexuality and religious guilt to the horny garage rock song, originally recorded by Van Morrison’s band Them.

BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX was originally recorded by Jimmy Webb. Isaac Hayes takes the listener on an epic journey by re-imagining the song’s entire context so persuasively that by the time he starts actually singing, the emotional force just about knocks our socks off. 

Sometimes it’s hard to listen to any Doors song with a straight face, let alone LIGHT MY FIRE. Jackie Wilson had a bit of fun with his vastly superior version: its pure funk and I love the way Wilson punctuates it with his trademark squeals and screeches. It’s way sexier than the Doors’ psychedelic original, that’s for sure.

One of those songs that will forever be owned by the cover artist is Sinead O’Connor’s NOTHING COMPARES 2 U. Originally recorded by Prince’s group Family but no-one much remembers that now. Here’s the official clip showing her at the pinnacle of her career. Beautiful.

Now before the messages start filling my inbox, I’m sure that I’ve missed some obvious great covers and two hours is not nearly enough time to give credit where credit is due. Let’s go on the record as saying that, yes, every cover of a Leonard Cohen number is probably better than the original (sorry Leonard) but if I hear HALLELUJA one more time I will scream; that Cat Power is very good, but not a genius and that no-one can do Roy Orbison like Roy Orbison, not even kd lang.

And so I chose to go out with the Clash’s cover of  I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON, originally recorded by The Bobby Fuller Four and royorbisonbeatlesthen it was something quite special: ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT? was first published in 1926 and was most notably covered by Elvis Presley in 1960. I have no idea when this version was recorded, most probably when the Beatles toured the US in the mid 60’s. It’s Elvis with Roy Orbison and the Beatles doing back-up. I’ve only been able to find it as a download but if anyone has any back story on this, let me know. And the finale was The Beatles covering TWIST & SHOUT, originally recorded by the Top Notes but most people may be more aware of the Isley Brothers version. The Beatles definitely made this one their own.

Here’s the complete playlist, with original artists in brackets:

My Favourite Things (From The Sound Of Music) 4:38 John Coltrane Broadway Originals Jazz 4
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles) 3:00 Ray Charles Jazz 9
Hurt (Nine Inch Nails) 3:39 Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around Country 8
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) 4:00 Jimi Hendrix The Ultimate Experience Classic Rock 4
Sweet Jane (Lou Reed) 3:35 Cowboy Junkies Alternative 8
We Can Work It Out (Beatles) 3:18 Stevie Wonder Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 R&B 6
Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival) 4:57 Ike & Tina Turner R&B 10
Ruby Tuesday (Rolling Stones) 4:37 Melanie Safka Folk/Pop 3
Real Love (John Lennon) 3:15 Regina Spektor Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to save Darfur Alternative 5
Seven Nation Army (White Stripes) 3:15 C.W. Stoneking Like A Version Four Alternative
Tobacco Road (Nashville Teens) 4:06 Edgar & Johnny Winter Entrance Blues/Rock
Me And Bobby McGee (Roger Miller) 4:33 Janis Joplin Country/Blues 3
The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher) 5:28 Patricia Barber Companion Jazz 4
After Midnight (JJ Cale) 2:54 Eric Clapton The Cream Of Clapton Blues 5
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix) 7:58 Stevie Ray Vaughan Chicago Blues Fest 1985 Blues 6
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Bee Gees) 6:19 Al Green Love & Happiness: The Very Best Of Al Green [Disc 2] R&B 1
Respect (orig. Otis Redding) 2:29 Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding cover 65) Forrest Gump – The Soundtrack R&B 5
Just My Imagination (The Temptations) 4:38 The Rolling Stones Some Girls Classic Rock 3
Gloria (Van Morrison/Them) 5:56 Patti Smith Horses Alternative 5
By The Time I Get To Phoenix (Johnny Rivers/Glen Campbell) 7:06 Isaac Hayes Soul Hits of the 70s Soul 2
Light My Fire (The Doors) 2:51 Jackie Wilson Super Breaks Rhythmic Soul 2
Nothing Compares 2 U (The Family/Prince) 5:07 Sinead O’Connor She Who Dwells [UK] Disc 2 Rock/Pop 5
I Fought The Law (Bobby Fuller Four) 2:41 The Clash London Calling Punk 5
Are You Lonesome Tonight 2:49 Elvis Presley & Roy Orbison (with the Beatles as the backup singers) Rock Ballad 5
Twist And Shout (Top Notes/Isley Bros) 2:33 The Beatles Please Please Me Rock

My Favourite Things (Julie Andrews/ The Sound Of Music) – John Coltrane

Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles) – Ray Charles

Hurt (Nine Inch Nails) – Johnny Cash

All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) – Jimi Hendrix

Sweet Jane (Lou Reed/Velvet Underground) – Cowboy Junkies

We Can Work It Out (Beatles) – Stevie Wonder

Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival) – Ike & Tina Turner

Ruby Tuesday (Rolling Stones) – Melanie Safka

Real Love (John Lennon)  – Regina Spektor

Seven Nation Army (White Stripes) – C.W. Stoneking

Tobacco Road (Nashville Teens) – Edgar & Johnny Winter

Me And Bobby McGee (Roger Miller) – Janis Joplin

The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher) – Patricia Barber

After Midnight (JJ Cale) – Eric Clapton

Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix) – Stevie Ray Vaughan

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Bee Gees) – Al Green

Respect (Otis Redding) – Aretha Franklin 

Just My Imagination (The Temptations) – The Rolling Stones

Gloria (Van Morrison/Them) – Patti Smith

By The Time I Get To Phoenix (Johnny Rivers/Glen Campbell) – Isaac Hayes

Light My Fire (The Doors) – Jackie Wilson

Nothing Compares 2 U (The Family/Prince) – Sinead O’Connor

I Fought The Law (Bobby Fuller Four) – The Clash

Are You Lonesome Tonight – Elvis Presley & Roy Orbison (with the Beatles as the backup singers)

Twist And Shout (Top Notes/Isley Bros) – The Beatles

Next week we’re going to Burn, Baby, Burn as all our songs will be about FIRE.
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.    

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

 

COMMUNICATION

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 theboxtops-1message 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).

you-done-me-wrongJoe 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

FEMALE ARTISTS

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! 1

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 220px-stevienicks1that 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.

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