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MULTILINGUAL SONGS

Hello, Salut, Guten Tag, Yah Soo, Hola!  Well that’s about the extent of my language skills I’m afraid.  But it didn’t stop me putting together a show on MULTILINGUAL SONGS. Because one of the things that I miss about living in Sydney, I must admit, is the multicultural community. Sure, up here in Byron Bay we have a sprinkling of residents from other countries and certainly we have a lot of overseas visitors but, let’s be honest, it’s very much a white bread kinda town.  So, I’ve been inspired to create a playlist where each song features two or more languages in the lyrics.  Read on and see what I’ve got in store for you!

We opened the show with Joel Gray’s classic greeting from the stage show, and the film, Cabaret: WILKOMMEN. That one had three languages in there: English, French and German. Here’s the incomparable Joel Gray in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film version. Brilliant.

Get ready because German industrial metal band Rammstein will soon be here for the Big Day Out concert. They slide from German into English to make their point about US cultural imperialism on AMERIKA. Absolutely awesome video btw.

Punk gypsies Gogol Bordello, mixed Russian and English, to discuss the cultural revolution, in their own particular style, on SALLY.

I also welcomed some very special visitors into the studio this week. Hailing from Scotland, but citing influences from all over the globe, Orkestra del Sol take the brass band to a whole new level. We’re talking high energy swinging sounds with Balkan, Oompah, New Orleans and Gypsy flavours. They performed three original numbers live in the studio, which was a real treat.

I introduced Orkestra del Sol with the track CALYPSO COLLAPSO, from their album Moveable Feast. Here they are performing that track to a bemused audience at Edinburgh back in 2007:

Next it was Sigur Ros with HOPPIPOLLA, which is Icelandic for “Jumping into Puddles”. But you knew that, right? Onto the African continent with Amaswazi Emvelo and his track from the compilation album The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, INDODA YEJAZI ELIMNYAMA, which translates as “The Man in the Black Coat”. And then it was Cajun band Buckwheat Zydeco with MA TIT FILLE, from the soundtrack to the film The Big Easy.

Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas combine for a great version of Brazil’s most famous song MAS QUE NADA which, I understand, is Portugese for “But that’s nothing”.

Those obligatory French lessons at school must have come in handy for the Talking Heads on PSYCHO KILLER and Blondie on DENIS. Look, it was a toss up as to whether I should show you either of their video clips but when Deborah Harry dresses in a swimming costume with a guy’s jacket over it and does her ‘sex on a stick’ routine, well how could I resist? And she does include more French words than David Byrne does, so points for that.

Two more great multi-lingual songs: Ian Dury & The Blockheads with HIT ME WITH YOUR RHYTHM STICK and The Pogues with the highly infectious FIESTA.

O SAYA, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, only losing out to another song from the film Slumdog Millionaire. In Hindi and English, its from A.R. Rahman and rapper M.I.A.

Reggae group The Abyssinians prove their devotion to the Rastafarian homeland of Ethiopia with a refrain in Amharic on their song SATTA MASSAGANA. A perfect companion was Yothu Yindi’s TREATY –  the first ever song, in an Aboriginal language, to gain extensive international recognition.


The Dixie Cups offered a catchy piece of Creole on IKO IKO. That was also from The Big Easy soundtrack. Another soundtrack worth collecting is the one for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. In a classic scene, from the film, John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s characters kill it on the dancefloor to Chuck Berry’s C’EST LA VIE (YOU NEVER CAN TELL): “I wanna dance, I wanna win, I want that trophy, so dance good.”

Calexico is the name of a town on the US/Mexico border and it’s also the name of an alternative country band that I really like.  Their song BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, features some pretty sexy French singing from chanteuse Marianne Dissard.

The late, great Kirsty MacColl embraces both Spanish and English on  IN THESE SHOES. It’s from her album, Tropical Brainstorm. Here she is on Later with Jools Holland in 2000:


Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s song DEUS IBI EST features both English & Latin. The Latin section is actually lifted from a very well known hymn, Ubi Caritas and Deus Ibi Est translates as God is there. They are such an intriguing duo, aren’t they? They’re  like dark and light, but somehow what they produce is just perfect. You can find this track on their album Ballad of the Broken Seas.

Here are two Francophiles who have something to say: Jonathan Richman wants you to GIVE PARIS ONE MORE CHANCE and the wonderful Blossom Dearie asks COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS? I love both these artists for the same reason – their supreme wit and subtlety, combined with a certain camp charm.

We closed the show with Youssou N’Dour and Nenah Cherry and their hit song 7 SECONDS. It’s trilingual with N’Dour singing Wolof (The Senegalese language) and French with Cherry singing in English. The song is about the first 7 seconds in the life of a newly born child before they become aware of the violence in the world. Let’s contemplate that as we head off into 2011.

Next week’s theme will be FOREVER YOUNG. i.e. I’ll be looking at the music that the baby boomer generation has grown up with, and still supports. The list will feature the bands  that we listened to in the 60s, who are still touring and raking in the dollars. I’m inspired by the fact that Iggy Pop will be headlining the youth event, The Big Day Out, this month. And at Easter we have the Blues Fest’s line up of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull making it look like a Baby Boomer’s convention. What is it about this generation that refuses to take it easy and retire? Tune in and we’ll try and work it out together.

Big thank you to the Orkestra del Sol who entertained us in the first hour of the show. And I’d like to wish you a peaceful, loving and positive 2011.

Here’s this week’s playlist:

Willkommen – Broadway: The American Musical [Disc 4], Joel Grey

Amerika – Reise Reise, Rammstein

Sally – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, Gogol Bordello

Calypso Collapso – Moveable Feast, Orkestra Del Sol

Hoppipolla – Takk…, Sigur Rós

Indoda Yejazi Elimnyama – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto – Volume One, Amaswazi Emvelo

Ma ‘Tit Fille – The Big Easy Soundtrack,  Buckwheat Zydeco

Mas Que Nada – Timeless, Sergio Mendes feat. The Black Eyed Peas

Denis – Atomic: The Very Best Of Blondie, Blondie

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads, Talking Heads

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll – The Essential Collection, Ian Dury and The Blockheads

Fiesta – The Best Of The Pogues, The Pogues

O…Saya – Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack, A R Rahman & M.I.A.

Satta Massagana – Satta Massagana, The Abyssinians

Treaty – Radio Mix – Tribal Voice, Yothu Yindi

Iko Iko – The Big Easy Soundtrack, The Dixie Cups

C’est La Vie  – Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, Chuck Berry

Ballad of Cable – Hot Rail, Calexico

In These Shoes? – Tropical Brainstorm, Kirsty McColl

Deus Ibi Est – Ballad Of The Broken Seas, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Give Paris One More Chance – Jonathan Sings!, Johnathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Comment allez-vous? – Blossom Dearie, Blossom Dearie

7 Seconds – The Guide (Wommat), Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry

Next week:  FOREVER YOUNG

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

REVENGE

You may have heard that revenge is sweet but the truth is that it can be devastating, (well for one of you at the very least!). Hey, but I’m not here to give you a reality check.  We all know that being sensible is incredibly difficult when you’re the one suffering from jealousy, or you’re demoralized, humiliated or simply just mad as hell. It’s times like these that you can’t be blamed for at least fantasizing about acts of vengeance.

Songwriters are in a great position to retaliate against slings and arrows than us mere mortals. They can attack their enemies in song and get away with it. Its non-violent and, (here’s the best bit), they even get paid to do it!  How good is that? Maybe success is the best revenge!

We started the show with the ‘Godfather of Soul’, Mr. James Brown, singing THE PAYBACK from the album of the same name, released in 1974. The song’s lyrics are about the revenge Brown intends to take against the man who betrayed him, stole his money and his woman. Triple ouch! Here’s a clip from a show he did in Zaire in the same year as the album was recorded. Loving the bling.

Why shouldn’t Ben Folds get a little upset on SONG FOR THE DUMPED?  After all, she took off with his black t-shirt. Unforgiveable.

Two of the great revenge songs have been covered ad infinitum. Wilson Pickett does a great version of STAGGER LEE as does Sam Cooke with FRANKIE & JOHNNY so, of course, both had to be included in the list.

When Alanis Morissette recorded the album Jagged Little Pill it changed the course of her career. The whole album is a revenge tactic against an old boyfriend but YOU OUGHTA KNOW is the standout track. Here’s a clip recorded live at Nulles Part Aillerurs in 1995. No longer the pop/dance artist of her teenage years, she’s quite the rock chick by this stage.

Lily Allen is hilarious on her revenge song, NOT BIG. Is there a better way to get revenge on a guy than to suggest that he doesn’t stack up in a certain department?  The gorgeous Rihanna, on the other hand resorts to BREAKIN’ DISHES when her man has been out all night cheatin’. Of course this was way before a certain incident indicated that breaking dishes wasn’t going to make much difference to this girl’s love life. But let’s don’t go there. There’s been enough said, surely. Let’s just check out a very hot performance:

It was time for a response from the male sector:  Robert Cray tried to convince us that he came out on top in I GUESS I SHOWED HER. And on BB King’s and Etta James’ THERE’S SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND, you have to wait a while for the punchline, but it’s worth it.

The Beatles deliver  a nice little revenge tale with ROCKY RACOON, from their White Album, and  The Dixie Chicks use comedy to get away with murder in a song aimed squarely at the issue of domestic violence  on GOODBYE EARL.

Jimi Hendrix does a great version of HEY JOE, about a guy who takes retribution when his wife cheats on him. Here he is performing on the TV show ‘It’s Lulu’, sometime in the 70’s, and I love the expression on his face when the guitar goes out of tune for a second. A bit of a bonus too, with an extra song – dedicated to Cream – ‘Sunshine of Your Love’.

Mississipi John Hurt sings about a woman who takes some drastic action when her man does her wrong on FRANKIE. Bob Dylan’s revenge song steers away from domestic dilemmas and, instead, is aimed squarely at the Greenwich Village residents who criticized his departure from traditional folk towards the electric guitar and rock music. The song is POSITIVELY 4th STREET.

Robyn requested IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. She loves the song so much she suggested that I could play any version I like. So here’s Graham Bonnet with his excellent cover of the Bob Dylan classic. The clip is dated 1977. Thanks Rob!

I also included two New Wave songs that fit our theme of ‘Revenge’ very nicely. First up, another request from Robyn: Graham Parker gives the bird to all those girls that rejected him once upon a time on LOCAL GIRLS. And Deborah Harry sounds something akin to a ‘bunny boiler’ on a track that takes me back – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

Next up, it was a brilliant revenge song from the Drive By Truckers. THE WIG HE MADE HER WEAR is from their latest album The Big To Do and is, in my humble opinion, the best thing on it. Wish I had a decent clip of this track for you but alas, nowhere to be found.

Another request came from Judi. She wanted to hear any version of CRY ME A RIVER. When you give me carte blanche like that what am I to do than to take the opportunity to slip in the very sensuous voice of Julie London?  Judi, who lives miles away in Cairns, Northern Queensland,  tells me that she listens on the Internet. You can do that too you know. Just go to the BayFM.org site at the time the show is on air and press the listen button. Simple as that.

For something completely different, it had to be Kate Miller-Heidke with a song that I had to censor a little for radio. But no problem with uploading a clip here on the blog, assuming you don’t mind very funny, if explicit, lyrics. Here’s a live version of ARE YOU F****ING KIDDING ME? (THE FACEBOOK SONG).

Had to include the classic revenge song, Nancy Sinatra’s THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING and something just a little more serious, J.J. Cale’s quite disturbing song about retribution, RIVER RUNS DEEP. But for a different kind of revenge song altogether, how about WHAT IF WE ALL STOPPED PAYING TAXES?, from Sharon Jones and the Dapkings. Yeah, let’s get back at the government!  Brilliant idea.

We closed the show with an amazing track from The Decemberists: THE MARINER’S REVENGE SONG, a song filled with evil sea captains, vengeful mariners, giant whales, and much sea-faring woe. Revenge of the nerds, indeed.

Next week I won’t be here, but the lovely Des will be filling in for me with a show on MEN and I’ll be back the following week with a show on MADNESS.

In the meantime, remember that the greatest revenge is to live well.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

The Big Payback – The Big Payback, James Brown

Song for the Dumped  – Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five

Stagger Lee – I’m in Love, Wilson Pickett

Frankie & Johnny – Greatest Hits, Sam Cooke

You Oughta Know – Jagged Little Pill,  Alanis Morissette

Not Big – Lily Allen

Breakin’ Dishes – Good Girl Gone Bad, Rhianna

I Guess I Showed Her – Strong Persuader, Robert Cray

There’s Something On Your Mind – BB King & Etta James

Revenge of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Transiberian Orchestra

Rocky Racoon – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 1], The Beatles

Goodbye Earl – Fly, Dixie Chicks

Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

Frankie – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Mississippi John Hurt

Positively 4th Street – Biograph (Disc 2), Bob Dylan

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue – Graham Bonnet

Local Girls – Squeezing out Sparks, Graham Parker

One Way or Another – Parallel Lines, Blondie/Deborah Harry

The Wig He Made Her Wear – The Big To-Do, Drive By Truckers

Cry Me A River  – Diva Classics Icons, Julie London

Are You F*cking Kidding Me (Facebook Song)  – Live At the Hi-Fi, Kate Miller-Heidke

These Boots Are Made For Walking – Boots, Nancy Sinatra

River Runs Deep – Naturally, J.J. Cale

What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes – The Dynamic Funk and Soul Sound of Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

The Mariner’s Revenge Song – Picaresque, The Decemberists

Week after next: MADNESS

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


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

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