Whenever I think of Spring, with its warmer days and all the pleasures the better weather inspires, I can’t help but want to put on some reggae. So IN THE SPRINGTIME from Maxi Priest was a perfect opener for this week’s show on possibly the best season of the year.
I must admit, too, that my mind also turns to Spring Cleaning. After all the rain we had during winter, I just want to air everything, get those windows clean and get ready for the beautiful weather ahead of us. Fats Waller’s energetic ditty, SPRING CLEANING, reflects that mood. Ella Fitzgerald has a different outlook on Spring. Without her man, she’s GOT THE SPRING FEVER BLUES.
Another wonderful jazz singer is Blossom Dearie and C’EST LE PRINTEMPS (IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING) was a great addition to the playlist. Sung in French, Blossom was actually American. She moved to France in 1952 and it’s where she met her future husband, the Belgian musician Bobby Jaspar. Blossom had an amazing career, performing right through until her 80’s. She passed away in 2009.
I dedicated that track to Ben from local band The Blackbirds, because I know he loves Blossom as much as I do. The Blackbirds need your support right now to fund their first independent album release and Australian tour. So if you would like to donate even the smallest amount, to this wonderful local group, go to fundbreak.com.au and search for ‘Blackbirds’.
You know, there are so many songs that link Springtime with Paris, that it’s almost a cliche. A version of I LOVE PARIS that surprised me was from the incorrigible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I also adore Little Willie John. He was actually the first one to record Fever, in 1956. It was made famous when Peggy Lee had a hit with it in 1958. His contribution to our Springtime show was I’VE GOT SPRING FEVER.
With all this jazz I thought I’d better slip in some 70’s rock/pop and who better than Electronic Light Orchestra? The track MR BLUE SKY is from their 1977 album Out of the Blue, written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne.
So many songs about Paris in springtime, so it was good to play an authentic French track. Jacques Brel’s AU PRINTEMPS was ideal. We followed with a nice jazz instrumental, I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRINGTIME from Jacky Terrasson. And to round things out, some Latin freestyle with Stevie B, SPRING LOVE. Does this one take you back to the 80’s?
New Zealand band Dragon’s APRIL SUN IN CUBA was written, like many of Dragon’s hits, by keyboard player Paul Hewson who unfortunately died from a drug overdose in 1985. Lead singer Marc Hunter also passed away in 1998 from smoking related oesophageal cancer. The band continues to perform and are currently led by Marc’s brother Todd Hunter. Here’s a clip of the original line-up.
A great Aussie band from the 70’s were the Go-Betweens. The version of SPRING RAIN we played was recorded live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. The focal point of the Go-Betweens was the song writing skills of Robert Foster and Grant McLennan. Described by Village Voice critic, Robert Christgau, as “the greatest songwriting partnership working today.” Grant McLennan died of a heart attack in 2000.
I must admit that I do like a bit of ukelele so Claire’s suggestion of Leah Flanagan’s SEPTEMBER SONG sat well with me. There’s something about the uke, isn’t there? You can’t help but think of sunny times.
Which bring me to HERE COMES THE SUN from The Beatles:
A great little double that plays on the notion that Springtime is the ideal season for mating followed: The Marvelettes with WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE and the Dixie Cups with CHAPEL OF LOVE. Here’s a clip of the Dixie Cups. Loving the frocks girls.
Here’s a unforgettable piece of comedy for you. It’s from the soundtrack to the film The Producers. Remember SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER?
How good is Dinah Washington? SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN was just one of a couple of songs that I was happy to include in our Springtime show. A track that’s usually associated with Christmas is IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE BUT IN MY HEART IT’S SPRING by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The show aired on the last day of Winter here in the southern hemisphere, so it was a perfect fit. We followed with Teena Marie’s YOU MAKE LOVE LIKE SPRINGTIME, whatever that means.
Next it was a song for all of you who supported BayFM during our Major Subscriber Drive. IF NOT FOR YOU from Bob Dylan.
Jolie Holland reckons that SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU. Hope not. A really beautiful tune is ANDORINHA DA PRIMAVERA from Portugese band Madredeus. They became world renowned after performing on the soundtrack of the Wim Wender’s film ‘Lisbon Story’.
The Flaming Lips reckon that YOU CAN’T STOP THE SPRING. This song is full of imagery, some of which I can’t pretend to understand, like “There she was just walking down the street, Smoking with her hands and walking with her feet, Keeping her paint cans underneath the seat, Keeping her hair dryer on her favorite piece of meat.” Hmmm.
The Magnetic Fields certainly know how to play with imagery too. Case in point: LOVE GOES HOME TO PARIS IN THE SPRING. Does it matter that they’re probably singing about Paris Tennesee, not Paris France? Not really.
The Velvets just tell it like it is on the doo-wop tune SPRING FEVER. And then it was time to close the show which we did with the very appropriate EVR’Y TIME WE SAY GOODBYE from Dinah Washington and YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME from Chet Baker and Art Pepper.
A big thank you again to all of you who subscribed to BayFM and mentioned Theme Park. Congrats to all our winners especially Carolyn Adams who gets to donate the Camp Quality holiday to a family in need, in her name.
Next week’s show reflects how I’m feeling right now: SONGS ABOUT BEING TIRED will be the theme. I tell you, we worked really hard during the Major Subscriber Drive! So get your thinking caps on and see what you’ve got for me. Here’s some inspiration: TIRED OF SEX by Weezer or WORKING IN THE COALMINE from Lee Dorsey. You get the idea.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
In The Springtime – Best Of Me, Maxi Priest
Spring Cleaning – Fats Waller Essential 15, Fats Waller
I Got The Spring Fever Blues – Ella Fitzgerald – All My Life, Ella Fitzgerald
C’est Le Printemps – From State Fair/Jazz Goes Hollywood, Blossom Dearie
I Love Paris – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I’ve Got Spring Fever – Essential Masters, Little Willie John
Mr. Blue Sky – Out of the Blue, Electronic Light Orchestra
Au printemps – Jacques Brel, Jacques Brel
I love Paris in the Springtime – Jacky Terrasson
Spring Love – Stevie B.
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom – Perez Prado & His Orchestra
April Sun in Cuba – 30 Years of Classic Hits of the 60’s, Dragon
Spring Rain – Live at the Tivoli, Brisbane 06/08, The Go-Betweens
September Song – Nirvana Nights, Leah Flanagan
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
When You’re Young And In Love – Tamla Motown Gold (Dics 2), The Marvelettes
Chapel Of Love -Replay/Gold – Vol 1 No 5, The Dixie Cups
Springtime for Hitler – The Producers
September In The Rain – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington
It May Be Winter Outside – Now Thats What I Call Xmas, The Love Unlimited Orchestra
You Make Love Like Springtime – Irons In The Fire, Teena Marie
If Not For You – Essential Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan
In the Spring – Steppin’ Out, Braxton Brothers
Springtime Can Kill You – Springtime Can Kill, You Jolie Holland
A Andorinha da Primavera – O Paraiso, Madredeus
Love Goes Home to Paris In the S… 2:26 Magnetic Fields
Can’t Stop The Spring – Oh My Gawd!!, The Flaming Lips
Spring Fever – Doo Wop Classics, The Velvets
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington
Younger Than Springtime – The Route, Art Pepper/Chet Baker
Next week: TIREDNESS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love, and all its complexities, provides a bottomless pit of inspiration. A perfect opener for our Valentine’s Day protest this week was Bobbie Gentry’s rendition of I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN. ‘What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.” Songwriter Hal David was convinced that the angst-ridden game of love was no better than a chronic illness and who am I to disagree? The song is typical of all anti-love songs however: it’s resolve to give up on love is usually very short lived. Rather than a virus, it’s more like an addiction, for sure.
Jerry Butler is over it. He’s GIVING UP ON LOVE, a typical knee-jerk reaction from someone who has had his heart broken. The Dramatics, on the other hand, find out the hard way that there’s A THIN LIVE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE.
Lot’s of suggestions from listeners this week for various Bob Dylan numbers but my choice was LOVE SICK from his 1997 album Time Out of Mind. He’s in love with a woman who he suspects of cheating and all he can do is wander the streets, moaning “I’m sick of love, but I’m in the thick of it.” Come on Bobby, man up!
Janis Joplin’s idol was Bessie Smith, (she even organised a campaign to pay for her tombstone after finding that the great Blues singer was buried in an unmarked grave). In the song CARELESS LOVE, Bessie’s been a-cheating and a-dumping, but is it her fault? Hell, no.
Rosemary Clooney, (now forever known as George Clooney’s auntie), makes a slightly less convincing argument against love, blaming it for sending her “a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart”. Bummer. The song is LOVE YOU DIDN’T DO RIGHT BY ME. Here’s a clip from the film WHITE CHRISTMAS, starring Clooney and Bing Crosby:
Next it was Soft Cell’s version of TAINTED LOVE, first released in 1964 by Gloria Jones and covered by Soft Cell in 1981. It’s a bit of a gay anthem and to celebrate that, here’s a wonderful video that uses the music as backing to Laurel & Hardy’s soft shoe shuffle in the film WAY OUT WEST. Enjoy.
Richard Hell & The Voidoids have a perfect response to the notion that love is perfect, a fairytale fed to us by Hollywood and the mass media. In the song LOVE COMES IN SPURTS Richard reckons love “murders your heart – they didn’t tell you that part”.
Bobby Bland is convinced that there AINT NO LOVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY. Well he’s probably right about that. Poor Fats Domino thinks NO-ONE LOVES HIM, but at least he’s hopeful about the future, so no need to be too down in the dumps.
Talking of dumps, the Ben Folds Five gave us SONG FOR THE DUMPED and then the divine SoKo was equally candid with I WILL NEVER LOVE YOU MORE. And she plays the ukelele! Can it get better than that?
Joan Jett covered J. Geils Band hit, LOVE STINKS, on the soundtrack of a very mediocre film called MR WRONG starring Ellen De Generes. Despite the lame film, Joan’s version gives the song a bit more bite I think. Another of my favourite female artists is Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage, so we included their 1998 hit, SPECIAL. Here they are live on Letterman in 1996:
Betty Davis was the second wife of Miles Davis and an amazing artist in her own right. ANTI LOVE SONG is from her self-titled debut album and is notable not just for her powerful voice but for who she used to support her on the album. The Pointer Sisters sing back up, bassist Larry Graham and drummer Greg Errico, both veterans of Sly & the Family Stone are there, plus fellow San Francisco luminaries like master keyboardist Merl Saunders and guitarists Neal Schon and Douglas Rodriguez (both associated with Santana at the time) give this whole album reams of cred.
The great soul singer Teddy Pendergrass who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago, contributed LOVE TKO and then another soul singer, who probably isn’t as well known but with a fine voice, Angie Stone, sang WISH I DIDN’T MISS YOU.
Here’s a perfect choice for our Anti-Love show: Public Image Ltd with THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG. Thanks to regular contributor Lynden for that suggesiton.
Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks offered up a song that will surely put a smile back on your face if you’ve been disappointed by love: HOW CAN I MISS YOU WHEN YOU WON’T GO AWAY? Then it was Amy Rigby, married b.t.w. to punk rock alumni Wreckless Eric. She seems skeptical about romance as she contemplates a marriage based not on love but resignation. Not sure what Eric thinks about all that. The song is CYNICALLY YOURS.
The 13th Floor Elevators are convinced that YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME and we followed with something completley out of left field. From Gang of Four’s 2005 album Return the Gift, ANTHRAX is another of those songs that makes love out to be, not just dangerous, but lethal. Yikes.
Belle & Sebastian sound so sweet as they sing that they DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE. Maybe they’ve been listening to Nick Lowe’s song CRUEL TO BE KIND. Along with Wreckless Eric, Elvis Costello and others he was part of the Stiff Records line-up of artists. I’m thinking it might be time for a show dedicated to the ‘stiffies’ as they were referred to. Let me know what you think. Here’s a clip of Nick Lowe singing CRUEL TO BE KIND:
Heading into the home stretch, we played a very nice number by The Corrs, I NEVER LOVED YOU ANYWAY from their second album Talk on Corners. The final two songs couldn’t be more different from each other. First up it was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss with GONE, GONE, GONE – a good piece of advice for anyone in an unsatisfactory relationship. And then it was a song for all the battle weary lovers out there. Blossom Dearie is much more generous than many of us when we’ve been given the heave-ho by some love rat, but maybe there’s a lesson there. The song is the delicious I WISH YOU LOVE.
Now as well as February 14th being Valentine’s Day it’s also Chinese New Year. I did consider doing a show next week on all the Chinese animals (you know Year of the Tiger, Rat, Dog etc etc), but as I’ve already done cats and dogs, thought better of it. How about we stick with Western Astrology? Next week, the theme will be STAR SIGNS. Drop me a line if you have any requests or suggestions.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
As a tribute to all the Capricorns celebrating their birthdays at the moment, (including me!), the theme this week was GOING OUT AND PARTYING. Some famous Capricorns include Elvis Presley, who would have turned 75 this week, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton… the list goes on. Oh, what amazing company I’m in!
We opened the show Pink’s GET THIS PARTY STARTED and if that song can’t get you in the party mood I don’t know what will. If you’ve never seen Pink perform live, you are really missing out. Here’s some footage from her show at the Wembley Arena. Enjoy.
Wanda Jackson also has the right attitude. Her song LET’S HAVE A PARTY was a hit for her in 1959, a year after Elvis Presley released it. I totally adore Louis Jordan and included two of his tracks this week. The first has a great clip to show you. Have a look at LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL :
The Theme Park party was off to a great start and the party continued with Santana’s INTERPLANETARY PARTY from the 2007 album, Ultimate Santana. But, I ask you, what’s a party without James Brown? One thing you can count on, he’s GONNA HAVE A FUNKY GOOD TIME. Joe Jackson was also STEPPIN OUT and, as the Showstoppers explained, with their hit of 1968, it AIN’T NOTHIN BUT A HOUSE PARTY.
Loved Sam Cooke’s smooth rendition of WE’RE HAVING A PARTY but I have to admit that I was totally intrigued by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song title, GOING TO A GO-GO. I have no idea what a Go-Go is, but the song is a sure fire dance floor filler, so it has to be about a party, surely.
The Irish Rovers sound as if it was one hell of a get-together with their ditty WASN’T THAT A PARTY. It’s hard to find a full clip of the Rovers singing any song but here’s one that includes this catchy tune, which they used to open their 80’s television series “Party with the Rovers”. Take a peek:
Claudine Clark’s one-hit wonder of 1962, PARTY LIGHTS, stands out because she wrote the music and the lyrics herself, which was unusual for a female performer during that time. Sung from the point of view of a teenage girl ordered to her room while her friends were out having a good time, “Party Lights” struck a chord and shot into the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts.
What’s the purpose of a party? Well, let’s face it life can be pretty serious a lot of the time, so getting together with your friends and celebrating the positive things in life can be a lot of fun. Although I can testify that the after effects don’t always make it worth the effort. But that’s just my hangover talking. I’m sure the wonderful Amos Milburn wouldn’t agree and he has a great song to prove it – LET’S HAVE A PARTY.
Friday night seems to be the favourite night of the week to go out, so I thought it was appropriate to include Lily Allen’s FRIDAY NIGHT and The Specials’ FRIDAY NIGHT, SATURDAY MORNING. Then Three Dog Night claimed that their MOMMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME. They had to find out the hard way that “This is the craziest party there could ever be”. Check out the clip from 1970:
We played PARTY TRAIN by the Dazz Band on our Train show but it deserved a second listen. Smiley Lewis followed with CALADONIA’S PARTY. Now anyone with a name like Caledonia deserves to have a party in her honour, don’t you think?
Bobby Darin was just sitting in his bath, minding his own business and gets out of the bath with just a towel around him. Now how did he know there was a party going on? That’s how he tells it anyway in SPLISH SPLASH.
ZZ Top know how to do party. They’re turning up the radio and having a PARTY ON THE PATIO. Lesley Gore, on the other hand, needs a bit of sympathy. As she tells it, ITS MY PARTY (and I’ll cry if I want to).
The Donnas give short shrift to gatecrashers on WHO INVITED YOU? And for my guilty pleasure it was Kiss: “and you say you wanna go for a spin, the party’s just begun, we’ll let you in, you drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy.” Yes, indeed, I WANNA ROCK AND ROLL.
Maybe the party lifestyle isn’t what its all cracked up to be. Not according to Elvis Costello and the Attractions, anyway, with PARTY GIRL or Marc Almond and Soft Cell with their reality check of a song, BEDSITTER.
I’m not convinced. Give me the optimisim of Michael Jackson’s OFF THE WALL or anything from the disco era, like Kool and the Gang’s CELEBRATION or Alicia Bridges with the party girl’s anthem, I LOVE THE NIGHLIFE. The song will forever be associated with the film, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and who am I to change that? Check out the clip:
The Beastie Boys are ready to FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY. Excellent. Even Bob Dylan had a song for us about parties – MILLION DOLLAR BASH.
Time to finish the show and what better way than with the brilliant Blossom Dearie with THE PARTY’S OVER followed by the Beatles’ BIRTHDAY. Here’s a cute piece of animation created by Mery, for all the Capricorns out there.
I thought next week I might have to work off some of the birthday cake, so it’s a show more for the walkers, than the talkers. The theme is WALKING AND RUNNING. Any suggestions?
Here’s this week’s playlist:
If they can have Xmas in July then I reckon I can do a show about the sea in winter. And I did. It was never going to be the kind of breezy show I would do if it was summer, because, for me anyway, at this time of the year the ocean appears even more immense and overwhelming. Many of the songs in this week’s playlist reflected that.
Our magnificent opening track by the O’Jays, SHIP AHOY, was a perfect example. It’s introduced by the creak of timbers and the crack of slave-owners whips and is an angry tour de force that presents the ocean as a partner in crime.
And while there were other serious songs in the line-up, there were plenty of frivolous and joyful tunes as well. And nothing could be more joyful than the sound of the ukulele: It was fantastic to have some live music in the show today as Ben, Renee and Azo from the group Blue Hulas took over the studio for a segment. They are the Northern Rivers original, (and, as far as I know, only), Hawaiian style band and their cruisy, island style music – complete with ukulele – was just right for this week’s theme.
The Beach Boys recorded a version of UNDER THE BOARDWALK, but it was the Drifters original version that I chose to play this week and gave some time to the Beach Boys for SAIL ON SAILOR, which is quite a serious song that uses the sea as a metaphor for life. Another serious song about the ocean is reggae star Fred Locks’ BLACK STAR LINER. The title refers to the shipping line that was used to transport black Americans to Africa as part of the Back-to-Africa movement of the 19th century.
Some light relief came from Bobby Darin’s hit from 1959, BEYOND THE SEA. I tried unsuccessfully to get a copy of the original version for the show: LA MER by French singer Charles Trenet. I’ll track this down, hopefully, and play in a future show.
A big welcome back to Roy Orbison with one of his best, LEAH. Check out this clip from the DVD Black & White Night where Roy is supported by Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d.Lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. Nice group of friends!
SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE from Queen was worth including just for its ending: ‘We all like to be beside the Seaside’. Other personal favourites that I played included LIGHTHOUSE from The Waifs and FROM THE SEA by Eskimo Joe. Talking of favourites: I had to include the Marvelettes with TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA and the gorgeous Blossom Dearie singing her version of BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.
How’s this for a diverse three in a row: An evocative piece of bubblegum from Aqua with WE BELONG TO THE SEA, a little reggae with ON THE BEACH IN HAWAI’I from Ziggy Marley and Led Zeppelin’s DOWN BY THE SEASIDE from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Whew. Here’s the beautiful lead singer of Aqua, Lene Nystrom Rasted, in the weird but wonderful video clip for WE BELONG TO THE SEA:
A request from Vanessa followed: Johnny Cash with SEA OF HEARTBREAK and I chose to follow that with Jenny Lewis singing BLACK SAND. For a little change of pace we played The Presets with GIRL AND THE SEA followed by Panic At The Disco’s BEHIND THE SEA. And then it was time for I’M THE OCEAN from the album Mirror Ball by Neil Young and featuring Pearl Jam.
Jason Mraz’s live rendition of WALK ON THE OCEAN was followed by the one and only Billy Holiday asking us HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN? And then the Ramones contributed ROCKAWAY BEACH. I can’t quite get my head around the Ramones singing about the beach, but what the hell do I know – it was the highest charting single of their career. Go figure.
We finished the show with Getaway Plan’s WHERE THE CITY MEETS THE SEA and the wonderful Cat Power with SEA OF LOVE.
Next week, I’m celebrating the SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS Music Festival being held here in Byron Bay. The show’s theme will be GRASS – no, not THAT grass – well maybe there will be some songs about THAT grass. And if I can’t find enough songs about grass I’ll move onto trees and flowers. I’d love to hear from you with your suggestions.
Here’s this week’s playlist on the SEA:
Ship Ahoy (2008 Single Version) – The O’Jays
Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters
Sail on Sailor – The Beach Boys
Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
Black Star Liner – Fred Locks
Leah – Roy Orbison
A Salty Dog – Procol Harum
A Drop In The Ocean – Moloko
Seven Seas Of Rhye – Queen
Lighthouse – The Waifs
From the Sea – Eskimo Joe
Too Many Fish In The Sea – The Marvelettes
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea – Blossom Dearie
We Belong to the Sea – Aqua
On the Beach In Hawai’i – Ziggy Marley
Down By The Seaside – Led Zeppelin
Sea Of Heartbreak – Johnny Cash
Black Sand – Jenny Lewis
Girl And The Sea – The Presets
Behind The Sea – Panic At The Disco
I’m the Ocean – Neil Young/Pearl Jam
Walk on the Ocean – Jason Mraz
How Deep Is The Ocean – Billie Holiday
Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
Oceans Away – The Fray
Where The City Meets The Sea – The Getaway Plan
Sea Of Love [Remastered Version] – Cat Power
Next week: GRASS (+ trees, flowers).
Listen to Lyn McCarthy on BayFM99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm (Sydney time).
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org.
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One of the things that I appreciate about the arts in general, and music in particular, is that it can be a way to make sense of the world or to at least see it from a different perspective. There are plenty of songs that lead us to believe that the future is problematic, even unbearable. But this week, we looked at tunes that make you believe that there’s a rainbow hiding behind every storm cloud. Yes, a show for all you optimists out there: Two hours of anthems dedicated to the power of positive thinking. Thanks to Suzie for suggesting the theme and to everyone who contributed to the songlist, especially Kira from Lennox Head who outdid herself with at least half a dozen tracks for consideration. Obviously, the subject hit a chord with a lot of you!
Optimism is, however, in the ears of the beholder: songs that delight one listener will make another cringe. Still, only a boring old fart could fail to be enthused by our opening track: ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. I loved the use of this song in the BBC series THE SINGING DETECTIVE, written by Harold Pinter and starring Michael Gambon, so here’s the clip for you to enjoy too:
Next it was Curtis Mayfield with his irresistible MOVE ON UP. The crucial thing about this song is that Mayfield is a realist, aware that life is full of “complications” but radiating hope anyway. There’s more qualified optimism in Desmond Dekker’s honey-sweet version of YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT. According to Desmond, as long as you put in the hard yakka success is assured. Excellent advice.
Anyone who doubts the power of love to improve life should listen to Little Milton singing WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT. He and his lover are so poor they can’t even “spare a roach a crumb”, but, he promises, together they will pull through.
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, on the other hand, are bitter and alone but still they have found a way to look towards the future with optimism. They are dedicated to being DIGNIFIED AND OLD. Heartwarming stuff.
Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, ONE FINE DAY, sung by The Chiffons, is a declaration of teen devotion that pins all its hope on a philandering lover waking up to himself and coming back home. I think today’s psycho-babble would describe that as being in denial. So, just in case we forget that the wrong partner can make your life miserable, we followed with the Altered Images track I COULD BE HAPPY – a passionate, bubbly wish for escape. And talking of escapism, we followed with Joe Smooth’s early house hit PROMISED LAND. And then it was the great voice of Esther Phillips singing her 1975 Disco version of WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.
Bluegrass boys Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs have faith in the idea that heaven will eventually give them relief from the world’s sorrows. The song? SO HAPPY I’LL BE. And just to put things in perspective, we followed with a song from my favourite Monty Python film, LIFE OF BRIAN. Recalling the Monty Python crew singing ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE, as they hang on their respective crucifixes puts a smile on this lapsed Catholic’s face every time I hear it. And I dare you not to whistle along!
The New Radicals tune YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE embodies the idea that simple pleasures put whatever problems we are having into perspective. “Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you”. I loved OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY from the one and only Blossom Dearie who sadly passed away in February this year. The good news? She was 84 and leaves us a legacy of wonderful music.
And talking of wonderful music, the very optimistic song BLUE SKIES was written in 1926 by Irving Berlin and has been recorded by many, many artists. One of my own favourites, that made the list this week, is by Willie Nelson. And then it was this week’s Roy Orbison track: Roy’s so euphoric about love that he’s going to give his girl anything she wants. The song – YOU GOT IT.
Byron Bluesfest favourite, Seasick Steve, followed with HAPPY MAN. That’s Ruby Turner helping out with the duet and K.T. Tunstall on rhythm guitar. But here’s a question for you – is the title of his album “I Started Out With Nothin and I’ve Still Got Most of it Left” optimistic? Hmmmm.
Johnny Nash’s I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW is, much like Irving Berlin’S BLUE SKIES, a song that uses the useful image of the clear sky to evoke a positive outlook. Nash’s passionate vocals make a powerful statement and its little wonder that many consider this one of the greatest hit singles of all time. This clip where Nash performs on the Midnight Special in 1973 is worth including, just so you can check out the leather outfit.
The Staples Singers sang their classic track, I’LL TAKE YOU THERE. Its pure joy as Mavis Staples sings of her hope for a better world. And if you ever doubted that a song could be both spiritual and sexy, well this is your answer.
Australian, and North Coaster, Pete Murray gave us OPPORTUNITY – another song that encourages us to look at all the good things that life has to offer. “Life is short but you’re here to flower”.
A couple of tracks followed that took us all back in time: The Turtles with HAPPY TOGETHER, another song that uses the blue sky as a metaphor for a hopeful future and the Grateful Dead with a song about surviving life’s setbacks. Written by Jerry Garcia, TOUCH OF GREY was the bands biggest commercial hit. And if you are a deadhead you should tune into BayFM between 10pm and midnight Tuesdays when the Ice Cream Kid takes you on the Long Strange Trip. It’s all about the Grateful Dead and their ongoing influence.
A nice surprise was XTC with I’M STUPIDLY HAPPY. It’s great when a writer who’s associated with heavier themes can also, so easily, write of the giddy feeling of love and how it can put everything else into perspective. How cute is that line: “All the lights of the cars in the town form the strings of a big guitar/I’m the giant who’ll play you a tune from wherever you are.” Ohhhhhh. See, frontman Andy Partridge did have a soft spot after all.
So what’s the dominant message from today’s show on Optimism? LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED. And, of course, we had to play the Beatles very optimistic track of the same name to reinforce the notion.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Accentuate the Positive – Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters
Move on up – Curtis Mayfield
You Can Get It If You Really Want – Desmond Dekker & The Aces
One Fine Day – The Chiffons
Dignified And Old – Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers
We’re Gonna Make It – Little Milton
I Could Be Happy – Altered Images
Promised Land – Joe Smooth
What A Difference A Day Makes – Esther Phillips
So Happy I’ll Be – Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
Always Look On the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python
At Last – Etta James
Strength, Courage & Wisdom – India Arie
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
I Believe I’m Gonna Make It – Joe Tex
You Get What You Give – New Radicals
Inspiration Information – Shuggie Otis
Shiny Happy People – R.E.M.
Our Love Is Here To Stay – Blossom Dearie
Blue Skies – Willie Nelson
You Got It – Roy Orbison
Happy Man – Seasick Steve
I’ll Take You There – Staple Singers
I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash
Opportunity – Pete Murray
Happy Together – The Turtles
Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead
Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
Stupidly Happy – XTC
All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
Next week: Days of the Week
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm, (Sydney time), on BayFM 99.9. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
I’m loving all the good movies out there at the moment, so with Oscars week as my inspiration, it was surely time for a show about Music and The Movies. Yes, two hours of bliss for film and music fans. The show wasn’t just about soundtracks or great music in the movies. There are just some classic movie moments where a song totally complements or enhances the action. These were the songs that I looked for this week. Songs or pieces of music that, when you hear them, you immediately ‘feel’ the scene from the film.
Naturally, time is always an issue, so many great movie/music moments didn’t make the cut. But there will be other shows. If you want to contribute to that list, send me a note and I’ll start compiling now for a program down the line.
We opened the show with a snippet from the 1937 animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – ‘Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go’. Not only was this Disney’s first feature animation, it was also the first real soundtrack album ever released. The film is a classic as were the next three numbers: Marlene Dietrich with ‘Falling in Love Again’ (from Blue Angel), Dooley Wilson with ‘As Time Goes By’ (from Casablanca) and Gene Kelly singing the title song from Singing in the Rain. By the way, ‘Singing in the Rain’, you will remember, was also used to terrifying effect in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. But in these gloomy times, I think I’d rather remember the absolute joy of Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain. Have a look:
The first hour was jammed packed with great moments: ‘Rock Around the Clock’ from Blackboard Jungle, ‘Mrs. Robinson’ from The Graduate, ‘Everybody’s Talkin” from Midnight Cowboy. And we had movie tickets to give away, thanks to the Dendy Cinemas here in Byron Bay.
It was also fun using some of the iconic pieces of music composed for the screen. Who can’t recognise, in a nano-second, the music from Psycho‘s shower scene? Or the opening music for Star Wars? And as our competition proved – everyone immediately knew the music from 2001 A Space Odyssey.In the second hour we played some Eric Clapton, Jimmy Cliff, Ray Charles, Creedence Clearwater Revivial and some Bob Dylan, among others. And of course I played my favourite – Roy Orbinson. Despite not particularly liking the film, it had to be ‘Pretty Woman’. Films covered included Blue Velvet, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid….. whew, we flew through the show.
I’m a big Martin Scorsese fan. Do you remember the scene from Mean Streets where he used the Rolling Stones song ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’? Johhny Boy, played by Robert de Niro, walks into the bar to meet Harvey Keitel’s character (looking incredibly young btw). It was shot in slow motion with the Stones song playing in the background. His character is summed up in less than 30 seconds: he is trouble with a capital T. He’s exciting and full of nervous energy – he is Jumpin Jack Flash. Wow! Scorsese is the master of film scores in my mind. I do love the way that Tarantino plays with image and sound, but for me Scorsese is king. Check it out on this You Tube grab:
Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ from the film Philadelphia is a great song and it was good to hear that again. And I really enjoyed including Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Green River’ from the film Indian Runner. This film might not immedately come to mind, but it is well worth finding at your local video store. It was directed by Sean Penn. As you know, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his role of Harvey Milk in the film Milk – well worth catching, too.
I was very sad to hear of Blossom Dearie’s passing a couple of weeks ago. This wonderful jazz singer was unique and I was happy to play a song that was included in the indie film Kissing Jessica Steyne: ‘I Wish You Love’ as a dedication to her.
And to close the show, a great song from Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’ – from the film Trainspotting. This film was Danny Boyle’s breakout hit in 1996 . So great to see the enormous Oscar success of his latest film Slumdog Millionaire. I’ll leave you with some of the lyrics from ‘Perfect Day’:
Just A Perfect Day, Feed Animals In The Zoo Then Later, A Movie, Too,
And Then Home.
Oh It’s Such A Perfect Day, I’m Glad I Spent It With You.
Oh Such A Perfect Day
Here is the playlist, with the films they featured in:
Hi Ho Its Off To Work We Go. Frank Churchill/Larry Morey – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Falling In Love Again. Marlene Dietrich – Blue Angel (1930)
As Time Goes By. Dooley Wilson – Casablanca (1942)
Singing In The Rain. Gene Kelly – Singing in the Rain (1953)
Rock Around the Clock. Bill Haley & His Comets – Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Psycho/The Murder. Composer Bernard Hermann/Los Angeles Philharmonic – Psycho (1960)
Baby Elephant Walk. Composer Henry Mancini- Hatari (1961)
Mrs Robinson. Simon & Garfunkel – The Graduate (1967)
The Blue Danube Waltz. Johann Strauss Ⅱ/The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
Everybody’s Talkin’. Harry Nilsson – Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Raindrops Keep Falling on my head. ) B J Thomas – Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)
Born to Be Wild. Steppenwolf – Easy Rider (1969)
Theme From Shaft – Issac Hayes Shaft (1971)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The Rolling Stones – Mean Streets (1973)
Knockin On Heaven’s Door. Bob Dylan – Pat Garret & Billy The Kid (1973)
Many Rivers to Cross. Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come (1973)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. The Shirelles(with DJ Wolfman) – American Graffiti (1973)
Tears on my Pillow. Little Anthony and the Imperials – Grease (1978)
Blue Velvet. Bobby Vinton – Blue Velvet/(1986)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. The Rolling Stones – Apocalypse Now (1973)
I’m Easy. Keith Carradine – Nashville (1975)
Taxi Driver clip (1976) – composer Bernard Hermann/ Robert de Niro vocals – Taxi Driver (1976)
Staying Alive. Bee Gees – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Star Wars Theme. Composer John Williams/London Symphony Orchestra – Star Wars (1977)
Shake A Tail Feather. Ray Charles – Blues Brothers (1980)
Be My Baby. The Ronettes – Dirty Dancing & GoodFellas (1987)
Oh, Pretty Woman. Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman (1990)
Unchained Melody. Righteous Brothers – Ghost (1990)
Sunshine Of Your Love. Eric Clapton/Cream – Goodfellas (1990)
Green River. Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Indian Runner (1991)
Streets of Philadelphia. Bruce Springsteen – Philadelphia (1993)
I Wish You Love. Blossom Dearie – Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
Perfect Day. Lou Reed – Trainspotting (1996)