I reckon animals are just like people. I look at my pets and, to be honest, I recognise myself. My little dog Charlie likes nothing better than eating and sleeping and my Abyssinian cat is a bit of a talker. In fact you can’t shut him up. Songwriters share my affliction, which is probably why most songs supposedly “about” animals aren’t really about animals at all.
Our opening song, SPIDERS AND SNAKES, had Jim Stafford waxing lyrical about it would take to win over the object of his affection. Somehow I don’t think spiders and snakes and frogs were what they seemed, if you know what I mean. Thanks to Sandy for suggesting that one.
The Tenors’ 1968 rocksteady tune RIDE YOUR DONKEY is, on the face of it, not a delightful ditty about a mule, but a song about a child’s musical shortcomings. I have a feeling, however, that there may be a bit of a sexual subtext going on there too.
No point trying to figure out what Captain Beefheart meant with ICE CREAM FOR CROW. I’ll leave it up to you to figure that out:
Edie Izzard wonders about the logic of making a toad with an hallucinogenic back on his comedy album Stripped. Tim Finn sang the Cane Toad Blues which featured on Mark Lewis’ quirky hit documentary CANE TOADS. Mark has now made a follow up, in 3D no less, called CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST and we had tickets to the film to give away. Congrats to BayFM subscriber Yvonne, who won those.
We had a whole show on Cats & Dogs a while back so I had to look a little wider for a track about our canine friends. I love what I found: WOLVES (SONG OF THE SHEPHERD’S DOG), from Iron & Wine, better known to his Mum as Sam Beam.
Sunhouse came together to provide the soundtrack to a couple of films by British filmmaker Shane Meadows. One of my very favourite films of his is TwentyFourSeven and it has a cracking soundtrack by the band, which includes MONKEY DEAD. They went on to record an album called Crazy Weekend, which also includes the song. Here they are performing on French television:
Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish group The Cardigans tells us that she’s found her herself A GOOD HORSE. Every girl’s dream, I’m sure.
Big Mama Thornton’s I SMELL A RAT pushes the concept of anthropomorphism to its limit. It’s when you give human characteristics to non-human things. And pretty much every song on today’s playlist does just that.
Except for maybe Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. ALLIGATOR WINE appears to be about some voodoo concoction that not only uses alligator blood, there’s a dash of fish eye, some frog’s skin and a cup of swamp water to boot. Not sure whether Louis Jordan is being literal or not when he declares there AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS.
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, so I had to include BABA’S CAMEL from their Cornology album.
The legendary Little Willie John pleads with you to LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE and the late, great, reggae artist Gregory Isaacs is out on a RAT PATROL.
One of my favourite contemporary groups is the Villagers and the song SET THE TIGERS FREE has made it onto my funeral list (everyone should have one – you don’t really want someone else picking the music at your wake do you?).
We closed the show with LOVE CATS from the Cure who are performing in Sydney on Wednesday night. So jealous of any of you who have tickets!
Thank you to the sponsors of our giveaway of tickets to CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST in 3D. I hope to see as many of you as possible at this BayFM Fundraiser. Its at the Dendy on Wednesday night at 7pm and will be followed by a party at The Owl & Pussy Cat. Thanks also to Radio Pictures, Pinnacle Films, the Byron Cane Juice Company for your sponsorship of this benefit.
Next week I’ll be joined by swinging cowgirl and Dolphin Award winner Kathryn Jones who will be putting together a guest list of songs. I have no idea what she’ll be bringing in, and that’s half the fun. The other half will be hearing why Kathryn picked the particular songs she did.
Here’s this week’s playlist on Critters:
Spiders & Snakes – Jim Stafford
Ride Your Donkey – The Tennors
Ice Cream for Crow – Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band
Toads – Eddie Izzard Stripped (Live)
Cane Toad Blues – Tim Finn
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) – Iron & Wine
Monkey Dead – Sunhouse
A Good Horse – The Cardigans
I Smell A Rat – Big Mama Thornton
Alligator Wine – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens – Louis Jordan
Ali Baba’s Camel – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Leave My Kitten Alone – Little Willie John
Rat Patrol – Gregory Isaacs
Set The Tigers Free – Villagers
The Love Cats – The Cure
Next week: GUEST LIST – KATHRYN JONES
Vice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Sex isn’t a vice, but bonking your best friend’s partner might be. Drinking isn’t a vice, but drinking from bottles that you’ve hidden in the back of the wardrobe possibly is. So, for the purpose of this week’s playlist, its only a vice if a certain amount of secrecy or shame is attached to it.
So what do you think Doris Day was really singing about in our opening song, SECRET LOVE? Recorded in the ultra-conservative mid 1950’s, and knowing what we think we now do about Doris, could it possibly be about the love that dare not speak its name? When she declares “My secret isn’t secret any more” she suddenly appears way more interesting than her wholesome image would have us believe.
Mary Gauthier confesses to taking after her alcoholic Dad on I DRINK. And while we’re on the subject of Daddys, Ray Davies call to ‘Come to Daddy’ has a very creepy subtext on the otherwise quite beautiful ART LOVER.
Prince’s SISTER is a 30-year old song about incest that still has the ability to shock. Another unnerving confessional was supplied by Anthony Hegarty, of Anthony & The Johnsons. He sings about his violent lover with incredible sweetness on FISTFUL OF LOVE. The sting of a secret vice is unmistakable in lines such as, “I feel your fists, and I know it’s out of love.”
I’M LIVING IN SHAME sings Diana Ross and the Supremes, while Marvin Gaye’s admits that there’s something extra-curricular going on between him AND MRS JONES.
Nina Simone has some advice about FORBIDDEN FRUIT: “Go on and taste it, you don’t want to waste it”. The Kinks know exactly what she’s talking about on their huge hit about transgender love, LOLA.
The Go-Betweens’ song STREETS OF YOUR TOWN is a beautiful tale of small-town romance undercut with the revelation that even this seemingly perfect place is actually “a town full of battered wives”.
The Prodigy admit to a little pyromania on FIRESTARTER:
And the Strangers submitted their quintessential song about perving at the beach – PEACHES:
We finished the show with a couple of very non-offensive pop songs. Kate Ceberano admits YOUNG BOYS ARE MY WEAKNESS. Is that a bad thing? Surely not. Jill Sobule also owns up: She’s KISSED A GIRL, and she just may do it again. Shock horror! Released in 1995, way before whats her name’s version.
Next week I’m going to dedicate the show to SONGS ABOUT CRITTERS and I’m looking for songs about unusual animals, not just your cats and dogs. Film director Mark Lewis has sent me a recording of Tim Finn singing ‘Cane Toad Blues’ so that gives you an idea of the kind of thing I’m after.
And just a reminder that BayFM is hosting the premiere of Cane Toads: The Conquest in 3D on Wednesday June 1, 7pm at the Dendy Cinema in Byron Bay. It’s a benefit for BayFM with a party after at The Owl & Pussy Cat included in the price. If you’re a BayFM Subscriber that’s only $20. Get to the cinema now to pick up your tickets!
Here’s the complete playlist:
Secret Love - Doris Day, Ray Heindorf And His Orchestra I Drink - Mary Gauthier Art Lover - The Kinks Sister - Prince Fistful of Love - Antony & The Johnsons I'm Living In Shame - Diana Ross & The Supremes Me and Mrs. Jones - Marvin Gaye Lola - The Kinks Forbidden Fruit - Nina Simone Streets Of Your Town - The Go-Betweens Firestarter - The Prodigy Peaches - The Stranglers I Kissed A Girl - Jill Sobule Young Boys Are My Weakness (Brave Album Version) - Kate Ceberano
Next week: SONGS ABOUT CRITTERS