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SONGS ABOUT CRITTERS

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

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM at the new time of Mondays 1–2pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com


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SONGS ABOUT EYES


This week the EYES had it as I created a playlist about what poets call the ‘window of the soul’.  Our 100TH PROGRAM showcased a diverse range of artists, from the 50’s right through until some more recent releases.  We also celebrated this important milestone with a couple of fantastic giveaways for our loyal listeners: tickets to a private screening of the new David Fincher film, The Social Network, courtesy of the Dendy Cinemas, and a copy of the Red Army album from hot reggae band The Red Eyes, courtesy of Ku Promotions. Thanks to everyone for listening (and reading!) during this period. Here’s to the next 100!

In 2001 the list of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included such superstars as Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and Aerosmith. Further down the list in terms of public recognition were The Flamingos, who were best known for their 1959 hit  I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU.  They are rightfully ranked as one of the most sophisticated doo wop groups in American popular music.

Charles Edward Anderson Berry, otherwise knows as “Chuck” turned 84 on October 18. I don’t think anyone would argue when I claim that he is one of the most influential musicians of his time. He contributed BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN to the mix. Elvis Costello, surely one of Chuck’s disciples, had his first hit single in 1977 with a song about a girlfriend who couldn’t stop watching television. The song, of course, is WATCHING THE DETECTIVES. “She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake”. Brilliant.

The Chi-Lites also had a huge hit in 1971 with HAVE YOU SEEN HER. Check out this clip for a PBS special featuring guest artist Eugene Record. Loving the zoot suits!

Jazz singer Ernestine Anderson has some good advice on KEEP AN EYE ON LOVE. She reckons that you just have to keep looking for it and eventually it turns up. I’d be careful if I was her though. If the Hall and Oates song PRIVATE EYES is any indicaton, there are a few stalkers out there ready to pounce. These boys are continually watching the object of their affection. But we already know that love makes you do silly things. Right?

LOOK AT THE FOOL is from Tim Buckley’s album of the same name, his ninth and final album before his untimely death in 1975.  Jackson Browne’s  DOCTOR MY EYES was featured on his debut album Jackson Browne, released in 1972. Here he is singing live, with an awesome band, in 2009. As well as DOCTOR MY EYES, this clip includes ABOUT MY IMAGINATION. Browne is still a great performer and his looks don’t seem to have diminished either!

We followed the terrific 1967 funk track,  I SPY FOR THE FBI, from Jamo Thomas, with (See) HOW FAR WE’VE COME, from Matchbox 20’s Exile on Maintream album, released in 2007. The song has been used to promote everything under the sun. But we won’t hold that against them.


Jamesetta Hawkins is better known to us as Etta James. This rendition of  I’D RATHER GO BLIND, where she duets with Dr. John, practically brought me to tears. See if it has the same effect on you:

And as Etta would say ‘At Last!’ we have some nice weather up here in the Northern Rivers, after months of rain. (Although as I write this the rain is back…..aarrggghhhhh). Nevertheless, I had to celebrate a couple of days of brilliant sunshine with I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW from Jimmy Cliff.

Let me ask you this: What do David Bowie, George Washington and Louis Pasteur have in common? Well they have what’s called heterochromia: i.e. each of their eyes is a different colour. In Bowie’s case one eye is blue and the other brown. Aren’t you glad to know that?

When it comes to songs about eyes, you can’t go past 60’s soul, and our next triple play more than proved the point: Doris Troy was seduced with JUST ONE LOOK, The Contours went gold-digging on FIRST LOOK AT THE PURSE and The Temptations sang I WANT A LOVE I CAN SEE.

Van Morrison’s 1967 single BROWN EYED GIRL would prove to be the impetus for his whole career as a solo artist. It was to be his first single after leaving the band Them and it led to his relocation to the United States and an eventual contract with Warner Brothers Records where he would record his career-defining album Astral Weeks.  In the same year The Who released I CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILES, the only single from the The Who Sell Out album. Recorded in several separate sessions in studios across two continents, the recording of I CAN SEE FOR MILES exemplifies the increasingly sophisticated studio techniques of rock bands in the late 1960s. The backing tracks were recorded in London, the vocals and overdubbing were performed in New York at Talentmasters Studios, and the album was mastered in Los Angeles at the Gold Star Studios.

The Beatles 1965 hit I’M LOOKING THROUGH YOU was written mainly by Paul McCartney and it first appeared on their Rubber Soul album. It was written about Jane Asher, McCartney’s girlfriend of five years: “You don’t look different, but you have changed,” the lyrics declare, reflecting his dissatisfaction with their relationship.

When I announced that this week’s theme was to be EYES, I was inundated with requests for the Platters version of SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES. Well, of course, it had to make the list – an absolute classic.

Winonie Harris reckons that he can tell all sorts of things from looking into a set of BLOODSHOT EYES while Little Milton was out to prove that you can’t always judge a book by its cover on JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE ME SMILING

Billy Idol’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE is from his 1983 album Rebel Yell. Reportedly filmed in a marathon 30-hour session, the video’s extensive filming used fog machines, lighting, and fire sources that nearly fused Idol’s contact lenses. At the conclusion of filming, Idol attempted to leave, and promptly passed out on the studio lawn from exhaustion. Initially mistaken for a vagrant, a police officer who roused Idol was alarmed at his reddened eyes. The officer immediately brought Idol to a local hospital, where doctors were able to coax out the lenses, saving his vision. OMG.


Captain Beefheart was unusually restrained on HER EYES ARE A BLUE MILLION MILES and we followed with Sinead O’Connor’s DAMN YOUR EYES from her 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. No matter what you think of her political viewpoints, there is no denying the power in her voice.

Being our 100th show, I gave myself a gift and closed the show with two of my favourite artists: As regular listeners know,  according to me Roy Orbison can do no wrong. And how could I resist when he tells me  “One look from me and he drifts away”, on YOU GOT IT.


Tim Buckley is also a favourite and we said goodbye with DEVIL EYES from the outstanding album Greetings From LA.

Next week’s program will be on CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES AND FUNFAIRS. Ooh I’m really looking forward to this one. Let me know if you have any suggestions for the playlist. I can always do with your help!

Until next week, remember what Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye turns the whole world blind.”

Here’s this week’s complete list:

  • I Only Have Eyes For You – Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll: 59, The Flamingos
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Missing Chapters Vol. 5: Glenn Miller Orchestra
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man – 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection, Chuck Berry
  • Watching The Detectives – My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
  • Have You Seen Her – Greatest Hits, The Chi-Lites
  • Inside Out – Red Army, The Red Eyes
  • Keep An Eye On Love – Testify, Ernestine Anderson
  • Private Eyes – Top Hits Of The 80’s, Hall and Oates
  • Look At The Fool – Twentyfourseven, Tim Buckley
  • Doctor My Eyes – The Next Voice You Hear: The Best Of Jackson Browne, Jackson Browne
  • I Spy For The FBI – Soul Cargo Vol. 1 (The Early Years Of “Groove”,  Jamo Thomas
  • How Far We’ve Come – Exile On Mainstream, Matchbox Twenty
  • I’d Rather Go Blind – The Sweetest Peaches – Part Two (1967-1975), Etta James
  • I Can See Clearly Now – Definitive Collection, Jimmy Cliff
  • Just One Look – Mermaids, Doris Troy
  • First Look At The Purse – This Is Soul, The Contours
  • I Want A Love I Can See – My Girl: The Very Best Of The Temptations, The Temptations
  • Brown Eyed Girl – Best Of Van Morrison, Van Morrison
  • I’m Looking Through You – Rubber Soul, The Beatles
  • I Can See For Miles – The Who Sell Out, The Who
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Easy Listening Gold: 1958-1959, The Platters
  • Bloodshot Eyes –  The Best of Wynonie Harris, Wynoni Harris
  • Just Because You See Me Smiling – Movin’ to the Country, Little Milton
  • Eyes Without A Face – Top Hits Of The 80’s, Billy Idol
  • Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles – Clear Spot, Captain Beefheart
  • Damn Your Eyes – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Special Edition) Sinéad O’Connor
  • You Got It – Mystery Girl, Roy Orbison
  • Devil Eyes – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley
Next week:  SONGS ABOUT CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES & FUNFAIRS

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

HEAT

The mercury’s rising, summer is here and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot. So, it’s time to  get the sarongs out, start mixing up a marghertia or two and celebrate our steamy weather. Yes, folks this week’s show was a sizzler.

We opened with THE HEAT IS ON from American soul and funk group, The Isley Brothers, released in 1975 on the album of the same name and then it was Buster Poindexter, otherwise known as David Johansen of the New York Dolls. His cover of Arrow’s HOT, HOT, HOT apparently haunts him to this day. Well Dave, thats what happens when you record a hit pop tune. Just be happy with the royalties. He’s not looking too unhappy in this clip:

If the weather doesn’t deliver, you can always find other ways to raise the temperature. Ask Martha and the Vandellas who gave us one of the greatest intros in pop music with their song HEATWAVE. The high octane James Brown knows a thing or two about the topic of his tune,  BODY HEAT. Here’s a clip from The Lost James Brown Tapes, a 60 minute video tape available on DVD.

One of my all time favourite films is Napoleon Dynamite and the soundtrack to the film is great too. Check out one of the signature tunes, from the film, CANNED HEAT from Jamiroquai:

Every now and again I like to throw a bit of contemporary pop into the mix and this week it was Katy Perry with HOT ‘N’ COLD and we followed with one of my favourite dance tracks, Adam Freeland remixing the wonderful Sarah Vaughan’s version of  FEVER.

Anyone remember glam rock? Marc Bolan & T-Rex were up next with one of the best examples of this genre: HOT LOVE. Check out this clip from Top of the Pops, 1971. Ah go-go girls, whatever happened to them? Well, the ones in this clip are probably all grandmothers now. Scary.

More roaming down memory lane: Style Council with LONG HOT SUMMER and then it was The Triffids’ dreamy and disturbing TOO HOT TO MOVE, TOO HOT TO THINK. The song reflects on our hot, Australian summer nights.

The idiosyncratic, and highly influential, Captain Beefheart divides people. I’m a fan, especially of our next song, HOT HEAD. The Captain takes the usual hot-love cliches to deliriously literal extremes with his funky brand of the Blues.

Ella Fitzgerald reckons it’s TOO DARN HOT and Prince Buster agrees. His delicious piece of Jamaican Ska, TOO HOT had me up and grooving in the studio. And then it was time for one of the highlights of the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival, Oka with THAT’S HOT.

I can never listen to Glenn Frey’s THE HEAT IS ON without conjuring up the film BEVERLY HILLS COP. So to put it into context, here’s the official video, using footage from the film, starring Eddie Murphy:

Another favourite of mine is John Fogarty, this time with the wonderful gospel group The Fairfield Four, singing A HUNDRED AND TEN IN THE SHADE from Fogarty’s Blue Moon Swamp album. Great album and worth a listen if you’re a Fogarty or Creedence fan. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:

Of course we had to include Billy Idol’s HOT IN THE CITY. Not so obvious, maybe, is the next tune we played: MELT YOUR HEART from the divine Jenny Lewis. A nice suggestion too, from listener Zoe: SUMMERTIME CLOTHES from Animal Collective.  Andy’s suggestion was Nouvelle Vague’s I MELT WITH YOU and Lynden’s suggestion was a little on the obscure side. But when John Lennon’s goes COLD TURKEY his temperature rises and his fever is high. So, yeah, into the show on HEAT it went.

The great Ray Charles was next with IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT along with a little smooth jazz from Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, with Helen Rogers on vocals for BODY HEAT.

We closed the show with disco queen Donna Summer and HOT STUFF and the Godfather of funk, James Brown with HOT PANTS! Can you believe that this clip from 1985 was just a rehearsal?

Next week’s show is my Christmas A-Go-Go special, so tune in for some surprising Xmas tunes and I’ll have some giveaways especially for my lovely Theme Park listeners. In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist.

The Heat Is On (Parts 1 & 2) – The Isley Brothers
Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter
Heatwave – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Body Heat – James Brown
Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
Hot ‘N Cold – Katy Perry
Fever – Adam Freeland & Sarah Vaughan
Hot Love – T. Rex
Long Hot Summer – Style Council
Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think (Demo) – The Triffids
Hot Head – Captain Beefheart
Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald
Too Hot – Prince Buster
That’s Hot – Oka
A Hundred and Ten in The Shade – John Fogerty
The Heat Is On – Glenn Frey
Hot In The City – Billy Idol
Melt Your Heart – Jenny Lewis
I Melt With You – Nouvelle Vague
Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective
Cold Turkey – John Lennon
Body Heat – Paul Hardcastle
In The Heat Of The Night – Ray Charles
Hot Pants – James Brown
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Next week: CHRISTMAS A GO-GO

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
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