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
Just to prove that I don’t take anything too seriously, especially sex, we opened this week’s show with BUSINESS TIME from the absolutely brilliant Flight of the Conchords.
The ‘sexy’ theme seemed to connect with many of our listeners because I had quite a bit of input this week. And its clear that different music serves different moods. For smooth and erotic you can’t go past R&B and for hot and heavy it has to be rock or funk. I tried to steer away from the patently obvious, but some sex anthems just couldn’t be omitted because, hey what the hell, they do it for me!
What makes a song sexy? Sometimes it’s in the smallest details. It can be an erotic tone to the voice or a throbbing bassline. A song that does both has to be AM I THE ONE from the amazing Beth Hart.
On FOXY LADY, Jimi Hendrix’s instrument isn’t so much a guitar as a penis with an amplifier. Even Hendrix might have met his match with Betty Davis, especially when she sings IF I’M IN LUCK I MIGHT JUST GET PICKED UP. Her hubbie, Miles Davis, suspected the two of having an affair at one stage. Despite the song’s title, her carnal, funk-rock delivery leaves no doubt as to who’s picking up who here.
OK, let’s calm down a bit. Time for the wonderful Dusty Springfield with BREAKFAST IN BED. On this track she offers a shoulder to cry on, and much more as well. I have to agree with listener Ian that Al Green just can’t be left out of a playlist of sexy songs, so I included LETS STAY TOGETHER to keep both of us happy.
Dinah Washington and Julia Lee were a couple of free-spirits who used the thin veil of double entendre to sing about their basic desires. Long before she made a name for herself singing the Great American songbooks, Washington often sang from a far more racy playlist that included the blatantly provocative BIG LONG SLIDIN THING. And Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends weren’t ashamed to demand that you DON’T COME TOO SOON.
Chris Isaak is one sexy looking dude and the perfectly pitched WICKED GAME was a certainty for this list. As was the far more explicit HEAD from pocket sexpot Prince. You can’t get a decent Prince clip and I prefer to show you the Isaak clip any old way. Helena Christiansen and Chris Isaak, directed by Herb Ritts. A no-brainer.
Santana’s SAMBA PA TI was suggested by Lynden who says that author Nick Hornby nominated it as a ‘song that exudes sex, despite having no lyrics/ vocals”. I think he may be right.
Alison Goldfrapp is the perfect fusion of disco, glam and electro. Not to mention sex. Check out the video clip of TWIST:
Is there a lyric as sexy as Kate Bush’s breathy, evocative “Mmmm yes” on THE SENSUAL WORLD?
Tim Buckley’s GET ON TOP was requested by Tracey, who assures me that his album, ‘Greetings From LA’ is what you need if you want to rock the Casbah with someone special. I can’t actually argue with that. After all, he talks in tongues and how good is that?
One of my favourite sexy songs comes from ex Belle & Sebastian member, Isobel Campbell, and Queens of the Stone Ager, Mark Lanegan, who sing the very provocative COME ON OVER TURN ME ON. Irresistible. I’d be over in a flash.
Don’t ask me what the title of Happy Mondays BOB’S YER UNCLE means but the lyrics seem to have as much to do with an Uncle Bob as Prince’s Red Corvette is about a car.
Fiona Apple’s song CRIMINAL is apparently a guilty admission about using your sexuality to get what you want. So that’s a bad thing, right?
Two songs that I find pretty sexy, although they couldn’t be more different, followed. On paper, the lines, “Will you come inside me/Do you wanna ride inside my love?” would seem to defy subtlety, but Minnie Riperton’s famous five-octave range lends those words an almost spiritual dimension on INSIDE MY LOVE. Minnie’s polar opposite is the one and only Janis Joplin. From one of my top 10 albums, Cheap Thrills, I chose the desperate yearning of I NEED A MAN TO LOVE.
How sexy is Marvyn Gaye’s LET’S GET IT ON? Here he is a the 1980 Monreux Festival. Someone hand that man a towel! Hotter than hot.
Another sexy song, from the gorgeous vamp Meow Meow, is I’M HUNGRY (AND THAT AIN’T RIGHT). She’s a fantastic New York based cabaret performer that I saw in Sydney in March. If you ever get a chance to catch her act, do it!
Heading towards the end of the show and I hadn’t played any hard rock! Easily fixed with AC/DC’s YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG. The music video has proven to be somewhat controversial with its use of leather clad women and a mechanical bull. During the shot with the bull, the woman playing lead singer Brian’s lover accidentally jabbed herself with her spur twice. The roadie who came to her aid married her a year later. Angus gave them a mechanical bull for a wedding present as a joke. When asked about the meaning of the video, the band said that its goal was to, quote, “be as politically incorrect as possible.” See what you think:
A natural closer was another rock classic – WHOLE LOTTA LOVE, by Led Zeppelin and we even got to fit in about 20 seconds of disco queen Donna Summer’s LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY. Oh, come on, I had to have at least one disco cliche in there, surely.
Thanks to Steve from Sax Leather in the Byron Industrial Estate for a great giveaway of some very saucy sex toys. And thanks too to the Gay Mardi Gras Film Festival, which is taking place this weekend at the Dendy Cinemas, for their ticket giveaway.
Thanks also to Lynden, Tracey, Julie, and Steve for your suggestions this week. Apologies to those whose songs didn’t make the list including Andrew whose pick of Ian Dury’s WAKE UP AND MAKE LOVE TO ME, while amusing, wasn’t what I’d call erotic. But I love having your input. And that brings me to next week’s theme, which was going to be on Winter until I remembered that I’d done that last June! So a little segue to the left and we’ll do a show on BAD WEATHER. Rain, storms, wind and even snow. So get your thinking caps on, preferably a nice little woolly beanie and let me know what you’d like to hear.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Business Time – Flight of the Conchords
Am I The One – Beth Hart
If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up – Betty Davis, Betty Davis
Foxy Lady – Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix
Breakfast In Bed – Anthology Disc 2, Dusty Springﬁeld
Let’s Stay Together – Tarantino Experience II, Al Green
Big Long Slidin’ Thing – Ultimate Rock N’ Roll Drinkers & Sinners, Dinah Washington
Don’t Come Too Soon – Ultimate Rock N’ Roll Drinkers & Sinners, Julia Lee And Her Boyfriends
Wicked Game – Best of Chris Isaak, Chris Isaak
Head – Dirty Mind, Prince
Samba Pa Ti – The Ultimate Collection (CD1), Santana
Twist – Black Cherry, Goldfrapp
The Sensual World – The Sensual World, Kate Bush
Get On Top – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley
Come On Over (Turn Me On) – Sunday At Devil Dirt, Isobel Campbell And Mark Lanegan
Criminal – Fiona Apple
Bob’s yer Uncle – The Platinum Collection [Re-Mastered], Happy Mondays
Inside My Love – Perfect Angel / Adventures In Paradise, Minnie Riperton
I Need A Man To Love – Cheap Thrills, Janis Joplin/Big Brother & The Holding Company
Stay With Me Til Dawn – Smooth Groove Masters
Let’s Get It On – Anthology (Disc 2), Marvin Gaye
I’m Hungry (and that ain’t right) – Here kitty kitty … the lost sessions, Meow Meow & Thomas M.Lauderdale
You Shook Me All Night Long – Back in Black, AC/DC
Whole Lotta Love – Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin, Vol. 1, Led Zeppelin
Love To Love You Baby – Donna Summer
Next week: BAD WEATHER
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
I’m baaaack! And this week’s theme was influenced by my recent road trip down the coast: STREETS AND ROADS. Street songs also include their close relations avenues, lanes and boulevards. They all tend to be about a particular destination. Songs about roads and highways, on the other hand, are inclined to reflect on a journey of some kind, metaphorical or not. Some of these songs immortalise where they came from, others where they’re going, but all seem to have something significant to say.
We opened the show with the Drifters’ ON BROADWAY – a road that reflects the best and worst of New York. The famous entertainment strip is the epitome of success for some but it’s also a desperate place to be if you are one of the less fortunate. Check out the Drifters doing a great job, but what’s with the outfits? Pyjamas with fringing. What the??????
TOBACCO ROAD was written by country singer John D. Loudermilk and inspired by Erskine Caldwell’s Depression-era novel of the same name. The song reeks of the American south. A group calling themselves the Nashville Teens recorded the original version, although they actually hailed from England. And I don’t think it was even Southern England, cheeky sods!
There are so many versions of the that definitive road song, ROUTE 66, but I rather like the Nat King cole rendition. Eddy Grant took us back to the 80’s with ELECTRIC AVENUE about a market street in Brixton, London. You may remember a cover version by Aussie band Men at Work, but there’s nothing like the original. Check it out:
The wonderful Emmylou Harris dueted with Dave Matthews on GULF COAST HIGHWAY. Now I don’t believe that there is an actual Gulf Coast Highway, but who cares when the song is so beautiful?
It was a toss up when it came to Bruce Springsteen’s contribution to the show – Both Thunder Road and Racing the Streets were worthy contenders but I had to give it to the Oscar winning anthem, STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA.
Louis Armstrong paid homage to his favourite street in New Orleans in BASIN STREET BLUES and although I gave it a spin on the AUTOMOBILE show, Grace Jones deserved another outing with PULL UP TO THE BUMPER, from her critically acclaimed album NIGHTCLUBBING.
Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland was going FARTHER UP THE ROAD while Bob Dylan delivered the classic HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED. And here’s some trivia about that particular highway, which travels from New Orleans through to the Canadian border. Bessie Smith met her death in an automobile accident on that road, Robert Johnson was said to have lost his soul to the devil at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49, Elvis Presley grew up in the housing projects built along it and Martin Luther King Jnr would later be murdered in a motel just off Highway 61.
The Beatles sang about PENNY LANE while David Byrne and the Talking Heads took the ROAD TO NOWHERE:
A show about roads needed a bit of hard rock and the obvious, of course, is Acca Dacca and HIGHWAY TO HELL. But I thought I’d give them a rest this week and instead, in celebration of the Deep Purple tour reaching Brisbane next month (yay!) it was HIGHWAY STAR instead. Once listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the Word’s loudest rock band, here they are performing live in 1972. Ian Gillian, you are hot! Can’t wait for them to reach Bris-vegas.
Kirsty MacColl calmed things down just a little with WALKING DOWN MADISON, a song that deals with the disparity between rich and poor on the most expensive street in New York, Madison Avenue. As the song goes: “From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement, it’s not that far”. Gerry Rafferty sang all about London’s BAKER STREET, probably most famous for the literary address of Sherlock Holmes’ residence.
Lots of our songs this week dealt with being down and out, so it was great to include a number by the wonderful Dinah Washington. She’s definitely got the right attitude as she goes walking ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET. Recorded in 1956 with orchestra under the direction of Hal Mooney, the song was originally composed in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields for the Broadway musical “International Revue” starring Gertrude Lawrence. The song has since become a jazz standard recorded by many.
In complete and utter contrast came the Australian Aria award winning hip-hop group, The Hilltop Hoods, with a song about life’s choices: THE HARD ROAD.
Chris Rea’s song, ROAD TO HELL, was apparently inspired by rush hour on a motorway. After being in Sydney I know how he feels! It’s been way too long since I played some Roy Orbison, so I DROVE ALL NIGHT was in, as it fitted so perfectly.
Green Day’s BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS is, I assume, about Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Similar to New York’s BROADWAY, Sunset Boulevard is the primary location for live entertainment, as well as being the red-light district and a hang for the homeless.
A fitting follow-up was Ray Charles with LONELY AVENUE and it was up to Junior Walker and the Allstars to brighten the mood somewhat with ROAD RUNNER.
Another fantastic and, I think, optimistic song about leaving home and heading off for freedom, is VENTURA HIGHWAY, a 1972 hit for America.
The Mamas and Papas sang a song reportedly about the place where they all met, a bar in CREEQUE ALLEY while Ray Charles and the Stray Cats combined on a great version of HIT THE ROAD, JACK.
For anyone living on a rural property, like I do, Lucinda Williams’ CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD will resonate, for sure.
I returned from my trip to Sydney to hear the very sad news that our friend Susie McNair had passed away quietly on Tuesday March 16th. The final song of the program was dedicated to her memory. The Beatles, THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD, was the final single that they recorded as a group. R.I.P. Susie.
Thanks to the following listeners for contributing to this week’s list: Judi, Rebecca and Katie. Next week’s theme is HAIR, so get your thinking caps on!
Meanwhile, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Our show this week acknowledged the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon and also the fact that it’s the International Year of Astronomy. So while I had intended to do a show simply on the moon, it seemed even more fitting to honour all kinds of celestial bodies, with the moon getting special consideration. The show took off with the, now very famous, words of NEIL ARMSTRONG, as he first stepped onto the moon’s surface. Chasing closely behind was Deodata’s jazzy version of THEME FROM 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY. The groundbreaking film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was shot in 1968, a year before that historical space flight and it continues to be regarded as one Kubrick’s finest.
Moving forward in time, we took a listen to REM’s MAN ON THE MOON from their 1992 album Automatic For The People, Feist with MY MOON MY MAN from the Reminder album and we finished the set with a Van Morrison classic: MOONDANCE.
I’m not surprised that there was a fascination with space travel in the 70s and it was reflected most advantageously in the disco music of the era. Here’s a rare video of Boney M performing NIGHT FLIGHT TO VENUS and RASPUTIN. We only played NIGHT FLIGHT TO VENUS on the show but consider RASPUTIN a bonus for bloggers!
Also cashing in on the mid-70s vogue for all things spacey was soul keyboardist Dexter Wansel. We played his funky disco track LIFE ON MARS. And making space travel sound incredibly light and whimsical, even to someone like me who suffers from a fear of flying, was Julie London singing a wonderful version of FLY ME TO THE MOON that I found on the Mad Men TV series soundtrack.
One of my very favourite contemporary bands is Cowboy Junkies, so it was great to have an excuse to play their great version of Blue Moon, BLUE MOON REVISITED. And on a show that honours the moon, I couldn’t leave out Neil Young and I chose the classic track from the album of the same name: HARVEST MOON. Singing back-up: Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Nicollette Larsen, Astrid Young and Larry Cragg. Not a bad line-up!
Had a bit of fun including TV and movie theme music. The theme to Star Trek (The Enterprise) sequed beautifully into David Bowie’s song about a fictional astronaut lost in orbit in 1969. The song, of course, was SPACE ODDITY. Now 40 years later his son, Duncan Jones has directed a sci-fi feature film called ‘Moon’, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. Early reviews are positive and the film recently won Best New British Film at the prestigious Edinburgh Film Festival. One to look out for. Here’s a treat for you: a teaser trailer from the film. After seeing this, I definitely want to see it. Sam Rockwell is amazing.
The fabulous George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic sang about the MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION and then it was Dinah Washington inviting us to join her in her rocket ship for DESTINATION MOON. The Steve Miller Band contributed some classic rock with SPACE COWBOY and we finished the set with Peter Tosh singing all about OUTTA SPACE. Whew.
Word is that MGMT more than delivered at the recent Splendour in the Grass Festival so I had to include OF MOONS, BIRDS & MONSTERS in this show.
Warning! Warning! One of my guilty pleasures is the LOST IN SPACE TV SHOW, so I enjoyed listening to the theme again. Check out this short clip presenting the ‘new’ series Lost in Space to advertisers, before it officially aired. Far out!
I only included one song about the sun in this show about Celestial Bodies because, let’s face it, the sun should be a topic all on its own. The Pink Floyd track, SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN, fitted the Space Travel theme perfectly.
Muse’s SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE is wild stuff. Love the song and love Matt Bellamy who has a great voice. Clearly influenced by Queen, but hey, what’s wrong with that? Check out the video clip:
We finished up with a song that was released in the very year that Neil Armstrong took that famous first step onto the moon: 1969. The song? Creedence Clearwater Revival’s timeless BAD MOON RISING. This song is so good that Sonic Youth named an entire album after it! We also happily had time for some advice from the Monty Python crew singing the GALAXY SONG. There’s nothing like a bit of Monty Python to put everything into perspective.
Here’s the complete playlist:
I was challenged to do a show on Swines this week, but even I would have a hard time coming up with 30 odd songs about pigs. But with Swine Flu in the news, I get the connection with doctors and hospitals. So, time for a show that looks at the medical fraternity.
We opened with BAD CASE OF LOVING YOU from Robert Palmer, which was a bit of a cheat because the challenge was to create a playlist that didn’t rely on just lovesickness. And you know I’m a girl who likes a challenge! So doctors, nurses, hospitals…. even TB got a look in!
One of the really interesting things about listening to songs about doctors is hearing how successive generations of musicians have dealt with the medical profession. A doctor’s surgery or hospital is unique because it can be the best or worst place in the world to be, depending on the circumstances. Think of babies being born in one ward, while someone is dying in another.
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY BLUES is one of the greats of American folksong, and Louis Armstrong – among many others – revisited the death of “his baby there” many, many times between 1928 and his own death in 1971. Eighty one years later, this song is still incredibly powerful and Armstrong’s version a stand-out.
Public Enemy couldn’t even get to the hospital, thanks to the hopeless ambulance service in the United States. “If your life is on the line,” they sing, “you’re dead today.” The song? 911 IS A JOKE. Check out the video clip:
Kraftwerk’s ELEKTRO KARDIOGRAMM begins with some compelling, yet creepy, sound effects (breathing apparatus, pulsating beats), but it really grows on you. Another interesting track was from the Eels – THE MEDICATION IS WEARING OFF from their album ‘Electro-Show Blues’.
Stepping back in time, 1968 to be exact, the Rolling Stones offered up DEAR DOCTOR from their ‘68 album ‘Beggars Banquet’ and that was followed by Aretha Franklin’s version of DR. FEELGOOD.
The White Stripes are just so prolific and their GIRL YOU HAVE NO FAITH IN MEDICINE got the studio rocking, as did The New York Dolls’ with PILLS, where a visit to the hospital seems an almost festive occasion. Dreadful behaviour may have put them there, but happily (for them), the rock’n’roll nurse does a little more than just dispense pills.
Beatnik Filmstars came to my attention with a song called APETHETIC ENGLISH SWINE, which if I was doing a show about Swines, would be a sure-fire inclusion. The band is based in Bristol, England, and the song I included in this show was HOSPITAL WARD. These guys are special, as seen in this great clip, which appears to have a budget of about ten bucks. Excellent!
I never get sick of listening to Jackson Browne’s, DOCTOR MY EYES, from his 1972 debut album Jackson Browne, and his first major hit. Or Gregory Isaacs, for that matter. It was the very sensual NIGHT NURSE that I included in this show. Death Cab for Cutie’s WHAT SARAH SAID is a brilliant study of death and the cruel absurdity of watching someone you love slip away while you stand amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines of a typical hospital. A bit of pop trivia for you: the band took their name from the title of the song written by Neil Innes and Vivian Stanshall and performed by their group, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, in the Beatles 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour.
The early 60s saw the appearance of two successful doctor series on television. Both series began and ended in the same years, running from 1961 to 1966. The programs were Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey. So, it was fun to play the pop tune CALLIN’ DR CASEY that was written and performed by American singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk in 1962. He is probably better known for the classic ‘Tobacco Road’.
Beres Hammand used his smokey voice to beg his baby to come back to him on DOCTORS ORDERS and Doc Pomus entertained us with SEND FOR THE DOCTOR. Pomus had polio as a boy and got around on crutches. Due to post-polio syndrome, he eventually used a wheelchair. So, as well as calling himself ‘Doc’ he probably knew a little bit about the bona fide practitioners. John Lennon asserted that the Beatles song DR ROBERT was about him, because he was the one who carried the pills back then. OK.
Now as my loyal listeners know, I try to include a Roy Orbison song each week, and I’ve never failed to find a song of his to fit the weekly theme. Well I nearly came unstuck this week until at the last minute I fell upon a rare film, shot in 1967, called ‘The Fastest Guitar Alive’. Starring Roy Orbison in his only starring role as an actor, it’s a musical western set near the end of the American Civil War with Orbison portraying a Southern Spy with a bullet-shooting guitar given the task of robbing gold bullion from the United States Mint in San Francisco, in order to help finance the confederacy’s war effort. The poster is a doozy: “Roy Orbison on the screen at last as a Singin’… Shootin’ Son of a gun”, it screams. It would definitely be a collectible today and I would love to get hold of it, or the movie. Anyway…. The soundtrack from the film features music from Roy Orbison and Hank Williams and this is where I found this week’s song: MEDICINE MAN. I agree its not his finest moment, but hey, it’s a theme show, not the ‘best of’’!
To make up for it I followed with a great song by Ry Cooder “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” which could have got me started on the state of the hospital system in this country and how the hell anyone without a substantial bank account can afford to get sick these days. But instead, I let Ry Cooder say it for me.
And then it was the fabulous Dinah Washington with her risqué jazz tune, LONG JOHN BLUES, about a dentist who knows a thing or two about filling cavities. “You thrill me when you drill me”, sings Dinah. Gotta love a girl that looks after her dental hygiene.
A great set followed, with Graham Parker and the Rumour singing about their LADY DOCTOR, Steely Dan about DOCTOR WU and The Replacements pleading TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL.
Another great song, if a little lengthy, is Van Morrison’s T.B. SHEETS. The story, as told in the song, takes place in a hospital room where a young girl lies dying of tuberculosis and is visited by the storyteller. T.B. SHEETS was the opening song, and featured prominently, in the 1999 movie “Bringing Out the Dead”, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Our final song was one that echoed one of my pet hates: SMOKERS OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL DOORS, by The Editors. I’m sure you’ve seen it too…. patients, visitors, doctors, nurses ….. all lurking outside hospital doors, smoking! What are they thinking!
I’m obviously getting way too serious here. So, next week a show that shouldn’t ruffle any feathers: Women’s Names. I promise to try and be a bit creative with this one. And just to keep things equal, Men’s Names the week after. So, if you have anything a bit out of left field for either show, send me a message!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) – Robert Palmer
St. James Infirmary – Louis Armstrong
911 Is A Joke – Public Enemy
Elektro Kardiogramm – Kraftwerk
The Medication is Wearing Off – Eels
Dear Doctor – Rolling Stones
Dr. Feelgood – Aretha Franklin
Pills – New York Dolls
Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine – The White Stripes
Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne
Hospital Ward – Beatnik Filmstars
Roses in the Hospital – Manic Street Preachers
Night Nurse – Gregory Isaacs
What Sarah Said – Death Cab For Cutie
Callin’ Dr. Casey – John D. Loudermilk
Doctor Robert – The Beatles
Send For The Doctor – Doc Pomus
Doctors Orders – Beres Hammond
Medicine Man – Roy Orbison
How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live – Ry Cooder
Call The Doctor – J.J. Cale
Long John Blues – Dinah Washington
Lady Doctor – Graham Parker & The Rumour
Doctor Wu – Steely Dan
Take Me Down To The Hospital -Replacements
T.B. Sheets – Van Morrison
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors
Next week: Women’s Names
Listen to Lyn at The Theme Park on Bay FM 99.9FM 2-4pm Tuesdays, Sydney Time. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
What a weekend! The annual Byron Bay Blues Festival took place and the rain turned it into a mudfest. Highlights for me were Seasick Steve, The Drive By Truckers, Ash Grunwald, The Saltwater Band, James Hunter, Tony Joe White and Watermelon Slim. Lots of inspiration there for my show this week, dedicated to musical instruments. That’s me on the left, looking suitably pleased to have met Seasick Steve at a signing.
One thing I love about the Blues Festival is that you get what seems to be missing at a lot of concerts these days, i.e. the tradition of band leaders introducing all the instruments one by one. It’s why I opened with King Curtis and his ‘Memphis Soul Stew’. There he is, in his musical kitchen, gathering up his ingredients: half a teacup of bass, a pound of fatback drums, a little pinch of organ. Yummy.
I have no discernable musical talent myself and you may joke that its a given, being a radio presenter and all. But I do have a great deal of respect for the bass guitar – that band member traditionally labeled ‘dependable’. So it felt right to get the show moving with a couple of country songs about geetars.
Jerry Reed scored his first hit with ‘Guitar Man’. The story goes that when Elvis quickly dived onto covering it, he had to call Jerry up for some pointers on a particular riff and that’s how Jerry found himself playing guitar on the Elvis version. It’s a spirited anthem for all those guitar-slinging hopefuls amongst us. Steve Earle, on the other hand, named a whole town after his instrument in ‘Guitar Town’. Now don’t tell me that guitarists don’t have ego problems!
‘Guitar Blues’ is a nice piece of old blues from Lonnie Johnson, recognised as the first to play single string guitar solos and a pioneer of the jazz guitar. That’s him at the time he recorded ‘Guitar Blues’, (I think) in the late 1920s.
And then it was time for some brass and woodwind with Ray Montrell telling us all about that ‘Mellow Saxophone’; Dinah Washington and Serge Gainsbourg, on the other hand, are loving the trombone.
Tom Waites blamed the piano on his drinking habit in ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking’. Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ benefited greatly from the harmonica and accordian and then it was onto the hurdy-gurdy and the harmonium just to add some eccentricity.
If, like me, you’re not sure what a hurdy gurdy is: it’s a stringed instrument with both a keyboard and a wheel that acts like a bow that is continuously drawn across the strings by the turning of a handle or crank. The name has also been applied, incorrectly, to the barrel organ. The hurdy-gurdy has filled many and various roled in the world of music. It’s been used by street musicians, beggars, in church music, weddings, parades, chamber music and operas.
And then, at last, it was time for some drumming! Sandy Nelson’s ‘Let There Be Drums’ is a classic as is ‘Different Drum’ by the Stoney Poneys, with Linda Ronstadt. This was written by Mike Nesmith of Monkees fame. Glam-rockers T-Rex suggested that we ‘Bang A Gong, Get It On’. And the Lemon Pipers gave us an ode to all those struggling street musicians with a little piece of psychedelic bubblegum called ‘Green Tambourine’. Check out this crazy clip from the 1968 television show ‘Upbeat’.
Love, love, love Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s ‘Intro and Outro’ introducing their fantasy band: Big John Wayne on Xylophone, Eric Clapton on ukelele, ‘looking very relaxed’ Adolf Hitler on vibes…. you get the idea. A great follow up to that was a whole lot of songs about fiddling: The Davis Sisters with ‘Fiddle Diddle Boogie’, the wonderful Adelaide band, The Audreys, with ‘Banjo and Violin’ and Bill Monroe with ‘Uncle Pen’, dedicated to his fiddle playing uncle. Monroe is best remembered for helping to develop bluegrass. He was also a great mandolin player. Check out this video clip from 1956.
But what’s a show about musical instruments without the saw? Mic Conway’s National Junk Band gave us the ‘Worn Saw Concerto’ with Azo Bell on the musical handsaw. Brilliant.
Tubular bells, more guitars and then The Who belted out a risque little number called ‘Squeeze Box’. More drumming, and one of my favourites tracks of the day, ‘Shortnin’-Henduck’ by Othar Turner and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band. You can find that track, and a whole lot of other fabulous Blues numbers, on the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues Box Set (drawn from his fantastic documentary series). That’s Othar Turner in the pic on the right. BTW: the fife is a reed instrument, made from the sugar cane.
Next up it was some techno. Yep, the computer marries one of the oldest instruments on the planet. Aphex Twin, (or as his mum likes to call him, Richard David James), delivers a thrilling emulation of the didgeridoo’s sound, created entirely by electronic means.
Creedence Clearwater Revival gave us ‘Down on the Corner’, where at last the kazoo player gets a mention. Had to finish with a song about my favourite instrument, the ukelele: Mic Conway’s National Junk Band with ‘Wicky Wacky Woo’ from their latest album Corporate Chook. Band member Philthy Dunnyseat plucks and strums the ukelele in this haunting Aussie-Hawaiian tropical love song. Crooner Conway reminds us that sons of the Hawaiian craze, in the early 20th centruy, were often sung by silly Western romantics who had never been to Polynesia. Excellent stuff.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Memphis Soul Stew – King Curtis
Guitar Man – Jerry Reed
Guitar Town – Steve Earl
Guitar Blues – Lonnie Johnson
(Every Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone – Roy Montrell
Big Long Slidin’ Thing – Dinah Washingon
Black Trombone – Serge Gainsbourg
The Piano Has Been Drinking – Tom Waits
Hurdy Gurdy Man – Donovan
Piano Man – Billy Joel
Music For A Found Harmonium – Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Different Drum – Stoney Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt
Let There Be Drums – Sandy Nelson
Green Tambourine – Lemon Pipers
Bang A Gong Get It On – T-Rex
Mr. Clarinet – Birthday Party
Intro And The Outro – Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band
Fiddle Diddle Boogie – Davis Sisters
Uncle Pen – Bill Monroe
Banjo & Violin – The Audreys
Worn Saw Concrete – Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
Tubular Bells (Intro Theme) – Mike Oldfield
Guitar Man – Bread
As My Guitar Gently Weeps – George Harrison/Beatles
Squeeze Box – The Who
Distant Drums – Roy Orbison
Shortnin’-Henduck – Othar Turner & The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band
I Heard The Marchin’ Of The Drum – C.W. Stoneking
Didgeridoo – Aphex Twin
Down on the Corner – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds
Wicky Wacky Woo – Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
Tune in next week when all our songs will endeavour to give you some ‘Advice’.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time, on BayFM 99.9. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
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!
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 that 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.
This week’s theme was all about sex and drugs, but not just rock n roll. In fact it was a lot of early blues. I just love those early (30s, 40s, 50s) gutsy hot mamas, like Barrel House Annie and Julia and Her Boyfriends who shed their inhibitions and sang about their desires. I also played some C.W. Stoneking, who with his wife Kirsty Fraser, know how to evoke and extend the highly provocative ditty – listen to ‘You Took My Thing’ to find out what I mean. And, of course, there was rock ‘n’ roll with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis as well as the great r&b/soul singers Etta James and Marvin Gaye. And that was just in the first hour!
One of my favourites from the show was Tina Turner singing Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”. Here’s a clip lifted from her ‘Simply the Best’ VCR for you to enjoy. Little wonder that I followed this with Tom Jones singing ‘Sexbomb’.
In the second hour I played a piece of Janis Joplin that clearly showed the influence of the great Bessie Smith. “Mary Jane” is a live performance, recorded in 1965 with the Dick Oxtot Jazz Band. If you want to track it down, look for the 1975 compilation album Janis or the 2007 compilation The Very Best of Janis Joplin. Did you know that Joplin so idolised Bessie Smith that she remedied the scandal of her unmarked grave by organising the appropriate carved inscription: “The greatest blues singer in the world will never stop singing”?
Another discovery for me, thanks to the Bob Dylan Theme Time compilation, is Mary Gauthier. Her song, “I Drink” cuts straight to the bone. What a potent and powerful song, both in its lyrics and its delivery. Apparently Gauthier is a recovered alcoholic who grew up in an abusive and alcoholic household. As Bob Dylan so eloquently puts it, “the song plays like a bittersweet farewell to a dangerous lover.”
Long before she carved out her hugely successful pop career with sensual versions of great love songs, the gorgeous voice of Dinah Washington was used to belt out some very suggestive blues numbers. I included the blatantly lascivious ‘Big Slidin’ Thing’ in this week’s show. It finds Washington pining for her absent man who’s apparently proficient with his extraordinary instrument – a trombone people, a trombone! Such a tragedy that Washington would die at 39, after an accidental overdose of prescription diet pills mixed with alcohol.
My Roy Orbison song this week was ‘Mean Woman Blues’, initially recorded by Elvis as part of the soundtrack for his 1957 motion picture, Loving You. Roy recorded it with ‘Blue Bayou’ in 1963, as a 45rpm single and it went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 1oo music charts. I love the line: ‘Well I ain’t braggin’, it’s understood. Everything I do, well I sure do good’. Oh yeah.
Finished the show with Verve’s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ which, although most listeners might assume is an anti-drugs song, is, in fact, about the father of one of the band members. He was being treated for cancer, the drugs stopped working and he died. Aaargh.
Sorry to end on a bit of a downer. So, let’s get cheerful next week. I overlooked the fact that January 12th (my birthday as well!) was the birthday of Motown. So next week its all things soulful on Theme Park. Hope to have you all listening in. Streaming details at end of this week’s playlist which follows.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Ian Dury
Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway
Dynamite – Cheech and Chong (Comedy clip)
The Old Dope Peddler – Tom Lehrer
Monkey On My Back – Ross Hannaford Trio
Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got – Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends
If it don’t fit – Barrell House Annie
You Took My Thing – C.W. Stoneking
The Girl Can’t Help It – Little Richard
Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
You Can Leave Your Hat On – Joe Cocker
Addicted To Love (with Brian Adams Live) – Tina Turner
Sexbomb – Tom Jones
I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Drug Lists (Movie Clip)
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Cocaine Habit – Captain Matchbox
Mary Jane – Janis Joplin
I Drink – Mary Gauthier
Rocket – Connie Lee
Big Long Slidin’ Thing – Dinah Washington
Afternoon Delight – Starlight Vocal Band
Itchycoo Park – Small Faces
Mean Woman Blues – Roy Orbison
Burning Love – Elvis Presley
Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles
Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones
Cold Turkey – John Lennon
The Drugs Dont Work – The Verve
Next week: The History of Motown!
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at ‘Theme Park’ on Bay FM 99.9, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org