Insects and spiders can be an absolute nuisance, especially in summer. They get in our hair, on our skin, even in our beds. They suck our blood and destroy our veggie gardens. But they also keep nature in balance, if we don’t go crazy with insecticides that is. And without those busy little bees we wouldn’t have all that lovely honey. So, like most of the subjects I pick for this show, our relationship with these creeping, crawling, flying and buzzing creatures is a complex one.
James Brown knows what I mean. He’s got ANTS IN HIS PANTS AND HE NEEDS TO DANCE Ouch! A great follow up to that was English soul singer Alice Russell with A FLY IN THE HAND. Here she is performing live in 2008. Great voice.
The B-52s’ song JUNE BUG is about a little beetle that only comes out at night. Sounds like a friend of mine. Lead singer, Fred Schneider, says the song’s message is to “go organic, don’t use pesticides”. Excellent. Loving the sound effects too.
Jason Mraz followed with a nice piece of pop about a BUTTERFLY and then it was Nina Simone with probably the best title for a song this week: FUNKIER THAN A MOSQUITO’S TWEETER. What is a mosquito’s tweeter? I have no idea and neither did any of our listeners when I asked. Anyone who does, please let me know.
The Eels do a great song about relationships, (the love/hate kind), called ANT FARM. And I’ve always loved Carly Simon’s version of ITSY BITSY SPIDER too. Who knew that there could be so many good songs about insects?
The Blues artists know how to make a song on any subject sound provocative. Slim Harpo does it to perfection with the very suggestive I’M A KING BEE. But if you want a funny song about a creepy crawly then you can’t go past country singer Jim Stafford’s rendition of SPIDERS & SNAKES.
Our hard-working BayFM President, Ros, suggested Ziggy Marley’s DRAGONFLY. Did you know that dragonflies can fly both forward and backward? And they can fly up to 30 miles an hour. Perfect choice for someone who doesn’t ever seem to stay still.
The Who’s BORIS THE SPIDER was written by the band’s bassist John Entwistle. It was supposedly Jimi Hendrix’s favourite Who song. Go figure.
I love the quirkiness of the Presidents of the United States and BOLL WEEVIL is a great example of their crazy novelty punk style. It’s from their self-titled album, released in 1995.
Butterflies have to be one of the most beautiful creatures on earth and they are just so important ecologically, as agents of pollination. So I made sure that there were a few songs about these wonderful flying insects in the show. One of my favourites is by Corrine Bailey Rae. She says that the song BUTTERFLY was written with her Mum in mind.
Another terrific butterfly song is by Chakra Khan. It’s called PAPILLON, which if my schoolgirl French serves me correctly, also means butterfly.
Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. So it seemed the right time to introduce Adam Ant with his signature tune, ANTMUSIC.
Louie the Fly introduced a couple of songs about a much maligned little insect:
SHOO FLY PIE AND APPLE PAN DOWDY, by Doris Day, isn’t so much about a fly than about a pie made with molasses. This sticky, sweet substance attracts flies that have to be “shood” away. Tim Buckley’s song BUZZIN’ FLY is also about being attracted to something sweet, but in this case it’s a girl’s affections.
Did you know that the humble cockroach has been around for over 350 million years?
They Might Be Giants, do a very cheeky version of the SPIDER MAN theme song that had to be included. And then it was another suggestion from Andrew, one of the few Theme Park listeners who could come up with a suggestion for this week’s topic. It was a terrific song that I had totally forgotten: A SONG FROM UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS by Magazine. Here they are performing on the Jools Holland show in 2009:
We definitely needed a bit more Blues in the show, especially as I was giving away a great DVD, RED, WHITE AND BLUES, part of the 7 part series on the Blues by Martin Scorsese. This part, on the Blues in Britain, was directed by Mike Figgis, director of the film Leaving Las Vegas. Congratulations Mike who won that. Enjoy.
So, looking for more Blues, I couldn’t go past John Lee Hooker’s song about spiders, CRAWLIN’ BLACK SPIDER.
Robyn Hitchcock has a bit of a thing about spiders with both an album and an EP with tarantula in the name, but INSECT MOTHER is actually from his first album with The Egyptians, Fegmania.
Andrew had another great suggestion: Iggy Pop’s LOCO MOSQUITO. Heres a bit of insect trivia for you: Did you know that a mosquito beats its wings an amazing 500 times per second? No wonder I can never catch the little buggers.
The Dire Straits song THE BUG is about how random life is. One minute you’re the windshield, the next you’re the bug. So yeah, live life to the fullest is what I suppose they are suggesting, because you never know when it might all end.
On that note, its only fair that we finished the show on an up note. What better than something from disco diva Tina Charles. She’s been bitten by the best bug of all: THE LOVE BUG.
I’d love to have your suggestions for next week’s show which, as a lead up to my election show the following week, will be on TRUTH AND LIES. I think this has the potential to be a really interesting show, so get your thinking caps on.
For now, here’s this week’s full playlist:
I Got Ants In My Pants -The Big Payback, James Brown
A Fy in the Hand (Remix) – Alice Russell
Junebug – Cosmic Thing, B52s
Butterﬂy – We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, Jason Mraz
Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter – Nina Simone
Ant Farm – Electro-Shock Blues, Eels
Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider – Greatest Hits Live, Carly Simon
Glow Worm Cha-Cha-Cha – Ultra Lounge, Jackie Davis
I’m A King Bee – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Slim Harpo
Spiders & Snakes – Jim Stafford
Dragonﬂy (Live) – Love Is My Religion Re-release, Ziggy Marley
There’s A Change In The Weather (extract to intro Weather update) Preservation Act 1, The Kinks
Boris the Spider – My Generation: The Very Best of the Who, The Who
Boll Weevil – The Presidents of the United States, The Presidents of the United States
Butterﬂy – Corinne Bailey Rae, Corrine Bailey Rae
Papillon – The Platinum Collection, Chaka Khan
Antmusic – Antbox 2, Adam Ant
Louie the Fly (Mortein ad)
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy – The Story of Jazz, Doris Day
Buzzin’ Fly – The Dream Belongs To Me, Tim Buckley
La Cucharacha – Born Free, The George Mann Orchestra
Spider Man – They Might Be Giants
A Song from Under the Floorboards – Real Life and Thereafter / Forum, Magazine
Crawlin Black Spider – Boom Boom CD2, John Lee Hooker
Loco Mosquito – The Best of Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop
Insect Mother – Luminous Groove, Robyn Hitchcock And The Egyptians
The Bug – On Every Street, Dire Straits
Love Bug – Greatest Hits, Tina Charles
Next week: TRUTH & LIES
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
This week we paid homage to Winter which started June 1, here in the Southern hemisphere. So it was a case of battening down, buttoning up and making the most of it! We opened the show with IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE (BUT IN MY HEART ITS SPRING), a wonderfully optimistic tune by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a group created by the master of smooth soul himself, Barry White.
For this show, as usual, I pilfered from all genres, from jazz and r&b through to folk, country and pop, with lots of rock, both classic and alternative thrown in for good measure. And we even got Tom Waites to read the weather!
As it was raining, yet again, here in the Northern Rivers, we set the mood with a great terrific piece of doo wop from the Spaniels: STORMY WEATHER and then it was a great version of BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE by Tom Jones with Cerys Matthews from Catatonia. This take on Frank Loesser’s pop standard certainly cements Tom’s reputation with the laaadies. The video for this is so camp, you must check it out:
Sarah McLachlan offered up SONG FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT while Annie Lennox sang about the COLD with such intensity that I could almost feel it penetrating my bones. And then the Pixies belted out a fantastic, upbeat version of Neil Young’s WINTERLONG.
The Hank Williams song COLD COLD HEART has been covered by many artists but you know that I had to include Roy Orbison’s version, which I love. It’s from his Hank Williams tribute album. We followed that with Sister Hazel and YOUR WINTER and Simon & Garfunkle’s A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER.
Our mild winters, here in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, help to make this a very pleasant place to live all year round. So when you start whingeing (like I do) about how cold the nights are, consider some of these CHILLING FACTS:
1. Charlotte Pass (NSW) has the Australian record for the lowest recorded temperature. It was -23 degrees C on 18/6/94.
2. In Vostok, Antartica, the lowest minimum temperature in the world was recorded on 5/2/1892. It was -89.2 degrees C.
Brrrr. Thank goodness we’ve got music to warm the cockles of our hearts. What does that mean exactly? What are the cockles of your heart? Really, I’m perplexed, so if anyone knows how this saying came about I’d love to know.
Gwen Stefani is surprisingly good with her rendition of EARLY WINTER as is one of last year’s big discoveries, Fleet Foxes with WHITE WINTER HYMNAL. And for all you animation freaks, (of which I am one), here is the amazing video clip for you to savour.
A very moving tune by the Eels from their album, Electro-Shock Blues followed. DEAD OF WINTER was written largely as a response to frontman Mark Oliver Everett’s sister’s suicide and his mother’s terminal cancer. Although that sounds rather bleak, the album’s underlying message is a positive one, about coping with life’s tragedies and moving forward. I absolutely love the honesty of this album and highly commend it to you.
After Bobby Bland’s tortured COLD DAY IN HELL, we definitely needed a bit of cheering up and Fats Domino delivered with LET THE FOUR WINDS BLOW.
Here’s another Chilling Fact about Winter: Wind chill is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder. Brrr and double Brrrr.
Now someone who knows all about chilly winds and cool temperatures is Tom Waites. He very kindly presented the weather, of sorts, with his EMOTIONAL WEATHER REPORT. Here is a version that he performed in 1977 in Berlin, but if you can get a copy of his 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner, you will get what I think is a better, and still live, performance. But hey, check this one out, still highly amusing for all kinds of reasons.
It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, if you’ve got a lover to keep you warm. So says Billy Holiday who sang I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM and then it was Muddy Waters with BLOW WIND BLOW. And a first for Theme Park, was Madonna with a perfect piece of pop for a show about Winter: FROZEN, from her Ray of Light album.
Led Zeppelin gave us their IMMIGRANT SONG, written while on a tour of Iceland in 1970 and I couldn’t really leave out Foreigner with COLD AS ICE or STONE COLD from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, could I?
Belle & Sebastian’s very twee THE FOX IN THE SNOW and the equally cutesy CLOUDY from Simon & Garfunkle sequed beautifully into ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN IN THE MARKET. This very silly tune is classic Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
I was obviously going a bit nutty with my winter tracks and so there was no stopping the delirium. Why not play Trans Siberian Orchestra with their crazy bit of Orchestral Rock, WIZARDS IN WINTER? But hopefully my credibility was saved with The White Stripes and IN THE COLD COLD NIGHT. Congrats to Meg White who recently married Jackson Smith, son of Patti Smith. Now there’s a gene pool for you!
OH LARSEN B, by British Sea Power from their 2005 album, Open Season followed, along with a cutey by The Fiery Furnaces: TROPICAL ICELAND. And a crazy video clip to match – check it out:
Final song for the show was one of my obsessions. AC/DC with THUNDERSTRUCK. And no matter how many times I see this video, I can’t get enough of Angus and that glass runway. May as well add to the 21 million hits on YouTube. So, here it is, just because I can!
Another one of my obsessions has given me the topic for next week – SHOES! So send me some suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, here is the complete playlist from this week:
It may be Winter Outside (But in my Heart it’s Spring) – Love Unlimited Orchestra
Baby its Cold Outside – Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles
Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah Mclachlan
Cold – Annie Lennox
Winterlong – The Pixies
Cold, Cold, Heart – Roy Orbison
Your Winter – Sister Hazel
A Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Early Winter – Gwen Stefani
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Dead of Winter – Eels
Cold Day in Hell – Bobby Bland
Let The Four Winds Blow – Fats Domino
Emotional Weather Report -Tom Waits
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Billie Holiday
Blow Wind Blow – Muddy Waters
Frozen – Madonna
Stone Cold – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Cold As Ice – Foreigner
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
Abominable Snowman In The Market – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Cloudy – Simon & Garfunkel
The Fox In The Snow – Belle & Sebastian
Wizards in Winter – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
In The Cold Cold Night – The White Stripes
Tropical Iceland – The Fiery Furnaces
Oh Larsen B – British Sea Power
Thunderstruck – ACDC
Next week’s show: SHOES
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park on BayFM 99.9 every Tuesday 2-4pm (Sydney time). Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org