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SWEETS

SWEETS: luscious lollipops, creamy cakes and pies, rich, dark chocolate and sticky toffees. Don’t pretend that these words don’t fill your mind with naughty thoughts. Yes, everyone knows that when songwriters come over all sweet it can only mean one thing, its “sexy time’.

You may be pleased to know that not all the songs on our playlist were about carnal delights. Having said that, we started the show with Bow Wow Wow’s cover of the Strangeloves I WANT CANDY. There is no doubting the sexual nature of this little ditty. “Candy on the beach, there’s nothing better.” “Someday soon I’ll make him mine and then I’ll have candy all the time.” Come on!

Nina Simone is hanging out for some more of something, and I don’t think its sugar, despite what she sings on the classic Blues track SUGAR IN MY BOWL. Big Maybelle is equally audacious. She reckons her man is just a nice piece of  CANDY.

I’ve definitely got a sweet tooth and, so, I was ecstatic to have Jackie and Renee from Brown Betty’s Bakery into the studio to tell us about their boutique business and to giveaway some mouth-watering goodies. I love Brown Betty’s, not just because they have the best baked goods out, but they really know how to work a theme. It’s 50’s retro:  the girls dress the part, the cakes look and taste delicious. During the show we gave away one of their specialties, the whoopie pie. It’s made of two round mound-shaped pieces of cake (usually chocolate), with a sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between them. It’s an American Amish tradition. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as ‘hucklebucks’ at the time) and put them in farmers’ lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout “Whoopie!” How cute is that.

Just for Jackie and Renee I played Dinah Washington’s version of MAKIN WHOOPEE, a case of a song that reverses my premise that all songs about sweet things are really about sex. This is just a song about sex, pure and simple. We followed with the Godfather of funk, Mr James Brown, and a song about another of my favourite treats. The song is called MOTHER POPCORN.

SEX AND CANDY, by Marcy Playground, is a track that doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. No room for innuendo, no sirree. The Four Tops gave us something a little less suspicious:  I CAN’T HELP MYSELF (SUGAR PIE, HONEY BUNCH). This is just one of those songs that puts a smile on your face. And you’ve got to love that.

Iggy Pop has this knack of dueting with the best people. On the track CANDY, he does it again, this time with Kate Pierson from the B-52s.

I try to play a couple of pieces of instrumental in each show, usually as background when we do Community Service Announcements or the local Gig Guide. The two I chose this week were perfect:  First up, Al Hirt with COTTON CANDY, known here in Australia as Fairy Floss. And, of course,  Hot Butter with POPCORN. With the latter, I swear I could not only hear the sound of popcorn popping, I could almost smell it. Mmmmmmm.

I was feeling an insulin rush coming on, so it was time for a little bit of Blues. MY COUNTRY SUGAR MAMA from Howlin’ Wolf was a perfect antidote. He was a big influence on the Rolling Stones so BROWN SUGAR, the opening track on the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers, was a perfect follow up. Seemingly about a favourite sweetener, BROWN SUGAR boasts some scandalous lyrics.  It’s essentially a mix of a number of taboo subjects, including interracial sex, cunnilingus, slave rape, sadomasochism, lost virginity and heroin.

That reminds me, I’ll be joining the Midnight Ramblers this Saturday night between midnight and dawn to help present the Rolling Stones All Nighter. So make sure all you night owls tune in then. Should be fun.

And talking of fun, next up it was a couple of guilty pleasures: Spinal Tap with CUPS AND CAKES and then a childhood hero of mine, The Cookie Monster: “What else starts with C. Who cares! C IS FOR COOKIE.

We followed with a French pop song LES SUCETTES. In English that’s LOLLIPOPS. It was written by Serge Gainsbourg and recorded by an 18 year old France Gall in 1966. On the surface, LES SUCETTES is a pleasant children’s song about a girl who likes aniseed-flavoured lollipops. But Gainsbourg’s lyrics are full of playful double meanings referring to oral sex, which Gall says she simply didn’t understand at the time. Well she was 18 and it was 1966. Naughty Serge!

Call me naive, but I like to think that the next song we played really is innocent. It’s Mille Small’s MY BOY LOLLIPOP. We paired that with the antithesis of innocent: Madonna, with some help from Pharrell, claiming that she’s a one-stop CANDY SHOP. I, for one, believe her.

If you’re looking for a real sugar hit you can’t go past Aqua with CANDYMAN, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs with SUGAR SHACK or The Undertones with MARS BARS. Christina Aguilera broke things up somewhat with her rendition of CANDYMAN and then it back to more bubblegum pop with Mika singing LOLLIPOP. Cute animation in this clip at least:

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers play with my head, in a good way. Certainly the track ICE CREAM MAN seems to be designed to make radio presenters pay attention. It has at last 4 or 5 false endings, but I’m proud to say he didn’t fool me!

All this frivolity needed some tempering. So it was quite a beautiful song, from the very tasty Paolo Nutini, pleading for some CANDY, that did the trick.

The always brilliant Tom Waites contributed CHOCOLATE JESUS and then it was one for all my loyal listeners who have been asking me why I don’t play Roy Orbison, at least as regularly as I used to. Yes, very remiss of me. To fill the void, I chose CANDY MAN. We followed with The Beatles and SAVOY TRUFFLE, a song written by George Harrison about Eric Clapton’s huge sweet tooth.

We closed the show with a a song about a guy whose all upset ’cause “someone left the cake out in the rain.” “He just can’t take it cause it took so long to make it and he’ll never have that recipe again.” Sounds like a bad night on Masterchef doesn’t it? No, it’s MACARTHUR PARK written by the great Jimmy Webb and sung by esteemed actor Richard Harris.

Thanks to Renee and Jackie from Brown Betty’s Bakery for the giveaway of the Whoopee Pies and to everyone who contacted me during the week to say how much they enjoyed last week’s show on UNLIKELEY COVERS.

My sister is having a birthday next Tuesday, so to celebrate, the show next week will be on SISTERS AND BROTHERS. Love to hear from you with your suggestions.

Here’s this week’s full playlist:

I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow

Sugar In My Bowl – Live And Kickin’, Nina Simone

Candy – Candy Disc 1, Big Maybelle

Makin’ Whoopee – The Very Best Of Dinah Washington

Mother Popcorn, Pt. 1 – 20 All-Time Greatest Hits!, James Brown

Sex And Candy – Marcy Playground

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops

Candy (with Kate Pierson of B-52s) – Iggy Pop

Cotton Candy – Al Hirt

Sugar, Sugar – Billboard Top 100 Of 1969, The Archies

My Country Sugar Mama – The Real Folk Blues-More Real, Howlin’ Wolf

Brown Sugar – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2], The Rolling Stones

Cups And Cakes – This Is Spinal Tap, Spinal Tap

C is for Cookie – The Cookie Monster

Les Sucettes – France Galle

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

Candy Shop – Hard Candy, Madonna

Candyman – Aqua, Aqua

Sugar Shack – Rock’n’Roll Love Songs, Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

Mars Bars – The Best Of: Teenage Kicks, The Undertones

Candy Man – Back To Basics, Christina Aguilera

Lollipop – Life In Cartoon Motion, Mika

Popcorn – Hot Butter

Ice Cream Man – Best of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers

Candy – Paolo Nutini

Chocolate Jesus – Tom Waits

Candy Man – The Essential Roy Orbison (Disc 1), Roy Orbison

Savoy Truffle – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 2], The Beatles

MacArthur Park – His Greatest Performances, Richard Harris

Next week: SISTERS & BROTHERS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


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STAR SIGNS

Our theme this week was Star Signs –  songs of the zodiac, songs that highlight the way someone’s birth date can influence their very being (or maybe not).  All the songs on this week’s list try to deal with the notion that we’re emotionally and intellectually influenced by the movement of some distant stars and planets. Some songwriters are more than happy to go along with the idea and some reject the concept outright. We opened the show with Diana Ross and the Supremes singing NO MATTER WHAT SIGN YOU ARE. Written by Berry Gordy and recorded in the the late 60’s it tried to cash in on the success of the musical HAIR and the hit tune AQUARIUS.

For jazz great Cannonball Adderley the zodiac was so fascinating that he devoted a whole 1972 album to it. With narration by DJ Rick Holmes – noted on the sleeve for his “sophisticated rhetoric” – SOUL ZODIAC is seduction par excellence, not to mention a reflection on an era when ‘The Age of Aquarius’ captured everyone’s imagination. If you’re celebrating your birthday this month, like BayFM presenters Helen from Q’s Jazz & Blues or Post Modern Backlash’s Hudson, or my gorgeous daughter Zoe, then you’re a Pisces. So it was fitting that we chose PISCES from Adderley’s album to move the show along.

Kris Kristofferson reminded us that there was a very famous Capricorn who “ate organic foods, believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes”. Yes, JESUS WAS A CAPRICORN. And then it was Creedence Clearwater Revival with a warning: there’s a BAD MOON RISING. Here they are performing the song live, in a rare video clip:

Curtis Mayfield’s “funky woman” decides, rather unfairly I think, that they’re incompatible because of what she reads in the newspaper. He tells us all about it in READINGS IN ASTROLOGY. The Floaters followed with their very groovy 1977 hit FLOAT ON.

Albert King blames the zodiac for all his troubles in BORN UNDER THE BAD SIGN. Albert was born on April 25, which makes him a Taurian. Seems like negativity might be a Taurian trait.

Jamiriquai were having a BLACK CAPRICORN DAY. Singer Jason Kay was born on December 30 and the song is reputedly autobiographical, telling of how he was kicked out of home as a teenager and surviving on the streets. I’m a Cappie myself, so I know how it feels when those occasional dark times descend. Luckily we’re essentially the zodiac’s eternal optimists so there’s always a silver lining under every black cloud. Check out the Jamiriquai video clip:

Talking of optimists,  Adem is totally swept away with the power of the stars in  THESE LIGHTS ARE MEANINGFUL.  Tori Amos seems to be saying farewell to a February/March lover in GOODBYE PISCES.  Cannonball Adderley and DJ Rick Holmes were at it again, this time with  what many consider the best track from the SOUL ZODIAC album, CAPRICORN.

The Moody Blues delivered a song for all my crazy, brilliant, Gemini mates: GEMINI DREAM. Check out this video of them performing live in 1984 at Wembley Arena. Little bit of overkill on the smoke machine, methinks, but you’ve got to love the Moodies.

It’s been raining cats and dogs up here in the North, so a dose of the The Fifth Dimension with AQUARIUS and LET THE SUNSHINE IN lifted the mood somewhat and, hopefully, will influence the weatherman.

Some more Cannonball Adderley (it’s a great album, really!): Having already heard about the water sign PISCES and the earth sign CAPRICORN, it was time to find out about the fire sign ARIES. Prince couldn’t care less what sign you are, all he wants is your KISS.

Teenage Fanclub try to dismiss the power a star sign can hold: “Hey, there’s a horseshoe on my door,” they sing, “big deal. Hey, there’s a black cat on the floor, big deal.” But the Fanclub accept that people’s days are changed by whatever they wish to believe. For Rush, the question of whether the “stars aren’t aligned, or the gods are malign” is very simple. “I will choose a path that’s clear,” they proclaim. “I will choose freewill.” Hmmm, now there’s some food for thought. Check out the video of Rush performing live in 1981. Brilliant.

Regina Spektor is another favourite if mine. She’s an Aquarius and she’s recorded a song of the same name that’s intensely personal and worth checking out if you are also one of those  highly intelligent, humanitarian people born under this particular water sign.

A great piece of instrumental followed, called SCORPIO, from the brilliant jazz guitarist and ex-Funk Brother, Dennis Coffey. This guy has played with all the soul greats, including Mavin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder….. the list goes on. And he’s white! Just goes to show, there’s no colour barrier to soul. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

More Cannonball Adderley (can I help it if the guy’s a genius and he just so happened to record a whole album that suited the theme?). He gives the air sign LIBRA its due attention, and we know that Librans like attention don’t we! . German Big Bander Gunter Noris contributed the track GEMINI from an album called ‘The In Kraut Hip Shaking Grooves”. I kid you not. The 70’s have a lot to answer for.

SAGITTARIUS SILVER ANNOUNCEMENT is from the album Embryonic, by the band that dared to remake Dark Side of the Moon and actually got away with it – the Flaming Lips. I don’t have a decent clip of them performing this great track, but I encourage you to check out their very good website at http://www.flaminglips.com

The next double was a very moving one. First up it was George Harrison with a song about his own star sign, PISCES FISH and we followed with one of the most beautiful tunes I’ve heard of late, GUIDING STAR by Neil Finn. It was recorded on the album Caution: Life Ahead as a fundraiser for the Buttery rehabilitation centre here in the Northern Rivers.

Now I did choose to cover Western Astrology for this week’s show but I want to recognise that this is the Chinese Year of the Tiger. For those of you born under this sign you are courageous, daring, confident and a born leader. But you can be unpredictable and tempestuous, sometimes territorial and possessive. Because 2010 s the Year of the Metal Tiger, it also brings you additional strength and determination. And in celebration of what looks like a dynamic year for all of us, and as a tribute to all the Leos out there, we closed the show with Al Stewart’s YEAR OF THE CAT.  Kung Hei Fat Choy! That is, I hope this year brings you all good fortune and prosperity.

I’m often quoted as saying that I’ll do a show on almost anything, including fruit and vegetables and I realized I hadn’t actually created a show about these very healthy food items, so next week FRUIT AND VEGIES it is. Whatchagot?

Here’s this week’s playlist:

No Matter What Sign You Are – Diana Ross & the Supremes
Pisces – Cannonball Adderley
Jesus Was A Capricorn – Kris Kristofferson
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Readings In Astrology – Curtis Mayfield
Float On – The Floaters
Born Under The Bad Sign – Albert King
Sunrise in Aries – God is an Astronaut
Black Capricorn Day – Jamiroquai
These Lights Are Meaningful – Adem
Goodbye Pisces – Tori Amos
Capricorn – Cannonball Adderley
Gemini Dream – Moody Blues
Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In – The Fifth Dimension
Aries – Cannonball Adderley
Kiss – Prince
Star Sign – Teenage Fanclub
Freewill – Rush
Aquarius – Regina Spektor
Scorpio – Dennis Coffey
Libra – Cannonball Adderley
Gemini – Günter Noris
Sagittarius Silver Announcement – The Flaming Lips
Pisces Fish – George Harrison
Guiding Star – Neil Finn
Year of the Cat – Al Stewart
Next week: FRUIT & VEGETABLES

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

FAMOUS PEOPLE

images-3Researching a show where all the songs referenced famous people was actually quite enlightening. Who knew that so many famous people felt compelled to record songs about other famous people? I suppose there’s a little bit of the fan in all of us. It was a shame that I had used up some very good songs that would have fitted the theme during my Men’s Names and Women’s Names shows, but there were still plenty of tracks left over to fit the bill. I did try and stay away from the more mawkish tribute songs, so no Candle in the Wind amongst this lot I’m afraid.

We opened the show with the Beloved’s HELLO. The song mentions a number of famous people chosen to loosely fit a “saints and sinners” theme. Those that get a nod include Jeffery Archer, Fred Astaire, Little Richard, Barry Humphries and Charlie Parker. I like the way the Supremes are simply called “Mary Wilson, Di and Flo”. Even Fred Flintstone gets a mention.

Next it was another song with a list. Eminem recently won the MTV award for Best Hip Hip Video for WE MADE YOU. The song spoofs, among others, Sarah Palin, Amy Winehouse and Jessica Simpson. Hopefully it hasn’t reached viewer saturation point yet, ’cause here it is again:

imagesAllanah Myles’ #1 hit, BLACK VELVET is about Elvis Presley. It can refer to either his likeness frequently being painted on black velvet or his voice. Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Black Velvet was the name of the hair dye that Elvis used to give his naturally brown hair its distinctive black sheen. 

SWEET GENE VINCENT remained in Ian Dury’s set list for almost his entire career, even after other songs had been dropped because of the singer’s worsening images-2health. It was played at his very last concert at the London Palladium in February 2000 and is still performed by The Blockheads. Ian Dury was arguably Gene Vincent’s biggest fan and he claims to have bought every single that Vincent ever produced. Dury’s stage clothes also reflected Vincent’s influence, notably black leather gloves. Dury constantly denied that his identification with the singer, who was also crippled and forced to wear a leg brace, was in any way an attraction. He claimed that he didn’t even know Vincent was crippled when he first became a fan. According to Dury, it was all about the voice and his look. That’s Gene Vincent on the left and here is a clip of Ian Dury and the Blockheads performing at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea in 1979. The big bonus is the addition of Mick Jones from the Clash. Brilliant. 

BETTE DAVIS EYES was a huge hit for Kim Carnes. Even Bette Davis herself was a fan. The actress admitted to loving the song and approached Carnes and the songwriters to thank them. She said that it made her seem very up-to-date with her grandson. She had Carnes sing the song live for her at a tribute held just before her death.

I included a  couple more songs about actors: Bree Sharp’s song about DAVID DUCHOVNY proves that she is also an adoring fan of the actor from X-Files and, more recently, Californication. Billy Bragg & Wilco gave us a song dedicated to INGRID BERGMAN, with lyrics by Woodie Guthrie.

images-4David Bowie played the song ANDY WARHOL to the artist, who reportedly disliked it as he thought the lyrics made fun of his physical appearance. When the song had finished playing, Warhol and Bowie supposedly just stared at each other for a while until Warhol said “I like your shoes” and the pair then had a conversation about shoes. As you do.

The Modern Lovers sang about another artist, PABLO PICASSO and Simon & Garfunkle contributed a song about the great American architect FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

The ever-cheerful ska star, Prince buster, was more concerned with spelling the name of his subject in AL CAPONE. A guilty pleasure followed: Boney M with RASPUTIN. Who knew that this Russian baddie was a raging love machine? Here’s the clip, just to remind you of how much fun disco actually was:

Although David Bowie admits that JEAN GENIE is a clumsy pun on the name of the author Jean Genet, he claims that the real subject of the song is his friend Iggy Pop. The line “He’s so simple minded, he can’t drive his module” would later give the band Simple Minds their name. There are several clips of this song available but take a look at this one. I chose it just because of the outfit. Oh, and the band rocks too.

Morphine gave us a song not just about, but in the style of, the American beat poet and author Jack KEROUAC. And then it was Bob Dylan with his protest song HURRICANE about the boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter. The song compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trail and conviction. The song is credited with helping to overturn the conviction.

images-5We lightened the mood somewhat with a bit of Pop from Bananarama: ROBERT DE NIRO’S WAITING. And then it was The Clash with their song about the another actor, Montgomery Clift, who, after a serious accident, could only be shot from THE RIGHT PROFILE (see left).

U2 paid homage to singer Billie Holiday with their song ANGEL OF HARLEM and then The Barenaked Ladies told the story of a man whose life parallels that of the Beach Boys’ BRIAN WILSON, particularly during his time spent with a psychologist.

Two tracks followed that are quite critical of their subjects. Carly Simon with a song supposedly about Warren Beatty – YOU’RE SO VAIN and then it was Modest Mouse with BUKOWSKI. “Yeah, I know he’s a pretty good read, but God, who’d want to be such an a….hole.” True.

Next was a wonderful song from George Harrison, dedicated to John Lennon: ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. Here, in tribute to both of them, is the clip. 

We closed the show with one of my favourite new artists, Julian Velard, with JIMMY DEAN & STEVE McQEEN.  

Here’s the complete playlist. If the title doesn’t tell the story, I’ve bracketed the person who the song is about.

 

Hello (various) 4:19 The Beloved Happiness Pop 4
We Made You 4:48 Eminem Relapse Hip-Hop 2
Black Velvet (About Elvis) 4:49 Alannah Myles The Very Best of Alannah Myles Rock 3
Sweet Gene Vincent 3:33 Ian Dury Alternative 5
Sir Duke (Duke Ellington) 3:52 Stevie Wonder Songs In The Key Of Life Funk 5
Bette Davis Eyes 3:50 Kim Carnes Mistaken Identity Pop 2
Michael Caine 3:37 Madness Total Madness: The Very Best Of Madness Alternative 4
David Duchovny 4:09 Bree Sharp Pop/Rock 3
Ingrid Bergman 1:51 Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue Folk Rock 4
Andy Warhol 3:57 David Bowie Rock 4
Pablo Picasso 4:21 The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers Alternative 2
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright 3:43 Simon & Garfunkel Bridge over Troubled Water Folk Rock 2
Marvin Gaye 3:10 Josh Rouse Home Folk/Roots/Pop 8
Al Capone 2:59 Prince Buster FABulous Greatest Hits Ska 8
Rasputin 4:26 Boney M. Gold: 20 Super Hits Soul and R&B 2
The Jean Genie 4:07 David Bowie Aladdin Sane Classic Rock 2
Kerouac 2:55 Morphine AlternRock – Blues 2
Hurricane (about Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter) 8:32 Bob Dylan Folk/Rock
Robert De Niro’s Waiting 3:29 Bananarama The Very Best of Bananarama Pop 3
The Right Profile (About Montgomery Clift) 3:58 The Clash London Calling Alternative & Punk 1
Angel Of Harlem (about Billie Holiday) 3:49 U2 Rattle And Hum Rock 4
Brian Wilson 4:47 Barenaked Ladies Rock Ballad 2
You’re So Vain (Warren Beatty) 4:45 Carly Simon Greatest Hits Live Rock 2
Bukowski 4:16 Modest Mouse Good News For People Who Love Alternative 2
All Those Years Ago (John Lennon) 3:45 George Harrison Somewhere in England Rock

Hello (various) – The Beloved

We Made You (various) – Eminem

Black Velvet (Elvis Presley) – Alannah Myles

Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury

Sir Duke (Duke Ellington) – Stevie Wonder

Bette Davis Eyes –  Carnes

Michael Caine – Madness

David Duchovny  – Bree Sharp

Ingrid Bergman – Billy Bragg & Wilco

Andy Warhol – David Bowie

Pablo Picasso – The Modern Lovers

So Long Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon & Garfunkel

Marvin Gaye – Josh Rouse

Al Capone – Prince Buster

Rasputin – Boney M.

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Kerouac  – Morphine

Hurricane (Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter) – Bob Dylan

Robert De Niro’s Waiting – Bananarama

The Right Profile  (Montgomery Clift) – The Clash

Angel Of Harlem (Billie Holiday) – U2

Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies

You’re So Vain (Warren Beatty) – Carly Simon

Bukowski – Modest Mouse

All Those Years Ago (John Lennon) – George Harrison

Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen – Julian Velard

Next week: COVERS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS

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

No longer on Twitter! I’m not that tragic after all.

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