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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


FROM NOUGHT TO WHATEVER…

I decided to be more playful than usual this week as I set out to compile a playlist of song titles that mentioned numbers. Easy-peasy, you’re thinking. Sure, but there was a condition. The songs had to be played in numerical sequence. I got to choose from pop, rock, country & jazz so it couldn’t be that hard, right?  Right.

The show kicked off with LESS THAN ZERO by Elvis Costello and moved right into a beautiful track from Lamb, ZERO. Numero Uno was a piece of cake as I have already done a whole show  just on the #1 so plenty to choose from there. I decided that should go with my #1 favourite artist, Roy Orbison with a song from the album, Mystery Girl,  THE ONLY ONE.  Another fave took over the #2 spot:  Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston with IT TAKES TWO. And for #3 it was none other than the great Sarah Vaughan who, like a lot of us, only needs THREE LITTLE WORDS.

FOUR STRONG WINDS is a classic Canadian song by the legendary Canadian singer Neil Young. The perfect follow-up came from the adorable Nanci Griffith with LOVE AT THE FIVE AND DIME. Here she is performing live at the BBC:

The great reggae artist Gregory Isaacs, known as the ‘Cool Ruler’ sadly passed away late last year. His song SIX MONTHS filled the #6 spot and for #7 it had to be The White Stripes with SEVEN NATION ARMY. Such a shame that they’ve gone their separate ways.

There was only one #8 for this baby boomer: The Beatles with EIGHT DAYS A WEEK. And, for #9 Wilson Pickett with ENGINE NUMBER NINE, of course. Pure funk.

Brothers, by the Black Keys, was one of my album picks of 2010 so including TEN CENT PISTOL from that album was a no-brainer. Here they are performing live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Excellent.

Cyndi Lauper features on David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim’s concept album Here Lies Love which is based on the lives of Imelda Marcos and her nanny Estrella Cumpas.  The official video clip of  ELEVEN DAYS is set against a Philippine movie of 1965 “Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story”, starring Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzalez.

I do love a bit of gospel singing, so Buddy Greene was in with TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY. Dickie Thompson is also evangelical, but not in the usual sense. He sings about THIRTEEN WOMEN and only one man in town. Now if I was a bloke I’d say he was a lucky b…..d!  But being a woman, living in a small town, it sounds irritatingly familiar!

Next up, it was the genius that is Tiny Tim with all kinds of things to say about the number FOURTEEN. Not the usual Tiny Tim we’re used to hearing. I, for one, miss the ukelele I must admit. And I miss Tiny Tim who died of a heart attack in 1996 at the age of 64.

Number 15 in our playlist was another no-brainer: the almighty Radiohead with 15 STEPS. Here they are peforming live for their VH1 special:

We kept moving through the teenage years with gusto as Chuck Berry took the #16 spot with SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN. And then Janis Ian calmed everything down with her incredibly insightful tune, AT SEVENTEEN.

The  Stellas took the 18th spot with 18 from their 2008 album Cry Baby Cry.  Time then for another classic: Steely Dan’s HEY NINETEEN. “Way back in 1967….”


For all the Bluegrass fans, I had to include Jimmy Martin’s 20:20 VISION and then it was a nice piece of rockabilly, suggested by Andy, Eddie Cochran’s TWENTY FLIGHT ROCK.

Rappers 50 cent and Nate Dogg have 21 QUESTIONS for their girlfriend. Not sure us girls need that much interrogation, but hey what do I know? This video has already gathered over 35million hits on You Tube! With lines like “I loves you like a fat kid likes cake”. Go figure!

Lily Allen knows how to churn out pop tunes and 22 is a good example. We followed that with the wonderful Brothers Johnson and another soul standard,  STRAWBERRY LETTER 23.

Our two hours was almost up so only time for two more tunes in our attempt to get from zero to infinity.  The #24 spot was filled by Bobby Bland’s TWENTY FOUR HOUR BLUES and the finale was handed to Edwin Starr’s TWENTY FIVE MILES. OMG what a voice! Brilliant. Wish I’d been at this particular concert.


We’ll continue our numerical exercise next week, starting at #26. So why not send me a message with suggestions for that list which should probably limit itself from 26-51. Let’s see how we go.

Until then, here’s this week’s full playlist:

Less Than Zero – Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True Pop

Zero – Lamb,  Lamb

The Only One – Roy Orbison, Mystery Girl

It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, Ready Steady Go! The Sixties Sound Of Motown [Disc 1]

Three Little Words – Sarah Vaughan, The Mercury Jazz Story [Disc 1]

Four Strong Winds – Neil Young, Comes a Time

Love at the Five and Dime – Nanci Griffith, The Last of the True Believers

Six Months – Gregory Isaacs, Brand New Me

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes, Elephant

Eight Days A Week – The Beatles, Beatles For Sale

Engine Number Nine – Wilson Pickett , Chronicles

Ten Cent Pistol – The Black Keys, Brothers

Eleven Days – David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love

Twelve Gates To The City – Buddy Greene, A Few More Years

Thirteen Women – Dickie Thompson, Ultimate Rhythm & Soul Collection [Disc 1]

Fourteen – Tiny Tim, Girl

15 Step – Radiohead, In Rainbows

Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry, Yesterdays Gold Vol 07

At Seventeen – Janis Ian, Echoes Of The Radio [Disc 1]

18 – The Stellas, Cry Baby Cry

Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan, A Decade Of Steely Dan

20:20 Vision – Jimmy Martin

Twenty Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran, Big Artist Selection – Eddie Cochran

21 Questions – 50 Cent & Nate Dogg

22 – Lily Allen, It’s Not Me, It’s You

Strawberry Letter 23 – The Brothers Johnson, Strawberry Letter 23/The Very Best Of The Brothers Johnson

Twenty-Four Hour Blues – Bobby “Blue” Bland, Dreamer

Twenty-Five Miles – Edwin Starr

Next week:  FROM NOUGHT TO WHATEVER (Part 2)

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

SONGS ABOUT NIGHT

NIGHT is a time that’s often associated with danger and the fear of the unknown. Midnight, especially, has a particular importance in human imagination and culture. Seances, for instance, are usually conducted around this time. And then, of course there are the vampires and werewolves, who only come out at night. Yes, there’s lots happening out there in the dark! When it comes to song lyrics, however, night-time is a great time for love-making. As Ray Charles points out, NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We opened the show with HERE COMES THE NIGHT. The song was originally recorded in 1964 by Lulu but the version we played was a huge hit for the band Them and their lead vocalist Van Morrison in 1965.

I’m pretty impressed by the very talented singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens who contributed one of the few songs on the list that references the occult. THEY ARE NIGHT ZOMBIES! THEY ARE NEIGHBOURS! THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD! AHHH is from his 2005 album Illinois. Here he is performing live with the very cute Illnoisemakers:

We followed with supreme soul singer Marvin Gaye with IF I SHOULD DIE TONIGHT. It’s from his classic 1973 album Let’s Get It On. Serving as Gaye’s first venture into the funk genre and romance-themed music, Let’s Get It On incorporates smooth soul, doo-wop and quiet storm. It’s been noted by critics for its sexually-suggestive lyrics, and was cited by one writer as “one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded”. Woohoo.

And talking of Woohoo, thanks to the Woohoo Review Band who donated their latest album, Dear Animals, for a giveaway on the show this week. They’re a Melbourne based, gypsy style band and the song we played from the album, MR 9 O’CLOCK was a good example of the madcap dance tunes that inhabit the album.

Tim Buckley’s song NIGHTHAWKIN’ is from one of my all time favourite album, Greetings From LA. Recorded in 1972 at Far Out Studios in Hollywood (rivalled only by Hitsville USA, surely, as one of the best names for a recording studio), it didn’t sell well when it was first released. Now its a classic. Go figure.
Had to play Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons’ standard, DECEMBER 1963 (OH WHAT A NIGHT). A little bit doo-wop, a little bit rock n roll, you can’t not like The Four Seasons:


They say that Frank Sinatra was at his best vocally in the 1950’s and it’s hard to argue when you listen to IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING . That goes out to Inchie who does a great show on BayFM on Friday’s 4-6pm, called Strictly Vinyl.

Back to the 70’s. The Eagles were one of the most successful recording artists of the period. Their 1975 album, One of These Nights, was the last album to feature founding member Bernie Leadon, who left the band during the One of These Nights tour, disillusioned with the direction the band were going in. With the departure of Leadon, the Eagles’ early country sound almost completely disappeared and the band moved on to a harder sound. One Of These Nights would prove to be a breakthrough album for the band, making them international superstars.


You all know by now that I consider Roy Orbison the patron saint of Theme Park and I realise that I’ve played this song before, but hey, what the …. had to give Roy’s I DROVE ALL NIGHT another play. Jeff Lynne remixed Orbison’s 1987 recordings for the posthumous album King of Hearts of which I DROVE ALL NIGHT was one of the tracks.

Brilliant reggae artist Gregory Isaacs passed away on October 25 after a long battle with lung cancer. So of course, I had to play his signature tune NIGHT NURSE.

I’m also a bit of a Tom Waits fan and his debut studio album, Closing Time, recorded in 1973 is an absolute classic.  It was produced and arranged by Lovin’ Spoonful member Jerry Yester. The song we chose was MIDNIGHT LULLABY. Then it was time to go way back to 1953 and some New Orleans Blues with Professor Longhair singing IN THE NIGHT. I’m pretty sure Tom would have approved.

Opening the second hour of the show was Gladys Knight & the Pips with their 1973 number one hit single, MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA. Oh my God, The Pips, the moves! Check it out:

Two goodies from 1965 followed. Maryanne Faithful sang of  SUMMER NIGHTS and The Strangeloves did a great version of NIGHT TIME. The Strangeloves were a New York garage band who created a false back-story that they were Australian sheep farmers. I don’t think it helped their record sales somehow, so not sure what that was all about!

Here’s a quirky Blues number for you: Zulu Bollin with WHY DON’T YOU EAT WHERE YOU SLEPT LAST NIGHT? Reasonable question, surely.

The 85 year old B.B. King is still going strong and, in fact, will be here next April for the Byron Blues Festival. I, for one, can’t wait. We played the sublime NIGHT LIFE with King and Willie Nelson. How great would it be to see Willie Nelson at the Festival? One can only hope and pray I ‘spose.

Another of my faves is Bob Seger. You can’t sit still to anything he plays and that includes NIGHT MOVES.

I also can’t get enough of Tom Waits so we had to play LOOKING FOR THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT from the album of the same name, released in 1974. The album cover is based on THE WEE SMALL HOURS by Frank Sinatra, which we had played earlier in the show.


Van Morrison thinks he knows how to have a WILD NIGHT. But I have a feeling that The Rolling Stones might know a thing or two about that too. LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER was written by bad boys Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was originally released as a single in 1967.  Here’s a clip from Top of the Pops from that same year:

NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME is a blues standard that has been interpreted and recorded by a variety of music artists. Ray Charles’ hit version was released in 1958 and is featured on the soundtrack to the film Ray.

I almost didn’t include The Moody Blues’ classic anthem, NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN, simply because it might seem just so predictable. But, let’s face it, that hasn’t stopped me in the past! Here they are at The Montreaux Festival in 1997, still going strong.

As a prelude to the end of the show, could I find anything better than the beautiful sound of The Spaniels with GOOD NIGHT SWEETHEART. It’s a great piece of doo-wop from 1953.

I closed the show with a great double. Eric Clapton’s AFTER MIDNIGHT got the ball rolling and it was taken up with a vengeance by AC/DC.  This time it was YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG from the 1980 album Back to Black. Here they are performing live at Donington in 1991:


For next week’s show I’m looking for songs that announce themselves in style, so start nominating your FAVOURITE SONG INTRODUCTIONS. Leave me a message on the blog or at the Theme Park page on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Here Comes The Night – The Best Of Van Morrison, Them

They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbours!! – Illinois, Sufjan Stevens

If I Should Die Tonight – Let’s Get It On, Marvin Gaye

Mr 9 O’Clock – Dear Animals, The Woohoo Revue

Nighthawkin’ – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley

December 1963 (Oh What a Night) – Oh What a Night, Four Seasons

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning – In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra

One Of These Nights – One Of These Nights, The Eagles

I Drove All Night – The Soul of Rock And Roll, Roy Orbison

All Night Long – The R&B Years – 1954 [Disc 4], Joe Houston

Night Nurse – Night Nurse, Gregory Isaacs

Midnight Lullaby – Closing Time, Tom Waits

In The Night – Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, Professor Longhair

Midnight Train To Georgia – Mellow Moods [Disc 2], Gladys Knight and The Pips

Summer Nights – Marianne Faithfull, Marianne Faithfull

Night Time – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First…., The Strangeloves

Why Don’t You Eat Where You Slept Las Night – Hot Rhythm And Cool Blues, Zulu Bollin

Night Life – Deuces Wild, B.B. King With Willie Nelson

Night Moves – Greatest Hits, Bob Seger

(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night – The Heart Of Saturday Night, Tom Waits

Night Train – Sex Machine, James Brown

Wild Night – Twentyfourseven, Van Morrison

Let’s Spend The Night Together – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 1], The Rolling Stones

(Night Tiime Is) The Right Time – Ray, Movie Soundtrack, Ray Charles

Nights In White Satin –  The Moody Blues

Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight – Earth Angel – Doo Wop Classics, The Spaniels

After Midnight – The Cream Of Clapton, Eric Clapton

You Shook Me All Night Long – Back In Black, AC/DC

Next week:  IMPRESSIVE INTROS

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
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