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FROM ONE MUSO TO ANOTHER…

Occasionally, a songwriter writes a tune that’s essentially a letter to a musical peer or fellow composer. Sometimes that message is delivered in the form of a tribute and sometimes it’s delivered as an angry diatribe.  Our playlist today features both but, like our opening track JAZZ THING from Gang Starr, most of our songs are marks of respect.

I like to include a little country music every now and again, especially if its by the great Johnny Cash. As a contribution to this week’s playlist, he sings about his country music idol on THE NIGHT HANK WILLIAMS CAME TO TOWN. Punk rockers The Ramones praise the rock artists who preceded them on DO YOU REMEMBER ROCK N ROLL RADIO. And then it was UK group Television Personalities, who are obviously Pink Floyd fans with I KNOW WHERE SYD BARRETT LIVES.

The most familiar soul hit on the airwaves during 1967 was Arthur Conley’s SWEET SOUL MUSIC on which he paid tribute to other great soulmen like Otis Redding and James Brown:

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When it comes to soul, Stevie Wonder knows how much is owed to our jazz legends. SIR DUKE is his tribute to Duke Ellington, the influential jazz legend who died in 1974. He also acknowledges Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

In 1980 Dexy’s Midnight Runners appeared out of nowhere, with a sound all their own. Nobody else at the time would have dreamt of producing an impassioned, brass-powered tribute to neglected 1960s soul singer Geno Washington, but they did and they took GENO to #1 in the UK.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners also recorded a version of JACKIE WILSON SAID, but I’m faithful to the original by Van Morrison which had to be part of the list too.

A little more country music was up next with the gorgeous Gillian Welch singing the ELVIS PRESLEY BLUES. This was followed closely by the one and only Ian Dury with his incredible piece of hero worship, SWEET GENE VINCENT. On this video Mick Jones of the Clash joins the band, The Blockheads.  And as Dury quips to Jones: “Listen, we’ve got four chords on this one Michael!” Great band, great song. How does Mick Jones get through this number without once dropping the ciggie from his mouth? Hilarious.

Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople’s reluctant youth anthem, ALL THE YOUNG DUDES was written by  David Bowie. It namechecks T-Rex and references The Beatles and The Stones. Here they are, (with Bowie on back up!), performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute at Wembley Stadium:

The wonderful Jonathan Richman never disappoints me and he delivers again for this week’s playlist. On his song VELVET UNDERGROUND he even performs a few bars of the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray in between dispensing eloquent insights into his heroes’ dark magic. How good is that!

Bono says that U2’s song STUCK IN A MOMENT YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF is a tribute to INXS singer Michael Hutchence. According to Bono it’s the conversation he wishes had actually taken place.

John Martyn, who died at a relatively early age himself,  extends a concerned hand to a fading Nick Drake on the devastatingly tender SOLID AIR.


Canadian group Barenaked Ladies recorded a hit song about mental illness that references Beach Boy BRIAN WILSON. And just in case you’re wondering, Brian Wilson does do a version during his own live shows.  And why wouldn’t he? It’s a great song. Fellow Canadian Allanah Myles also had a huge hit with my favourite of all the Elvis tribute songs: BLACK VELVET.


Paul Jones and Dave Kelly honour Blues legend SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON and Neil Young references Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols on HEY, HEY, MY MY (Into the Black). The line ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away’ also became infamous in modern rock after being quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

On a cheerier note, The Saw Doctors sing I’D LOVE TO BANG THE BANGLES, which pretty much speaks for itself. If you thought that was a wild proposition, you should take a listen to Bongwater’s NICK CAVE DOLLS. But hang in for the punchline on that one. A perfect follow up to that tune is Adam Ant’s GOODIE TWO SHOES, supposedly a critique of Cliff Richards virtuous and conservative image. “Don’t drink, don’t smoke… what do you do?”

A terrific song from Dory Previn is STONE FOR BESSIE SMITH. It isn’t just about the Blues singer Bessie Smith; it’s primarily about Janis Joplin who paid for Bessie Smith’s headstone but forgot to put anything aside for her own.

Early in his career, David Bowie often wrote about artists he admired, from Lou Reed to Andy Warhol to Iggy Pop. On SONG FOR BOB DYLAN a pre-Ziggy Bowie adopted Dylan’s nasal vocal style in order to pay tribute.

Down By Law also do an excellent tribute to the best rock band in the world:  I WANNA BE IN AC/DC.  Me too guys, me too.

It was hard choosing a song to go out on. Yes, of course there’s American Pie and Losing My Edge and the various spats between Paul McCartney and John Lennon, but in an effort not to be too predictable I’ve chose TUNIC (Song for Karen). Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon does a beautiful job of casting herself as the tragic Karen Carpenter reporting back from heaven.

I’ve got a marathon effort lined up for the next couple of weeks and I need your help! The playlist next week will start with a song referencing Zero or less and I’ll progressively play songs in numerical order until I run out of ideas. For example I could start with Elvis Costello’s Less Than Zero progress to Yeah yeah yeah’s Zero then Bob Marley’s One Love … you get the idea. Let’s see how far I get. If you help me we could be doing this for weeks! To make it easy to participate I’ll be posting onto the Theme Park Radio Facebook page.

But in the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist to peruse:

Jazz Thing – Gang Starr – Moment of Truth

The Night Hank Williams Came To Town – Johnny Cash – The Best Of Johnny Cash

Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio – The Ramones Shrek OST

I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives – Television Personalities And Don’t The Kids Just Love It

Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley – 60’s Soul

Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life [Disc 1]

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

Elvis Presley Blues – Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)

Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury and The Blockheads – The Very Best Of Ian Dury And The Blockheads

Blackbird, Bye Bye – Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette – Bye Bye Blackbird

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople – Rock Classics 60’s & 70’s Volume 2

Velvet Underground – Jonathan Richman – I, Jonathan

Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – U2 – The Best Of 1990-2000 & B-Sides CD1

Solid Air – John Martyn – No Little Boy

Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies – Barenaked Radio: Easter Special

Sonny Boy Williamson – Paul Jones & Dave Kelly – Live In London

Black Velvet – Alannah Myles – The Very Best of Alannah Myles

Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) – Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps (Live)

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

I’d Love To Kiss The Bangles – The Saw Doctors – Play it Again Sham

Nick Cave Dolls – Bongwater – Box of Bongwater

Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant – Antics In The Forbidden Zone

Stone For Bessie Smith – Dory Previn – Mythical Kings And Iguanas

Song For Bob Dylan – David Bowie – Hunky Dory

(I Wanna Be In) AC/DC – Down By Law – Windwardtidesandwaywardsails

Tunic (Song For Karen) – Sonic Youth – Goo (Deluxe Edition) [Disc 1]

Next week:  NOUGHT TO WHATEVER (Part 1)

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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WINTER

winter_swirlsThis 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:

winter1. 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 

Stormy Weather – The Spaniels
It may be Winter Outside (But in my Heart it’s Spring) 3:06 Love Unlimited Orchestra R&B 16 31/05/09 5:52 PM
Stormy Weather 2:29 Spaniels Bob Dylan – Theme Time 1 Weather R&B 9 30/05/09 6:32 PM
Baby its cold outside 3:41 Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews (ex-Catatonia) Reload (Tom Jones) R&B 6 31/05/09 5:56 PM
Come Rain or Come Shine 3:42 Ray Charles The Definitive Ray Charles (disc 1) R&B 12 31/05/09 5:59 PM
Song For A Winter’s Night (Gordon Lightfoot cover) 3:47 Sarah Mclachlan The Way I Feel (1967) Folk 12 31/05/09 6:03 PM
Cold 4:21 Annie Lenox Diva Pop 12 31/05/09 6:07 PM
Winterlong (Neil Young cover) 3:03 The Pixies Alternative 2 31/05/09 6:10 PM
Cold, Cold, Heart (Hank Williams cover) 2:42 Roy Orbison Hank Williams The Roy Orbison Country 7 31/05/09 6:13 PM
Your Winter 4:17 Sister Hazel Fortress (2000) Country rock 8 31/05/09 6:17 PM
A Hazy Shade of Winter 2:19 Simon and Garfunkel Bookends (1966) Classic Rock 7 31/05/09 6:19 PM
Early Winter 4:43 Gwen Stefani The Sweet Escape Rock/Pop 7 31/05/09 6:24 PM
White Winter Hymnal 3:18 Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes (2008) Indie Folk 6 31/05/09 6:27 PM
Dead of Winter 2:59 Eels Electro-Shock Blues Alternative 6 31/05/09 6:30 PM
Cold Day in Hell 2:44 Bobby Bland Dreamer R&B 1 31/05/09 6:33 PM
Let the four Winds Blow 2:13 Fats Domino Bob Dylan – Theme Time 1 Weather Rock n roll 8 27/05/09 6:36 PM
Emotional Weather Report 3:48 Tom Waits Nighthawks at the Diner (1975) Alternative 3 29/05/09 11:25 AM
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm 3:59 Billie Holiday Billie’s Best Jazz 4 30/05/09 6:30 PM
Blow Wind Blow 3:49 Muddy Waters Blues 5 27/05/09 3:29 PM
Frozen 5:00 Madonna Ray of Light Pop/Funk 12 30/05/09 12:37 PM
Stone Cold 5:15 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Guitar Rock  – The ’80s Take Two Classic Rock
Cold As Ice (1977) 3:19 Foreigner Foreigner Rock 1 30/05/09 6:36 PM
Immigrant Song (1970) 2:23 Led Zeppelin School of Rock Rock 8 30/05/09 6:38 PM
Abominable Snowman In The Market 2:29 Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers The Best Of Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers Alternative Rock
Cloudy 2:23 Simon & Garfunkel The Essential Simon & Garfunkel Folk-Rock 2 30/05/09 6:46 PM
The Fox In The Snow 4:00 Belle & Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister Indie Pop
Wizards in Winter 3:06 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Symphonic Rock 4 30/05/09 6:49 PM
In The Cold Cold Night 2:59 The White Stripes Elephant Rock 4 30/05/09 12:10 AM
Tropical Iceland 3:30 The Fiery Furnaces Gallowsbird’s Bark Alternative 9 30/05/09 10:59 PM
Oh Larsen B 5:31 British Sea Power Open Season Alternative 1 27/05/09 6:55 PM
Thunderstruck 4:52 ACDC The Razors Edge Rock 4 30/05/09 4:58 PMIt may be Winter Outside (But in my Heart it’s Spring) – Love Unlimited Orchestra Stormy Weather – Spaniels

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

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