Blog Archives

AUSSIE WOMEN SINGERS

This week we celebrated the centenary of International Women’s Day with a show dedicated to my favourite Aussie female singers. Some are solo performers and others front bands but the thing they all have in common is that they are strong, talented and inspiring women.

We opened the show with Christine Anu’s version of I’M A WOMAN. It’s from her Intimate and Deadly album, which was recorded live at the Sydney Opera House Studio and released in November 2010. Christine is presently performing in London with the production The Sapphires, the Australian play about a singing group of four Koori women who tour Vietnam in 1968, a year after the referendum expanding the rights of Aborigines.

It’s 100 years since the first International Women’s Day event was run. Did you know that in 1911 more than one million women and men attended rallies, campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination? Yes, we’ve come a long way baby, but there’s still work to be done.

Renee Geyer knows all about what it’s like to try and make it in a man’s world. She has long been regarded as one of the finest exponents of jazz, soul & R&B in this country and her version of James Brown’s IT’S A MAN’S WORLD brought her well-deserved commercial success in 1974:

Local girls Melia and Nerida Naughton are Scarlett Affection, a multi-talented duo with lots to say about love and life in their own unique folk/pop style. Their song ROMANTIC is one of my favourites; it’s from their album Our Sweet Ambush.

When it comes to Aussie rock, Suze De Marchi of The Baby Animals has to have one of the best voices out there. Here’s the band performing ONE WORD in 1991:

Another of the stars of the stage show The Sapphires, presently wowing them in London, is Casey Donovan. She was very young, only 16, when she won the Australian Idol competition a few years back, but she weathered the instant fame train and is now creating a substantial career in musical theatre. Here she is kicking off her BIG, BEAUTIFUL & SEXY tour, when she took to the stage of the famous Spiegel Tent in Adelaide SA, at the 2010 Fringe:

In China, Armenia, Russia, Vietnam, Bulgaria and many other countries International Women’s Day is an official holiday. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues etc. with flowers and small gifts. Gotta love that!

You’ve also gotta love Darwin singer Leah Flanagan. We played her very appropriate track, PRETTY GIRLS. And then it was pop/dance duo Madison Avenue, with Cheyne Coates on vocals. She does a great job on the wonderfully assertive WHO THE HELL ARE YOU. That girl knows how to put an outfit together too!

Deborah Conway has weathered the ups and downs of a fickle music industry and these days is finding happy harmony between family and fame.  SPOKEN LIKE A MAN is from the album Half Man Half Woman.

The wonderful Christa Hughes, with her Dad Dick, blew everyone away at the last Mullumbimby Music Festival. Here they are on the ABCTV show ‘Spicks & Specks’ with a version of Memphis Slim’s BEER DRINKIN’ WOMAN. And as the clip shows, this girl could drink most of you under the table! (not sure if that’s a good thing though!)

Mama Kin sang I’M GONNA DO IT from her Beat and Holler album and then it was Tin Pan Orange with Emily Lubitz and her amazing lead vocals on THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE.

The year 2010 was a busy one for Megan Washington and the album I Believe You, Liar. She picked up two ARIA awards – Best Female Artist and Best Breakthrough Artist, and broke records with sell out shows around the nation. Here she is with footage from her EPK, talking about her hit album I BELIEVE YOU LIAR, where she discusses the themes and style she pursues in her songwriting.

Another terrific singer/songwriter is local Byron girl Sarah McGregor. She may not be as recognised as others at the moment, but she has already produced a number of albums that I totally adore. One of my favourite songs is MORE TO LIFE.

A group  which also established themselves here in Byron Bay, before knocking everyone out both in Australia and overseas is Blue King Brown with Natalie out front. This is the kind of music that gets you out of your seat and moving! And its political! Love them. And love the song COME AND CHECK YOUR HEAD.

Kasey Chambers’s song  NOT PRETTY ENOUGH was released in 2001 and is from her album Barricades and Brickwalls. Chambers became the first country artist to have a #1 single and album on the charts simultaneously.


Back in 1985 the standout female artist was the iconic Ms Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls. Watch this video and you may understand why her aggressive, psycho-sexual persona freaked out US record label wowsers who wanted their women blonde, deferential and subservient. Yes, there’s a fine line between PLEASURE & PAIN.

A very different kind of performer, and a fantastic songwriter as well, is Little Birdy’s Katy Steele. She’s now living in New York and has gone solo, and there’s nothing but blue sky ahead for her. Here she is with Little Birdy’s HAIRDO:

Katy Noonan has a sublime voice and its demonstrated to perfection on her cover of Soundgarden’s BLACK HOLE SUN.

Here’s Vanessa Amorosi’s #1 single and neo-feminist anthem, THIS IS WHO I AM. “I don’t care if I’m fat or if you think my clothes are bad. I can go to sleep at night. I’m a good person and I’ll get by.” You go girl!

There were lots of requests for Sarah Blasko and it was difficult to choose just one song from her repertoire but I do love ALL I WANT. It’s from her album As Day Follows Night.

Two great groups with amazing female singers are The Waifs and The Audreys. The Waifs are a folk rock band from Western Australia which includes sisters Vikki Thorn (hamonica, guitar, vocals) and Donna Simpson (guitar, vocals), The Audreys line-up includes the very talented Taasha Coates on vocals (and a variety of instruments). So, it was FISHERMAN’S DAUGHTER from the Waifs and the very funny NOTHING WRONG WITH ME from The Audreys

I’m gong to be away for a couple of weeks so I thought it was fitting to include Julia & Angus Stone’s song BIG JET PLANE. Yes, I know that Angus is quite dominant on this one, but it just goes to show that men and women can collaborate and produce some very beautiful music!

I know that many of the younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ but us old feminists know that there is still a lot of work to be done. Yes, there are more women in the boardroom, there is greater equality and we have some impressive role models in all walks of life. But the unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics and, globally, women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made and today women do have real choices, so let’s celebrate the positive and, here’s an idea, let’s make every day International Women’s Day. Let’s all do our bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Although  I won’t be here for the next two weeks,  fear not as Theme Park will continue with the lovely Des in the hotseat. Who knows what fabulous themes he’ll be bringing you because I’m giving him a free hand! Could be scary!

No blogs for that period, but make sure you listen in on http://www.bayfm.org

Here’s this week’s playlist:

I’m A Woman – Christine Anu, Intimate And Deadly

It’s A Man’s Man’s World – Renée Geyer, The Ultimate Collection

Romantic – Scarlett Affection, Our Sweet Ambush

One Word – Baby Animals, Baby Animals

Big, Beautiful & Sexy – Casey Donovan, Big, Beautiful & Sexy

Pretty Girls – Leah Flanagan, Leah Flanagan Band

Who The Hell Are You – Madison Avenue

Spoken Like A Man – Deborah Conway, Half Man Half Woman

Beer Drinkin’ Woman – Dick and Christa Hughes, 21st Century Blues

I’m Gonna Do It – Mama Kin, Beat And Holler

The Bottom Of The Lake – Tinpan Orange, The Bottom Of The Lake

Down On Love – Sarah Blasko, As Day Follows Night

I Believe You Liar – Washington, I Believe You Liar

More To Life – Sarah McGregor, More To Life

Come And Check Your Head – Blue King Brown

Not Pretty Enough – Kasey Chambers, Barricades & Brickwalls

Pleasure And Pain – Divinyls, Make You Happy 1981-93

Hairdo – Little Birdy, Never Mind The Lipstick

Black Hole Sun – Katie Noonan, Time To Begin

This Is Who I Am – Vanessa Amorosi, Hazardous

All I Want – Sarah Blasko, As Day Follows Night

Fisherman’s Daughter – The Waifs,

Nothing Wrong With Me – The Audreys, Between Last Night and Us

Big Jet Plane, Angus & Julia Stone

Next 3 weeks:  DES IS IN THE HOTSEAT WHILE I’M AWAY

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
Advertisements

RECORDED FOR FILM

As you will no doubt be aware, the Academy Awards are coming up and in honour of the Oscar tradition of jazzing up a long-running format with dubious gimmicks, this week’s Theme Park was dedicated to Original Songs Recorded For Film.  Here at BayFm we’re always on a budget so you just have to imagine the red carpet, the paparazzi and my fabulous outfit.

J’aimee Skippon-Volke from the Byron Film Festival also paid us a visit and we had a chat about what’s screening at the festival this year. She kindly gave away some tickets to our loyal subscribers, as did the wonderful people at the Dendy Cinema who are screening most of the Oscar nominees at the moment. Thanks guys and congrats to the lucky listeners who won those.

STAYIN’ ALIVE was written and recorded by The Bee Gees in 1977 for the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and the album defined the Bee Gees as they ushered in the disco era. None of the songs from this best selling album were nominated for an Oscar, with the Best Original Song of 1977 going to “You Light Up My Life’ from the widely panned film of the same name. Go figure.

Another oversight by the Academy is WHEN DOVES CRY from Prince’s brilliant album ‘Purple Rain’ which supported the film of the same name. Funky, sexy and totally rockin’ the album was nothing short of revolutionary and probably far too much for the staid Academy committee to take in. Prince doesn’t like to have his music on YouTube so it was difficult to get a good video of him performing the song, but here’s an extract from a DVD called ‘Prince – The Glory Years’:

Simon & Garfunkle wrote MRS ROBINSON especially for the film ‘The Graduate’. Thanks Judi, all the way from Cairns, for suggesting that one.

The Beatles A HARD DAY’S NIGHT is so iconic that many of us forget that all eight original songs plus four instrumentals are from the Beatles first movie.

And then it was one of my guilty pleasures, TONIGHT I’M GONNA ROCK YOU TONIGHT, from ‘This is Spinal Tap’. Not nominated for an  Oscar either! What was the Academy thinking!

Prior to Bob Marley, nothing did more to make reggae popular than the soundtrack to THE HARDER THEY COME. Jimmy Cliff’s title song does the work of the film in less than four minutes. Gotta be the best reggae song ever written for a movie. The year was 1972 and the Oscar for Best Original song that year went to The Morning After from ‘The Poseidon Adventure’. Jimmy was robbed!

Here’s a song that actually did win an Oscar. Another guilty pleasure, I’m afraid,  but in 1987 while all else around us was synth-pop, we fell hard for the film ‘Dirty Dancing’. The song? I’VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE from Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes.  Oh, stop it, you know you were waiting for this one!  R.I.P. Patrick Swayze.

Ok, I’m on a roll…. Yet another song that won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and who would have thought a rap song could pull it off?  Eminem’s LOSE YOURSELF was written for his hit film 8 MILE, released in 2002.


Stevie Wonder’s I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU pipped two songs from the film ‘Footloose’ at the post to take out the Best Original Song in 1984. But he wasn’t the first black artist to take out the award. Back in 1971 Isaac Hayes’ soul and funk style THEME FROM SHAFT won the Oscar, making Hayes the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category, for that matter). Check out the opening credit sequence from the film, which uses the theme so superbly. Damn right!

Danny Boyle’s amazing film ‘127 Hours’ is nominated in various categories this year, including Best Original Song and Best Film. He also directed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which in 2008 walked away with 8 Oscars. That year two of the songs from the film were nominated and JAI HO won the Oscar, but I prefer the song that missed out, O…SAYA by A.R. Rahman and M.I.A.

By having the actors write and perform their own songs, director Robert Altman managed to capture the sprawling heart of the ’70s Nashville music scene, the good, the bad and the just plain hokey. And while the album has its high and low points, the high points got their due: Keith Carradine’s I’M EASY won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1975.

Zoe suggested that I play the whole album from the film INTO THE WILD. Ah yes, if only I had the time. But we definitely had to play something from this wonderful soundtrack, which was composed by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. So, my pick was SOCIETY.

Rebecca suggested PLAYGROUND LOVE from the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. it’s  by the group Air and it has to be one of the most beautiful love songs written. An Oscar? No, of course not.

In 1969 the film ‘Midnight Cowboy’ won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. But no best song, not even a nomination. It was a strong year with Raindrops are Falling on my Head from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid taking out the honours, but I do have a soft spot for Harry Nilsson, so we had to play EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’. Here’s the opening sequence with Jon Voight as Joe Buck. Not even a nomination, what gives?

Bruce Springsteen’s STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA from the 1993 film ‘Philadelphia’ did go on to win Best Original Song for Springsteen. So, sometimes the Academy does get it right, it seems. As it did last year with  THE WEARY KIND from a film that I also adore, ‘Crazy Heart’. The song was sung by Ryan Bingham.

MEMO FROM TURNER is a song written by the Rolling Stones for Nic Roeg’s film ‘Performance’. Ry Cooder provides slide guitar on the track, which was enough reason for me to include it, despite it not even being nominated for an Oscar. The film starred Mick Jagger as a sex-crazed rock star. I think it probably should have been awarded an Oscar for type-casting, surely! Love the fact that Mick lip-syncs to himself…

Like James Brown’s Black Caesar and Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man, Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly’ album typified the blaxploitation tradition of soundtracks that eclipsed, and in this case outgrossed, their original inspirations. FREDDIE’S DEAD was my pick from this soundtrack.

It would have been remiss of me not to play at least one of the nominated songs from this year’s Academy Awards. So I went  to go out on a limb and forecast that IF I RISE from ‘127 Hours’ should take the guernsey on Oscar’s night. With music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong, I think its the best of the bunch. Great footage from the film as well, on this clip:

We finished the show with a divine song from Louis Armstrong. WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD was one of the themes for the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, starring George Lazenby and Dianna Rigg. Composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Hal David, Barry has been quoted as saying that this is the finest piece of music he ever wrote.

Next week the theme will be SMOKING. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of nicotine or other smoking substances, for that matter. But gee, there are some good songs on the topic, aren’t there? So I have no shame. Smoking it is. Or maybe we should call it THANKS FOR NOT SMOKING. Put your thinking caps on and get in touch, especially if you have an anti-smoking song for our list.

While you’re pondering your choices, take a look at the playlist from this week:

Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees, Bee Gees Greatest

When Doves Cry – Prince, Purple Rain

Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel, The Graduate

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night

Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight – Spinal Tap, Back From the Dead

The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes, Dirty Dancing

Lose Yourself – Eminem, 8 Miles

I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder, The Very Best Of

Theme From Shaft – Issac Hayes, Shaft

O…Saya – A R Rahman & M.I.A., Slumdog Millionaire

I’m Easy – Keith Carradine, Nashville

Society – Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild

Playground Love – Air, Virgin Suicides

Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson, Midnight Cowboy

Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen, Philadelphia

The Weary Kind – Ryan Bingham, Crazy Heart

Memo From Turner – The Rolling Stones, The Stones

Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield, Superfly

If I Rise – Dido, AR Rahman, 127 Hours

We Have All the Time In the World – Louis Armstrong, The Best of Bond

Next week:  SMOKING

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

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:

.

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

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

INSECTS & SPIDERS

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

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

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

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

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


MADNESS

When it comes to popular music, there’s crazy and then there’s CRAZY. According to a lot of the songs in our play-list today, crazy is how you feel when you’re  infatuated with someone and hey, while that can be confusing, its also a lot of fun. Even Sigmund Freud acknowledged: “one is very crazy when in love”.

The good thing about being a bit loopy is that it can produce some great songwriting. And while we included a lot of “crazy in love” type tunes in the show this week, we also entered into some heavy territory with material written by a few of our tortured souls. The truth is that any song about mental illness can make you uncomfortable to some extent, either because its too frivolous or because its too close to the bone. But you know that here at the Theme Park we like to live dangerously.

We opened the show with Gary Jules’ cover of the Tears for Fears song MAD WORLD.  I first heard this version on the brilliantly eccentric movie Donnie Darko. Requested by Clare, it proved to be  a great start to a show full of songs about trying to stay sane in this crazy, crazy world.

We moved on with a couple of fairly harmless tunes about losing your marbles – and from completley different ends of the musical spectrum: I THINK I’M PARANOID from Garbage and TWISTED from jazz legend Annie Ross, with help from Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks.

A country tune that regards the issue of mental health very seriously indeed is called PSYCHO. The version we played was by Jack Kittel and, to be honest, it really creeped me out. So I was happy to follow with the more innocent NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, essentially an upbeat love song from the great Eddie Cochran.

Let’s get the Australian attitude to insanity into perspective: I had an email during the week from Sue, asking me for the origin of the expression ‘mad as a meat axe’, meaning ‘nuts, crazy or insane’.  Here’s what I discovered: this is a uniquely Australian expression that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It joins a whole group of expressions that start with the words ‘as mad as’ such as ‘mad as a beetle’ (the insect that is), ‘mad as a dingbat’, ‘mad as a gum tree full of galahs’ and ‘mad as a cut snake’. These expressions are recorded as far back as 1910 and are nothing more than verbal creativity gone wild.

And talking of wild, we had to include James Brown’s song about his fear that, if  his girlfriend leaves him, he’ll GO CRAZY. And then it was one of the craziest songs (and videos) ever: The Avalanches with FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST:

Had to include Gnarls Barkley’s hit CRAZY because, not only is it pop perfection, it was requested by both Lynden and Robyn. Al Royal from BayFM’s Friday 10pm slot, asked for INSANE IN THE BRAIN from Cypress Hill. And how could I refuse?

There’s always room for a great jazz standard and this week we included Peggy Lee with YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY. Judi tells me she’s a huge Patsy Cline fan and so, as predictable as it might be, there was no way we were leaving out the queen of country’s signature tune, CRAZY.

Changing the tone somewhat, it was time for a track from someone who knows just a little bit about crazy behaviour: Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath with PARANOID. And you’ve got to love Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s YOUR MISSUS IS A NUTTER, supposedly about Posh & Becks.

According to The Pixies songwriter, Black Francis,  WAVE OF MUTILATION is about “Japanese businessmen doing murder-suicides with their families because they’d failed in business, and they’re driving off a pier into the ocean.” Wild concepts like this make The Pixies a hard act to follow, but Beth Hart gives it a good shot with a cover of Belinda Carlisle’s LEAVE THE LIGHT ON:

The novelty song, HOORAY, HOORAY, I’M GOING AWAY was recorded in 1947, by Beatrice Kay, and it’s an obvious forerunner to Napolean 14th’s 60’s hit, THEY’RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY, HA HA. Born in 1907, Beatrice was a singer, vaudevillian, stage and film actress and she even hosted her own radio show. She died in 1979.

Still alive and kicking is the wonderful Mose Allison who gave us one of the ‘crazy in love’ songs that make up a lot of this week’s show: LOST MIND. But if you’re looking for authenticity in your songs about madness, then country singer Porter Wagoner is your man. He wrote THE RUBBER ROOM after spending some time in a mental hospital for a little R&R.

Which brings us to 19th NERVOUS BREAKDOWN from the Rolling Stones. Released in 1966 on the Aftermath album, it’s well known for Bill Wyman’s dive-bombing bass line at the end of the song:

But if you want to talk scary mad, then it has to be the brilliant PSYCHO KILLER from the one and only Talking Heads.

Whew, I was feeling the need for a little more lightness in the list. Relief came with one of the great Blues artists, Little Walter, with CRAZY MIXED UP WORLD.  And despite the title of the song, there is nothing but pure joy in the song that gave a certain Ska group their name:  from Prince Buster it is, of course, MADNESS. Here he is performing alongside  Suggs and Georgie Fame. How good is that?

Green Day’s contribution to our line-up of loony tunes was BASKET CASE and we followed with one of the first grunge/garage bands, The Sonics, with PSYCHO. Love that band! Kurt Cobain cited them as a great influence, so it was fitting that we included a track from the group whose lead singer and songwriter suffered from manic depression and drug dependency that, unfortunately,  led to his suicide. I chose the Nirvana song they wrote about another tragic public figure: FRANCES FARMER WILL HAVE HER REVENGE ON SEATTLE.

But if you want to talk influential then The Ramones are on everyone’s list. So much to choose from with these guys and requests by multiple listeners, but for me it had to be I WANNA BE SEDATED.

Bruce Hornsby is a versatile and prolific artist. Known for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performances, Hornsby draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, rock, blues and jam band musical traditions with his songwriting.  But we didn’t play one of his originals today but instead it was a great version he does of Elton John’s MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER.

Theme Park is followed by a great show called Postmodern Backlash, (still not quite sure what that means!), and its hosted by Hudson. So because I know that he loves his calypso music I also included The Mighty Sparrow with MAD BOMBER.

We finished the show with Pink Floyd’s SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND. The song is their tribute to former band member Syd Barrett who left the band in 1968 amidst speculation of mental illness aggravated by heavy drug use. As gloomy as that sounds it’s a beautiful piece of music and a fitting end to the program.

Next week I’ll be celebrating Australia’s first female Prime Minister (go Julia!) with a show on WOMEN. I’d love to receive your requests and suggestions.

And here’s my final word on madness: Remember what Hunter S Thompson had to say: “I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

Here’s this week full list:

Mad World – Donnie Darko Soundtrack,  Gary Jules

I Think I´m Paranoid – Version 2.0, Garbage

Twisted – Jazz Legends: Divas (Disc 2), Annie Ross +Lambert/Hendricks

Movie Clip – Insane Asylum

Psycho – Jack Kittel

Nervous Breakdown – Eddie Cochran

I’ll Go Crazy – Try Me, James Brown

Frontier Psychiatrist – Frontier Psychiatrist, The Avalanches

Crazy – Gnarls Barkley

Insane in the Brain – Black Sunday, Cypress Hill

You’re Driving Me Crazy – While We’re Young, Peggy Lee

Crazy – Patsy Cline

Paranoid – Paranoid, Black Sabbath

Mad Lad – You Never Can Tell (His Complete Chess Recordings, Chuck Berry

Your Missus Is A Nutter – Goldie Lookin’ Chain

Wave of Mutilation – Pump up the Volume [Motion Picture Soundtrack], The Pixies

Leave The Light On – Leave the Light On, Beth Hart

Hooray Hooray I’m Going Away  –  Beatrice Kay

Lost Mind – Promised Land, Mose Allison

The Rubber Room – Porter Wagoner

19th Nervous Breakdown – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 1], The Rolling Stones

Clockwork Orange clip

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads

Crazy Mixed Up World – Rock N’ Roll ’50s Blues Essentials, Little Walter

Madness – Prince Buster

Basket Case – Dookie, Green Day

Sound grab: Psycho/The Murder – Psycho/Hitchock, Composer Bernard Hermann/Los Angeles Philharmonic

Psycho – Maintaining My Cool, The Sonics

Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle – In Utero, Nirvana

I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones

Madman Across the Water – Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John, Bruce Hornsby

Mad Bomber – King Sparrow’s Calypso Carnival, The Mighty Sparrow

Shine On You Crazy Diamond  – Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd

Next week: WOMEN

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


REVENGE

You may have heard that revenge is sweet but the truth is that it can be devastating, (well for one of you at the very least!). Hey, but I’m not here to give you a reality check.  We all know that being sensible is incredibly difficult when you’re the one suffering from jealousy, or you’re demoralized, humiliated or simply just mad as hell. It’s times like these that you can’t be blamed for at least fantasizing about acts of vengeance.

Songwriters are in a great position to retaliate against slings and arrows than us mere mortals. They can attack their enemies in song and get away with it. Its non-violent and, (here’s the best bit), they even get paid to do it!  How good is that? Maybe success is the best revenge!

We started the show with the ‘Godfather of Soul’, Mr. James Brown, singing THE PAYBACK from the album of the same name, released in 1974. The song’s lyrics are about the revenge Brown intends to take against the man who betrayed him, stole his money and his woman. Triple ouch! Here’s a clip from a show he did in Zaire in the same year as the album was recorded. Loving the bling.

Why shouldn’t Ben Folds get a little upset on SONG FOR THE DUMPED?  After all, she took off with his black t-shirt. Unforgiveable.

Two of the great revenge songs have been covered ad infinitum. Wilson Pickett does a great version of STAGGER LEE as does Sam Cooke with FRANKIE & JOHNNY so, of course, both had to be included in the list.

When Alanis Morissette recorded the album Jagged Little Pill it changed the course of her career. The whole album is a revenge tactic against an old boyfriend but YOU OUGHTA KNOW is the standout track. Here’s a clip recorded live at Nulles Part Aillerurs in 1995. No longer the pop/dance artist of her teenage years, she’s quite the rock chick by this stage.

Lily Allen is hilarious on her revenge song, NOT BIG. Is there a better way to get revenge on a guy than to suggest that he doesn’t stack up in a certain department?  The gorgeous Rihanna, on the other hand resorts to BREAKIN’ DISHES when her man has been out all night cheatin’. Of course this was way before a certain incident indicated that breaking dishes wasn’t going to make much difference to this girl’s love life. But let’s don’t go there. There’s been enough said, surely. Let’s just check out a very hot performance:

It was time for a response from the male sector:  Robert Cray tried to convince us that he came out on top in I GUESS I SHOWED HER. And on BB King’s and Etta James’ THERE’S SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND, you have to wait a while for the punchline, but it’s worth it.

The Beatles deliver  a nice little revenge tale with ROCKY RACOON, from their White Album, and  The Dixie Chicks use comedy to get away with murder in a song aimed squarely at the issue of domestic violence  on GOODBYE EARL.

Jimi Hendrix does a great version of HEY JOE, about a guy who takes retribution when his wife cheats on him. Here he is performing on the TV show ‘It’s Lulu’, sometime in the 70’s, and I love the expression on his face when the guitar goes out of tune for a second. A bit of a bonus too, with an extra song – dedicated to Cream – ‘Sunshine of Your Love’.

Mississipi John Hurt sings about a woman who takes some drastic action when her man does her wrong on FRANKIE. Bob Dylan’s revenge song steers away from domestic dilemmas and, instead, is aimed squarely at the Greenwich Village residents who criticized his departure from traditional folk towards the electric guitar and rock music. The song is POSITIVELY 4th STREET.

Robyn requested IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. She loves the song so much she suggested that I could play any version I like. So here’s Graham Bonnet with his excellent cover of the Bob Dylan classic. The clip is dated 1977. Thanks Rob!

I also included two New Wave songs that fit our theme of ‘Revenge’ very nicely. First up, another request from Robyn: Graham Parker gives the bird to all those girls that rejected him once upon a time on LOCAL GIRLS. And Deborah Harry sounds something akin to a ‘bunny boiler’ on a track that takes me back – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

Next up, it was a brilliant revenge song from the Drive By Truckers. THE WIG HE MADE HER WEAR is from their latest album The Big To Do and is, in my humble opinion, the best thing on it. Wish I had a decent clip of this track for you but alas, nowhere to be found.

Another request came from Judi. She wanted to hear any version of CRY ME A RIVER. When you give me carte blanche like that what am I to do than to take the opportunity to slip in the very sensuous voice of Julie London?  Judi, who lives miles away in Cairns, Northern Queensland,  tells me that she listens on the Internet. You can do that too you know. Just go to the BayFM.org site at the time the show is on air and press the listen button. Simple as that.

For something completely different, it had to be Kate Miller-Heidke with a song that I had to censor a little for radio. But no problem with uploading a clip here on the blog, assuming you don’t mind very funny, if explicit, lyrics. Here’s a live version of ARE YOU F****ING KIDDING ME? (THE FACEBOOK SONG).

Had to include the classic revenge song, Nancy Sinatra’s THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING and something just a little more serious, J.J. Cale’s quite disturbing song about retribution, RIVER RUNS DEEP. But for a different kind of revenge song altogether, how about WHAT IF WE ALL STOPPED PAYING TAXES?, from Sharon Jones and the Dapkings. Yeah, let’s get back at the government!  Brilliant idea.

We closed the show with an amazing track from The Decemberists: THE MARINER’S REVENGE SONG, a song filled with evil sea captains, vengeful mariners, giant whales, and much sea-faring woe. Revenge of the nerds, indeed.

Next week I won’t be here, but the lovely Des will be filling in for me with a show on MEN and I’ll be back the following week with a show on MADNESS.

In the meantime, remember that the greatest revenge is to live well.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

The Big Payback – The Big Payback, James Brown

Song for the Dumped  – Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five

Stagger Lee – I’m in Love, Wilson Pickett

Frankie & Johnny – Greatest Hits, Sam Cooke

You Oughta Know – Jagged Little Pill,  Alanis Morissette

Not Big – Lily Allen

Breakin’ Dishes – Good Girl Gone Bad, Rhianna

I Guess I Showed Her – Strong Persuader, Robert Cray

There’s Something On Your Mind – BB King & Etta James

Revenge of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Transiberian Orchestra

Rocky Racoon – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 1], The Beatles

Goodbye Earl – Fly, Dixie Chicks

Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

Frankie – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Mississippi John Hurt

Positively 4th Street – Biograph (Disc 2), Bob Dylan

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue – Graham Bonnet

Local Girls – Squeezing out Sparks, Graham Parker

One Way or Another – Parallel Lines, Blondie/Deborah Harry

The Wig He Made Her Wear – The Big To-Do, Drive By Truckers

Cry Me A River  – Diva Classics Icons, Julie London

Are You F*cking Kidding Me (Facebook Song)  – Live At the Hi-Fi, Kate Miller-Heidke

These Boots Are Made For Walking – Boots, Nancy Sinatra

River Runs Deep – Naturally, J.J. Cale

What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes – The Dynamic Funk and Soul Sound of Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

The Mariner’s Revenge Song – Picaresque, The Decemberists

Week after next: MADNESS

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


DEAD MUSICIANS’ CLUB

I’m writing this with a slight hangover. Last night was BayFM’s trivia fundraiser on the theme of The Dead Musicians Club. Great night had by all. I loved the theme so much that I organised this week’s show around the same topic. And, let’s face it, a little bit of outrageous promotion for the event didn’t hurt either. And if you are wondering, I teamed up with the lovely Andy and we dressed as Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungeon.

Trying to fit all my favourite musicians into the two hour slot was, of course, impossible. But I had a good go at it. First up it was Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions with PEOPLE GET READY. Mayfield died in 1999 after 10 years of ill health due to being paralysed after an onstage accident. His music continues to be part of hip-hop’s DNA. Rappers like Jay-Z and Snoop Dog have sampled his lyrics and its reported that his estate receives five sample requests a month, with each one fetching up to $350,000. So Curtis, or at least his estate, isn’t doing too badly.

In order to fit as many of the artists that I could into the line-up it was necessary to occasionally play a duet. And, I ask you, is there any better than Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong? Ella died in 1996 and is widely considered one of the supreme interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Louis Armstrong passed away in 1971. His influence extends way beyond jazz music. By the end of his career in the 1960’s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.The duet I chose was DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME.

Both Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline died in plane crashes and both were very young at the time of their passing. They continue to influence country, rock and pop music to this day. We played LEAVIN’ ON YOUR MIND from Patsy Cline and CRYIN’ WAITIN’ HOPIN’ from Buddy Holly. Oldies, but goodies.

Wilson Pickett was known for his influence on R&B, rock n roll and soul. Is there a better dance floor filler than his rendition of DEVIL WITH THE BLUE DRESS ON? No way.

Two artists who found the fame game just a bit too difficult are Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and singer/songwriter Nick Drake.  Both committed suicide while still very young.  At the time of Cobain’s death in 1994 he was worth less than $1 million but future royalties have been valued at over $100 million. Drake failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, however his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. He now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years. He died in 1974. We played Drake’s FRUIT TREE, a request from Anthony, and Nirvana’s COME AS YOU ARE. Here’s a clip of Nirvana performing unplugged in New York in the early 90’s:

Naturally I couldn’t do a show about dead musicians without including Michael Jackson. We chose ROCK WITH YOU from the Off the Wall album. After his death in 2009 Jackson became the best-selling artist of the year, selling over 31 million albums worldwide. He named James Brown “his greatest inspiration”. So it was fitting that we played I FEEL GOOD from Brown as well.  He died on Xmas Day 2006 due to complications from pneumonia.

It’s a myth, you know, that Mama Cass Elliott died chocking on a peanut butter sandwich. The real story is that she died of a heart attack after performing back-to-back concerts in London in 1974. She died in the same flat in Mayfair, (on loan from Harry Nilsson), that the Who’s drummer Keith Moon would die in, a little over four years later. I played Elliot’s great version of the Buddy Holly classic, WORDS OF LOVE and followed with a song for Rolling Stones founder, and multi-instrumentalist, Brian Jones. It’s one that showcased Jones’ skill on the side guitar:  LITTLE RED ROOSTER.

Lynard Skynard came to worldwide recognition in 1973 before three members and one road crew member died in a plane crash in 1977.  Keyboardist Billy Powell died in 2009, aged 56, from a heart attack.  Of its original members, only Gary Rossington remains as part of the present line-up. We followed with another good ol’ Southern boy you may have heard of: cultural icon Elvis Presley with BURNING LOVE.

Bob Marley, who passed away in 1981, had to wait for death to make him a U.S. superstar. The week he was diagnosed with cancer he played Madison Square Garden — opening for the Commodores. Fellow Wailer, Peter Tosh, was on the brink of a successful solo career when he was murdered in 1987. I played the Wailers version of  GET UP, STAND UP, with both Peter Tosh and Bob Marley on the track.

We said goodbye to both Malcolm McLaren and  Sid Vicious with the Sex Pistols’ anthem GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. Here’s what all the fuss was about, way back then:

While punk rock stirred things up, for a while, R&B never went away. Marvin Gaye’s career spanned the entire history of Rhythm & Blues from 50’s doo wop to 80’s contemporary soul. He was murdered by his own father after an argument in 1984.  Otis Redding died in plane crash a month before his biggest hit was released. He was only 26. We listened to Marvin Gaye’s sublime WHAT’S GOIN’ ON followed by the song that would make Otis Redding’s estate worth more money than he ever saw when he was alive – SITTIN ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY.

If we’re talking punk, however, I have to say that my favourite band is The Clash. Lead singer and lyricist for the group, Joe Strummer, died suddenly in 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. Highly intelligent and politically pro-active, he was the first artist to make the recording, pressing and distribution of his records carbon neutral. Onya Joe. Check out this clip of LONDON CALLING:

Two great artists who died of cancer are  60’s icon, Dusty Springfield, and the incredible Ray Charles. For Dusty we played the power ballad, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME, and for Ray Charles, the very appropriate, HARD TIMES.

I’ve played Johnny Cash’s amazing cover of the Nine Inch Nails track, HURT, before but it couldn’t be left out of a show like this. He recorded it in 2002 and it was one of Cash’s final releases before his death in 2003. The  video for the song is regarded as his epitaph.

One of my sentimental favourites is Freddy Mercury who died of pneumonia resulting from AIDS in 1991. As lead singer of rock group Queen he also composed many of their hits. He had a successful solo career too and I chose one of those recordings for this week’s show: THERE MUST BE MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS.

Another of my favourites is Tim Buckley and one of my favourite albums is his Greetings from LA.  Buckley died at 28 from a drug overdose with nothing more than a guitar, amplifier and a lot of debt to his name. His legacy of 11 albums has rectified that somewhat, I hope. Hard to pick one track but we went with MOVE WITH ME.

Another victim of drug addiction was the pioneering Janis Joplin. She died at 27 from a heroin overdose and one of the last songs she recorded was a birthday greeting for John Lennon. The founder of the Beatles was assassinated in 1980, aged 40. So we started the set with Joplin’s CRY BABY and followed with Lennon’s HOW? from the Imagine album.

And finally, my favourite artist, dead or alive – Roy Orbison with his signature tune, PRETTY WOMAN.  This clip is from the Black & White Night DVD, a great video featuring Orbison and friends including Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Rait, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. Heaven. And for all things ‘Roy’ go to the website at: http://www.royorbison.com/

We wrapped the show up  with a great artist who passed away only a couple of days ago, at the ripe old age of 92. Lena Horne helped break down barriers for generations of performers. We played her signature tune, STORMY WEATHER from the 1943 film of the same name. It’s a sizzling performance. I want that movie for my collection!

And we still had time to fit in the very charismatic Jim Morrison and The Doors with RIDERS ON A STORM. Whew. Now I know that there are some glaring omissions. But it’s only a two hour show folks!

Next week I’ve been inspired by some postings on Facebook to create a show on SONGS WITH MEANINGLESS WORDS. Like Na-Na-Hey-Hey and Doo-Ron-Ron. That kind of thing. Love to hear your suggestions.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

People Get Ready – The Anthology 1961-1977, Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

Dream A Little Dream Of Me – Easy Listening, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Leavin’ On Your Mind – The Patsy Cline Story, Patsy Cline

Cryin’ Waitin’ Hopin’ – Buddy Holly

Devil With The Blue Dress On – Wilson Pickett

Come As You Are – Nirvana, Nirvana

Fruit Tree – Twentyfourseven Soundtrack, Nick Drake

I Feel Good –  James Brown

Rock With You (Single Version) – Off the Wall, Michael Jackson

Words of Love – Mama’s Big Ones, Mama Cass Elliot

Little Red Rooster – Rolling Stones

Summertime – Charlie Parker & Chet Baker

Sweet Home Alabama – Forrest Gump Soundtrack, Lynard Skynard

Burning Love – Elvis Presley

Get Up Stand Up – Back To Zion, Bob Marley & The Wailers

God Save The Queen – Never Mind The Bollocks, The Sex Pistols

What’s Going On – The Big Chill soundtrack,  Marvin Gaye

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding

London Calling – The Clash

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – The British Beat: Best Of The ’60s, Dusty Springfield

Hard Times – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Ray Charles

Hurt – American IV: The Man Comes Around, Johnny Cash

There Must Be More To Life Than This – The Very Best of Freddie Mercury, Freddie Mercury

Fever – Verve Remixed 3,  Adam Freeland & Sarah Vaughan

Move With Me – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley

Purple Haze – Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix

Cry Baby – Cry Baby (The Ultimate Collection), Janis Joplin

How? –  Lennon,  John Lennon

Oh, Pretty Woman –  Roy Orbison

Stormy Weather – Hollywood Musicals, Lena Horne

Riders on the storm – The Doors soundtrack, The Doors

Next week: SONGS WITH MEANINGLESS WORDS

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

MACHINES, ROBOTS, COMPUTERS

I purchased my first Apple Computer in 1984 and have been a faithful user ever since. Personal computers were still fairly uncommon then even though, in 1982, Time magazine had declared them the first non-human recipient of its “person of the year” award. “The ‘information revolution’ that futurists have long predicted has arrived”, declared the magazine, “bringing with it the promise of dramatic changes in the way people live and work, perhaps even in the way they think. The world will never be the same.” How right they were.

But everything Time magazine said, in hundreds of words, had already been expressed the year before in the song that opened our program: HOME COMPUTER by Kraftwerk, and in just two lines of lyrics too! “I program my home computer, beam myself into the future.” The group has been incredibly influential ever since. Am I the only one to recognize the theme to Six Feet Under in there somewhere?

Music’s relationship with intelligent machines has been a mass of contradiction. On the one hand, there are songs that express a fear of technology – the harshness the unreliability and the lack of humanity. And on the other, there are songs that yearn for the simple life that machines seem to offer, especially when it comes to your love life. Way back in the 60’s Connie Francis was of the opinion that a ROBOT MAN would solve all her problems. Years later, in 2004,  Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls also thought that an artificial partner could possibly have its advantages. The song was COIN OPERATED BOY.

YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS Pt 1 is from The Flaming Lips’ high concept album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The Lips were in top form in 2002 when this track was released. Apparently, the total destruction of evil robots is the name of the game here. More from the mighty Kraftwerk in the form of POCKET CALCULATOR: “By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody”. That one was for all the book-keepers and accountants out there.

On a show about machines we had to have a song about a Juke Box and what better than Joan Jett, with I LOVE ROCK N ROLL: Yeah, “Put another dime in the jukebox baby”. Other machines included a TIME MACHINE from Grand Funk Railroad and a FRUIT MACHINE from the Tings Tings. As Katie White tells it, she’s fed up with being treated like a gambling device.

Gary Numan and Tubeway Army recorded DOWN IN THE PARK in 1979. It was Numan’s first composition on keyboards and his first release to feature the electronic sound that would become his tradmark. The theme of the song is typical of Numan’s work at the time as it both embraced and feared technology. Here’s a clip from the DVD Urgh! A Music War (1981). Lady Gaga, eat your heart out:

Sufjan Stevens’ contribution to our theme was DEAR MR. SUPERCOMPUTER, from his Avalanche album,  and we followed with Electric Light Orchestra and YOURS TRULY 2095 where we are asked to pity the “cold as ice” IBM that must tolerate a two-timing user.

Melbourne based, Swedish artist Jens Lekman’s  A POSTCARD TO NINA has a shaky connection to this weeks theme. It’s really about him acting as a cover for a friend who is a lesbian but she doesn’t want her family to know. There is a mention of emails, and – wait for it – a lie detector – so hey, how could I leave it out? It’s also quite a nice song. Here’s a clip from a concert he did in Melbourne in 2006. His guitar died, so he played on the uke. Gorgeous. And love the reference to cult film ‘Buffalo 66″.

Are you a fan of Flight of the Conchords? I am. The song ROBOTS, also known as “Humans Are Dead”,  is sung by both Bret and Jermaine. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic “distant future” where all humans are dead and robots have taken over the world. Within the context of the plot of the show, it’s the band’s first music video. Since the band has very limited funds, Murray constructs the robot costumes himself, (“they don’t look like Daft Punk -we wanted ones like Daft Punk”),  and films the video using a mobile phone. Crazy stuff.

Hip-hop trio Deltron 3030 gave us a cartoon villain who loves the idea of creating a “VIRUS to bring dire straits to your environment”.  It’s from their debut album Deltron 3030, released in 2000.

The only cover of a Who song to reach the Top 10, anywhere, is  Elton John’s version of PINBALL WIZARD. It was featured in Ken Russell’s film version of the Tommy opera. The lyrics are forever planted in every baby boomer’s consciousness: “that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.” Here’s an outtake from the film. Makes me want to play pinball again!

James Brown reckons he’s a SEX MACHINE and who am I to argue? Well we had to have at least one song about man as machine didn’t we? And James Brown is the bomb.

I had to play, not one, but, two tracks from Radiohead’s OK COMPUTER ALBUM. First up it was FITTER, HAPPIER. It consists of samples of  music, background sound and lyrics recited by a synthesized voice from the Macintosh Simple Text application. Written after a period of writer’s block, FITTER HAPPIER was described by Thom Yorke as a checklist of slogans for the 1990s, which he considered, the most upsetting thing he’s ever written. We followed with one of their biggest hits, PARANOID ANDROID. This clip was filmed at the 2003 Glastonbury Festival. I so wished I’d been there!

A nice piece of R&B followed with COMPUTER LOVE by Zapp Roger,  featuring vocals by Shirley Murdock and Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band. And then it was Robin Gibb’s interesting attempt at reinventing himself in the 80’s with ROBOT. Sort of a techno/reggae/disco sound. Not sure what I think of it.

Swedish pop star Robyn contributed ROBOT BOY and then it was back to some electro with Daft Punk’s ROBOT ROCK. I’m not crazy about this French duo but of all their releases ROBOT ROCK is one of their best.

More to my liking is the theme to ROBOT CHICKEN, from the cult stop motion animated television series. Brilliant stuff. It was written by Primus lead man Les Claypool.

Styx contributed their classic ROBOTO, from their concept album Kilroy Was Here. The lines in the chorus DOMO ARIGATO, MR ROBOTO have become a catchprase and mean ‘
thank you very much’ in Japanese.

Kraftwerk deserved another outing. This German band came to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s and their distinctive sound was revolutionary then and continues to be highly influential across many genres of music today. We closed the show with COMPUTER WORLD.

This was my last week in the 2-4pm time slot. I’ll still be broadcasting on Tuesdays but I’m very happy to be moving to Drive Time 4-6pm. I hope you’ll continue to tune in to find out what crazy themes I get up to. I’ve been influenced by the move to create a playlist next week based on CHANGE. So if you have any requests, please get in touch.  I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Home Computer – Kraftwerk

Robot Man – Connie Francis

Coin Operated Boy  – The Dresden Dolls

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 – The Flaming Lips

Pocket Calculator – Kraftwerk

Percolator – The Ventures

I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett

Time Machine – Grand Funk Railroad

Fruit Machine – The Ting Tings

Down In The Park –  Gary Numan

Dear Mr. Super Computer – Sufjan Stevens

Yours Truly, 2095 – Electric Light Orchestra

A Postcard To Nina – Jens Lekman

Danger Will Robinson! (Sound grab from Lost in Space)

Robots – Flight Of The Conchords

Virus – Deltron 3030

Pinball Wizard – Elton John

Sex Machine – James Brown

Fitter Happier – Radiohead

Paranoid Android – Radiohead

Computer Love – Zapp & Roger

Robot – Robin Gibb

Robotboy – Robyn

Robot Rock – Daft Punk

Robot Chicken Theme  – Les Claypool

Mr. Roboto – Styx

Computer World – Kraftwerk

All tracks available on iTunes.

Next week: CHANGE

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


%d bloggers like this: