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
Exciting times for Theme Park. This week marks the first show of the Summer season, our First Anniversary and it was our Melbourne Cup Special with a live cross to Melbourne for Australia’s #1 horse race. We ran a sweep for our subscribers, with great prizes, and lots of fun was had by all. But what about the music, you may well ask? The theme this week, quite appropriately I think, was LUCK.
We opened the show with Stevie Wonder’s SUPERSTITION. Stevie knows that it’s easy to blame bad luck when things go pear-shaped, but he’s not up for making excuses. “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer”, he states with no uncertain authority. Here he is in the studio, circa 1973:
People have a tendancy to limit a person’s achievements by simply limiting it to ‘luck’. But don’t be envious, things aren’t always as great as what they seem, as Britney Spears points out in her 2000 song LUCKY, which spookily foreshadows her future breakdown. Thin Lizzy have a similar problem: They can’t help thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side: Someone else, somewhere else, is luckier than them. The song is HOLLYWOOD (Down On Your Luck) from their Renegade album. Here they are performing live in 1982:
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes can even make a song about bad luck funky with a great piece of disco called, (what else?), BAD LUCK. The JoBoxers are lucky in love and they want the world to know it. What better way than a song called JUST GOT LUCKY? Bonus: Cute dog in this video clip:
When it comes to love we all know there’s a downside and no other genre does bad luck as well as the Blues category. Memphis Minnie seems lucky in love, because she has no trouble finding a guy; the trouble is, as soon as she finds one, disaster strikes. The song is I’M A BAD LUCK WOMAN. We followed with one my favourite jazz performers, the wonderful, melancholy voice of Chet Baker singing EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME.
I had to include two of my faves: The Verve with LUCKY MAN and PJ Harvey with GOOD FORTUNE – The track is from her album Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea:
Alison Krauss and Union Station sang THE LUCKY ONE right up until we crossed to to Melbourne for the Cup broadcast. Congratulations to BayFM subscriber Annette who drew the winner of the race, SHOCKING, and therefore won the sweep and the dinner for two at Utopia Restaurant with limousine transfers from Bangalow Limousines. Thanks to everyone who rang in for the sweep; filled in a record 5 minutes!- and thanks also to our sponsors.
While we recovered from all that excitement we listened to a little R&B: YOU WIN, I LOSE from Little Johnny Taylor and LUCKY LIPS from the fantastic Ruth Brown. Jason Mraz and Colbert Caillat offered up a cute bit of optimistic pop with their duet LUCKY. Matchbox Twenty aren’t so positive. Their song, SEMI-CHARMED LIFE, indicates a bit of a ‘glass-half-filled’ take on life.
A song I’ve played before, but couldn’t resist, was LUCKY NUMBER by the amazing Lena Lovich. It’s a great piece of New Wave from 1978. If you want to check out the video clip go to the show on the Number ONE.
Remember Alan Price singing O LUCKY MAN! from the film of the same name? I’d forgotten how good that was. Starring a very young Malcolm McDowell and directed by the legendary Lindsay Anderson, here’s a clip from the film that features Alan Price singing the title song.
Another great song is FORTUNE TELLER. Originally recorded by Benny Spellman in 1962 it’s been covered many times. We played the version by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss from their Grammy Award winning album, Raising Sand. We also included two songs about how much ‘attitude’ influences luck. Lynard Skynard were crying out for sympathy with their song GOOD LUCK, BAD LUCK: “When it’s good luck you’re the last to get it, when it’s bad luck you’re the first.” Ah well, some would call that a persecution complex. Mary Chapin Carpenter knows how to have a good time. She ignores all advice, to her benefit, with the very chirpy I FEEL LUCKY:
We closed the show with The OJays singing THEY CALL ME MR. LUCKY and then it was a perfectly pitched piece of pop – Rod Stewart’s SOME GUYS HAVE ALL THE LUCK.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Next week: FASHION. I’d love to have your suggestions for the playlist.
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn