Now, you may think I’m a bit behind the eight ball, doing a show on RESOLUTIONS AND FRESH STARTS in mid January, but I have a policy of not even thinking about New Year Resolutions until after my birthday, which is around this time. I’m not prepared to give up my wicked ways until those celebrations are well out of the way. And, to be honest, that could take up to 6 months at least.
So, I’ll allow the playlist to do the job for me. The wonderful Nina Simone set the tone with FEELING GOOD. She’s full of optimism because it’s a new day, a new life and she’s feeling good. I wonder how long that lasted? Because, as we all know, new resolutions and fresh starts are often accompanied by regret and, unfortunately, they almost always carry the potential for failure. But, let’s at least try and maintain some hope.
The Allman Brothers Band have had their ups and downs, so on a song like CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING they’re sounding mighty ambitious. But hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
It was great to have Blues/Roots duo The Fridays in the studio for a chat and some live music. They’re from Adelaide and presently in Byron performing and promoting their EP Woh Oh. Kimberly McKenzie and Kelly Breuer’s original material melds rock out riffs with beautiful harmonies. A couple of the songs had me laughing out loud. As well as playing ROMANCE COMEDY from their EP we were able to have them perform two other numbers live and it was such a pleasure. If you get a chance to catch them perform, anywhere, don’t miss out on supporting some fantastic up and coming Australian talent.
Motown giants The Supremes and The Temptations got together to record a version of Dee Dee Warwick’s I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME and it became a huge hit for them in 1969. We followed that with the very appropriate NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS from two more soul greats, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.
If only Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynot had followed through on his resolution, he might still be with us. Instead, I’VE GOT TO GIVE IT UP, is a sad memorial to this amazing talent who died at 36.
Something a little less serious: Husker Du reckon they’re NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN. Oh come on guys, never say never. Bob Dylan is equally resolute. He swears he’s never going to work on MAGGIES FARM no more. Fair enough.
The Who are convinced that they WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN. A good resolution if ever I heard one, but, like a lot of resolutions, not that easy to keep.
Mama Kin is very convincing on her resolution song I’M GONNA DO IT. As is Bobby Bland who says he AIN’T GONNA BE THE FIRST TO CRY.
John Legend gets a little bit of help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. On this video clip he carries the day on his own (and you get the bonus of Spottie as well). Its a live performance in London with a terrific band and back-up.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers contributed one of those songs full of promises. You know the ones: men make them in order to win the woman of their dreams. In this case George says I’LL CHANGE MY STYLE.
Bobbie Gentry, who’s obviously met a few ‘Georges’ in her time swears I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN.
Nick Cave, apparently has all the right intentions, he just has trouble delivering on his resolutions because RIGHT NOW HE’S A ROAMING. Steve Winwood knows that if you’re really serious about wanting a fresh start you have to make it happen WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE.
Somehow I don’t think Ian Dury and the Blockheads were serious at all when they sang I WANT TO BE STRAIGHT.
Princess Superstar’s QUITTING SMOKING SONG was edited a little, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to play it on radio, and that would have been a pity, I reckon. Meanwhile, Black Kids are promising I’M NOT GOING TO TEACH YOUR BOYFRIEND HOW TO DANCE WITH YOU. Quite right too.
A fun couple of songs to exit on: Mary Martin and the cast of South Pacific with I’M GONNA WASH THAT MAN RIGHT OUT OF MY HAIR. And one of my favourites, the wonderfully eccentric and optimistic Jonathan Richman, who knows all about fresh starts on I’M JUST BEGINNING TO LIVE.
Thanks to The Fridays for coming in and entertaining us in the first hour of the program. Don’t forget they’re performing at the Rails Hotel in Byron Bay on Thursday January 20th so get along and support them.
Thanks also to Lina, Chilla, Shel, Allan, Andy and Victoria for letting us know what their New Year Resolutions were for this year.
Next week’s show will be ALL AUSTRALIAN. Lots of nostalgia and some new stuff as well.
Until then, here’s this week’s playlist:
Feeling Good / Nina Simone
Change My Way Of Living / The Allman Brothers Band
Romance Comedy / The Fridays
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me / The Supremes
New Year’s Resolution / Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
Got To Give It Up / Thin Lizzy
Never Talking To You Again / Hüsker Dü
Maggie’s Farm / Bob Dylan
Won’t Get Fooled Again / The Who
I’m Gonna Do It / Mama Kin
I Ain’t Gonna Be The First To Cry / Bobby “Blue” Bland
I Can Change ft. Snoop Dogg / John Legend
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again / Bobbie Gentry
I’ll Change My Style / George Thorogood and The Destroyers
Right Now I’m A-Roaming / Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
I Want To Be Straight / Ian Dury and The Blockheads
While You See A Chance / Steve Winwood
One Way Or Another / Blondie
Quitting Smoking Song / Princess Superstar
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You / Black Kids
I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair / Mary Martin and The Girl’s Chorus of South Pacific
I’m Just Beginning To Live /Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
Next week: 40 YEARS OF CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN ROCK
Theme Park is now in Drive Time! I’m very excited, (explanation points aside, can you tell?). To celebrate, the topic this week was CHANGE. There were songs about every possible variety of change: political, social, cultural, emotional, physical, even the kind you find at the bottom of your handbag when you most need it.
BayFM is now in its Winter season and with Theme Park’s new time of Tuesdays 4-6pm, you may have only just discovered us. So, if this is your first visit, the idea is not to find a list of the “best” songs on a subject, because “best” is boring and more or less just involves me reaffirming how great the Beatles, Radiohead and Roy Orbison are. No, what we’re trying to create is a thematically coherent playlist with a mix of genres, eras and moods. Some songs you’ll already know; some, maybe, you won’t, and hopefully each week we’ll rediscover the classics, and discover new music, together.
We opened the show with Michael Jackson’s MAN IN THE MIRROR. And what a great message it is: if you want to change the world then start with yourself and your attitude to those less fortunate than yourself. We followed with something a little less serious: the great Ella Fitzgerald with ANYTHING GOES from her album ‘The Cole Porter Songbook’. It was the first album she recorded for the Verve album in 1956.
John Mayer is in Australia at the moment and I’ll forgive his indiscretions in recent interviews because WAITIN’ ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE is such a great track. Here he is with an acoustic version of the song. Very nice.
We followed with the definitive cover of Bob Dylan’s ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER by Jimi Hendrix. Dylan wrote this song at a time that he was experiencing a complete life change, with two young children and a growing interest in the Bible. Hendrix’s version is so highly regarded that Dylan has been quoted as saying: “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”
Everyone’s allowed to change their mind now and again. A couple of terrific songs about the subject are the Cardigans’ ERASE/REWIND and soul singer Tyrone Davis’ CAN I CHANGE MY MIND?
A completely different perspective on change came from the band Blind Melon. The track CHANGE is from their 1992 self-titled debut album and was the first written by lead singer Shannon Hoon, who struggled with a drug dependancy. The song encourages you to change your life when it gets too hard. Unfortunately Hoon found it difficult to take his own advice and he died in 1995, at 28, from an overdose. His grave is inscribed with words from the song.
Do you think money changes you? According to Cyndi Lauper MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING. Aretha Franklin, on the other hand, reckons MONEY WON’T CHANGE YOU. I think Aretha may have won that round.
Daniel Merriwether received a little bit of help from, rapper, Wale in the song CHANGE. The song and, in fact, the whole album was produced by wunderkid Mark Ronson. Rather than just play the official video clip, here’s a ‘making of’ that you might find interesting.
Country rockers, The Allman Brothers Band, sound as if they have hit rock bottom and are ready to do something about it in the very bluesy CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING.
Another great rock group is Muse. The song FEELING GOOD is probably best known for Nina Simone’s outstanding recording. Here, Muse take the optimism of Simon’s standard to a whole other place.
We rounded out the hour with THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. Recorded in 1971, it’s a poem and a song by Gil Scott-Heron, generally considered to be the father of hip-hop and neo soul.
I’M COMING OUT is a joyous disco number from Diana Ross. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, of the 70’s Disco band ‘Chic’, wrote and produced the track. Rodgers got the idea for the song when he went to a transvestite club in New York City. He went to the bathroom, and while he was standing at the urinal, he saw three men who were all dressed as Diana Ross.
I love my R&B. Anyone who saw Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the Blues Fest a few years ago know what a dynamic group they are. A great song from them is SOMETHING’S CHANGED. We followed with A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. Sam Cooke’s Dylan-inspired, lump-in-the-throat protest song mourns both racial intolerance and his infant son’s fatal drowning. And it’s the most requested song in our list today.
Joni Mitchell’s song BIG YELLOW TAXI is about changes brought about by so-called ‘progress’; “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Sound familiar? And a big shout out to everyone in Mullumbimby, while we’re on the subject of unnecessary change.
David Bowie’s song CHANGES is one you must have predicted. And I’m nothing, if not predictable. We followed with another very predictable track: THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’, although it’s not Bob Dylan but a wonderful version by Nina Simone.
Let’s talk physical change. Can you get any better than Lou Reed’s TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE? It’s from the Transformer album, recorded in 1972 and produced by David Bowie. “Plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs and then he was a she.” Yep, that’s what I call change.
Talking of changing teams, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood contributed a track from their Live From Madison Square Garden album, called, appropriately, TEAM CHANGES. And then it was time to head back to a song about political change: Tracey Chapman with TALKIN’ BOUT A REVOLUTION.
John Legend got some help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. That’s for the right girl, he asserts. Yeah yeah, heard it all before Johnny.
The Audreys do a gorgeous cover of the INXS song DON’T CHANGE. It challenges you not to change. Because you’re perfectly OK as you are, you know. The song is from the album, Between Last Night and Us. Here they are performing at Woodford Folk Festival, 2009:
We closed the show with a beauty: the Beatles and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. “Nothings going to change my world.” Well, maybe, but one thing I do know is that change is inevitable and while we might not appreciate it at the time, its all good.
Next week’s theme will be MORE CRED WHEN DEAD. Yes, every track will be from an artist who has passed on to that big disco in the sky and more than likely became more successful after they were gone. Big list to choose from, so inevitably there will be some omissions. But let me know your requests anyway. Love to hear from you.
Here’s this week’s playlist. From this week, I’ll include the album names as well. You can find all songs on iTunes.
Man in the Mirror – Bad, Michael Jackson
Anything Goes – The Cole Porter Songbook (CD1), Ella Fitzgerald
Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer
All Along The Watchtower – The Ultimate Experience, Jimi Hendrix
Erase/Rewind – Gran Turismo, The Cardigans
Can I Change My Mind – Billboard Top 100 Of 1969, Tyrone Davis
Change – Blind Melon, Blind Melon
Money Changes Everything – Twelve Deadly Cyns, Cyndi Lauper
Money Won’t Change You – Lady Soul, Aretha Frankin
Change – Love & War, Daniel Merriweather (and Wale)
Change My Way of Living – Where It All Begins, The Allman Brothers Band
Feeling Good – The Best of Muse CD2, Muse
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – The Breaks II, Gil Scott-Heron
I’m Coming Out – Floorﬁllers 80s Club Classics CD3 – Diana Ross
Something’s Changed – 100 Days, 100 Nights, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
A Change Is Gonna Come – The Man & His Music, Sam Cooke
Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell
Changes – Hunky Dory, David Bowie
The Times They Are a Changin’ – Forever Young, Gifted & Black, Nina Simone
Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Transformer Lou Reed
Team Changes – Live From Madison Square Garden Cd1, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
I Can Change feat. Snoop Dogg – Get Lifted, John Legend
Don’t Change – Between Last Night and Us, The Audreys
Across The Universe – Let It Be, The Beatles
Next week: MORE CRED WHEN DEAD
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn