I’m not a smoker and, in fact, I think its a pretty silly way to spend your time, but I have to admit that there are some terrific songs on the subject, both for and against. We started the program with Tex Williams and His Western Caravan with SMOKE! SMOKE! SMOKE! THAT CIGARETTE, a western swing novelty song recorded in 1947. While the line “Ive smoked all my life and I ain’t dead yet” suggests that the song is pro-smoking, the chorus includes lines like “Puff, puff, puff … smoke yourself to death”. So Tex is having a two way bet, let’s just say.
Here Tex’s song is used brilliantly to illustrate all the smoking on my favourite TV series, Mad Men. This video will have one of two results: The repetitious, perfunctory and seemingly pointless act of inhaling smoke may turn you completeley off smoking cigarettes. Or, the fact that this repetitious, perfunctory, and seemingly pointless act is carried out by such debonair, dashing human beings will make you run to your corner store and chimney down a carton before dinner. Either way, advertising works.
We couldn’t leave out references to tobacco’s more pungent partner in crime, marijuana. Before this recreational drug was criminalised in the US, there was a fertile genre known as reefer jazz, of which Ella Fitzgerald’s WHEN I GET LOW I GET HIGH is a lively example.
When it comes to Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin was known as The King. He recorded a great smoking song called I CAN’T QUIT CIGARETTES in 1966.
More currently, Hefner’s Darren Hayman gave us THE HYMN FOR THE CIGARETTES from the 1999 album The Fidelity Wars. Here the song is set against some of my favourite films including Contempt, Bad Education, Manhatten, Breathless, Coffee & Cigarettes, All About My Mother, A Bande A Part and more…
Talking Heads do a great version of TAKE ME TO THE RIVER “take my money, take my cigarettes I haven’t seen the worst of it yet…” and, of course, there’s Otis Redding, mixing caffeine with his nicotine on CIGARETTES AND COFFEE.
Neil Young’s ROLL ANOTHER NUMBER (FOR THE ROAD) is from his most uneven album ‘Tonight’s the Night’ on which he looks back at Woodstock through a fog of smoke, which probably explains a thing or two about the quality of the album.
Rufus Wainwright contributed his charismatic 2001 showtune, CIGARETTES AND CHOCOLATE MILK. Everything he likes is just a little bit harmful for him (know the feeling!).
Jazz legend Nina Simone has some good advice: DON’T SMOKE IN BED. She recorded her version of Willard Robison’s piece in 1958. And in 1959 a completely different style of music was being recorded by Joe and Rose Lee Maphis. Their honky tonk style of country music was also a crowd pleaser, with its old fashioned views about the role of women in society. Well it was 1959 folks. The song is DIM LIGHTS, THICK SMOKE (AND LOUD, LOUD, MUSIC).
David Bowie’s ROCK & ROLL SUICIDE is an avant garde showtune of sorts, where he references the Spanish poet Manuel Machado with the line “Time takes a cigarette…”
My pick from the multitude of reggae songs that celebrate weed is U Roy’s CHALICE IN THE PALACE because it has to be the most unusual of the bunch. Inspired by a dream, he outlines his plan to bond with the Queen over a hashpipe. Cool.
Ry Cooder proved, once again, that he must be the best slide guitarist in the world with a very nice live performance of FOOL FOR A CIGARETTE.
Canadian Hawksley Workman works a nice piece of sexual metaphor on JEALOUS OF YOUR CIGARETTE.
I had to include the Happy Mondays song LOOSE FIT, if only because it starts with someone lighting up and inhaling. Then it was a cruisy little number from Camper Van Beethoven who suggest we get high while the radio’s on. The song, GOOD GUYS & BAD GUYS, is a great example of the slacker ethos of the late 80’s.
Steve Miller reckons he’s a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker on The Steve Miller Band’s song JOKER. Brownsville Station’s SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM took me back a few years. Remember when being a rebel was sharing a pack of Peter Stuyvesant’s behind the toilet block? Seems so distant now doesn’t it?
I love to play a little Pink Floyd now and again and HAVE A CIGAR from the album Wish You Were Here was perfect for this week’s show.
The Editors recorded a song about one of my big bugbears, SMOKERS OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL DOORS. It drives me crazy when I go to visit someone in hospital and I see hospital workers and visitors congregating outside the hospital entrance smoking their lives away. Grrrr.
Super Furry Animals gave us a rambling, rousing slice of smoking philosophy on SMOKIN’, which we followed with REEFER MAN from Baron Lee and The Mill Blue Rhythm Band.
For all you Francophiles out there: Serge Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve want you to know that they’re big cigar fans. They even contend that God smokes them. I’m no theology expert, but who knows, they may be right! The song is DIEU EST UN FUMEUR DE HAVANES.
A couple of country songs on the subject of smoking: Lefty Frizzell with CIGARETTES AND COFFEE BLUES and a classic: Patsy Cline with THREE CIGARETTES IN AN ASHTRAY.
k.d. lang is a huge Patsy Cline fan and she’s covered many of her songs including THREE CIGARETTES IN AN ASHTRAY. And you’ve got to hand it to her for doing a whole album on smoking. So k.d. saw us out with a terrific song from the album Drag: MY LAST CIGARETTE.
Next week our show falls on March 8th which is International Women’s Day, so its a given that I’ll be presenting a program that features all my favourite female artists. Get in touch if you would like to request a particular song or artist. I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette) – Tex Williams and His Western Caravan, Theme Time Radio Hour Volume Three [Disc 2]
When I Get Low I Get High – Ella Fitzgerald The Early Years: Part 1 (1935-1938) [Disc 1]
I Can’t Quit Cigarettes – Jimmy Martin, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
The Hymn For The Cigarettes – Hefner, The Best of Hefner
Take Me To The River – Talking Heads, The Best Of
Cigarettes And Coffee – Otis Redding, The Soul Album
Roll Another Number (For The Road) – Neil Young, Tonight’s The Night
Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk – Rufus Wainwright, Dreamworks Fall
Don’t Smoke In Bed – Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) – Joe and Rose Lee Maphis, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
Rock & Roll Suicide – David Bowie, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
Chalice In The Palace (1990 Digital Remaster) – U-Roy, Dread In A Babylon
Fool For A Cigarette / Feelin’ Good – Ry Cooder
Jealous Of Your Cigarette – Hawksley Workman, (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves
Richard Diamond Advertisement – Richard Diamond, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
Loose Fit – Happy Mondays, The Chillout Album, Vol. 2
Good Guys & Bad Guys – Camper Van Beethoven
The Joker – The Steve Miller Band, Groovin’ 70’s
Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room – Brownsville Station, Best Of Brownsville Station
Have A Cigar – Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors, An End Has A Start
Smokin’ – Super Furry Animals, Outspaced
Reefer Man – Baron Lee and The Mill Blue Rhythm Band
Dieu fumeur de Havana – Serge Gainsbourg/Catherine Deneuve
Cigarettes And Coffee Blues – Lefty Frizzell
Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray – Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
My Last Cigarette – k.d. lang, Drag
Next week: AUSTRALIAN WOMEN SINGERS
Sexuality, as the openly gay Michael Stipe has said “is a really slippery thing”. He says he’s not homosexual or heterosexual, he’s just sexual. I call that covering all your bases! With November 27th being Australia’s National Day of Action for Marriage Equality and December 1 being World Aids Day, it was a time for a show on HOMOSEXUALITY. I also wanted to pay tribute to a community who are still fighting for basic human rights. India held its very first gay pride march on the weekend after repealing laws against homosexuality only last year. In the US, only California allows same-sex marriages and in countries where these marriages are legal they don’t necessarily come with the right to adopt children. And in Australia our Prime Minister, Julia Guillard, shocked her (until now, anyway) supporters with her stand against gay marriage. So there’s obviously still a long way to go.
For the record I identify myself as straight so, just to give me some credibility, I invited two beautiful and brazen gay friends into the studio to help present the show: fellow BayFM announcers Tommy T-Jet from ‘All Things Camp’ and the lovely Lou from the Tuesday morning breakfast show, ‘Cock a Doodle Doo’.
We opened with a song for Tommy: Elton Motello’s JET BOY JET GIRL is a risque little number about a 15-year-old boy’s sexual relationship with an older man, who then rejects him for a girl. With its chorus of “ooh ooh ooh ooh, he gives me head,” it has been embraced as something of a punk gay anthem. Talking of punk, one of the best bands to emerge from the Queercore movement that started in the 80’s is Pansy Division. They have a huge repertoire of funny and pertinent punk songs about the gay experience and I played one of my faves, FEM IN A BLACK LEATHER JACKET. Part silly, part raucous, part earnest, you cannot ignore them, that’s for sure!
As far as I know Ben Harper is straight. And he’s a good example of your typical New Age Sensitive Guy with an evolved attitude about sexuality. He does a great acoustic number about a woman who leaves her abusive husband for a relationship with a woman. It’s called MAMA’S GOT A GIRLFRIEND NOW.
Marc Almond (ex-Soft Cell) takes Charles Aznavour’s WHAT MAKES A MAN and gives it a whole new meaning. Here he is appearing at the Royal Albert Hall:
I caught up with Melia and Nerida from Scarlett Affection at the Mullum Music Fest and among other things we discussed gay marriage from a straight girl’s point of view. As they quite rightly state, it’s all about love. We followed it with another sister act, the openly gay duo Tegan and Sara with I WAS MARRIED. This video clip was shot at their show at the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary. Love, love, love Tegan and Sara.
Gay icon k.d. lang is a girl with an appetite and she blames it all on CONSTANT CRAVING. This video looks amazing as does k.d.
The Gossip’s lead singer Beth Ditto wrote STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL as a response to the US government’s opposition to same sex marriage. Check this vid of them performing live and then try and tell me that Beth D. doesn’t absolutely rock! So good to see a young rock band with political attitude and a young woman not starving herself to death to fit the media’s idea of what’s sexy.
Jens Lekman is fed up with being a pretend boyfriend for his lesbian mate on A POSTCARD TO NINA. In this videoclip, shot when he performed live in Melbourne in 2006, his guitar died so he played the song on his ukelele while his band mates tried to sort out technical difficulties. Is he as cute as a button, or what?
Franz Ferdinand are, (I think) heterosexual but that didn’t stop them from playing the homoeroticism game on the track MICHAEL. Look, if its good enough for Bowie, then why not? Pete Shelley, on the other hand, isn’t shy about his sexual preference. The post-Buzzcocks pop single HOMOSAPIEN was banned by the BBC for its “explicit reference to gay sex”. Dear oh dear, when is the BBC going to get with the program?
Lou thought the list was getting a little male-dominated, so we couldn’t have that! She had a great suggestion – Ani DiFranco with BOTH HANDS. Following that I proved that Katie Perry is just another copycat. A cute copycat, but a copycat nonetheless. Jill Sobule’s I KISSED A GIRL was a hit way back in 1995. Check this out:
While I was at the Mullum Music Festival I spoke to volunteer David about his thoughts on AIDS and HIV awareness. His opinion is that there is a growing complacency within the gay community about safe sex and my guest presenter Tommy agreed with this. Yes, there is medication these days that can prolong your life but who wants to be on medication for the rest of their life? As with all diseases, prevention is always the best option.
A reminder that December 1 is WORLD AIDS DAY. The theme this year is TAKE ACTION. NO DISCRIMINATION. The aim is to encourage all Australians to be aware of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; and to accept individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Bruce Springsteen’s STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA was written for the first mainstream film to confront HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia. Philadelphia was released in 1993. It was inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers, an lawyer who in 1987 sued the law firm Baker & McKenzie for unfair dismissal in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. Here’s Bruce baby with the official clip for the song which went on to win an Academy award:
I was feeling the need for an anthem and you can’t go past Gloria Gaynor’s I AM WHAT I AM. The song originally featured on the Tony award winning Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. Here’s Gloria in 1984:
Next up it was the always briliant Scissor Sisters with TAKE YOUR MAMA. Apparently, the band took their name from a sexual position between two women. Lou refused to elaborate! Here are they are performing at the 2010 Brit Awards. So wish I had been in that audience!
Our Gig Guide was ushered out with the very silly, but quite infectious, GAY BAR from Electric Six. It seems that we don’t have any lesbian or gay bars up here in the Byron shire. According to my panel of experts its all a bit underground. Oooh.
Time to get a bit more serious with my favourite socialist, Billy Bragg singing TENDER COMRADE and then a request from one of our listeners, Ryan, was granted with The Lemonheads singing BIG GAY HEART.
I absolutely adore the Joan Armatrading song THE WEAKNESS IN ME. Hard finding a decent videoclip of her performing it, but here’s one where she’s accompanied by keboards only. It’s not a great quality video but had to include it. What a voice.
Before I knew it the two hours was up and it was time to close the show and it had to be with the polymorphously perverse David Bowie and QUEEN BITCH. The year was 1972. Not sure what I think of the introduction of Bowie as a ‘self-constructed freak’. I have the feeling that he might have enjoyed that!
Huge thank you to Lou and Tommy for their help this week and allowing me to be a gay for a day.
For more information on community based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender health issues contact ACON via their website at: http://www.acon.org.au/ or use their Free Call number 1800 063 060.
Thanks to Tommy T-Jet for editing the opinion sections of the show. You can listen to us having a bit of a chat between songs at: http://soundcloud.com/tommytjet/theme-park-30th-november-2010-homosexuality
Next week I’ll be ushering in the Summer season with a show on the SUN. Please leave me a message here if you would like to request a track. Until next week, remember to love one another (anyway you like!).
Here’s the playlist:
Jet Boy Jet Girl – Jet Boy Jet Girl, Elton Motello
Fem in a Black Leather Jacket – The Essential Pansy Division, Pansy Division
Mama’s Got a Girlfriend Now – Pleasure and Pain, Ben Harper and Tom Freund
What Makes A Man – 12 Years Of Tears – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, Marc Almond
I Was Married – The Con, Tegan and Sara
Constant Craving – Live By Request, k.d. lang
Standing In The Way Of Control – Standing In The Way Of Control, The Gossip
Do You Come Here Often – Telstar The Tornados
A Postcard To Nina – Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens Lekman
Michael – Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Homosapien – Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits Of The 80’s, Pete Shelley
Both Hands – Ani DiFranco, Ani DiFranco
I Kissed A Girl – Hottest 100 Vol 03 [Disc 1], Jill Sobule
Streets of Philadelphia – Philadelphia Sountrack, Bruce Springsteen
I Am What I AM – I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
It’s Alright – Shaming of the Sun, Indigo Girls
Secret Love – All Blues, Chet Baker
Gay Bar – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 11 [Disc 1], Electric Six
Tender Comrade – Workers Playtime, Billy Bragg
Big Gay Heart – Come On Feel The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads
The Weakness In Me – The L Word Full Soundtrack [Disc 2], Joan Armatrading
Queen Bitch – Hunky Dory, David Bowie
Next week: SONGS ABOUT THE SUN
When it comes to song lyrics, the most common causes of TIREDNESS are those that also create the most activity: we’re talking sex and drugs again people. Edwin Starr doesn’t mention anything about stimulants to keep him awake, however. The powerful pull of a sexy woman seems to be all he needs to keep him walking those TWENTY FIVE MILES to see her. He must be keen because it’s going to take three days and two lonely nights to get there. No wonder he’s exhausted:
There is a song that appears to be simply about tiredness from working too hard. On WORKING IN THE COALMINE, Lee Dorsey sings that by Saturday he’s too tired to have any fun at all. Pearl Bailey is TIRED of just about everything. Oh dear. Here she is with a brilliant performance from the 1947 film Variety Girl:
The Cox Family is a Bluegrass family group who became world-known when they appeared on the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film O Brother Where Art Thou . The song I AM WEARY is particularly poignant. In July 2000, shortly after recording the song, Willard Cox and his wife Marie were seriously injured in a traffic accident near their home in Cotton Valley. In February 2009, Marie died from cancer. Alison Krauss was among the many that attended the funeral.
A triple-play, that gave our theme of TIREDNESS a real work-out, included Fats Domino with SICK AND TIRED. Then a brilliant suggestion from Andrew: TOO POOPED TO POP from the La De Das, followed by the all girl band The Hissyfits (how good is that name?) with a song that expresses how fed up they are with a certain relationship. It’s called simply, TIRED.
Tired of being lonely seems to be a recurring theme in these tiredness songs. One of the best ever recorded, and requested here by Claire, is TIRED OF BEING ALONE from the Reverend Al Green:
Another track, with the same name, came from Clifton Chenier. His version of TIRED OF BEING ALONE was sung Creole style, known as the Zydeco Blues. And talking of Blues, I found a great tune from the 40’s: Washboard Sam also sounds pretty fed up on I’M JUST TIRED.
THE WEARY KIND, sung by Ryan Bingham, is the excellent theme song to a great film, Crazy Heart. Jeff Bridges’ performance won him an Academy Award and Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett also won Best Song at the 2009 Academy Awards as well as a Golden Globe.
Just to prove that a show about TIREDNESS could also be a lot of fun, I included the very funny I’M TIRED from the film Blazing Saddles. Madeline Kahn, otherwise known as Lily Von Schtupp is all tuckered out. As she puts it, “Let’s face it, everything from the waist down is kaput”. Hysterical.
Indie rockers, The Zutons, have no patience whatsoever. As they sing it, they’re TIRED OF HANGING AROUND. Country icon Chet Atkins has a beef with his girlfriend. He asks her, AIN’T CHA TIRED OF MAKIN’ ME BLUE? A close relative of country music is Rockabilly. Another great suggestion from Andrew filled that bill – Eddie Cochran is exhausted from walking up twenty flights of stairs to see his lover, when the elevator breaks down. The song: TWENTY FLIGHT ROCK. Here’s a scene from the film The Girl Can’t Help It on which the song featured:
Mose Allison’s SO TIRED was requested by jazz aficionado, Quinton, from BayFM’s Q’s Jazz & Blues. So happy to oblige.
Time for some more indie rock. The Pixies love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. They even reference them on I’VE BEEN TIRED. Charlotte wanted to hear IF ONLY TONIGHT WE COULD SLEEP from The Cure. But my favourite had to be Weezer who say they are making love every night of the week. It should be noted that Lyn get’s a mention on Tuesdays. How appropriate. Turns out though, like all of us, they’re really looking for true love and reckon they’re TIRED OF SEX. And you thought that meaningful lyrics were a thing of the past! Here they are performing live in Japan:
An interesting track comes from a Spanish group from the 80’s called Mecano. It’s their debut single HOY NO ME PUEDO LEVANTAR which translates as I CAN’T GET UP TODAY. It’s a song about youth, boredom and hangovers. I think we’ve all been there, right?
A couple of great suggestions from Des followed: John Lennon is losing sleep because he can’t stop thinking about his lover on I’M SO TIRED. It’s from The Beatles White Album. Then it was The Kinks with TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU.
I had to include Eric Clapton’s SICK AND TIRED and fellow Brit Blues artists, Savoy Brown, with I’M TIRED before bringing in k.d.lang, with a song that offers a solution to all this tiredness: BLACK COFFEE.
You all know by now that I love Roy Orbison. So it was great to welcome him back to the playlist with a Travelling Wilburys’ track. On their song, HANDLE WITH CARE, Orbison has the most relevant lines for this week’s theme: “I’m so tired of being lonely, I’ve still got some love to give.”
MOONLIGHT MILE is a rare example of Mick Jagger letting go of his public persona and singing of the weariness associated with keeping up appearances as a sex-drugs and rock & roll star. Ah yes, Mick, I’m sure it’s very tiresome! Seriously though, great song from the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album and a terrific close to the show.
Next week’ program, which I’m really excited about, is shaping up to be a doozy. The theme is MUSIC GENRES. I’m looking for songs that make reference to a particular style of music: it could be rock’n’roll, blues, country, rap, reggae, swing – in fact the quirkier the better. Think of tracks that shed some light on the topic. Suggesting every song ever made with the word “blues” in the title is just too easy. I know you’re all smarter than that, so put your thinking caps on. Thanks to the Parkies who contributed to this week’s list: Andrew, Claire , Quinton and Des and apologies to those whose requests didn’t make the list. Keep them coming though!
Here’s this week’s complete list:
Twenty-ﬁve Miles – Billboard Top 100 of 1969, Edwin Starr
Working In A Coalmine – Replay/Gold – Vol 1, Lee Dorsey
Tired – Let There Be Love, Pearl Bailey
I am Weary – O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Cox Family
Sick And Tired (Digitally Remastered) – Rock ‘N’ Roll Jukebox, Fats Domino
Too Pooped To Pop – The La De Das
Tired – Letters From Frank, The Hissyﬁts
Tired of Being Alone – Greatest Hits, Al Green
Tired Of Being Alone – Zydeco Festival, Clifton Chenier
I’m Just Tired – Washboard Sam Vol. 7 1942-1949, Washboard Sam
The Weary Kind – Original Motion Picture OST ‘Crazy Heart’, Ryan Bingham
Sleep Deprivation – Attack Decay Sustain Release, Simian Mobile Disco
I’m Tired – Blazing Saddles Soundtrack, Madeline Kahn/Mel Brooks
Tired Of Hanging Around – Tired Of Hanging Around, The Zutons
That Lucky Old Sun – All Time Greats Vol 3 – The People, Dean Martin
Ain’ tcha Tired of Makin’ Me Blue – High Rockin’ Swing, Chet Atkins
Twenty Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran, Eddie Cochran
So Tired – Gimcracks and Gewgaws, Mose Allison
I’ve Been Tired – Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim, The Pixies
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (MTV Unplugged) – The Cure
Tired of Sex – Pinkerton, Weezer
Hoy no me puedo levantar – Ana Jose Nacho, Mecano
All Tired Horses – Self Portrait, Bob Dylan
I’m So Tired – White Album (Disc 1), Beatles
Tired Of Waiting For You – Greatest Hits, The Kinks
Sick And Tired – Pilgrim, Eric Clapton
I’m Tired – Rock ‘N’ Roll Warriors, Savoy Brown
Black Coffee – Live By Request, k.d. lang
Handle With Care – Traveling Wilburys [Disc 1], Traveling Wilburys
Moonlight Mile – Sticky Fingers (2009 Remastered Version), The Rolling Stones
Next week: MUSIC GENRES
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
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