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SMOKING

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

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com
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MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

Opening the show with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey singing ‘Money, Money, Money’ let everyone know from the get-go what this week’s theme was. Yes, the dirty dollar, the buckaroo, moolah – whatever you want to call it – Money. Depending on your viewpoint, it either makes the world go ’round or its the root of all evil. I tried to offer up songs that would support either theory in a show jam-packed with music from all genres.

flyinglizardsFirst up, Dire Straits with ‘Money For Nothing’, promising all the young dudes that all they need to do is play the guitar on the MTV to get their ‘money for nothing and their chicks for free’. Yeah sure, maybe in the good old days, Mark Knopfler! Then it was onto one of several Beatles songs of the day with ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and a great version of ‘Money’ by The Flying Lizards. Originally written and recorded by Motown musician Barrett Strong, this robotic, unapologetic version has been used in several movie soundtracks, including two of my favourites: The Big Lebowski and Empire Records.

And then it was the song that made the world, especially Australia and 
Europe, wild for ABBA. ‘Money, Money, Money’ remained at the top of Australia’s charts for six weeks, and made it to the Top 3 in at least 11 other countries. The Pet Shop Boys offered up  their formula for making money, ‘Opportunities’: I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, Let’s make lots of money.” I’m sure plenty of hairbrained schemes were launched on that premise!  Back together again, with a new hit album, its worth having a look at the video of the track that differs quite a bit from the album version. The mix on this video seems much better,  to my ears anyway.

My Roy Orbison song this week was ‘Uptown’, about a bellhop who yearns for the attention of a gal way out of his league, financially. Van Morrison sang about ‘Blue Money’ and the Steve Miller Band track ‘Take the Money and Run’ kept the country rock fans happy. I love Louis Jordan and his song ‘If You’re So Smart, How Come You Ain’t Rich’ appealed to my sense of humour. Then it was onto Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin for a good dose of Blues/R&B.

New to my show was Gwen Stefani with a number that really suited the theme. ‘Rich Girl’ cheekily adapts ‘If I Were A Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof to great effect. And a little bit of help from Eve on this track, didn’t hurt either. And then it was onto more Beatles with ‘Taxman’ and more Pet Shop Boys, with a great number ‘Rent’ and some Yeah, Yeah Yeahs with ‘Rich’. All leading up to the money anthem of all time: Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ from their 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. With its money-related sound effects of cash registers, coins and the like, it is perfect. Have a look at the original video clip which is quite a powerful companion to a song which defined the notion: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’.

Our country section included Lefty Frizzell with his honky -tonk version of  ‘If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time’ and The Stanley Brothers with a bit of bluegrass: ‘If I Lose’, about a gambler who can always count on his woman to help him out. Horace Andy delivered a great bit of reggae with Money, Money. According to Horace, money is the root of all evil. He may be right but then again I’m hoping that money can also do some good in this world. (Now all I have to do is convince someone to give me some!)

Janis Joplin, John Lennon and AC/DC led up to the finish line and I closed the show with Massive Attack’s remake of William DeVaughan’s song ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’. And that sums up my message from this week’s show – be thankful for what you’ve got. Yes, the best things in life really are free. And radio is one of those!

Here’s the full playlist for you:

Money, Money – Liza Minnelli/Joel Grey/ Cabaret 

Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles

Money – The Flying Lizards

Money, money, money – ABBA

Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money) – Pet Shop Boys

Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller Band

Blue Money – Van Morrison

Uptown – Roy Orbison

If You So Smart, How Come You Ain’t Rich  – Louis Jordan

I Got A Woman – Ray Charles

Money Won’t Change You –  Aretha Frankin

Security – Otis Redding

Rich Girl – Nina Simone

Rich Girl (feat. Eve) – Gwen Stefani

Taxman – The Beatles

Rent – Pet Shop Boys

Rich – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Money – Pink Floyd

No Money  Ernie K Doe and the Blue Diamonds 

If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time – Lefty Frizzell

If I Lose – The Stanley Brothers

Rich Woman – Li’l Millet & His Creoles

Rich Mans Blues – C.W. Stoneking

Money Money  Horace Andy

Buy Me A Mercedes Benz  Janis Joplin

Nobody Loves You (when you’re down and out) – John Lennon

Moneytalks   ACDC

You Never Give Me Your Money  The Beatles

Be Thankful For What You’ve Got    Massive Attack

Next week I’ll be dedicating the show to music from the 60’s and giving away tickets to the new film, set in ’66 against the British pirate radio days, The Boat That Rocked. 

Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, at BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
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