Hair is more than just the stuff that sits on top of your head. Hair can be a metaphor for life, for youth, for sensuality. And, as such, the subject has created a lot of interest from songwriters. The long and the short of it is that hair, or the lack thereof, lends itself to every genre of popular music.
So, just to be quirky, we started the show with two songs about having no hair at all. The very appropriately named Professor Longhair gave us BALD HEAD and Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson contributed CLEANHEAD BLUES in which he claims that if it wasn’t for women he’d still have his curly locks. Oh yeah, sure. I’m not sure how old this clip is, but what a great venue!
Donna Simpson of The Waifs is a blonde who is much darker underneath than her image projects. Or so their song, THE HAIRCUT goes. So, let’s talk colour. McFly know a girl with FIVE COLOURS IN HER HAIR. If they were any cuter, they would have to be arrested. They remind me of the Monkees. Not sure if that’s a good thing.
Still on colour, Louis Jordan wants to know why YOU DYED YOUR HAIR CHARTREUSE. That’s the green colour your hair goes if you get a bad bleaching job, by the way.
There were no blonde jokes in the show this week, and certainly no ginger jokes. All in support of the sisterhood, you understand. And the brotherhood for that matter! But I do have a great quote for you from Dolly Parton. When asked whether she was offended by blonde jokes she responded by saying no, because she knew she wasn’t dumb. And she also knew she wasn’t blonde. Boom Boom.
Country singer Eddie Noack reckons that GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES but he’s not fussy about hair colour at all. As long as you’re a female, you’re in with a chance. The Meteors, on the other hand, are definitely suckers for LONG BLOND HAIR. Sonny Burgess likes a RED HEADED WOMAN, although he does sound rather ambivalent about her. Check out this clip from 2008 where he is performing at a Rockabilly Festival. He must be at least 80 years of age and he’s still going strong. Brilliant.
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band give us the song that we had to have on our show about HAIR. Yes, a little ditty about dandruff, KING OF SCURF. “I had alot of acne and pimples, I had to stay at home. Eventually, no one came near me, all I had was my comb”. Hilarious.
Time for something a little more serious, perhaps. Easily fixed by Nina Simone with BLACK IS THE COLOUR OF MY TRUE LOVE’S HAIR and we followed with India Arie and I AM NOT MY HAIR.
Now if you want proof positive that you can write a song about any old thing in the 70’s, take a listen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young with ALMOST CUT MY HAIR. They’re performing at Wembley Stadium in 1974, although I don’t see any sign of Neil Young.
George Thorogood followed with another track that will resonate with all you baby boomers: GET A HAIRCUT. And continuing the theme, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band sang about LONG HAIRED MUSIC.
Our only Motown track this week was LET YOUR HAIR DOWN by the Temptations. Letting your hair down means that you behave in a free or uninhibited manner. The origin of the saying goes back to the 17th century when women’s hair was normally pinned up and was only let down for brushing or washing. The term used for this at the time was dishevelling. Anyone who is unkempt and generally untidy might now be described as disheveled, but then it applied specifically to hair which was unpinned. There you go. A little bit of trivia for you.
Beck was next with DEVIL’S HAIRCUT followed by Owen who sang about that lover’s dilemma in WHO FOUND WHO’S HAIR IN WHO’S BED? There is a slight language warning on this one, but can you blame the poor guy for swearing?
Yay, we did include one for those of you with short hair: SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN from Lightning Hopkins. Reportedly, Michael Hutchence of INXS wrote SUICIDE BLONDE with, then girlfriend, Kylie Minogue in mind. Neil Young, whose true love’s hair is enormously important too, wants to live with a CINNAMON GIRL.
We enjoyed a lot of great guitar work on this week’s show. And amongst them is the band Wishbone Ash, considered one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format. In BLOWIN’ FREE they hanker after a girl with golden brown hair, “blowin’ free like a cornfield’. I said they were great guitarists, I didn’t say anything about the lyrics now did I? Here they are performing in 1973:
I have to declare a bit of a thing for Led Zeppelin so had to play THE GIRL I LOVE SHE GOT LONG BLACK WAVY HAIR. As all good rock chicks do, of course. Me, being a red-head, doesn’t qualify I’m afraid.
One of my favourite acts from last year’s Byron Bay Blues Festival were THE DRIVE BY TRUCKERS. I discovered an amazing song of theirs, set in the week before Easter. Perfect. It’s about a preacher who was murdered by his wife all because of THE WIG HE MADE HER WEAR. I think its one of the most interesting things they’ve done. Unfortunately no decent clip available as yet.
But I do have a great clip of Little Birdy performing her hit, HAIRDO. Great voice.
We followed with PJ Harvey’s rendition of HAIR which revisits the story of Samson, who, as we know, was incredibily vulnerable without his locks.
We needed a song about the good old fringe, or ‘bangs’ as the Americans call it. And what better than BANGS by They Might Be Giants. The Beatles made their version of ‘bangs’ – the mop-top – world-famous and early in their career they covered Carl Perkins’ LEND ME YOUR COMB, so I thought I’d include Perkins version in this week’s show too.
BayFM will be at this year’s Byron Bay Blues Fest at our very own tent. I’ll be there Saturday April 3, between 12 and 3:30 so drop in and say hello.
It was appropriate then to close the show with a tune from one of the great Blues performers: Magic Slim and the Teardrops with GIVE ME BACK MY WIG.
Have a wonderful Easter! Here’s the complete playlist:
Next week: The topic is LISTS.
Our theme this week was a no brainer as the show aired on Australia Day, or ‘Invasion Day’ as some of us like to call it. It seemed appropriate that our show focus on Australian/homegrown music, so we opened with Gangajang and SOUNDS OF THEN (THIS IS AUSTRALIA). Then it was Icehouse with GREAT SOUTHERN LAND. Is this song quintessentially Australian, or what?
More classic Australiana followed with Sherbert and HOWZAT, Cold Chisel’s FLAME TREES and, rounding out the triple play, EAGLE ROCK from the ever brilliant Daddy Cool. Ross Wilson, Ross Hannaford et al, at their peak. Here’s the official clip from 1971:
Archie Roach is a singer and songwriter of amazing strength and insight. A story teller in the tradition of his ancestors, Archie conveys intimate real life stories as well as traditional stories of the Dreaming. Having survived a personal history that would have left most artists scarred and defeated, Archie Roach has emerged as an extraordinarily gifted Australian artist with a truly visionary talent. I chose to play TOO MANY BRIDGES, from the 2007 album Journey.
Yilila’s track E DHUMBALA is from their CD Digipack EP, Aeroplane, released in 2006. With their unique brand of Traditional/reggae/rock music, they have to be one of my favourite Indigenous bands. Unfortunately this track wasn’t available as a video clip, but I encourage you to check them out.
I’m also loving the group Tinpan Orange. Emily Lubitz, Jessie Lubitz and Alex Burkoy are all very talented but Emily’s voice is so seductive. Try and get hold of their new album THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE and take a listen to the track of the same name.
Next up it was Thirsty Merc and SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY. Bit of trivia for you: The band’s name came from a gas guzzling Mercedes Benz belonging to the band members, with the numberplate ‘THRSTY’.
One of my all time favourites, and one the tracks I had to play again from last year’s All Australian show, is the Saints song (I’M) STRANDED. Equally, The Easybeats had to get another run, but this year I thought I’d give FRIDAY ON MY MIND a rest and instead we heard another standard of theirs: WEDDING RING.
Nostalgia was hitting hard when Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs delivered MOST PEOPLE I KNOW THINK THAT I’M CRAZY and Men At Work rounded out the first hour of the show with the iconic Aussie anthem, DOWN UNDER.
The Living End asked a question that may have been on everyone’s lips: WHAT’S ON YOUR RADIO? Mate! All Australian, homegrown, classics. No less. And we needed some female rock energy to bring some balance into the day’s playlist. Can’t get better that Chrissie Amphlett and The Divinyls with SCIENCE FICTION.
Anyone remember The Beasts of Bourbon? LET’S GET FUNKY is from their 1990 album ‘Black Milk’. Tex Perkins, you are one radical dude.
Their’s been lots of tripping down memory lane, so I thought I would throw in the occasional contemporary recording, like Empire of the Sun and of their best, HALF MAST. Of course, with a baby boomer creating the playlist, it wasn’t long before we returned to the oldies, (but goodies!). My favourite Crowded House track is DON’T DREAM THAT IT’S OVER and we followed with Richard Clapton and GIRLS ON THE AVENUE. Here’s a clip of Rick performing live at the 2007 Countdown Spectacular Tour. He has got to be one of Australia’s most talented artists.
There is no way you can create an Australian playlist and leave out Paul Kelly. And we didn’t. I left the overplayed and obvious tracks alone and chose another of his that I really like, YOU’RE LOVIN’ IS ON MY MIND. Leah Flanagan was one of my picks for ‘best of’ the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival. Loving TYPSY TANGO which you can find on her 2008 album LEAH FLANAGAN BAND. Now I know that The Black Seeds are from New Zealand but that doesn’t stop me adopting them for today’s show (isn’t that we do with all talented Kiwis – they become instant honorary Aussies?). Their song COME TO ME is a great example of their funk/afrobeat/soul sound.
Cold Chisel were the only band to get two songs onto the list. And that’s because I couldn’t leave out what some think is THE Aussie rock song: KHE SANH. This clip is worth viewing just for the audience’s reaction. Chisel fans unite!
I missed Rose Tattoo when they performed in Byron Bay recently, but I hear they still know how to rock a room. So, my pick was ROCK N ROLL OUTLAW.
We closed the show with one of the best of the current crop of Australian talent and followed with one of our most enduring rock bands. Little Birdy is a four piece group from Perth with Katy Steele on vocals. The song I chose was COME ON. Then it was the one and only AC/DC and IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP. I’ve uploaded videos of AccaDacca before, so let’s take a look at Little Birdy:
This week all the kids, and the teachers, are back at school. So next week’s show is dedicated to them with all songs about SCHOOL. Got any suggestions? Drop me a line either on the blog or through the bayfm.org site. Love to hear from you.
Here’s this week’s playlist: