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SONGS ABOUT EYES


This week the EYES had it as I created a playlist about what poets call the ‘window of the soul’.  Our 100TH PROGRAM showcased a diverse range of artists, from the 50’s right through until some more recent releases.  We also celebrated this important milestone with a couple of fantastic giveaways for our loyal listeners: tickets to a private screening of the new David Fincher film, The Social Network, courtesy of the Dendy Cinemas, and a copy of the Red Army album from hot reggae band The Red Eyes, courtesy of Ku Promotions. Thanks to everyone for listening (and reading!) during this period. Here’s to the next 100!

In 2001 the list of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included such superstars as Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and Aerosmith. Further down the list in terms of public recognition were The Flamingos, who were best known for their 1959 hit  I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU.  They are rightfully ranked as one of the most sophisticated doo wop groups in American popular music.

Charles Edward Anderson Berry, otherwise knows as “Chuck” turned 84 on October 18. I don’t think anyone would argue when I claim that he is one of the most influential musicians of his time. He contributed BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN to the mix. Elvis Costello, surely one of Chuck’s disciples, had his first hit single in 1977 with a song about a girlfriend who couldn’t stop watching television. The song, of course, is WATCHING THE DETECTIVES. “She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake”. Brilliant.

The Chi-Lites also had a huge hit in 1971 with HAVE YOU SEEN HER. Check out this clip for a PBS special featuring guest artist Eugene Record. Loving the zoot suits!

Jazz singer Ernestine Anderson has some good advice on KEEP AN EYE ON LOVE. She reckons that you just have to keep looking for it and eventually it turns up. I’d be careful if I was her though. If the Hall and Oates song PRIVATE EYES is any indicaton, there are a few stalkers out there ready to pounce. These boys are continually watching the object of their affection. But we already know that love makes you do silly things. Right?

LOOK AT THE FOOL is from Tim Buckley’s album of the same name, his ninth and final album before his untimely death in 1975.  Jackson Browne’s  DOCTOR MY EYES was featured on his debut album Jackson Browne, released in 1972. Here he is singing live, with an awesome band, in 2009. As well as DOCTOR MY EYES, this clip includes ABOUT MY IMAGINATION. Browne is still a great performer and his looks don’t seem to have diminished either!

We followed the terrific 1967 funk track,  I SPY FOR THE FBI, from Jamo Thomas, with (See) HOW FAR WE’VE COME, from Matchbox 20’s Exile on Maintream album, released in 2007. The song has been used to promote everything under the sun. But we won’t hold that against them.


Jamesetta Hawkins is better known to us as Etta James. This rendition of  I’D RATHER GO BLIND, where she duets with Dr. John, practically brought me to tears. See if it has the same effect on you:

And as Etta would say ‘At Last!’ we have some nice weather up here in the Northern Rivers, after months of rain. (Although as I write this the rain is back…..aarrggghhhhh). Nevertheless, I had to celebrate a couple of days of brilliant sunshine with I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW from Jimmy Cliff.

Let me ask you this: What do David Bowie, George Washington and Louis Pasteur have in common? Well they have what’s called heterochromia: i.e. each of their eyes is a different colour. In Bowie’s case one eye is blue and the other brown. Aren’t you glad to know that?

When it comes to songs about eyes, you can’t go past 60’s soul, and our next triple play more than proved the point: Doris Troy was seduced with JUST ONE LOOK, The Contours went gold-digging on FIRST LOOK AT THE PURSE and The Temptations sang I WANT A LOVE I CAN SEE.

Van Morrison’s 1967 single BROWN EYED GIRL would prove to be the impetus for his whole career as a solo artist. It was to be his first single after leaving the band Them and it led to his relocation to the United States and an eventual contract with Warner Brothers Records where he would record his career-defining album Astral Weeks.  In the same year The Who released I CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILES, the only single from the The Who Sell Out album. Recorded in several separate sessions in studios across two continents, the recording of I CAN SEE FOR MILES exemplifies the increasingly sophisticated studio techniques of rock bands in the late 1960s. The backing tracks were recorded in London, the vocals and overdubbing were performed in New York at Talentmasters Studios, and the album was mastered in Los Angeles at the Gold Star Studios.

The Beatles 1965 hit I’M LOOKING THROUGH YOU was written mainly by Paul McCartney and it first appeared on their Rubber Soul album. It was written about Jane Asher, McCartney’s girlfriend of five years: “You don’t look different, but you have changed,” the lyrics declare, reflecting his dissatisfaction with their relationship.

When I announced that this week’s theme was to be EYES, I was inundated with requests for the Platters version of SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES. Well, of course, it had to make the list – an absolute classic.

Winonie Harris reckons that he can tell all sorts of things from looking into a set of BLOODSHOT EYES while Little Milton was out to prove that you can’t always judge a book by its cover on JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE ME SMILING

Billy Idol’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE is from his 1983 album Rebel Yell. Reportedly filmed in a marathon 30-hour session, the video’s extensive filming used fog machines, lighting, and fire sources that nearly fused Idol’s contact lenses. At the conclusion of filming, Idol attempted to leave, and promptly passed out on the studio lawn from exhaustion. Initially mistaken for a vagrant, a police officer who roused Idol was alarmed at his reddened eyes. The officer immediately brought Idol to a local hospital, where doctors were able to coax out the lenses, saving his vision. OMG.


Captain Beefheart was unusually restrained on HER EYES ARE A BLUE MILLION MILES and we followed with Sinead O’Connor’s DAMN YOUR EYES from her 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. No matter what you think of her political viewpoints, there is no denying the power in her voice.

Being our 100th show, I gave myself a gift and closed the show with two of my favourite artists: As regular listeners know,  according to me Roy Orbison can do no wrong. And how could I resist when he tells me  “One look from me and he drifts away”, on YOU GOT IT.


Tim Buckley is also a favourite and we said goodbye with DEVIL EYES from the outstanding album Greetings From LA.

Next week’s program will be on CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES AND FUNFAIRS. Ooh I’m really looking forward to this one. Let me know if you have any suggestions for the playlist. I can always do with your help!

Until next week, remember what Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye turns the whole world blind.”

Here’s this week’s complete list:

  • I Only Have Eyes For You – Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll: 59, The Flamingos
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Missing Chapters Vol. 5: Glenn Miller Orchestra
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man – 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection, Chuck Berry
  • Watching The Detectives – My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
  • Have You Seen Her – Greatest Hits, The Chi-Lites
  • Inside Out – Red Army, The Red Eyes
  • Keep An Eye On Love – Testify, Ernestine Anderson
  • Private Eyes – Top Hits Of The 80’s, Hall and Oates
  • Look At The Fool – Twentyfourseven, Tim Buckley
  • Doctor My Eyes – The Next Voice You Hear: The Best Of Jackson Browne, Jackson Browne
  • I Spy For The FBI – Soul Cargo Vol. 1 (The Early Years Of “Groove”,  Jamo Thomas
  • How Far We’ve Come – Exile On Mainstream, Matchbox Twenty
  • I’d Rather Go Blind – The Sweetest Peaches – Part Two (1967-1975), Etta James
  • I Can See Clearly Now – Definitive Collection, Jimmy Cliff
  • Just One Look – Mermaids, Doris Troy
  • First Look At The Purse – This Is Soul, The Contours
  • I Want A Love I Can See – My Girl: The Very Best Of The Temptations, The Temptations
  • Brown Eyed Girl – Best Of Van Morrison, Van Morrison
  • I’m Looking Through You – Rubber Soul, The Beatles
  • I Can See For Miles – The Who Sell Out, The Who
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Easy Listening Gold: 1958-1959, The Platters
  • Bloodshot Eyes –  The Best of Wynonie Harris, Wynoni Harris
  • Just Because You See Me Smiling – Movin’ to the Country, Little Milton
  • Eyes Without A Face – Top Hits Of The 80’s, Billy Idol
  • Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles – Clear Spot, Captain Beefheart
  • Damn Your Eyes – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Special Edition) Sinéad O’Connor
  • You Got It – Mystery Girl, Roy Orbison
  • Devil Eyes – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley
Next week:  SONGS ABOUT CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES & FUNFAIRS

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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OPTIMISM

OptimismOne of the things that I appreciate about the arts in general, and music in particular, is that it can be a way to make sense of the world or to at least see it from a different perspective.  There are plenty of songs that lead us to believe that the future is problematic, even unbearable. But this week, we looked at  tunes that make you believe that there’s a rainbow hiding behind every storm cloud.  Yes, a show for all you optimists out there: Two hours of anthems dedicated to the power of positive thinking. Thanks to Suzie for suggesting the theme and to everyone who contributed to the songlist, especially Kira from Lennox Head who outdid herself with at least half a dozen tracks for consideration. Obviously, the subject hit a chord with a lot of you!

Optimism is, however, in the ears of the beholder: songs that delight one listener will make another cringe. Still, only a boring old fart could fail to be enthused by our opening track: ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. I loved the use of this song in the BBC series THE SINGING DETECTIVE, written by Harold Pinter and starring Michael Gambon, so here’s the clip for you to enjoy too:

Next it was Curtis Mayfield with his irresistible MOVE ON UP. The crucial thing about this song is that Mayfield is a realist, aware that life is full of “complications” but radiating hope anyway. There’s more qualified optimism in Desmond Dekker’s honey-sweet version of YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT. According to Desmond, as long as you put in the hard yakka success is assured. Excellent advice.

220px-LittleMiltonAnyone who doubts the power of love to improve life should listen to Little Milton singing WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT. He and his lover are so poor they can’t  even “spare a roach a crumb”, but, he promises, together they will pull through. 

Modern LoversJonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, on the other hand, are bitter and alone but still they have found a way to look towards the future with optimism. They are dedicated to being DIGNIFIED AND OLD. Heartwarming stuff.

Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, ONE FINE DAY, sung by The Chiffons, is a declaration of teen devotion that pins all its hope on a philandering lover waking up to himself and coming back home. I think today’s psycho-babble would describe that as being in denial. So, just in case we forget that the wrong partner can make your life miserable, we followed with the Altered Images track  I COULD BE HAPPY – a passionate, bubbly wish for escape. And talking of escapism, we followed with Joe Smooth’s early house hit PROMISED LAND.  And then it was the great voice of Esther Phillips singing her 1975 Disco version of WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.

Bluegrass boys Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs have faith in the idea that heaven will eventually give them relief from the world’s sorrows. The song?  SO HAPPY I’LL BE. And just to put things in perspective, we followed with a song from my favourite Monty Python film, LIFE OF BRIAN. Recalling the Monty Python crew singing ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE, as they hang on their respective crucifixes puts a smile on this lapsed Catholic’s face every time I hear it. And I dare you not to whistle along!

The New Radicals tune YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE embodies the idea that simple pleasures put whatever problems we are having into perspective. “Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you”. I loved OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY from the one and only Blossom Dearie who sadly passed away in February this year. The good news? She was 84 and leaves us a legacy of wonderful music. 

200px-You_Got_ItAnd talking of wonderful music, the very optimistic song BLUE SKIES was written in 1926 by Irving Berlin and has been recorded by many, many artists. One of my own favourites, that made the list this week,  is by Willie Nelson. And then it was this week’s Roy Orbison track:  Roy’s so euphoric about love that he’s going to give his girl anything she wants. The song – YOU GOT IT.  

Byron Bluesfest favourite, Seasick Steve, followed with HAPPY MAN. That’s Ruby Turner helping out with the duet and K.T. Tunstall on rhythm guitar. But here’s a question for you – is the title of his album “I Started Out With Nothin and I’ve Still Got Most of it Left” optimistic? Hmmmm.

Johnny Nash’s I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW is, much like Irving Berlin’S BLUE SKIES, a song that uses the useful image of the clear sky to evoke a positive outlook. Nash’s passionate vocals make a powerful statement and its little wonder that many consider this one of the greatest hit singles of all time. This clip where Nash performs on the Midnight Special in 1973 is worth including, just so you can check out the leather outfit. 

The Staples Singers sang their classic track, I’LL TAKE YOU THERE. Its pure joy as Mavis Staples sings of her hope for a better world. And if you ever doubted that a song could be both spiritual and sexy, well this is your answer.

Australian, and North Coaster, Pete Murray gave us OPPORTUNITY – another song that encourages us to look at all the good things that life has to offer. “Life is short but you’re here to flower”. 

200px-GDtouchofgreyvinylA couple of tracks followed that took us all back in time: The Turtles with HAPPY TOGETHER, another song that uses the blue sky as a metaphor for a hopeful future and the Grateful Dead with a song about surviving life’s setbacks. Written by Jerry Garcia, TOUCH OF GREY was the bands biggest commercial hit. And if you are a deadhead you should tune into BayFM between 10pm and midnight Tuesdays when the Ice Cream Kid takes you on the Long Strange Trip. It’s all about the Grateful Dead and their ongoing influence.

A nice surprise was XTC with I’M STUPIDLY HAPPY. It’s great when a writer who’s associated with heavier themes can also, so easily, write of the giddy feeling of love and how it can put everything else into perspective. How cute is that line:  “All the lights of the cars in the town form the strings of a big guitar/I’m the giant who’ll play you a tune from wherever you are.” Ohhhhhh. See, frontman Andy Partridge did have a soft spot after all.

So what’s the dominant message from today’s show on Optimism? LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED. And, of course, we had to play the Beatles very optimistic track of the same name to reinforce the notion.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Accentuate the Positive – Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters  

Move on up – Curtis Mayfield

You Can Get It If You Really Want – Desmond Dekker & The Aces

One Fine Day – The Chiffons

Dignified And Old – Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers

We’re Gonna Make It  – Little Milton

I Could Be Happy – Altered Images

Promised Land – Joe Smooth

What A Difference A Day Makes – Esther Phillips

So Happy I’ll Be – Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

Always Look On the Bright Side of Life  – Monty Python

At Last – Etta James

Strength, Courage & Wisdom  – India Arie

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley

I Believe I’m Gonna Make It  – Joe Tex

You Get What You Give – New Radicals

Inspiration Information – Shuggie Otis

Shiny Happy People – R.E.M.

Our Love Is Here To Stay  – Blossom Dearie

Blue Skies – Willie Nelson

You Got It – Roy Orbison

Happy Man – Seasick Steve

I’ll Take You There – Staple Singers

I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

Opportunity  – Pete Murray

Happy Together – The Turtles

Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead

Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac

Stupidly Happy – XTC

All You Need Is Love  – The Beatles

Next week: Days of the Week

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

 

 

Accentuate the Positive 2:42 Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters   Swing 4 20/06/09 5:09 PM
Move on up 3:07 Curtis Mayfield Mega Disco Funk CD3 Funk 7 20/06/09 5:13 PM
You Can Get It If You Really Want 2:41 Desmond Dekker & The Aces The Israelites: The Best Of Reggae 4 20/06/09 5:15 PM
One Fine Day 2:08 The Chiffons – 1960’s Mix R&B 8 13/06/09 8:31 PM
Dignified And Old 2:27 Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers 23 Great Recordings Alternative 6 20/06/09 5:47 PM
We’re Gonna Make It 2:36 Little Milton R&B 1 20/06/09 7:33 PM
I Could Be Happy 3:33 Altered Images New Wave Hits Of The ’80s – Volume 4 New Wave 2 14/06/09 12:19 AM
Promised Land 5:32 Joe Smooth Promised Land Reggae
What A Difference A Day Makes 4:32 Esther Phillips Northern Soul Jazz 5 20/06/09 6:10 PM
So Happy I’ll Be 2:31 Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 1948-1959 (Disc 1) Country 2 14/06/09 12:37 AM
Look On the Bright Side of Life (All Things Dull and Ugly) 3:58 Monty Python Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) Soundtrack
At Last 3:00 Etta James R&B/Jazz 1 20/06/09 8:51 PM
Strength, Courage & Wisdom 4:58 India Arie Acoustic Soul Rhythmic Soul 3 20/06/09 6:29 PM
Three Little Birds 3:00 Bob Marley Reggae 3 20/06/09 6:32 PM
I Believe I’m Gonna Make It 3:01 Joe Tex Soul Classics CD4 Soul 1 14/06/09 12:14 AM
You Get What You Give 4:58 New Radicals Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too Alternative
Inspiration Information 4:11 Shuggie Otis Six Feet Under R&B 7 20/06/09 6:36 PM
Shiny Happy People 3:45 R.E.M. Out of Time Alternative 1 20/06/09 9:18 PM
Our Love Is Here To Stay 3:11 Blossom Dearie Once Upon A Summertime Jazz 9 20/06/09 6:45 PM
Blue Skies 3:33 Willie Nelson Stardust Country 5 20/06/09 6:48 PM
You Got It 3:31 Roy Orbison The Essential Roy Orbison (Disc 2) Rock 6 20/06/09 6:49 PM
Happy Man 3:34 Seasick Steve I Started out with Nothin’ and I Still Got Most [Jewelcase] Blues 3 20/06/09 6:53 PM
I’ll Take You There 3:18 Staple Singers Be Altitude: Respect Yourself R&B 4 20/06/09 6:56 PM
I Can See Clearly Now 2:44 Johnny Nash Pop 10 19/06/09 3:55 PM
Opportunity 3:38 Pete Murray See The Sun Folk 1 20/06/09 7:04 PM
Happy Together 2:58 The Turtles Pop 3 20/06/09 7:04 PM
Touch of Grey (1987) 5:49 Grateful Dead The Very Best of the Grateful Dead Rock 7 20/06/09 7:17 PM
Don’t Stop 3:12 Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits General Rock 2 20/06/09 7:20 PM
Stupidly Happy 3:46 XTC Apple Box – Remasters (Disc 4) New Wave 1 20/06/09 7:14 PM
All You Need Is Love 3:48 The Beatles Yellow Submarine Classic Rock 1 20/06/09 7:25 PM
Keep on the Sunny Side 3:06 Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Songs of Famous Carter Family Bluegrass 4 20/06/09 7:28 PM
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