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SONGS ABOUT CRITTERS

I reckon animals are just like people. I look at my pets and, to be honest, I recognise myself. My little dog Charlie likes nothing better than eating and sleeping and my Abyssinian cat is a bit of a talker. In fact you can’t shut him up. Songwriters share my affliction, which is probably why most songs supposedly “about” animals aren’t really about animals at all.

Our opening song, SPIDERS AND SNAKES, had Jim Stafford waxing lyrical about it would take to win over the object of his affection. Somehow I don’t think spiders and snakes and frogs were what they seemed, if you know what I mean. Thanks to Sandy for suggesting that one.

The Tenors’ 1968 rocksteady tune RIDE YOUR DONKEY is, on the face of it, not a delightful ditty about a mule, but a song about a child’s musical shortcomings. I have a feeling, however, that there may be a bit of a sexual subtext going on there too.

No point trying to figure out what Captain Beefheart meant with ICE CREAM FOR CROW. I’ll leave it up to you to figure that out:

Edie Izzard wonders about the logic of making a toad with an hallucinogenic back on his comedy album Stripped. Tim Finn sang the Cane Toad Blues which featured on Mark Lewis’ quirky hit documentary CANE TOADS. Mark has now made a follow up, in 3D no less, called CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST and we had tickets to the film to give away. Congrats to BayFM subscriber Yvonne, who won those.

We had a whole show on Cats & Dogs a while back so I had to look a little wider for a track about our canine friends. I love what I found: WOLVES (SONG OF THE SHEPHERD’S DOG), from Iron & Wine, better known to his Mum as Sam Beam.

Sunhouse came together to provide the soundtrack to a couple of films by British filmmaker Shane Meadows. One of my very favourite films of his is TwentyFourSeven and it has a cracking soundtrack by the band, which includes MONKEY DEAD. They went on to record an album called Crazy Weekend, which also includes the song. Here they are performing on French television:

Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish group The Cardigans tells us that she’s found her herself A GOOD HORSE. Every girl’s dream, I’m sure.

Big Mama Thornton’s I SMELL A RAT pushes the concept of anthropomorphism to its limit. It’s when you give human characteristics to non-human things. And pretty much every song on today’s playlist does just that.

Except for maybe Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. ALLIGATOR WINE appears to be about some voodoo concoction that not only uses alligator blood, there’s a dash of fish eye, some frog’s skin and a cup of swamp water to boot.  Not sure whether Louis Jordan is being literal or not when he declares there AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS.

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, so I had to include BABA’S CAMEL from their Cornology album.

The legendary Little Willie John pleads with you to LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE and the late, great, reggae artist Gregory Isaacs is out on a  RAT PATROL.

One of my favourite contemporary groups is the Villagers and the song SET THE TIGERS FREE has made it onto my funeral list (everyone should have one – you don’t really want someone else picking the music at your wake do you?).

We closed the show with LOVE CATS from the Cure who are performing in Sydney on Wednesday night. So jealous of any of you who have tickets!

Thank you to the sponsors of our giveaway of tickets to CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST in 3D. I hope to see as many of you as possible at this BayFM Fundraiser. Its at the Dendy on Wednesday night at 7pm and will be followed by a party at The Owl & Pussy Cat. Thanks also to Radio Pictures, Pinnacle Films, the Byron Cane Juice Company for your sponsorship of this benefit.

Next week I’ll be joined by swinging cowgirl and Dolphin Award winner Kathryn Jones who will be putting together a guest list of songs. I have no idea what she’ll be bringing in, and that’s half the fun. The other half will be hearing why Kathryn picked the particular songs she did.

Here’s this week’s playlist on Critters:

Spiders & Snakes  – Jim Stafford
Ride Your Donkey  – The Tennors
Ice Cream for Crow – Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band
Toads  – Eddie Izzard    Stripped (Live)
Cane Toad Blues –  Tim Finn
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) – Iron & Wine
Monkey Dead  –  Sunhouse
A Good Horse  – The Cardigans
I Smell A Rat  –  Big Mama Thornton
Alligator Wine  –  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens  – Louis Jordan
Ali Baba’s Camel – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Leave My Kitten Alone  – Little Willie John
Rat Patrol – Gregory Isaacs
Set The Tigers Free – Villagers
The Love Cats – The Cure

Next week:  GUEST LIST – KATHRYN JONES

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM at the new time of Mondays 1–2pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com


SLEEP & INSOMNIA

This week’s show is for all of you who like their sleep and also for those that have trouble sleeping, for one reason or another. Thankfully I’ve never been an insomniac. I hit that pillow and I’m a gonna and if you deprive me of my sleep its not safe to be around me, let me tell you.

We opened the show with the delightful Louis Jordan, who agrees with me about the value of sleep, singing A MAN’S BEST FRIEND IS A BED.

The Beatles song I’M ONLY SLEEPING is a classic and it’s from, possibly, my favourite album of theirs, ‘Revolver’ so that had to make the mix. As did SOMEBODY’S BEEN SLEEPING from funky soul group 100 Proof (Aged in Soul).  It’s inspired by the fairytale Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Spiderman gets a mention on The Cure’s LULLABY, the only song of theirs to make the UK top 5 (can you believe it?) but the brilliant videoclip was voted the best of the year in 1989. Well deserved too. Check it out:

Three songs about sleep deprivation followed:  the Eels who portray anxiety to perfection on I NEED SOME SLEEP; Peter Wolf with SLEEPLESS from his album of the same name, released in 2002. And rounding out the triple play, Craig David who’s love life is causing him to lose sleep on INSOMNIA.

Swedish band Acid House Kings do the twee-pop thing to perfection on SLEEPING. That was followed by Bobby Lewis who delivered a real blast from the past with the 60’s recording of TOSSIN’ AND TURNIN’. Then it was The Romantics with TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP from 1989. Viewing this clip of The Romantics, I think the 80’s have a lot to answer for, when it comes to fashion and hair.

Written by Ray Davies of The Kinks, I GO TO SLEEP was originally recorded by Peggy Lee on her 1965 album Then Was Then – Now Is Now!. Davies didn’t write many songs that weren’t specifically for The Kinks, but this one was widely covered. We played the only version to have chart success – The Pretenders who took it to #7 in the UK.

Talking of Peggy Lee, we had to play her version of BLACK COFFEE. There are lots of great versions of this standard, but for me Peggy Lee does it best. Sorry k.d.

Jody Reynolds uses sleep as a metaphor for death on ENDLESS SLEEP and the iconic Hank Williams Snr knows that you can’t sleep when you have a guilty conscience, on the country classic YOUR CHEATIN HEART.

More golden oldies with Frank Sinatra’s IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING and The Four Tops with SHAKE IT, WAKE IT.

Contemporary (and Australian) singer Sarah Blasko brought us back to the present with a beautiful song on the topic of sleep: SLEEPER AWAKE. We followed that with a great suggestion from Quentin: James Kahu with SLEEP. It’s from his 2010 album ‘Through Me’. Take a look:

The nostalgia bug still had me on The Everly Brothers’ WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE, Berna Dean’s I WALK IN MY SLEEP and Sammy Myers  SLEEPING IN THE GROUND.

And it was inevitable that I would play John Lennon’s little dig at Paul McCartney on HOW DO YOU SLEEP.

REM’s DAYSLEEPER is not only perfect for our theme, with its references to Circadian rhythms and all, but even the name of the band is a sleep reference. Did you know that REM sleep, or Rapid eye movement sleep, accounts for 20–25% of total sleep time in most human adults? And that most of our memorable dreaming occurs in this stage? True.

Edwyn Collins contributred  LOSING SLEEP from his album of the same name and then it was The Smiths with quite a sad song where, once again sleep serves as a metaphor for death. The song is ASLEEP.

Then it was even further back in time for the sublime Julie London and her version of TWO SLEEPY PEOPLE, followed by SLEEP from Little Willie John and ROCK ME TO SLEEP from Little Miss Cornshucks.

We closed the show with a couple of my favourites: First up it was Tom Waits, who probably knows more about late nights than I’ve had hot breakfasts. MIDNIGHT LULLABY is from his Closing Time album. Then it was the always brilliant Ian Dury & the Blockheads with WAKE UP AND MAKE LOVE TO ME.   Beats sleeping every time, or so they tell me.

I’m really going out on a limb for our Easter Show. The topic is RESURRECTION. And I’m talking about dying and coming back from the grave, literally. Come on, by now you’ll know that Theme Park will go where others fear to tread! Now we’re not talking musical comebacks – that’s a whole other theme altogether! Of course there will be lots of gospel and blues and I can see some rock and punk and even some songs about zombies on the list already. What do you have for me?

While you’re contemplating that, check out this week’s playlist:

A Man’s Best Friend Is A Bed – Louis Jordan

I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles

Somebody’s Been Sleeping [UK Single Edit] – 100 Proof (Aged In Soul)

Lullaby – The Cure

I Need Some Sleep – Eels

Insomnia – Craig David

Sleepless – Peter Wolf

Sleeping – Acid House Kings

Tossin’ And Turnin’ – Bobby Lewis

Talking In Your Sleep – The Romantics

I Go To Sleep – The Pretenders

Black Coffee – Peggy Lee

Your Cheatin Heart – Hank Williams Snr

Endless Sleep – Jody Reynolds

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – Frank Sinatra

Shake Me, Wake Me – The Four Tops

Sleeper Awake – Sarah Blasko

Sleep – James Kahu

Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

I Walk In My Sleep – Berna Dean

Sleeping In The Ground – Sammy Myers

How Do You Sleep? – John Lennon

Sleep Walk – Santo and Johnny

Daysleeper – R.E.M.

Losing Sleep – Edwyn Collins

Asleep – The Smiths

Two Sleepy People – Julie London

Sleep – Little Willie John

Rock Me To Sleep – Little Miss Cornshucks (Mildred Cummings)

Midnight Lullaby – Tom Waits

Wake Up And Make Love With Me – Ian Dury and The Blockheads

Next week: RESURRECTION

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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SPRINGTIME

Whenever I think of Spring, with its warmer days and all the pleasures the better weather inspires, I can’t help but want to put on some reggae. So IN THE SPRINGTIME from Maxi Priest was a perfect opener for this week’s show on possibly the best season of the year.

I must admit, too, that my mind also turns to Spring Cleaning. After all the rain we had during winter, I just want to air everything, get those windows clean and get ready for the beautiful weather ahead of us. Fats Waller’s energetic ditty, SPRING CLEANING, reflects that mood. Ella Fitzgerald has a different outlook on Spring.  Without her man, she’s GOT THE SPRING FEVER BLUES.

Another wonderful jazz singer is Blossom Dearie and  C’EST LE PRINTEMPS (IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING) was a great addition to the playlist. Sung in French, Blossom was actually American. She moved to France in 1952 and it’s where she met her future husband, the Belgian musician Bobby Jaspar. Blossom had an amazing career, performing right through until her 80’s. She passed away in 2009.

I dedicated that track to Ben from local band The Blackbirds, because I know he loves Blossom as much as I do. The Blackbirds need your support right now to fund their first independent album release and Australian tour. So if you would like to donate even the smallest amount, to this wonderful local group, go to fundbreak.com.au and search for ‘Blackbirds’.

You know, there are so many songs that link Springtime with Paris, that it’s almost a cliche.  A version of I LOVE PARIS that surprised me was from the incorrigible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I also adore Little Willie John. He was actually the first one to record Fever, in 1956. It was made famous when Peggy Lee had a hit with it in 1958. His contribution to our Springtime show was I’VE GOT SPRING FEVER.

With all this jazz I thought I’d better slip in some 70’s rock/pop and who better than Electronic Light Orchestra? The track MR BLUE SKY is from their 1977 album Out of the Blue, written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne.

So many songs about Paris in springtime, so it was good to play an authentic French track. Jacques Brel’s AU PRINTEMPS was ideal. We followed with a nice jazz instrumental, I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRINGTIME from Jacky Terrasson. And to round things out, some Latin freestyle with Stevie B, SPRING LOVE. Does this one take you back to the 80’s?

New Zealand band Dragon’s APRIL SUN IN CUBA was written, like many of Dragon’s hits, by keyboard player Paul Hewson who unfortunately died from a drug overdose in 1985. Lead singer Marc Hunter also passed away in 1998 from smoking related oesophageal cancer. The band continues to perform and are currently led by Marc’s brother Todd Hunter. Here’s a clip of the original line-up.

A great Aussie band from the 70’s were the Go-Betweens. The version of  SPRING RAIN we played was recorded live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. The focal point of the Go-Betweens was the song writing skills of Robert Foster and Grant McLennan. Described by Village Voice critic, Robert Christgau, as “the greatest songwriting partnership working today.” Grant McLennan died of a heart attack in 2000.

I must admit that I do like a bit of ukelele so Claire’s suggestion of Leah Flanagan’s SEPTEMBER SONG sat well with me. There’s something about the uke, isn’t there? You can’t help but think of sunny times.

Which bring me to HERE COMES THE SUN from The Beatles:

A great little double that plays on the notion that Springtime is the ideal season for mating followed: The Marvelettes with WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE and the Dixie Cups with CHAPEL OF LOVE. Here’s a clip of the Dixie Cups. Loving the frocks girls.

Here’s a unforgettable piece of comedy for you. It’s from the soundtrack to the film The Producers. Remember SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER?

How good is Dinah Washington?  SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN was just one of a couple of songs that I was happy to include in our Springtime show. A track that’s usually associated with Christmas is IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE BUT IN MY HEART IT’S SPRING by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The show aired on the last day of Winter here in the southern hemisphere, so it was a perfect fit. We followed with Teena Marie’s YOU MAKE LOVE LIKE SPRINGTIME, whatever that means.

Next it was a song for all of you who supported BayFM during our Major Subscriber Drive. IF NOT FOR YOU from Bob Dylan.

Jolie Holland reckons that SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU. Hope not. A really beautiful tune is ANDORINHA DA PRIMAVERA from Portugese band Madredeus. They became world renowned after performing on the soundtrack of the Wim Wender’s film ‘Lisbon Story’.

The Flaming Lips reckon that YOU CAN’T STOP THE SPRING. This song is full of imagery, some of which I can’t pretend to understand, like “There she was just walking down the street, Smoking with her hands and walking with her feet, Keeping her paint cans underneath the seat, Keeping her hair dryer on her favorite piece of meat.” Hmmm.

The Magnetic Fields certainly know how to play with imagery too. Case in point:  LOVE GOES HOME TO PARIS IN THE SPRING. Does it matter that they’re probably singing about Paris Tennesee, not Paris France? Not really.

The Velvets just tell it like it is on the doo-wop tune SPRING FEVER. And then it was time to close the show which we did with the very appropriate EVR’Y TIME WE SAY GOODBYE from Dinah Washington and YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME from Chet Baker and Art Pepper.

A big thank you again to all of you who subscribed to BayFM and mentioned Theme Park. Congrats to all our winners especially Carolyn Adams who gets to donate the Camp Quality holiday to a family in need, in her name.

Next week’s show reflects how I’m feeling right now: SONGS ABOUT BEING TIRED will be the theme. I tell  you, we worked really hard during the Major Subscriber Drive! So get your thinking caps on and see what you’ve got for me. Here’s some inspiration: TIRED OF SEX by Weezer or WORKING IN THE COALMINE from Lee Dorsey. You get the idea.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

In The Springtime – Best Of Me, Maxi Priest

Spring Cleaning – Fats Waller Essential 15,  Fats Waller

I Got The Spring Fever Blues – Ella Fitzgerald – All My Life, Ella Fitzgerald

C’est Le Printemps –  From State Fair/Jazz Goes Hollywood, Blossom Dearie

I Love Paris – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

I’ve Got Spring Fever – Essential Masters, Little Willie John

Mr. Blue Sky – Out of the Blue, Electronic Light Orchestra

Au printemps – Jacques Brel, Jacques Brel

I love Paris in the Springtime – Jacky Terrasson

Spring Love – Stevie B.

Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom – Perez Prado & His Orchestra

April Sun in Cuba – 30 Years of Classic Hits of the 60’s, Dragon

Spring Rain –  Live at the Tivoli, Brisbane 06/08, The Go-Betweens

September Song – Nirvana Nights, Leah Flanagan

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles

When You’re Young And In Love – Tamla Motown Gold (Dics 2), The Marvelettes

Chapel Of Love -Replay/Gold – Vol 1 No 5, The Dixie Cups

Springtime for Hitler – The Producers

September In The Rain – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington

It May Be Winter Outside – Now Thats What I Call Xmas, The Love Unlimited Orchestra

You Make Love Like Springtime – Irons In The Fire, Teena Marie

If Not For You – Essential Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan

In the Spring –  Steppin’ Out, Braxton Brothers

Springtime Can Kill You – Springtime Can Kill, You Jolie Holland

A Andorinha da Primavera – O Paraiso, Madredeus

Love Goes Home to Paris In the S… 2:26 Magnetic Fields

Can’t Stop The Spring – Oh My Gawd!!, The Flaming Lips

Spring Fever – Doo Wop Classics, The Velvets

Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington

Younger Than Springtime – The Route, Art Pepper/Chet Baker

Next week: TIREDNESS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com


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