It’s Easter, so I set myself the challenge this week of compiling a list of songs about RESURRECTION. Yes, I know I could have looked at chocolate or bunny rabbits, but hey, you know I like to shake things up a bit! The meaning and long traditions behind the concept of resurrection make it a powerful device for the songwriter. It can be used in the biblical context, or figuratively to describe some sort of rebirth or re-emergence from darkness. Music fans, of course, will be familiar with musicians coming back from the dead, but we’re not dealing with comebacks here. We’ll keep that subject for another show.
Ashton, Gardner & Dyke’s one hit wonder, RESURRECTION SHUFFLE, delivered a terrifically upbeat start to the program. Here they are on Top of the Pops in the 70s:
The prince of darkness, Nick Cave, has the perfect resurrection song in DIG, LAZARUS, DIG!! Here he is with the Bad Seeds performing live on Jools Holland (I’ll say it again, what a brilliant, brilliant show!). The year was 2008 and that’s Jack White on the sidelines looking in absolute awe of the band.
Eric Burdon wrestles with doubt on his version of Blind Willie Johnson’s SOUL OF A MAN. Melbourne group The Temper Trap, now based in the U.K have a great song called RESURRECTION on their Aria Award winning album “Condition”. Then it was Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople with ROLL AWAY THE STONE. This clips is from Top of the Pops 1973. Scary.
With possibly the longest name on our playlist, Sufjan Stevens contributed our first zombie song on the list. Come on, zombies were a given, surely, on a show about coming back from the dear. THEY ARE ZOMBIES!! THEY ARE NEIGHBORS. THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, AHHHH! is, I think, absolutely brilliant.
What’s a show on the subject of resurrection without gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her Easter song, CAN’T NO GRAVE HOLD MY BODY DOWN?. Sister Rosetta sings about rolling the stone away. Vic Chesnutt, on the other hand sings of leaving the stone in place. Apparently imagining himself as Jesus in his tomb, he’s also wracked by self-doubt on STAY INSIDE.
Dido and AR Rahman sing IF I RISE. It’s the beautiful theme to the film 127 Hours. Adore the film and the song.
Gil Scott-Heron is one of those performers that came back from the dead musically and aren’t we glad he did? On B MOVIE he suggests that this life is just a rehearsal of sorts and that there’s another life waiting for us when the great director in the sky calls cut. Well, I’m not sure I believe that. But who knows?
You know you’ve always got to have your sense of humour firmly intact at the Theme Park, because nothing is sacred. We had a chuckle with Spinal Tap and their 2009 release BACK FROM THE DEAD. That was followed by Nancy Sinatra and the Bond theme, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.
The Moody Blues gave us their ode to Timothy Leary: LEGEND OF A MIND. According to them, he’s not dead, he’s just astral travelling! But of course he is. It was the 70’s when this was recorded after all.
Single File gave us our second zombie song on the list with the very amusing ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBOURS. And then it was Alison Moyet with LOVE RESURRECTION, from her 1983 album Alf. According to Alison, when it comes to love, everyone needs a little divine intervention.
Pink Floyd’s COMING BACK TO LIFE is from a live performance album they released in 2009. Then it was The Stone Roses with their anti-Christianity song I AM THE RESURRECTION. Feeling that we probably should show some impartiality on matters religious, we included Frightened Rabbit with HEAD ROLLS OFF. They seem to believe in God and an afterlife but nevertheless promote the idea that what you do while you’re alive is the most important thing. Can’t argue with that.
M. Ward gets a little help from Norah Jones on ONE LIFE AWAY where he imagines that, when you walk on peoples graves, they are “listening to the sound of the living people living their lives away”. Here’s the awesome Mark Lanegan performing on Irish TV in 2004. The track is RESURRECTION SONG. Brilliant as always.
Now it would be a serious omission if I didn’t mention this weekend’s Byron Bay Blues Fest, so as a tribute to that we closed with songs on Resurrection from two of the icons appearing at the event: First up, the marvellous Mavis Staples with WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN, which I dedicate to my Dad who died 20 years ago this week. And finally, it was ‘born again’ Bob Dylan with IN THE GARDEN. For my Dad, here’s Mavis on the Jools Holland show:
For next week’s show I’ve been inspired by the Royal Wedding (I kid you not) and the show will be on WEDDINGS AND MARRIAGE. I think we can have some fun with this. I’ll be transforming the BayFM studio into the Chapel of Love. And it will be my last show at this time slot. After that I’ll be presenting Theme Park in a shorter and sweeter one hour format on Monday’s 1-2pm, so I hope that you tune in then.
Have a great Easter! Here’s the complete playlist:
Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Soul Of A Man – Eric Burdon
Resurrection – The Temper Trap
Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople
They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!! – Sufjan Stevens
Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Stay Inside – Vic Chesnutt
If I Rise – A.R. Rahman
B Movie – Gil Scott-Heron
Back From The Dead – Spinal Tap
You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
Legend Of A Mind – The Moody Blues
Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Single File
Love Resurrection – Alison Moyet
Coming Back To Life – Pink Floyd
I Am The Resurrection – The Stone Roses
Head Rolls Off – Frightened Rabbit
One Life Away – M. Ward
Resurrection Song – Mark Lanegan
Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Mavis Staples
In The Garden – Bob Dylan
Next week: MARRIAGE
If you’re a regular Theme Park listener you’ll know that I have what they call an ‘eclectic’ taste in music. And it comes in handy when you’re putting together a show each week on random themes, I tell you! This week, just to prove that I do listen to new music, I decided that I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia this week, all new music and a look-see at what arrived in my Xmas stocking, all 23 albums! Thank you Santa!
Here’s my rationale for how I devised my list: It’s the age of the singles download, but there are just some albums that you can’t cherry pick from. My list represents those albums: the ones that work best when listened to as a whole experience. Having said that, it is only a two hour program, so a choice had to be made about what singles to play from those albums. So, here goes:
Caribou, otherwise known to his Mama as Daniel Victor Snaith, is a mathematician by trade who, in his spare time, delivers beautiful and captivating electronic music. His 2010 album Swim is the first of my favourites and we opened the show with the track ODESSA. Even if you’re not an electronica fan, (and I’m not particularly), this album successfully crosses over and appeals to almost everyone who listens to it.
Next on my list the album Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz. Hard to pick one track from this incredibly diverse album. It was a toss-up between MELANCHOLY HILL and SUPERFAST JELLYFISH, featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul. The chance to also play some De La Soul put the latter track on the list in the end. And, I’ve got to say, I’m very jealous of anyone who saw Gorillaz on their recent Plastic Beach tour!
One of the most beautiful songs of the year is PIECES by the Irish band Villagers. Singer Conor O’Brien totally rocks. The song is from their debut album Becoming a Jackal. Check out this live performance from their very first headline show in 2009. Amazing.
My favourite video clip of the year goes to Janelle Monae for TIGHTROPE. It’s from the album The ArchAndroid which is nothing if not ambitious. The album was a very nice surprise indeed. Featuring everything from power ballads right through to the ferocious energy of her signature dance tracks, this is one hot album. Here’s the clip that has garnered so much YouTube attention:
Another surprise favourite for me was Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It finally convinced me of this guy’s talent. I’ll try and overlook his arrogance for the sake of the music and some of his fine collaborators. One of the best tracks features Ben Iver and its called LOST IN THE WORLD.
Down the Way by Angus & Julia Stone was the biggest-selling Australian album of 2010, and it certainly shows the growing maturity of this brother and sister duo. BIG JET PLANE is the standout track from this album.
Another great Aussie group is You Am I. Their best record in more than a decade is self titled. My favourite track is the second single of that album, TRIGGER FINGER. The clip features Lanie Lane who also supplied backing vocals.
I’m a big fan of the soulful voice of Ray LaMontagne. His 2010 album with the Prairie Dogs, God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise has a number of great tracks on it. Here he performs BEG STEAL OR BORROW in the studios of Oui FM in France.
Another exquisite song is RUBY from the album Ali and Toumani, released in February 2010. It’s a series of duets from two of Africa’s most distinguished musicians, the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure and kora player Toumani Diabate.
The same kind of purity can be found in a completely different genre by a group called Mountain Man. They’re actually an all girl trio from Vermont who recorded their album Made the Harbor in a disused ice-cream parlour. The whole album is mostly a capella, which just goes to show that the voice really is the ultimate instrument. We played their sublime version of HOW’M I DOIN’.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who thinks that Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy is completely underrated as a singer and a songwriter. This band has been around for about 20 years and yet we’re almost a secret society of fans. Hopefully their latest album Bang Goes the Knighthood will get them the recognition they deserve.
The Roots have also been around a while, 1987 to be exact, and HOW I GOT OVER is their 11th album. They’re all great albums, but this one is possibly their best:
Despite already declaring that I’m not a big electronica fan, here’s another electronica album in my 2010 faves: LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening album can’t be overlooked. I CAN CHANGE is one of the best tracks from the album. Thank God for Jools Holland (what a great show btw). Here’s a great clip from that show:
The Vampire Weekend’s album Contra came out just in time for my birthday in January 2010. Here’s the very energetic track COUSINS from that album:
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released a very Bluesy album called Mojo this year which I really love. I particularly like their version of the old standard CANDY.
At the other end of the spectrum, Danger Mouse got together with James Mercer to invent a new group called Broken Bells. They released their first album together in 2010. Here they are performing THE HIGH ROAD, from that self-titled album, at Lowlands 2010.
Two more albums that I’ve been listening to non-stop this year are Arcade Fire’s THE SUBURBS and The Black Keys album BROTHERS. Here are the Black Keys performing I’M HOWLIN FOR YOU from that album, on Jools Holland:
A new discovery for me late in the year was Diane Birch. She released her first album, Bible Belt, in 2009 and the EP Velveteen Age just before Xmas this year. She’s only in her mid twenties but wow, what a voice.
And talking of great voices, soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples released a wonderful album this year called YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy who also wrote two of the songs on the album. Two of my all time favourite artists on one album. Heaven. Here’s a sample of what we’ll be seeing at the upcoming Byron Blues Fest in April. I, for one, cannot wait!
Ex Czars frontman, John Grant, gives a substantial nod to Supertramp and Bread on his debut album, Queen of Denmark. But hey, who else is doing that kind of material these days? The track I WANNA GO TO MARZ features the band Midlake and its a beautiful song based on Grant’s own childhood experience of escaping to the local sweet shop. In his own words, the song “is a gateway back to childhood and innocence before things have become complicated.”
A band that also sounds a lot like a few bands of the 70’s is The Russians. But gee, what a great job they do of it. Their album Crashing The Party is full of retro power pop/rock melodies. Sort of like Big Star, but , (dare I say it?) better.
We finished up with the song that’s been on everyone’s lips this year, Cee-Lo Green’s F**CK YOU. I had to play the clean version for radio, of course, which he conveniently included on his Lady Killer album as FORGET YOU. This album is more than the sum of its parts, that’s for sure. With its deliberate nods to Motown, 80’s soul and classic pop, its right up my alley. Hey, you’ve seen the official F**CK YOU clip a million times, (well, actually 33 million hits on YouTube!). So here he is, with his rockin’ all girl band on Later with Jools Holland (have I said already that I absolutely love this show?).
Next week will be the first show of the new year! I’ll be welcoming band Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They’re from the UK and are touring Australia. Think big band with lotsa high energy swinging sounds with flavours from the Balkans, Oompah, Gypsy and New Orleans. Should be fun. AND the theme will be the show will be MULTILINGUAL SONGS, by which I mean songs that have at least two languages in the lyrics. Any suggestions? Then leave me a message here!
Here’s the playlist, and accordingly, my favourite albums of 2010 (in no particular order):
Odessa – Swim, Caribou
Superfast Jellyﬁsh Ft. Gruff Rhys & De La Soul – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz
Pieces – Becoming A Jackal, Villagers
Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) – The ArchAndroid (Deluxe), Janelle Monáe
Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
Big Jet Plane – Down The Way, Angus & Julia Stone
Trigger Finger – You Am I, You Am I
Beg Steal or Borrow – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, Ray LaMontagne/Pariah Dogs
Ruby – Ali & Toumani, Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté
How’m I Doin – Made the Harbor, Mountain Man
The Lost Art Of Conversation – Bang Goes The Knighthood, The Divine Comedy
How I Got Over – How I Got Over, The Roots Feat. Dice Raw
I Can Change – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
Cousins – Contra [Bonus Tracks], Vampire Weekend
Candy – Mojo, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The High Road – Broken Bells, Broken Bells
The Suburbs – The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Howlin’ for You – Brothers, The Black Keys
This Corrosion – The Velveteen Age, Diane Birch
You Are Not Alone – You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples
I Wanna Go to Marz – Queen of Denmark, John Grant
Sober and Un-upsetting – Crashing the Party, The Russians
Forget You – The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green
Next week: MULTILINGUAL SONGS