This week’s theme was motivated entirely by a need NOT to do a show full of Xmas tunes. And while I know it was a risk choosing DRINKING as a theme, you’d be surprised how few songs there are that actually praise boozing. So expect a few remorseful anecdotes, a couple of hangover songs and a precautionary tale or two. But, for those of us who don’t mind a tipple, not to worry – I included a few good old fashioned drinking songs as well. Hey, we couldn’t ignore Xmas altogether, could we?
We got the show rolling with the very upbeat WINE WINE WINE from the brilliant pioneers of electric blues and rock, Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Buddy Miles on drums. Here they are in their heyday in 1967:
One of the great things about living in such a great area as Byron Bay is that we get all the best musical acts coming through here to perform. Recently Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings peformed at our local pub and consummate storyteller Mary Gauthier was here for the Mullumbimby Music Festival in November. Sharon contributed JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN to the playlist and Mary gave us I DRINK, which has become a bit of a signature tune for her.
West Australian band Eskimo Joe’s album BLACK FINGERNAILS, RED WINE was released in 2006 and the single of the same name went on to win single of the year at that year’s Aria Awards.Here’s why:
When it comes to the Blues, up there with the best is the late great Luther Allison. Love his rendition of CHERRY RED WINE and then it was the ‘King of Soul’, Otis Redding, with CHAMPAGNE & WINE.
Tom Waits was in total denial about his drinking habits back in the late 70’s. He’d have you know that THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING (NOT ME). David Crosby, also had his moments will alcohol and other substances. He wrote EVERYBODY’S BEEN BURNED for The Byrds and its a very telling, and quite melancholic take on self-control and trust.
LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening is one of the best albums of 2010 (so there!) and the video for DRUNK GIRLS is crazy. What’s with the Pandas – I have no clue!
I found Lonnie ‘The Cat’ on one of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Hour compilations. His song I AIN’T DRUNK was recorded in 1954 with the Bobby Hines Band which included Ike Turner on piano. “I don’t care what the people are thinking. I ain’t drunk, I’m just drinking.” Brilliant.
Steve Earle’s signature tune is a story about a family who love their moonshine. Earle has been quoted as saying that COPPERHEAD ROAD is the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass. Not sure about that, but it’s certainly a great song.
ZZ Top’s contribution to this week’s show was BEER DRINKERS & HELL RAISERS. They’ll be making their way to the Byron Blues Fest in 2011, and I, for one, can’t wait. Here’s what we have in store for us:
We followed the absolutely crazy ALLIGATOR WINE from Screaming Jay Hawkins with a 1949 recording from Betty Hall Jones, BUDDY, STAY OFF THE WINE. And then it was AIN’T GOT THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE DRINK from George Zimmerman & The Thrills with the Bubber Cyphers Band (Whew). That was recorded in 1956.
I don’t think any song in the playlist was as serious as Gil Scott-Heron’s story about the effect of alcohol on family and community: THE BOTTLE.
We can’t stay very serious for long on the Theme Park, so a couple of light-hearted songs about drinking followed: Monty Python’s BRUCE’S PHILOSOPHERS SONG and The Rovers, recalling what sounds like a pretty good get together, on WASN’T THAT A PARTY.
Three more recent recordings, that just might make you think twice about partying too much over the holidays, had to make the list: THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME from Modest Mouse, IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS WE DO from The Zutons and MY ALCOHOLIC FRIENDS from the very lovely Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.
Personally, I never developed a taste for whiskey. And maybe that’s a good thing, according to Skip James who doled out a little advice about BAD WHISKEY. The Rakes then gave us, what they claim is a true story, with THE GUILT. And then it was drinking music from two of the greats: Nina Simone with a live version of GIN HOUSE BLUES and Billie Holiday with GIMME A PIGFOOT AND A BOTTLE OF BEER.
Before I knew it it was last call for our show on DRINKING and we finished on a very infectious note: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy reckon YOU AND ME AND THE BOTTLE MAKES THREE. And then it was the sublime Peggy Lee who doesn’t need alcohol at all. She says I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. Awwww.
Next week is the last show of the year, so I thought I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia next week, all new music and a look back at the year that was.
The week after, January 4, I’ll be welcoming members of Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They have wowed audiences at Glastonbury & Edinburgh and will be coming to Byron directly from their performances at Woodford. So make sure you tune in then. Oh, and the theme will be Multilingual songs, by which I mean any song which features two or more languages in the lyrics. Come on, its not fun if its not challenging, right?
As promised on my Facebook page (what? you didn’t know about Theme Park Radio’s Facebook page???), here’s my tried and true recipe for a champagne cocktail: It goes particularly well with hot jazz and good times:
Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, Saturate the cube with two dashes of Angostura bitters (don’t leave this bit out – essential). Then add 1 oz of brandy and then gently pour some very chilled champagne into the flute. Yum.
Have a safe and happy Xmas.
Here’s the playlist:
James Bond movie clip – Shaken Not Stirred (movie clip)
Wine, Wine, Wine – The Electric Flag
Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In – The Dynamic Funk and Soul Sound of Daptone Records, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
I Drink – Mary Gauthier
Black Fingernails, Red Wine – Black Fingernails, Red Wine, Eskimo Joe
Cherry Red Wine – Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues [Disc 5], Luther Allison
Champagne & Wine – The Immortal Otis Redding, Otis Redding
The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) – Small Change, Tom Waits
Everybody’s Been Burned – The Byrds Box Set (Disc 2 -Cruising Altitude), The Byrds
Drunk Girls – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
I Ain’t Drunk – Lonnie ‘The Cat”
Copperhead Road – Essential Steve Earle, Steve Earle
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers – Tres Hombres, ZZ Top
Alligator Wine – Frenzy Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Buddy, Stay Off The Wine – Betty Hall Jones
Ain’t Got The Money To Pay For The Drink – George Zimmerman & The Thrills
The Bottle – Winter In America, Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
Bruce’s Philosophers Song – Monty Python
Wasn’t That A Party – Cleveland International Records 1977-1983, The Rovers
The Good Times Are Killing Me – Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse
It’s The Little Things We Do – Tired Of Hanging Around, The Zutons
My Alcoholic Friends – Yes, Virginia…, The Dresden Dolls
Bad Whiskey – She Lyin’, Skip James
The Guilt – Capture/Release, The Rakes
Gin House Blues – Nina Simone: The Tomato Collection [Disc 2], Nina Simone
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer – Sophisticated Ladies [Disc 3], Billie Holiday
You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three – Swingers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
I Get A Kick Out Of You – Sings For You, Peggy Lee
Next week: MY FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010
Researching a show where all the songs referenced famous people was actually quite enlightening. Who knew that so many famous people felt compelled to record songs about other famous people? I suppose there’s a little bit of the fan in all of us. It was a shame that I had used up some very good songs that would have fitted the theme during my Men’s Names and Women’s Names shows, but there were still plenty of tracks left over to fit the bill. I did try and stay away from the more mawkish tribute songs, so no Candle in the Wind amongst this lot I’m afraid.
We opened the show with the Beloved’s HELLO. The song mentions a number of famous people chosen to loosely fit a “saints and sinners” theme. Those that get a nod include Jeffery Archer, Fred Astaire, Little Richard, Barry Humphries and Charlie Parker. I like the way the Supremes are simply called “Mary Wilson, Di and Flo”. Even Fred Flintstone gets a mention.
Next it was another song with a list. Eminem recently won the MTV award for Best Hip Hip Video for WE MADE YOU. The song spoofs, among others, Sarah Palin, Amy Winehouse and Jessica Simpson. Hopefully it hasn’t reached viewer saturation point yet, ’cause here it is again:
Allanah Myles’ #1 hit, BLACK VELVET is about Elvis Presley. It can refer to either his likeness frequently being painted on black velvet or his voice. Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Black Velvet was the name of the hair dye that Elvis used to give his naturally brown hair its distinctive black sheen.
SWEET GENE VINCENT remained in Ian Dury’s set list for almost his entire career, even after other songs had been dropped because of the singer’s worsening health. It was played at his very last concert at the London Palladium in February 2000 and is still performed by The Blockheads. Ian Dury was arguably Gene Vincent’s biggest fan and he claims to have bought every single that Vincent ever produced. Dury’s stage clothes also reflected Vincent’s influence, notably black leather gloves. Dury constantly denied that his identification with the singer, who was also crippled and forced to wear a leg brace, was in any way an attraction. He claimed that he didn’t even know Vincent was crippled when he first became a fan. According to Dury, it was all about the voice and his look. That’s Gene Vincent on the left and here is a clip of Ian Dury and the Blockheads performing at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea in 1979. The big bonus is the addition of Mick Jones from the Clash. Brilliant.
BETTE DAVIS EYES was a huge hit for Kim Carnes. Even Bette Davis herself was a fan. The actress admitted to loving the song and approached Carnes and the songwriters to thank them. She said that it made her seem very up-to-date with her grandson. She had Carnes sing the song live for her at a tribute held just before her death.
I included a couple more songs about actors: Bree Sharp’s song about DAVID DUCHOVNY proves that she is also an adoring fan of the actor from X-Files and, more recently, Californication. Billy Bragg & Wilco gave us a song dedicated to INGRID BERGMAN, with lyrics by Woodie Guthrie.
David Bowie played the song ANDY WARHOL to the artist, who reportedly disliked it as he thought the lyrics made fun of his physical appearance. When the song had finished playing, Warhol and Bowie supposedly just stared at each other for a while until Warhol said “I like your shoes” and the pair then had a conversation about shoes. As you do.
The Modern Lovers sang about another artist, PABLO PICASSO and Simon & Garfunkle contributed a song about the great American architect FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT.
The ever-cheerful ska star, Prince buster, was more concerned with spelling the name of his subject in AL CAPONE. A guilty pleasure followed: Boney M with RASPUTIN. Who knew that this Russian baddie was a raging love machine? Here’s the clip, just to remind you of how much fun disco actually was:
Although David Bowie admits that JEAN GENIE is a clumsy pun on the name of the author Jean Genet, he claims that the real subject of the song is his friend Iggy Pop. The line “He’s so simple minded, he can’t drive his module” would later give the band Simple Minds their name. There are several clips of this song available but take a look at this one. I chose it just because of the outfit. Oh, and the band rocks too.
Morphine gave us a song not just about, but in the style of, the American beat poet and author Jack KEROUAC. And then it was Bob Dylan with his protest song HURRICANE about the boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter. The song compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trail and conviction. The song is credited with helping to overturn the conviction.
We lightened the mood somewhat with a bit of Pop from Bananarama: ROBERT DE NIRO’S WAITING. And then it was The Clash with their song about the another actor, Montgomery Clift, who, after a serious accident, could only be shot from THE RIGHT PROFILE (see left).
U2 paid homage to singer Billie Holiday with their song ANGEL OF HARLEM and then The Barenaked Ladies told the story of a man whose life parallels that of the Beach Boys’ BRIAN WILSON, particularly during his time spent with a psychologist.
Two tracks followed that are quite critical of their subjects. Carly Simon with a song supposedly about Warren Beatty – YOU’RE SO VAIN and then it was Modest Mouse with BUKOWSKI. “Yeah, I know he’s a pretty good read, but God, who’d want to be such an a….hole.” True.
Next was a wonderful song from George Harrison, dedicated to John Lennon: ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. Here, in tribute to both of them, is the clip.
We closed the show with one of my favourite new artists, Julian Velard, with JIMMY DEAN & STEVE McQEEN.
Here’s the complete playlist. If the title doesn’t tell the story, I’ve bracketed the person who the song is about.
Hello (various) – The Beloved
We Made You (various) – Eminem
Black Velvet (Elvis Presley) – Alannah Myles
Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury
Sir Duke (Duke Ellington) – Stevie Wonder
Bette Davis Eyes – Carnes
Michael Caine – Madness
David Duchovny – Bree Sharp
Ingrid Bergman – Billy Bragg & Wilco
Andy Warhol – David Bowie
Pablo Picasso – The Modern Lovers
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon & Garfunkel
Marvin Gaye – Josh Rouse
Al Capone – Prince Buster
Rasputin – Boney M.
The Jean Genie – David Bowie
Kerouac – Morphine
Hurricane (Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter) – Bob Dylan
Robert De Niro’s Waiting – Bananarama
The Right Profile (Montgomery Clift) – The Clash
Angel Of Harlem (Billie Holiday) – U2
Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies
You’re So Vain (Warren Beatty) – Carly Simon
Bukowski – Modest Mouse
All Those Years Ago (John Lennon) – George Harrison
Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen – Julian Velard
Next week: COVERS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
No longer on Twitter! I’m not that tragic after all.