Hello thrillseekers! One of my regular listeners contacted me to say that after tuning into the show each week they felt as if they had been on a rollercoaster. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a compliment but, hey, it’s not called Theme Park for nothing!! What I love about a program that investigates a different theme each week is that it necessitates me listening to music that I wouldn’t have otherwise. This week’s show did that for me with all kinds of songs about shoes – from sneakers to high heels, boots and shoes of every colour. But, more importantly, it took me on a musical trip that stretched from jazz and blues right through to hip-hop – and I loved every minute of it. So, this is how this week’s ride went:
We opened the show with BETTY LOU’S GOT A NEW PAIR OF SHOES by John Caferty & The Beaver Brown Band. They played the music on the Eddie and the Cruisers film soundtrack. I don’t think it was a great movie but the soundtrack did very well. And then it was one of my favourite tracks of the show: Kirsty McColl with IN THESE SHOES? Kirsty sadly passed away in a controversial accident a few years ago. Here she is appearing on a UK television program in 2000.
Some great funk followed with STEPPIN IN HER I. MILLER SHOES from Betty Davis, (ex wife of Miles Davis). Now if you haven’t heard of the I. Miller Shoe Company let me enlighten you. Israel Miller started his career as a designer and maker of shoes for the theatrical profession in New York. The I. Miller Shoe Company took over a large building in Times Square that he had remodelled in 1926 with decorative sculptures on the building’s façade. The building was a tribute to the theatrical profession with statues depicting Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller and Mary Pickford. The store’s slogan, (and I love this), was “The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footware.” Another tidbit: In the mid 1950’s the I. Miller Shoe Company hired artist Andy Warhol on a retainer as their chief illustrator. You can still find examples of their shoes for sale on sites such as E-Bay and they, and the catalogues, are highly sought after.
Adam Ant sang GOODY TWO SHOES: “don’t drink, don’t smoke, goody, goody two shoes”. My guess is that Adam Ant is miles away from being a ‘goody two shoes’ but that’s what makes the song so memorable I guess. Check out this wonderfully kitch clip from the Solid Gold TV show of 1982. Ten points to Adam for the dance moves.
The Gorillaz impressed with GET THE COOL SHOE SHINE and then it was NEW SHOES by the very gorgeous Paolo Nutini from his 2007 album, These Streets: “Hey, I put some new shoes on, And suddenly everything is right, I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling, It’s so inviting…”. Yes, Paolo I couldn’t agree more. Buying a new pair of shoes is the answer to all the world’s problems. Well, it’s as good a theory, as any, for being a shoe-a-holic, so I’ll stick with it. Here he is performing the song live at Bush Studios in the UK. Very talented…. and good looking too, which can’t hurt.
One of the defining tracks of Acid Rock was Traffic’s HOLE IN MY SHOE, so that got a play. And then it was time for some Blues and you can’t get better than Ruthie Foster singing DEATH CAME A-KNOCKIN’ (TRAVELLIN’ SHOES), Joe South & the Believers with the classic, WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES and Bobby Blue Bland with TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.
My discovery this week was an album called Van Lear Rose. This was a collaboration between Loretta Lynn and Jack White of the White Stripes. It’s a Grammy award-winning album that was intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of Lynn and White. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal-mines. Until this week I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of the album but I am now a big fan. I played LITTLE RED SHOES – an outstanding track spoken, not sung, by Lynn. Amazing.
A very young Roy Orbison covered Carl Perkins’ BLUE SUEDE SHOES with his band, The Teen Kings, and then Robert Parker cranked out a hit from the 60s called BAREFOOTIN’. Graham Parker and The Rumour appear to know all about SOUL SHOES and the Presidents of the United States have a thing for PUFFY LITTLE SHOES, whatever they are….
I’m a big R&B fan and adore Chuck Willis’ rendition of HANG UP MY ROCK AND ROLL SHOES and Tommy Tucker’s HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS, so they had to make the list. And then Patti Griffin dedicated her song, BURGUNDY SHOES, to her Mother. We followed that with the Jenny Lewis track LET MY SHOES LEAD ME FORWARD from her terrific 2005 album Love and Youth. Here’s the clip, an animation, featuring 500 pairs of shoes. It was directed by Johannes Nyholm, Perisak Snalls and Andreas Nilsson. Brilliant fun.
I’m a new convert to Hip-Hop, (let’s face it, its not my era!) but when Rapper Slug from Atmosphere sings: “Those are your shoes, these are my shoes, we’ve got issues”, it does speak to me. Yes, we all know that the right or wrong shoe can define a relationship. The song’s name? SHOES (of course).
I couldn’t omit the fabulous Nancy Sinatra from the list and THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING brought back lots of memories. And it was great to discover that MAXWELL SMART is still talking into his shoe-phone when we played a nice little extract from Get Smart.
Ella Fitzgerald contributed the very cute GOTTA PEBBLE IN MY SHOE, Paul Kelly told us that YOU CAN PUT YOUR SHOES UNDER MY BED, (I bet he says that to all the girls), and the very lovely Katie Melua sang a great ballad – BLUE SHOES.
Steely Dan’s song BAD SNEAKERS is just as much about Pina Coladas as it is about shoes. Elvis Costello, apparently, is into RED SHOES. Here’s the Buddy Holly look-alike belting out RED SHOES on Top of the Pops in 1977. Loving the comments superimposed towards the end of the song. Take a look.
The Disco era wouldn’t have been complete without our last song this week: KC and the Sunshine Band with BOOGIE SHOES. A suitably upbeat finale that had us all up dancing.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Betty Lou’s Got A New Pair Of Shoes – John Caferty & The Beaver Brown Band
In These Shoes? – Kirsty McColl
Two Shoes – The Cat Empire
Steppin In Her I Miller Shoes – Betty Davis
Walk In My Shoes Feat Lupe Fiasco – Emily King
mr bowling shoe giver outer – Vintage radio commercial
Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
Get The Cool Shoe Shine – Gorillaz
New Shoes – Paolo Nutini
Hole In My Shoe – Traffic
Take off Your Shoes – Bobby Blue Bland
Death Came A-Knockin’ (Travelin’ Shoes) – Ruthie Foster
Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South & The Believers
Little Red Shoes – Loretta Lynn
Blue Suede Shoes – Roy Orbison
Barefootin – Robert Parker
Soul Shoes – Graham Parker & The Rumour
Puffy Little Shoes – The Presidents Of The United States Of America
Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes – Chuck Willis
Hi-Heel Sneakers – Tommy Tucker
Burgundy Shoes – Patty Griffin
Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward – Jenny Wilson
Maxwell Smart Clip from Get Smart
These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra
Shoes – Atmosphere
Gotta Pebble In My Shoe – Ella Fitzgerald
You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed – Paul Kelly
Blue Shoes – Katie Melua
Red Shoes – Elvis Costello
Bad Sneakers – Steely Dan
Boogie Shoes – K.C. and The Sunshine Band
Next week: each song will be about RADIO!
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM Tuesdays 2-4pm, (Sydney time). Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org