I had a lot of fun getting this week’s list together because there’s just so much to choose from when it comes to DUETS. We opened with the perfectly pitched IT TAKES TWO from Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston. The hit single was released in 1966 on Motown’s Tamla label.
Iggy Pop and Deborah Harry do an amazing job with WELL DID YOU EVAH. Who would have thought that Cole Porter’s quaint double act from the film High Society,originally sung by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, would be handled so well by two punk icons? Here’s a treat: a video created by director Alex Cox (“Sid & Nancy”), that incorporates some of High Society/Frank & Bing with Iggy and Deb’s version. Great stuff:
We followed with the hilariously argumentative Otis Redding and Carla Thomas with TRAMP and then some more Marvin Gaye, this time with Tammi Terrell. Until Tammi’s death from a brain tumour in 1970, she and Marvin Gaye were regarded as Motown’s perfect pairing. Choosing the “best” of Gaye’s duets with Terrell is a little crazy, but I chose REAL THING over the much covered ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough’ which seems to get enough exposure without my help.
Time then for a boy on boy duet: Freddy Mercury and David Bowie’s anxious little melodrama, UNDER PRESSURE. Born out of an impromptu jam session, it evolved into one of the most inspiring musical moments of the 1980s.
Dusty Springfield and the Pet Shop Boys’ rendition of WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? helped revive Dusty’s career in the U.S. when it was released in 1987. We followed with SOMETIMES ALWAYS from Jim Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain and his singing partner Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star. Here’s a clip of them performing live at the MTV studios:
Let’s face it, country music is the spiritual home of the duet. Two great examples: Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood with the wonderful and haunting SOME VELVET MORNING and JACKSON from Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Iggy Pop seems to love to duet. Last week he featured with Peaches and this week he turns up twice; this time with Kate Pierson of the B-52s. The song? CANDY is the tale of an ex-con reaching out to his lost love after 20 years. It makes brilliant use of Iggy’s sly, world-weary baritone and Pierson’s sunny tones. The result is an modern-rock classic. Take a look:
PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, offered up THIS MESS WE’RE IN. It’s kind of what you would expect from these two isn’t it? Profoundly gloomy and yet impossibly beautiful. Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush aren’t quite as melancholic as she gives Pete some great lifestyle tips on their gorgeous duet DON’T GIVE UP.
Another wonderful duet is COME ON OVER, from Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastien) and Mark Langegan (ex Queens of the Stone Age). Qualifies for probably the sexiest song on the list this week.
The Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry track SEVEN SECONDS was a huge worldwide hit in 1994. The song is about the first seven seconds in a child’s life, when he or she is totally unaware of the problems and violence in the world. A timeless classic:
Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris cover Roy Orbison’s LOVE HURTS and do a pretty good job of it but we had to have the real thing and the stand-out duet has to be Roy Orbison and kd lang with, of course, CRYING. Now you didn’t think I’d leave that one out did you?
Another goodie that takes a more optimistic viewpoint of partnerships: Chrissie Hynde performing I’VE GOT YOU BABE with UB40. This cover of Sonny & Cher’s signature tune was recorded in 1985 and reached #1 in the UK that year, as did the original 20 years earlier.
Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty do a great version of STOP DRAGGIN MY HEART AROUND and Tina Turner and Brian Adams aren’t half bad either with their cover of Robert Palmer’s ADDICTED TO LOVE.
We followed with a brilliant triple-play: Ray Charles and Gladys Knight with HEAVEN HELP US ALL from the Genius Loves Company album, the great Jackie Wilson and Laverne Baker with THINK TWICE and Al Green and Lyle Lovett singing FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY. Here’s proof positive that white men from Texas do have soul:
Another terrific triple play: Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan with ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS followed by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue with WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW and the piece de resistance, in my book, Jack White and Loretta Lynn with PORTLAND OREGAN from Loretta’s amazing album Van Lear Rose. Love the album, love this song, love this clip:
But when it came to closing the show I couldn’t go past a piece of music that sums up, what has to be, a perfect pairing: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald singing DANCING CHEEK TO CHEEK. Recorded in 1957 and accompanied by the Oscar Petersen trio and Buddy Rich on drums, you can’t listen to this song without smiling. As the song goes “Heaven, I’m in heaven….”
Next week’s show falls on the 12th of January – My Birthday! Yes I’m a Capricorn, just like Elvis, David Bowie, Annie Lennox …. Ah ha, I’m in great company. So in honour of all of us having birthdays, next week’s theme is GOING OUT AND PARTYING. Send me your suggestions.
Thanks for all your support this year. Have a wonderful 2010! Here’s this week’s playlist:
Next week: GOING OUT AND PARTYING
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Mistress Lyn at your service with a few songs to scare the hell out of you, some that are just plain silly and all of which celebrate Halloween. Welcome to the dark side.
We opened the show with THE GRAVEYARD BY MOONLIGHT, a spine-chilling instrumental piece from one of the most commercial goth bands out there, Cradle of Filth. Then it was a track that can either be seen as very creepy or extremely silly (or both): HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, from Rob Zombie’s album The Sinister Urge. Named after Ed Wood’s 1961 film of the same name, Rob used the track as the opening credits for his own horror flick, made in 2003, also called HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. Check out the trailer for the film which looks like my favourite kind of horror film – very dark and extremely camp.
We caught our breath with Talking Heads’ deceptively funky PSYCHO KILLER, with lyrics that get into the head of a serial murderer. And then it was The Specials with GHOST TRAIN. More a political statement than anything, but still very creepy.
Nox Arcana’s BRIDES TO DARKNESS is from their Transylvania album and is the band’s tribute to the most famous and influential of all vampire novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Screamin Jay Hawkins is absolutely hilarious when he splutters out I PUT A SPELL ON YOU. Recorded in 1956, Hawkins has been reported as saying that he was so drunk when he recorded the song, that he can’t remember doing so. I believe him. Then it was a more controlled Bo Diddley with BO MEETS THE MONSTER, followed by Jazz singer, Herb Jeffries with THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN. Jeffries sang for many years with Duke Ellingon and this track, which was recorded in 1953, is on that crazy list of songs that was banned by the BBC. Go Figure.
We couldn’t leave out MONSTER MASH by Boris Pickett and the Cryptkickers, now could we? But the need for real Goth was overwhelming and who better than Concrete Blonde with BLOODLETTING (THE VAMPIRE SONG) from their Still in Hollywood album. Excellent.
There’s lots of spooky music associated with the Blues: Howlin’ Wolf warned us about all the EVIL that’s goin’ on out there and Blind Willie Johnson condenses all of human misery into a wordless, incomprehensible moan in DARK WAS THE NIGHT, COLD WAS THE GROUND. It was up to Otis Spann to elevate our mood with IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE DEVIL followed by the equally rockin’ Leon Redbone with THE WITCH QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS.
I resisted the urge to play Michael Jackson’s THRILLER because I think we’ve all heard a lot of it lately. But there’s one of his that doesn’t get as much airplay and that’s GHOSTS. As usual, he knew how to make a great video:
More silly than sinister is David Bowie’s SCARY MONSTERS AND SUPER CREEPS and The Who’s BORIS THE SPIDER. I reckon only the Cure know how to frighten the bejezzes out of us when it comes to spiders though. Take a look at LULLABY. Haunting and beautifully dark.
Only Nick Cave can possibly surpass The Cure’s Robert Smith when it comes to Goth. Here’s Nick and the Bad Seeds performing THE CARNY from the album Your Funeral…My Trial, originally released in 1986, and recently remastered and re-released as a CD/DVD set. The clip was filmed for Live and Loud on MTV on 18 May 1997 after Cave had been nominated for the best 1996 male artist and refused the honor (see his letter to MTV on www.nick-cave.com).
I love Tom Waits album Rain Dogs and the track, SINGAPORE, from that album is a fitting song for this show, with its sinister warning to those setting sail for unknown places. Can’t wait to see Terry Gilliam’s latest film, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS, starring the late Heath Ledger and featuring Toms Waits as, (what else?), the Devil. Check out the trailer:
Perfect follow up to that was Robert Palmer’s CASTING A SPELL from his Heavy Nova album of 1988. And to close the show, a beautifully benign tune, after all those scary songs, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s take on the Frankenstein myth: LOOK OUT THERE’S A MONSTER COMING.
I’m happy to say that Theme Park will be back for another season on BayFM so next Tuesday wlll be our first anniversary and it’s also the day that Australia’s biggest horse race takes place: the Melbourne Cup. Like last year there will be a sweep, lots of prizes and we’ll cross to Flemington for the big race. And the music? I’ve decided that as last year’s was HORSES, this year it will be LUCK. Wishing you all good fortune.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
The Graveyard By Moonlight – Cradle of Filth
House of 1000 Corpses – Rob Zombie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Ghost Town – The Specials
Brides to Darkness – Nox Arcana
I Put A Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Bo Meets the Monster – Bo Diddley
The Devil Is A Woman – Herb Jeffries
Monster Mash- Bobby (Boris) Pickett And The Crypt-Kickers
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) – Concrete Blonde
Evil – Howlin’ Wolf
Little Red Riding Hood – Sam the Sham
Plan 9 From Outer Space – Movie Clip
Ghosts – Michael Jackson
Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground – Blind Willie Johnson The Blues – A Musical
It Must Have Been The Devil – Otis Spann
The Witch Queen of New Orleans – Leon Redbone
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Boris the Spider – The Who
Lullaby – The Cure
Jeepers Creepers – Siouxie and the Banshees
The Carny – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman – Movie Clip
Hells Bells – ACDC
Singapore – Tom Waits
Casting A Spell – Robert Palmer
Look Out, There’s A Monster Coming – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Next Week: LUCK (Suggestions always very welcome!)
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