As a penance for my birthday indulgence last week, our theme this time was WALKING & RUNNING. ‘Cause a little bit of exercise never hurt anyone, now did it? Still, I think painting the town red must have still been on my mind as we opened the program with Lou Reed’s WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, from the 1972 album Transformer. It was produced by David Bowie who also sang backing vocals.
Here in Byron Bay, ‘doing the lighthouse walk’ is a daily excursion for some people. So, Kate Bush’s RUNNING UP THAT HILL was dedicated to them. It’s a great one to put on your iPod if you’re one of those mad people who walk or run as your preferred form of exercise.
Now you all know I love my Motown. So, WALK AWAY RENEE, released in 1968 by the Four Tops, was a given. As was NOWHERE TO RUN, a signature tune for Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, that was released way back in 1965. Check out this video clip from the same year. What to say about the back up dancers? OMG, the outfits, the dance moves!!!
Annie Lennox contributed WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS (ouch!) and then it was another true classic: Johnny Cash singing I WALK THE LINE and to round out the triple play beautifully, it was Fats Domino with I’M WALKING. Although it’s not the version we played on the show, take a look at this great clip of Fats Domino performing the song with Ricky Nelson. A great combination. And who is that saxophone player? Brilliant.
A little bit of UB40 followed with DON’T WALK ON THE GRASS and then it was Rufus Thomas with one of his biggest hits, WALKING THE DOG.
Empire of the Sun walked away with lots of awards for their debut album, WALKING ON A DREAM and the song of the same name was perfect for our show this week. As was Raphael Saadiq’s very suggestive, LET’S TAKE A WALK. Believe it or not this video, (like the song) was created in 2008. I’m loving the retro feel.
One for all the sleepwalkers – the brilliant R&B voice of Berna Dean singing I WALK IN MY SLEEP. Then it was Jimmy Rogers with WALKING BY MYSELF and a request from Judi, listening in Cairns: Patsy Cline’s I GO WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT.
Did you know that John Lennon disowned the song RUN FOR YOUR LIFE from the Rubber Soul album? He eventually wrote a much more politically correct tune called JEALOUS GUY. But hey, we live dangerously at the Theme Park, so RUN FOR YOUR LIFE it was. We followed with Steve Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group’s very appropriate, (if you were one of the Beatles’ girlfriends anyway), KEEP ON RUNNING. Check out the very young Steve Winwood in this clip. So cute.
It’s impossible NOT to sing along to WALKING ON SUNSHINE by Katrina and the Waves. It’s such an optimistic, sunny song that suits the fabulous Summer weather we are having here in beautiful Byron Bay.
WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES by Joe South and The Believers is a great song as is WALK ON from, none other than, Mr Roy Orbison. Then it was the incorrigible Tom Waits with WALKING SPANISH from my favourite album of his, Rain Dogs.
More R&B was on the agenda with the great Sam Cooke and I’LL COME RUNNING BACK TO YOU. He would have been 79 this week (January 22). Sadly he died at 33 years of age, in a shooting incident. He is quite rightly considered one of the pioneers and founders of soul music.
A couple of ballads that couldn’t be omitted from our show on WALKING & RUNNING are YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE by Gerry & The Pacemakers, (remember them?) and Dionne Warwick’s WALK ON BY.
Jack, in Sydney, requested WALK THIS WAY, from Run DMC and Aerosmith. Excellent choice. Love the combination of hard rock and hip-hop. There should be more of it, I say.
Then it was time for some Blues: One of my favourites from last year’s Byron Bay Blues Festival was Seasick Steve, so I was happy to play WALKING MAN from his album, I Started Out With Nothin’ And I Still Got Most Of It Left. Then it was John Lee Hooker with RUN ON and James Taylor covering Jnr Walker and the Allstars’ I’M A ROAD RUNNER.
Grace Jones is unique. She does an amazing version of WALKING IN THE RAIN, originally recorded by Australian band Flash and the Pan. You’ll find it on her Nightclubbing album, released in 1981.
A show on WALKING & RUNNING wouldn’t be the same without Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit, RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE. Or The Modern Lovers’ ROADRUNNER. Or The Bangles’ WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN. But my favourite from this week’s show has to be an oldie but a goodie, Helen Shapiro’s WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS. Can you believe that she was only 14 when she recorded this in 1961? Wow.
Next week, the show falls on Australia Day so I have no choice but to play some of my favourite Australian tracks. Tune in then if you like your music homegrown or are hoping for some appropriate tunes to compliment your Australia Day party.
And in signing off, I offer you this wonderful piece of graffiti that came to my attention this week: “Be happy today. Why wait?”
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Bette Midler opened the show with COOL YULE and that set the mood for what followed. I never thought I would see the day that Bob Dylan recorded a Christmas album, and isn’t he collecting some flak for doing so? But I, for one, happen to love the album Christmas in the Heart and appreciate the guts it took to release it. We played a couple of songs from the album. First up it was MUST BE SANTA. Check out the clip. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humour!
Now if you’re talking cool, there is no cooler, in my opinion, than ‘Keef’ Richards. My favourite Rolling Stone gave us RUN RUDOLPH RUN and then it was Patsy Raye & The Beatniks with BEATNIK’S WISH. All Patsy wants for Christmas is a man. Tall order Pats, especially here in Byron Bay!
I’ve got a question for you. Who’s feeling a bit grumpy this Xmas? Go on hands up… Well if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps, the perfect song for you is the Staple Singers with WHO TOOK THE MERRY OUT OF XMAS? Another for you mopers is Charles Brown and PLEASE COME HOME FOR XMAS. What you all need is the optimism of Darlene Love’s ALL ALONE ON CHRISTMAS. Lifted from the soundtrack to the film Home Alone, the famous sound of the legendary E Street Band and Love’s voice make being alone at Christmas almost OK. Check out the video if you don’t believe me:
Next up in our Cool Yule show was Bob Seger and The Last Heard with SOCK IT TO ME SANTA. And then it was The Kinks with FATHER CHRISTMAS and The Ramones with MERRY CHRISTMAS (I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT TONIGHT). Whew, that was a rockin’ set of Chrissie tunes. The three tracks came from a compilation album called Christmas A Go-Go, put together by Steven Van Zandt who also goes by the name Little Steven. As well as playing in Bruce Springsteen’s band and acting in the hit series The Sopranos, he also hosts an American radio program called the Underground Garage . Check out the website where you can listen to archived programs.
Tina Sugandh is also known as TablaGirl. Originally from India, now resident in the US, I love her version of WHITE CHRISTMAS with its Bollywood undertones. We followed with an oldie but a goodie, by Little Esther Phillips and the Johnny Otis Orchestra, FAR AWAY CHRISTMAS BLUES.
I had to include the 80’s New Wave group the Waitresses in the show because they recorded a song about something I really do loath: CHRISTMAS WRAPPIING. Yeah, yeah, bah humbug.
Something most of us have to be careful about over the holiday period is drinking and driving. A great song that deals with the repercussions of doing so is The Youngsters with CHRISTMAS IN JAIL from an album entitled Doo Wop Christmas. It wasn’t as serious as it sounds, honestly. And neither was the very funny version of JINGLE BELLS from the Electric Prunes, another great track from Little Stevie’s Christmas A Go-G0 album.
Rufus Thomas makes this rather scary offer: I’LL BE YOUR SANTA. And then it was time for a little Latin in our Christmas show. First up, The Enchanters with MAMBO SANTA MAMBO and the wonderful Celia Cruz with some salsa, FIESTA DE NAVIDAD.
A complete change of tone followed: Clarence Carter with the brilliantly bawdy BACK DOOR SANTA. This Santa makes all the girls happy while the boys are out to play. Naughty Santa.
Roy Woods was one of the founding members of Electric Light Orchestra and left to form Wizzard. Their song I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY was a huge hit for them. Check out the video, with lead singer Mike Morley looking rather like Kris Kringle himself:
The great James Brown injected a little politics into the show with SANTA CLAUSE GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO and then it was the extremely excited Jamaican DJ King Stitt with a little reggae. The song was CHRISTMAS TREE.
For all the cynics listening I had to include I DON’T BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS from the Sonics. And I’m sure all the rodders would have appreciated SANTA DRIVES A HOT ROD from The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Were any of you born on Xmas Day? My birthday is in January and that’s bad enough, but I’ve always felt sorry for people born on Xmas Day itself. Like here’s your Christmas and your birthday present. Gee thanks. But at least you don’t get everyone’s Xmas rejects as birthday presents as I do in January. Yeah, yeah, cry me a river. For all of you born on Xmas Day, we played I WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY from St. Etienne. It’s a nice piece of disco-pop, although I do worry about a band that named itself after a footie team.
The Cocktail Slippers, an all girl band from Norway, have been called “The 60’s Shangri Las meet the 70s Stooges meet the 80s Go Gos”. Loved their Christmas song, SANTA’S COMING HOME. I also don’t mind the occasional tribute band as long as they do it well. The Chesterfield Kings heavily mine The Rolling Stones for their garage sound and they do a great job with HEY SANTA CLAUSE.
Here’s the delicious Eartha Kitt, with the help of three ‘friends’ singing her hit of 1953 SANTA BABY. Hilarious.
We closed the show with the amazing Darlene Love with CHRISTMAS, (Baby, Please Come Home). The clip is from the David Letterman show of a couple of years ago. What a voice. Merry Xmas everyone!
Here’s this week’s playlist: