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CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES & FUNFAIRS

I can’t believe that going into our 5th season I still hadn’t put a show together on carnivals, circuses and the like. Well, we remedied that this week. A great introduction was supplied by Eddie Izzard doing a cover of The Beatles BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR KITE. It’s from the soundtrack to the film Across The Universe directed by Julie Taymor. “Just tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch on, switch off, and explode!”


Yes, I know that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do a great version of LOVE ROLLERCOASTER, but it was the original that made the playlist. It first appeared on the Ohio Players Honey album in 1975. In this clip from the television show Midnight Special, you get the bonus of Wolfman Jack doing the intro and some crazy boy dancers.  Ahhh the 70’s.

Thanks to Ku Promotions for our giveaway this week: two tickets to The Audreys’ concert. They’re a band of four boys and one girl, playing rootsy kind of music and are based in Adelaide, Australia. They have released two records, one in 2006 called Between Last Night and Us and one in 2008 called When the Flood Comes, both of which has won the ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album. I’ve seen them perform twice now and they really are a knockout. Their latest album, Sometimes the Stars, features the track TROUBLE SOMEHOW:


I love the collaborative work between Mark Lanegan (ex Queens of the Stone Age) and Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastian). THE CIRCUS IS LEAVING TOWN is from their latest album, Ballad of the Broken Seas. Here’s a great interview with them which features a slice of the song within it. It was shown when Isobel won the Mercury Prize for the album, which she produced.

Total change of pace came with a couple of tracks from the 60’s: Al Johnson with CARNIVAL TIME from his 1962 album, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Freddie Cannon with his hit, PALISADES PARK. And just to mix it up a bit I threw in some Fun Lovin’ Criminals with CONEY ISLAND GIRL.

The Stylistics were one of the most successful soul groups of the early 70’s and their song SIDESHOW fitted the theme perfectly. As did a true classic from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – THE TEARS OF A CLOWN.

Nellie the Elephant is a classic children’s song written in 1956. It became a UK #1 hit for punk band, The Toy Dolls, when they covered the song in 1983. Michael ‘Olga’ Algar, led vocalist, guitar and bass player, is the only remaining member of the original line-up, who continue to perform. I love the way that they used the aesthetics of punk to express a real sense of fun.

This following clip is from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz, a documentary of the concert by The Band, held on Thanksgiving Day, November 25 1976. It was advertised as the group’s last show and they were joined by an illustrious line-up of talent including Van Morrison. Here they are with CARAVAN:

The Decemberists’ songs range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads, and often employ instruments like the accordian, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer organ and upright bass. In their lyrics, the band rejects the angst and introspection common to modern rock and instead favour a storytelling approach, as evidenced in songs such as MY MOTHER WAS A CHINESE TRAPEZE ARTIST. It’s from the  5 Songs EP.

The 1986 Madness song (Waiting for) THE GHOST TRAIN was actually about apartheid in South Africa but hey, I love the title and based on that alone it made the playlist.

“I got blisters on my fingers!!!!” yells Ringo Starr, (I think), at the end of The Beatles’ frenetic HELTER SKELTER. Written by Paul McCartney, he deliberately tried to create a sound that was as loud and dirty as possible. Done.

Moving onto something a lot more mellow, it was Alison Goldfrapp with the very beautiful CLOWNS from her 2008 album Seventh Tree. And you thought I only played the old stuff. Oh you of little faith!

With his astonishingly accomplished guitar playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan ignited the blues revival of the ’80s. He was inspired equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters and  rock & roll players like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack as well as the stray jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, developing a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre. It’s been said that Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock like no other artist had since the late ’60s. His tragic death in 1990, at the age of 35 in a helicopter accident, only emphasized his influence in blues and American rock & roll. Here he is with Double Trouble performing TIGHTROPE:


There Goes Rhymin’ Simon is the second solo studio album from Paul Simon, released in 1973. the album covers several styles and genres. Our choice from the album was, of course, TAKE ME TO THE MARDI GRAS.

Natalie Merchant has been quoted as saying that she named her first solo album Tigerlily because the word evoked a feeling that was both ‘fierce’ and delicate’. Released in 1995 the album included the hit single CARNIVAL in which the protaganist compares the colourful sights and sounds of New York with being at a carnival.

A trio of guilty pleasures were lined up next: Back in 1967  The Hollies released  ON A CAROUSEL and Manfred Mann were also were enraptured with the circus on  HA! HA! SAID THE CLOWN. But the guiltiest of pleasures was still to come: In 1971 Cher released her first chart-topper, as a solo artist, in the United States: GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND THIEVES. Come on, you’ve gotta love Cher!

Swedish group, The Cardigans, had their first international breakthrough with their 1995 album Life which included the track CARNIVAL, a very cruisy pop tune with the gorgeous Nina Persson on vocals.

Beirut is an interesting band. They’re American yet their music combines elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music. They successfully fuse mainstream and indie-rock with the World Music market and consequently have a very unique sound. CAROUSELS, from their 2007 album Lon Gisland, is a great example of their work.

Beirut proved to be a great lead in to our final song of the day, the very gothic CARNY by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. I love the use of  accordian on this track (thanks to Warren Ellis). It gives the song an even more intense circus-like feel.

I’m happy to say that I’ll be back for another season of the Theme Park, same time same airspace. So keep listening locally on BayFM99.9 or streaming live on BayFM.org. And I’d love to get your suggestions for next week’s show, which will be on GAMBLING.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite – Across The Universe, Eddie Izzard

Carnival – The Black Rider, Tom Waits

Love Rollercoaster – Funk Classics, The 70’s, Ohio Players

Enter The Circus – Back To Basics, Christina Aguilera

Troubles Somehow – Sometimes the Stars, The Audreys

The Circus Is Leaving Town – Ballad of the Broken Seas Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Carnival Time – Mardi Gras In New Orleans, Al Johnson

Palisades Park – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classics, Freddy Cannon

Coney Island Girl – Come Find Yourself, Fun Lovin’ Criminals

Sideshow – Ultimate Slow Jams 9 [Disc 4], The Stylistics

The Tears Of A Clown – Motown’s Biggest Pop Hits, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Nellie The Elephant – The Wonderful World Of The Toy Dolls, Toy Dolls

Caravan – The Last Waltz [Disc 2], The Band + Van Morrison

My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist – 5 Songs, The Decemberists

Goodbye Cruel World – Jukebox Hits 1961, James Darren

The Ghost Train – Rock TV Classic, Madness

Helter Skelter – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 2], The Beatles

Clowns – Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp

Tightrope [Live] – SRV (Disc 3), Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Take Me To The Mardi Gras – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon

Carnival – Tigerlily, Natalie Merchant

Fire Eater – Naturally, Three Dog Night

Ha! Ha! Said The Clown – Manfred Mann

On A Carousel – The Hits Of 1967, The Hollies

Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves – Billboard Top Rock ‘N’ Roll Hits: 1971, Cher

Carnival – Life, The Cardigans

Carousels – The Lon Gisland EP, Beirut

The Carny – The Best Of,  Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Next week:  SONGS ABOUT GAMBLING

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

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SONGS ABOUT SHOPPING

What’s captalism’s favourite pastime? Well, SHOPPING of course! Some of the songs in this week’s list were critical of the commodification of our society while others celebrated shopping as retail therapy.  Objects of desire included everything from clothes and cars to food and liquor and we shopped in that threatened species, the little corner store, as well as their replacements, the supermarkets and malls. We gave away tickets to local charity event, The Spring Into Bangalow Fashion Parade, and welcomed local girl-group The Swinging Cowgirls into the studio for a live performance. All in all, a fun show.

The program kicked off at a rather luxurious looking pet shop, where Patti Page asks HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW? Let’s face it, if you’re a shop-a-holic you could do a lot worse than rescue a pup from being a living and breathing window display. I call that charity work myself.

The Coasters sang of being in a high-end department store without any credit on SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES. And we followed with Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, whose Mum told them to always SHOP AROUND when it comes to looking for love. Not bad advice actually.

Ben Folds does a great cover of the Clash song LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET for the kids film Over the Hedge, which had to make the list. As did The Kinks with the very appropriate DEDICATED FOLLOWER OF FASHION. Check this clip from 1973. I love Ray Davies: “Let’s have a laugh, because no-one’s here for art.” Genius.

Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism. On this week’s show he went shopping for a car on NO MONEY DOWN.

Here’s De La Soul with their critique of hip-hoppin’, gold-diggin’ girlfriends on SHOPPING BAGS. Its from the underrated album The Grind Date:

Up here in the village of  Mullumbimby, the locals have lost the fight to stop a large Woolworths complex from being built in town. So I included a couple of songs for all those activists who are trying to preserve their quality of life.  First up, Jonathan Richman bemoans the disappearance of the CORNER STORE. We followed with a perfect partner, Eugene McDaniels with SUPERMARKET BLUES: “I’ve got the supermarket blues, If I could choose, its really them I’d like to lose.” Yes, indeedy.

Two very funny tunes on the list are They Might Be Giants’ I AM A GROCERY BAG and TOO HIGH FOR THE SUPERMARKET from The Uninvited. It’s tough finding the ingredients for a simple tuna sandwich in a huge supermarket, especially when focus is a problem. Hilarious.

Fergie knows that shopping for labels is just shopping for affection on LABELS OF LOVE, from the soundtrack to the film Sex & The City, which is basically just a big ad for Manola’s etc.  The Beatles have a bit of advice for the shopaholic in all of us on CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.

I’m not a big fan of The Pet Shop Boys but their 1987 techno-pop tune SHOPPING, which is more about political corruption than a day in the mall, proved to be especially suitable for this week’s show.

Margo Timmins, of The Cowboy Junkies, is going to buy you something small and frail and plastic. As she puts it: ‘CAUSE CHEAP IS HOW I FEEL. Brilliant.

Dolly Parton is also a bit partial to a little metaphor on THE BARGAIN STORE. And lending a little gravity to the list was good ol’ boy Bruce Springsteen with QUEEN OF THE SUPERMARKET.

Jonathan Richman championed the LONELY LITTLE THRIFT STORE and Bruno Mars, with a little help from Damian Marley, sang about the LIQUOR STORE BLUES.

And then I happily welcomed the Swingin’ Cowgirls into the studio for a bit of a jam and a singalong. They are going to be performing at the upcoming charity fashion event, Spring into Bangalow, and going by what we saw on the show, it will be a great night. Here they are performing at another local event, earlier this year:

We said goodbye to the Swingin’ Cowgirls with an equally sassy dame, Lily Allen. She’s giving her granny a hard time on NAN, YOU’RE A WINDOW SHOPPER.

The Replacements’ punk rock defense of the CUSTOMER was followed by Paul Weller and The Jam with MAN IN THE CORNER SHOP, a song about some middle-class punk rockers who suddenly have a whole lot of money but nothing substantial to spend it on.

Before Steven Patrick Morrissey was simply Morrissey, he was lead singer of The Smiths, a band who never charted higher than #10 but who nevertheless generated a cult following. Here they are with SHOPLIFTERS OF THE WORLD UNITE:

Sublime’s influences were reggae, punk and ska and our final track was an old ska song that they recorded a version of in 1996 called  PAWN SHOP. The story goes that lead singer Brad Nowell’s raging addiction saw his guitar being pawned quite often, with their manager having to pay to get it out before their gigs. Sort of puts all those songs about SHOPPING into perspective doesn’t it?

Next week the show will be one of pure joy. Every song will feature HANDCLAPPING. I’d  love to hear from you if you would like to request a track, or you may have an idea for a theme for an upcoming show. Let me know! Love to have your input.

Big thanks to Kathryn and Anna from The Swinging Cowgirls.

Here’s this week’s playlist:

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window – Everlasting In Original 125 Golden Oldies (Vol.3), Patti Page

Shopping for Clothes – Atlantic Rhythm & Blues (1958-62) Vol. 4, The Coasters

Shop Around – The Ultimate Collection, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Lost In The Supermarket (Clash cover) – Over The Hedge soundtrack,  Ben Folds

Dedicated Follower Of Fashion – The Complete Collection, The Kinks

No Money Down – After School Session, Chuck Berry

Shopping Bags (She Got from You) – The Grind Date, De La Soul

Corner Store – Jonathan Goes Country, Jonathan Richman

Supermarket Blues – Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, Eugene McDaniels

I Am A Grocery Bag – TMBG UnLtd April, They Might Be Giants

Too High for the Supermarket. – Too High, The Uninvited

Labels Or Love – Sex And The City, Fergie

Shopping – Actually, Pet Shop Boys

‘Cause Cheap Is How I Feel – The Caution Horses, Cowboy Junkies

Can’t Buy Me Love – Hey Jude, The Beatles

Shopping Carts – (comedy skit), Steven Wright

The Bargain Store – The RCA Years 1967-1986 [Disc 2], Dolly Parton

Queen Of The Supermarket – Working On A Dream, Bruce Springsteen

Liquor Store Blues (feat. Damian Marley) – Single, Bruno Mars

The Lonely Little Thrift Store – I’m So Confused, Jonathan Richman

Nan You’re A Window Shopper – Alright, Still Lily Allen

Customer – Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash, The Replacements

Man In The Corner Shop – Direction, Reaction, Creation, The Jam

Shoplifters Of The World Unite – The Best Of Part 1, The Smiths

Pawn Shop – Sublime, Sublime

Next week:  SONGS WITH HANDCLAPPING!

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

GOING OUT AND PARTYING

As a tribute to all the Capricorns celebrating their birthdays at the moment, (including me!), the theme this week was GOING OUT AND PARTYING. Some famous Capricorns include Elvis Presley, who would have turned 75 this week, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton… the list goes on. Oh, what amazing company I’m in!

We opened the show Pink’s GET THIS PARTY STARTED and if that song can’t get you in the party mood I don’t know what will. If you’ve never seen Pink perform live, you are really missing out. Here’s some footage from her show at the Wembley Arena. Enjoy.

Wanda Jackson also has the right attitude. Her song LET’S HAVE A PARTY was a hit for her in 1959, a year after Elvis Presley released it. I totally adore Louis Jordan and included two of his tracks this week. The first has a great clip to show you. Have a look at LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL :

The Theme Park party was off to a great start and the party continued with Santana’s INTERPLANETARY PARTY from the 2007 album, Ultimate Santana. But, I ask you, what’s a party without James Brown? One thing you can count on, he’s GONNA HAVE A FUNKY GOOD TIME.  Joe Jackson was also STEPPIN OUT and, as the Showstoppers explained, with their hit of 1968, it AIN’T NOTHIN BUT A HOUSE PARTY.

Loved Sam Cooke’s smooth rendition of WE’RE HAVING A PARTY but I have to admit that I was totally intrigued by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song title, GOING TO A GO-GO. I have no idea what a Go-Go is, but the song is a sure fire dance floor filler, so it has to be about a party, surely.

The Irish Rovers sound as if it was one hell of a get-together with their ditty WASN’T THAT A PARTY. It’s hard to find a full clip of the Rovers singing any song but here’s one that includes this catchy tune, which they used to open their 80’s television series “Party with the Rovers”. Take a peek:

Claudine Clark’s one-hit wonder of 1962, PARTY LIGHTS, stands out because she wrote the music and the lyrics herself, which was unusual for a female performer during that time.  Sung from the point of view of a teenage girl ordered to her room while her friends were out having a good time, “Party Lights” struck a chord and shot into the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts.

What’s the purpose of a party? Well, let’s face it life can be pretty serious a lot of the time, so getting together with your friends and celebrating the positive things in life can be a lot of fun. Although I can testify that the after effects don’t always make it worth the effort. But that’s just my hangover talking. I’m sure the wonderful Amos Milburn wouldn’t agree and he has a great song to prove it – LET’S HAVE A PARTY.

Friday night seems to be the favourite night of the week to go out, so I thought it was appropriate to include Lily Allen’s FRIDAY NIGHT and The Specials’ FRIDAY NIGHT, SATURDAY MORNING. Then Three Dog Night claimed that their MOMMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME. They had to find out the hard way that “This is the craziest party there could ever be”. Check out the clip from 1970:

We played PARTY TRAIN by the Dazz Band on our Train show but it deserved a second listen. Smiley Lewis followed with CALADONIA’S PARTY. Now anyone with a name like Caledonia deserves to have a party in her honour, don’t you think?

Bobby Darin was just sitting in his bath, minding his own business and gets out of the bath with just a towel around him. Now how did he know there was a party going on? That’s how he tells it anyway in SPLISH SPLASH.

ZZ Top know how to do party. They’re turning up the radio and having a PARTY ON THE PATIO. Lesley Gore, on the other hand, needs a bit of sympathy. As she tells it, ITS MY PARTY (and I’ll cry if I want to).

The Donnas give short shrift to gatecrashers on WHO INVITED YOU? And for my guilty pleasure it was Kiss: “and you say you wanna go for a spin, the party’s just begun, we’ll let you in, you drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy.” Yes, indeed, I WANNA ROCK AND ROLL.

Maybe the party lifestyle isn’t what its all cracked up to be. Not according to Elvis Costello and the Attractions, anyway, with PARTY GIRL or Marc Almond and Soft Cell with their reality check of a song, BEDSITTER.

I’m not convinced. Give me the optimisim of Michael Jackson’s OFF THE WALL or anything from the disco era, like Kool and the Gang’s CELEBRATION or Alicia Bridges with the party girl’s anthem, I LOVE THE NIGHLIFE. The song will forever be associated with the film, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and who am I to change that? Check out the clip:

The Beastie Boys are ready to FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY. Excellent. Even Bob Dylan had a song for us about parties – MILLION DOLLAR BASH.

Time to finish the show and what better way than with the brilliant Blossom Dearie with THE PARTY’S OVER followed by the Beatles’ BIRTHDAY. Here’s a cute piece of animation created by Mery, for all the Capricorns out there.

I thought next week I might have to work off some of the birthday cake, so it’s a show more for the walkers, than the talkers. The theme is WALKING AND RUNNING. Any suggestions?

Here’s this week’s playlist:

Get This Party Started – Pink
Let’s Have A Party – Wanda Jackson
Let The Good Times Roll – Louis Jordan
Interplanetary Party – Santana
Gonna Have A Funky Good Time – James Brown
Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson
Ain’t Nothin’ But a House Party – Showstoppers
Party Time (Soca Steel Drums) – Jimmy Buffett
We’re Having A Party – Sam Cooke
Going To A Go Go – Smokey Robinson And The Miracles
Wasn’t That A Party – Irish Rovers
Party Lights – Claudine Clark
Let’s Have A Party – Amos Milburn
Friday Night – Lily Allen
Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials
Momma Told Me Not To Come – Three Dog Night
Party Train – The Dazz Band
Caldonia’s Party – Smiley Lewis
Splish Splash – Bobby Darin
House Party – Louis Jordan
Party On The Patio – ZZ Top
It’s My Party – Leslie Gore
Who Invited You – The Donnas
I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night – Kiss
Party Girl – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Bedsitter – Marc Almond & Soft Cell
Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
Celebration – Kool and the Gang
I Love the Nightlife – Alicia Bridges
Fight For Your Right To Party – Beastie Boys
Million Dollar Bash – Bob Dylan
The Party’s Over – Blossom Dearie
Birthday – The Beatles The Beatles
Next week: WALKING AND RUNNING

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

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