I reckon animals are just like people. I look at my pets and, to be honest, I recognise myself. My little dog Charlie likes nothing better than eating and sleeping and my Abyssinian cat is a bit of a talker. In fact you can’t shut him up. Songwriters share my affliction, which is probably why most songs supposedly “about” animals aren’t really about animals at all.
Our opening song, SPIDERS AND SNAKES, had Jim Stafford waxing lyrical about it would take to win over the object of his affection. Somehow I don’t think spiders and snakes and frogs were what they seemed, if you know what I mean. Thanks to Sandy for suggesting that one.
The Tenors’ 1968 rocksteady tune RIDE YOUR DONKEY is, on the face of it, not a delightful ditty about a mule, but a song about a child’s musical shortcomings. I have a feeling, however, that there may be a bit of a sexual subtext going on there too.
No point trying to figure out what Captain Beefheart meant with ICE CREAM FOR CROW. I’ll leave it up to you to figure that out:
Edie Izzard wonders about the logic of making a toad with an hallucinogenic back on his comedy album Stripped. Tim Finn sang the Cane Toad Blues which featured on Mark Lewis’ quirky hit documentary CANE TOADS. Mark has now made a follow up, in 3D no less, called CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST and we had tickets to the film to give away. Congrats to BayFM subscriber Yvonne, who won those.
We had a whole show on Cats & Dogs a while back so I had to look a little wider for a track about our canine friends. I love what I found: WOLVES (SONG OF THE SHEPHERD’S DOG), from Iron & Wine, better known to his Mum as Sam Beam.
Sunhouse came together to provide the soundtrack to a couple of films by British filmmaker Shane Meadows. One of my very favourite films of his is TwentyFourSeven and it has a cracking soundtrack by the band, which includes MONKEY DEAD. They went on to record an album called Crazy Weekend, which also includes the song. Here they are performing on French television:
Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish group The Cardigans tells us that she’s found her herself A GOOD HORSE. Every girl’s dream, I’m sure.
Big Mama Thornton’s I SMELL A RAT pushes the concept of anthropomorphism to its limit. It’s when you give human characteristics to non-human things. And pretty much every song on today’s playlist does just that.
Except for maybe Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. ALLIGATOR WINE appears to be about some voodoo concoction that not only uses alligator blood, there’s a dash of fish eye, some frog’s skin and a cup of swamp water to boot. Not sure whether Louis Jordan is being literal or not when he declares there AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS.
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, so I had to include BABA’S CAMEL from their Cornology album.
The legendary Little Willie John pleads with you to LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE and the late, great, reggae artist Gregory Isaacs is out on a RAT PATROL.
One of my favourite contemporary groups is the Villagers and the song SET THE TIGERS FREE has made it onto my funeral list (everyone should have one – you don’t really want someone else picking the music at your wake do you?).
We closed the show with LOVE CATS from the Cure who are performing in Sydney on Wednesday night. So jealous of any of you who have tickets!
Thank you to the sponsors of our giveaway of tickets to CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST in 3D. I hope to see as many of you as possible at this BayFM Fundraiser. Its at the Dendy on Wednesday night at 7pm and will be followed by a party at The Owl & Pussy Cat. Thanks also to Radio Pictures, Pinnacle Films, the Byron Cane Juice Company for your sponsorship of this benefit.
Next week I’ll be joined by swinging cowgirl and Dolphin Award winner Kathryn Jones who will be putting together a guest list of songs. I have no idea what she’ll be bringing in, and that’s half the fun. The other half will be hearing why Kathryn picked the particular songs she did.
Here’s this week’s playlist on Critters:
Spiders & Snakes – Jim Stafford
Ride Your Donkey – The Tennors
Ice Cream for Crow – Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band
Toads – Eddie Izzard Stripped (Live)
Cane Toad Blues – Tim Finn
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) – Iron & Wine
Monkey Dead – Sunhouse
A Good Horse – The Cardigans
I Smell A Rat – Big Mama Thornton
Alligator Wine – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens – Louis Jordan
Ali Baba’s Camel – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Leave My Kitten Alone – Little Willie John
Rat Patrol – Gregory Isaacs
Set The Tigers Free – Villagers
The Love Cats – The Cure
Next week: GUEST LIST – KATHRYN JONES
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
Theme Park is now in Drive Time! I’m very excited, (explanation points aside, can you tell?). To celebrate, the topic this week was CHANGE. There were songs about every possible variety of change: political, social, cultural, emotional, physical, even the kind you find at the bottom of your handbag when you most need it.
BayFM is now in its Winter season and with Theme Park’s new time of Tuesdays 4-6pm, you may have only just discovered us. So, if this is your first visit, the idea is not to find a list of the “best” songs on a subject, because “best” is boring and more or less just involves me reaffirming how great the Beatles, Radiohead and Roy Orbison are. No, what we’re trying to create is a thematically coherent playlist with a mix of genres, eras and moods. Some songs you’ll already know; some, maybe, you won’t, and hopefully each week we’ll rediscover the classics, and discover new music, together.
We opened the show with Michael Jackson’s MAN IN THE MIRROR. And what a great message it is: if you want to change the world then start with yourself and your attitude to those less fortunate than yourself. We followed with something a little less serious: the great Ella Fitzgerald with ANYTHING GOES from her album ‘The Cole Porter Songbook’. It was the first album she recorded for the Verve album in 1956.
John Mayer is in Australia at the moment and I’ll forgive his indiscretions in recent interviews because WAITIN’ ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE is such a great track. Here he is with an acoustic version of the song. Very nice.
We followed with the definitive cover of Bob Dylan’s ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER by Jimi Hendrix. Dylan wrote this song at a time that he was experiencing a complete life change, with two young children and a growing interest in the Bible. Hendrix’s version is so highly regarded that Dylan has been quoted as saying: “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”
Everyone’s allowed to change their mind now and again. A couple of terrific songs about the subject are the Cardigans’ ERASE/REWIND and soul singer Tyrone Davis’ CAN I CHANGE MY MIND?
A completely different perspective on change came from the band Blind Melon. The track CHANGE is from their 1992 self-titled debut album and was the first written by lead singer Shannon Hoon, who struggled with a drug dependancy. The song encourages you to change your life when it gets too hard. Unfortunately Hoon found it difficult to take his own advice and he died in 1995, at 28, from an overdose. His grave is inscribed with words from the song.
Do you think money changes you? According to Cyndi Lauper MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING. Aretha Franklin, on the other hand, reckons MONEY WON’T CHANGE YOU. I think Aretha may have won that round.
Daniel Merriwether received a little bit of help from, rapper, Wale in the song CHANGE. The song and, in fact, the whole album was produced by wunderkid Mark Ronson. Rather than just play the official video clip, here’s a ‘making of’ that you might find interesting.
Country rockers, The Allman Brothers Band, sound as if they have hit rock bottom and are ready to do something about it in the very bluesy CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING.
Another great rock group is Muse. The song FEELING GOOD is probably best known for Nina Simone’s outstanding recording. Here, Muse take the optimism of Simon’s standard to a whole other place.
We rounded out the hour with THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. Recorded in 1971, it’s a poem and a song by Gil Scott-Heron, generally considered to be the father of hip-hop and neo soul.
I’M COMING OUT is a joyous disco number from Diana Ross. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, of the 70’s Disco band ‘Chic’, wrote and produced the track. Rodgers got the idea for the song when he went to a transvestite club in New York City. He went to the bathroom, and while he was standing at the urinal, he saw three men who were all dressed as Diana Ross.
I love my R&B. Anyone who saw Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the Blues Fest a few years ago know what a dynamic group they are. A great song from them is SOMETHING’S CHANGED. We followed with A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. Sam Cooke’s Dylan-inspired, lump-in-the-throat protest song mourns both racial intolerance and his infant son’s fatal drowning. And it’s the most requested song in our list today.
Joni Mitchell’s song BIG YELLOW TAXI is about changes brought about by so-called ‘progress’; “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Sound familiar? And a big shout out to everyone in Mullumbimby, while we’re on the subject of unnecessary change.
David Bowie’s song CHANGES is one you must have predicted. And I’m nothing, if not predictable. We followed with another very predictable track: THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’, although it’s not Bob Dylan but a wonderful version by Nina Simone.
Let’s talk physical change. Can you get any better than Lou Reed’s TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE? It’s from the Transformer album, recorded in 1972 and produced by David Bowie. “Plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs and then he was a she.” Yep, that’s what I call change.
Talking of changing teams, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood contributed a track from their Live From Madison Square Garden album, called, appropriately, TEAM CHANGES. And then it was time to head back to a song about political change: Tracey Chapman with TALKIN’ BOUT A REVOLUTION.
John Legend got some help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. That’s for the right girl, he asserts. Yeah yeah, heard it all before Johnny.
The Audreys do a gorgeous cover of the INXS song DON’T CHANGE. It challenges you not to change. Because you’re perfectly OK as you are, you know. The song is from the album, Between Last Night and Us. Here they are performing at Woodford Folk Festival, 2009:
We closed the show with a beauty: the Beatles and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. “Nothings going to change my world.” Well, maybe, but one thing I do know is that change is inevitable and while we might not appreciate it at the time, its all good.
Next week’s theme will be MORE CRED WHEN DEAD. Yes, every track will be from an artist who has passed on to that big disco in the sky and more than likely became more successful after they were gone. Big list to choose from, so inevitably there will be some omissions. But let me know your requests anyway. Love to hear from you.
Here’s this week’s playlist. From this week, I’ll include the album names as well. You can find all songs on iTunes.
Man in the Mirror – Bad, Michael Jackson
Anything Goes – The Cole Porter Songbook (CD1), Ella Fitzgerald
Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer
All Along The Watchtower – The Ultimate Experience, Jimi Hendrix
Erase/Rewind – Gran Turismo, The Cardigans
Can I Change My Mind – Billboard Top 100 Of 1969, Tyrone Davis
Change – Blind Melon, Blind Melon
Money Changes Everything – Twelve Deadly Cyns, Cyndi Lauper
Money Won’t Change You – Lady Soul, Aretha Frankin
Change – Love & War, Daniel Merriweather (and Wale)
Change My Way of Living – Where It All Begins, The Allman Brothers Band
Feeling Good – The Best of Muse CD2, Muse
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – The Breaks II, Gil Scott-Heron
I’m Coming Out – Floorﬁllers 80s Club Classics CD3 – Diana Ross
Something’s Changed – 100 Days, 100 Nights, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
A Change Is Gonna Come – The Man & His Music, Sam Cooke
Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell
Changes – Hunky Dory, David Bowie
The Times They Are a Changin’ – Forever Young, Gifted & Black, Nina Simone
Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Transformer Lou Reed
Team Changes – Live From Madison Square Garden Cd1, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
I Can Change feat. Snoop Dogg – Get Lifted, John Legend
Don’t Change – Between Last Night and Us, The Audreys
Across The Universe – Let It Be, The Beatles
Next week: MORE CRED WHEN DEAD
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
I’m extremely lucky because I live in an area where other people come to for their holidays. Here in Byron Bay, we’ve got it all – great all-year round weather, fabulous beaches, rainforest, great little hinterland villages. So where do I go on my holidays? To the city of course! I’m having a couple of weeks off to drive down the coast, visit friends and catch up with family. So I thought it appropriate that this week’s show featured a playlist of songs about holidays. And what better than to open the show with a Bing Crosby classic, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, the Beef Wellington Remix. Here’s a great clip with the scene from the 1942 film Holiday Inn, starring Crosby and Fred Astaire. Yes, I know it’s about Christmas but, hey wasn’t that just a minute ago? And besides, not only do you get to hear the song, you get to see Fred dance. How good is that!
For me holidays are more about changing your routine and catching up with people I love, more than, say, hanging poolside with masseur and daquiri at the ready. Nothing wrong with that of course. In fact the tropical island style of holiday appeals to many of the songwriters in this week’s show. A couple of examples: Typically Tropical with BARBADOS and 10cc with DREADLOCK HOLIDAY. Here’s 10CC:
Earth,Wind & Fire supplied a fine piece of R&B with GETAWAY and then it was Fiddlers Dram’s DAY TRIP TO BANGOR proving that even a short break constitutes a holiday in my books.
Next it was a classic – Connie Francis with VACATION – and then Lindsey Buckingham gave us HOLIDAY ROAD from the film National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Subway followed with the track HOLIDAY from their 2005 album Young For Eternity and then another perfect holiday song: LET’S GET AWAY FOR A WHILE from The Beach Boys.
In HOLIDAY, by the Happy Mondays, singer Shaun William Ryder is not a happy chappie. Doesn’t look like he’s going to get to his holiday destination if it’s up to the Customs officials. “I smell dope, I smell dope, I smell dope”. Careful folks.
The Go-Go’s bring things back to a less serious issue, holiday romance, in their 1982 hit, VACATION.
The Kinks had to face the culture shock of being English and taking a HOLIDAY IN WAIKIKI. The song is from their 1966 album ‘Face to Face’. Unfortunately couldn’t locate a decent clip of this track but here’s a cutie, also written by Ray Davies, HOLIDAY 1972:
I love Sky Edwards voice on the Morcheeba track THE SEA. So calming. Is it any wonder that the seaside is the number one holiday destination?
For those of us who live near the ocean, we need to look for something entirely different if the saying “a change is as good as a holiday” is going to ring true. The Gibson Brothers contributed a catchy piece of Latin Disco about a place I’ve always wanted to go to: CUBA. Here’s a rare video clip of the Gibsons from 1979:
Simple Plan are so keen to get a girl our of their life, they’ll even buy her the ticket so she can go on a long VACATION. A one way ticket out of their life. I should have included this one in my Unrequited Love show, obviously. Its from the movie NEW YORK MINUTE, but I probably didn’t need to mention that, as the band were the best thing in it.
Then it was another tale about holiday romance, except that this time it looks like it was all in Mike Skinner’s imagination. The song, FIT BUT YOU KNOW IT, from Mike’s alter-ego The Streets, tells a tale that could take place in any holiday town on a Friday night:
There was no way I was going to omit Madonna’s first hit single from 1983, HOLIDAY. While I’m not a mad fan, I do think the 80’s were her best period and this song shows her at her peak. Here she is performing during the Virgin Tour.
Weezer claimed that an ISLAND IN THE SUN is their ideal getaway. Then it was Scouting for Girls, with a song that all us workers will relate to: I NEED A HOLIDAY.
Canned Heat don’t need any tropical holiday. They’re perfectly happy GOING UP THE COUNTRY. The unofficial anthem of the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969, this one was requested by Judi, listening way up in Cairns, Northern Queensland – another great holiday destination and ironically the most tropical you can get here on the East Coast of Australia. Here’s a clip from the Woodstock film, as backdrop to Canned Heat’s iconic piece of music.
Another request: this time it’s from from Jack, who loves his Aerosmith. The song was PERMANENT VACATION. And then it was the most politically motivated song on our list, The Dead Kennedys with HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA.
After that assault on the senses, it was time to bring it down a notch. And what better way than with the wistful pop sound of Belle & Sebastian with PIAZZA, NEW YORK CATCHER. Meanwhile, Blur were following the herd on holiday from London to Greece in GIRLS AND BOYS and the Stranglers were sounding very pervy indeed in PEACHES.
Another change of pace and tone with Natalie Merchant, of 10,000 Maniacs, with a beautiful track about holiday memories, VERDI CRIES. Here she is performing on the Jonathan Ross show:
Squeeze are PULLING MUSSELS (from the shell). Like you do on holidays. The Radiators want to go on a SUMMER HOLIDAY. Ok, so we’re already into Autumn, here in the Southern Hemisphere, but it doesn’t matter what season it is, holidays are a good thing.
My idea of a great holiday is a road trip and that’s what I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks. Driving down the coast and catching up with family and friends. My next track by The Cardigans tapped into my love of nostalgia. It’s a song that should bring back memories to all of us who, as kids, piled into DADDY’S CAR for that annual holiday trek.
We closed the show with a great song. You can’t go on a road trip without this on your compilation CD: Willy Nelson with ON THE ROAD AGAIN.
See you in a couple of weeks, when hopefully I’ll be inspired by all that driving because the theme will be ROADS AND STREETS. In the meantime, the show will continue same time, same space with Des in the chair. Next week, to celebrate International Women’s Day, he’ll be compiling a playlist dedicated to “all things feminine”. Ooh, that should be interesting. Make sure you listen in.
Here’s this week’s Holiday playlist:
Our theme this week was Communication – not the deep psychic stuff, but good old fashioned talking, letter writing and, would you believe telegrams (remember them?). I was going to play M.I.A.’s ‘U.R.A.Q.T.’ about texting (“you’re fuckin’ with my man and textin’ all the time…”) but I would have been in a bit of trouble over the expletives, I’m afraid. But I did play some other excellent hip-hop during the show, as well as my usual eclectic mix of rock, pop, blues, jazz and whatever I could find to fit the theme.
We opened the show with the Marvelettes ‘Beachwood 4-5789’. They also recorded the first Motown hit, ‘Please Mr. Postman’, but I had already showcased that one during the Motown Show in January. Besides, ‘Beachwood’ was a great opener for this particular show.
The telephone, whether it be landline or mobile, talking or texting, is still probably the most prominent way we keep in touch. So ‘Hanging Up the Telephone’, sung by Blondie’s Debby Harry was not only pop-punk perfection, but it also opens with the sound of a ringing phone. How good is that? Here’s the video from 1978.
Most letter songs feature absent lovers and none convey the absolute thrill of receiving a long awaited message better than ‘The Letter’ from the Boxtops. They were known as a major ‘blue-eyed soul’ group during the 60’s. Hard to believe that Alex Chilton, who later formed Big Star and went onto a solo career, was only 16 at the time this was recorded in 1967. The song has been widely covered, most notably by Joe Cocker, but this original version still stands up well.
Sonny Boy Williamson confimed what I have always knows, (that men are the worst gossips), with his rendition of ‘Don’t Get Me Talking’ while Buddy Guy and Junior Wells contributed ‘A Man of Many Words’ to the Blues segment of the show.
My Roy Orbison song this week was a great one: ‘Communication Breakdown’. Written by Bill Dees, whose collaboration with Orbison led to a string of successful hits for Monument Records including ‘Communication Breakdown’, ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘It’s Over’, just to name a few.
And then it was onto an absolutely divine song by Nina Persson of the Cardigans, ‘Communication’ – “If this is communication , I disconnect”. If only it was that easy. Here’s a video of them doing a live performance in 2007.
‘Hello Operator’ presented mobile phone refusenik Jack White choosing to use an operator, just like in the good old days. And, as if this was even too newfangled, by the second verse he’s trying to get his message out via canary. Ah ha, rightio then.
Remember when a wedding wasn’t a wedding without the best man reading out several telegrams from absentee friends and family? I haven’t been to a wedding in ages. Tell me, do they read out emails and texts? Just doesn’t seem the same does it? In ‘Western Union Man’ Jerry Butler gives us a passionate attempt at contacting a girlfriend who won’t answer his phone calls. And Chuck Berry tries to get in touch with people who have phoned him in ‘Memphis Tennessee’. Today we would be asking why the hell aren’t they on Facebook! And then there’s Twitter, but please can we not go there? (really).
Joe Jones seemed to be talking right at me with ‘You Talk Too Much’ and I loved Crowded House’s version of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’. But how good was Hank Penny’s ‘Sweet Talkin Mama’ recorded in 1938? You can find this terrific bit of country swing on the compilation album You Done Me Wrong (Vintage Country Cheating Songs 1929-1952) distributed by Buzzola.
There are lots of songs written in the form of letters. One of the best examples of this is Eminem’s ‘Stan’, a masterpiece of escalating desperation that exploits its conceit to its fullest. Sampling Dido’s ‘Thank You’ as the chorus is a piece of genius and the result is a song of chilling elegance that recognises that a letter is always a one-sided conversation.
We followed that with a total contrast – ‘Don’t Explain’ by Billie Holliday and then it was up to Muddy Waters to elevate the mood with ‘Long Distance Call’. There were so many other great songs. I particularly liked Bonnie Raitt’s take on people who talk behind your back. Her advice? Give them ‘Something to Talk About’. Absolutely.
We finished the show with one of my favourite Aretha Franklin numbers: ‘Say A Little Prayer’. This one had me up out of the seat and dancing. And then a fantastic close from Mr. Cool Jazz himself, Chet Baker, with ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’. I loved this week’s show and I had a blast. Hope you did too.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Beachwood 4-5789 – The Marvellettes
Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie
Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan
The Letter – The Boxtops
Take A Letter Maria – R.B. Greaves
Please Read The Letter – Alison Krauss/Robert Plant
Don’t Start Me To Talkin’ – Sonny Boy Williamson
A Man Of Many Words – Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley
Communication Breakdown – Roy Orbison
Communication – The Cardigans
Telephone Line – Electric Light Orchestra
Memphis, Tennessee – Chuck Berry
Hey, Western Union Man – Jerry Butler
Hello Operator – The White Stripes
You Talk Too Much – Joe Jones
Everybody’s Talkin’ – Crowded House
Sweet Talkin’ Mama – Hank Penny
Stan – Eminem & Dido
Don’t Explain – Billie Holiday
Long Distance Call – Muddy Waters
The Phone Call – The Pretenders
Ring Ring Ring – De La Soul
The Word – The Beatles
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Paul Weller & Amy Winehouse
What’d I Say – Ray Charles
People Are Talking – Shep & The Limelites
Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt
Answering Bell – Ryan Adams
I Say A Little Prayer For You – Aretha Frankin
Every Time We Say Goodbye – Chet Baker
Next week, the theme is Money. Any suggestions for songs for the show, or themes for future shows, are always welcome.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, on BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org