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SLEEP & INSOMNIA

This week’s show is for all of you who like their sleep and also for those that have trouble sleeping, for one reason or another. Thankfully I’ve never been an insomniac. I hit that pillow and I’m a gonna and if you deprive me of my sleep its not safe to be around me, let me tell you.

We opened the show with the delightful Louis Jordan, who agrees with me about the value of sleep, singing A MAN’S BEST FRIEND IS A BED.

The Beatles song I’M ONLY SLEEPING is a classic and it’s from, possibly, my favourite album of theirs, ‘Revolver’ so that had to make the mix. As did SOMEBODY’S BEEN SLEEPING from funky soul group 100 Proof (Aged in Soul).  It’s inspired by the fairytale Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Spiderman gets a mention on The Cure’s LULLABY, the only song of theirs to make the UK top 5 (can you believe it?) but the brilliant videoclip was voted the best of the year in 1989. Well deserved too. Check it out:

Three songs about sleep deprivation followed:  the Eels who portray anxiety to perfection on I NEED SOME SLEEP; Peter Wolf with SLEEPLESS from his album of the same name, released in 2002. And rounding out the triple play, Craig David who’s love life is causing him to lose sleep on INSOMNIA.

Swedish band Acid House Kings do the twee-pop thing to perfection on SLEEPING. That was followed by Bobby Lewis who delivered a real blast from the past with the 60’s recording of TOSSIN’ AND TURNIN’. Then it was The Romantics with TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP from 1989. Viewing this clip of The Romantics, I think the 80’s have a lot to answer for, when it comes to fashion and hair.

Written by Ray Davies of The Kinks, I GO TO SLEEP was originally recorded by Peggy Lee on her 1965 album Then Was Then – Now Is Now!. Davies didn’t write many songs that weren’t specifically for The Kinks, but this one was widely covered. We played the only version to have chart success – The Pretenders who took it to #7 in the UK.

Talking of Peggy Lee, we had to play her version of BLACK COFFEE. There are lots of great versions of this standard, but for me Peggy Lee does it best. Sorry k.d.

Jody Reynolds uses sleep as a metaphor for death on ENDLESS SLEEP and the iconic Hank Williams Snr knows that you can’t sleep when you have a guilty conscience, on the country classic YOUR CHEATIN HEART.

More golden oldies with Frank Sinatra’s IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING and The Four Tops with SHAKE IT, WAKE IT.

Contemporary (and Australian) singer Sarah Blasko brought us back to the present with a beautiful song on the topic of sleep: SLEEPER AWAKE. We followed that with a great suggestion from Quentin: James Kahu with SLEEP. It’s from his 2010 album ‘Through Me’. Take a look:

The nostalgia bug still had me on The Everly Brothers’ WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE, Berna Dean’s I WALK IN MY SLEEP and Sammy Myers  SLEEPING IN THE GROUND.

And it was inevitable that I would play John Lennon’s little dig at Paul McCartney on HOW DO YOU SLEEP.

REM’s DAYSLEEPER is not only perfect for our theme, with its references to Circadian rhythms and all, but even the name of the band is a sleep reference. Did you know that REM sleep, or Rapid eye movement sleep, accounts for 20–25% of total sleep time in most human adults? And that most of our memorable dreaming occurs in this stage? True.

Edwyn Collins contributred  LOSING SLEEP from his album of the same name and then it was The Smiths with quite a sad song where, once again sleep serves as a metaphor for death. The song is ASLEEP.

Then it was even further back in time for the sublime Julie London and her version of TWO SLEEPY PEOPLE, followed by SLEEP from Little Willie John and ROCK ME TO SLEEP from Little Miss Cornshucks.

We closed the show with a couple of my favourites: First up it was Tom Waits, who probably knows more about late nights than I’ve had hot breakfasts. MIDNIGHT LULLABY is from his Closing Time album. Then it was the always brilliant Ian Dury & the Blockheads with WAKE UP AND MAKE LOVE TO ME.   Beats sleeping every time, or so they tell me.

I’m really going out on a limb for our Easter Show. The topic is RESURRECTION. And I’m talking about dying and coming back from the grave, literally. Come on, by now you’ll know that Theme Park will go where others fear to tread! Now we’re not talking musical comebacks – that’s a whole other theme altogether! Of course there will be lots of gospel and blues and I can see some rock and punk and even some songs about zombies on the list already. What do you have for me?

While you’re contemplating that, check out this week’s playlist:

A Man’s Best Friend Is A Bed – Louis Jordan

I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles

Somebody’s Been Sleeping [UK Single Edit] – 100 Proof (Aged In Soul)

Lullaby – The Cure

I Need Some Sleep – Eels

Insomnia – Craig David

Sleepless – Peter Wolf

Sleeping – Acid House Kings

Tossin’ And Turnin’ – Bobby Lewis

Talking In Your Sleep – The Romantics

I Go To Sleep – The Pretenders

Black Coffee – Peggy Lee

Your Cheatin Heart – Hank Williams Snr

Endless Sleep – Jody Reynolds

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – Frank Sinatra

Shake Me, Wake Me – The Four Tops

Sleeper Awake – Sarah Blasko

Sleep – James Kahu

Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

I Walk In My Sleep – Berna Dean

Sleeping In The Ground – Sammy Myers

How Do You Sleep? – John Lennon

Sleep Walk – Santo and Johnny

Daysleeper – R.E.M.

Losing Sleep – Edwyn Collins

Asleep – The Smiths

Two Sleepy People – Julie London

Sleep – Little Willie John

Rock Me To Sleep – Little Miss Cornshucks (Mildred Cummings)

Midnight Lullaby – Tom Waits

Wake Up And Make Love With Me – Ian Dury and The Blockheads

Next week: RESURRECTION

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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BIRDS

imagesOne of the many gifts of living here in the Northern Rivers is the abundance of bird life. I am lucky enough to live on a property with a rainforest remnant plus tropical and native gardens, so there is no shortage of beautiful birdlife for me to enjoy. And while they are lucky enough to be wild and free, I do feel that they are my little buddies. When it comes to music, bird references are to be found in every genre, so I had plenty to choose from in this week’s show about BIRDS. Some of the songs I chose were just plain silly and some very serious. But what they all revealed was a little bit about how we relate avian qualities to our lives and ourselves.

We started the show with the incredibly appropriate I LIKE BIRDS from the Eels’ album Daisies of the Galaxy. And why wouldn’t you like a creature that has come to represent peace, freedom and happiness to name just a few of the more positive traits that appear in this week’s play-list?

images-3History, however, hasn’t been too kind to blackbirds. They are often portrayed negatively, even images-4though they are just as good looking and intelligent as other species. Paul McCartney spins this symbolism into a message of hope in the Beatles 1968 hit BLACKBIRD. We followed with The Be Good Tanyas and their version of Clarence Ashley’s THE COO COO BIRD. I’ve discovered that the Coo-Coo bird, unlike most other birds, rarely occur in pairs or as part of a group. Shy and retiring, they’d rather be heard than seen. Hmmm. Sounds a bit like a couple of radio presenters I know…

A nice triple play followed: Bob Marley with the very optimistic THREE LITTLE BIRDS, LITTLE WING from Jimi Hendrix and then the Purple one, Prince, pumped it out with WHEN DOVES CRY. 

Alfred Hitchcock was one of the quirkiest directors ever. His 1963 film THE BIRDS, starring Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedron was notable for its lack of music. Except for a couple of songs sung by characters in the film, the soundscape was made up of screeching birds. The trailer for the film was just as idiosyncratic. Hitchcock presents it himself, under the guise of A LECTURE ON BIRDS. I think its hilarious. Take a look:

The Bluebird is a common symbol of happiness and optimism. Two songs we played, that epitomise this notion, are Johnnie Taylor’s LITTLE BLUEBIRD and Ella Fitzgerald, the queen of scat, singing BLUE SKIES.

John Lennon sings of the Sweet Bird of Paradox in SURPRISE, SURPRISE from his 1974 album Walls and Bridges. We followed that with KT Tunstall’s WHITE BIRD. An excellent artist who, despite the awards and peer support cruises under the radar somewhat. Take a look at this clip and become a fan:

Ready for some classical? No, its not Swan Lake. It’s my favourite Duck, DAFFY, with his version of THE HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY:

One of my favourite Australian singers is Jack Ladder. From the Love is Gone album, MOTHER, is a strange little song that likens his Mum to a chicken (I think…). The song also references BIRDS THE WORD and we took a listen to the RIVINGTONS original version of that tune too.

Taj Mahal and Etta James sang a great version of MOCKINGBIRD, originally recorded by Inez and Charlie Foxx and one of the last hits for Australian icon Johnny O’Keefe (with Margaret McLaren).

images-5How could we have a show about BIRDS and not include Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. His nickname was originally ‘Yardbird’ and that was shortenend over time to simply ‘Bird’. There are two stories as to how he got the name: One was that he lived “free as a bird”. The other is that when touring with Jay McShann, they accidentally hit a chicken (a yardbird) with their car and Parker made them stop to pick it up so he could have his landlady cook it. I think I’m going to go with the first possibility. It fits beautifully with the track we played – BLUEBIRD. 

images-2I had to include the theme from the Woody Woodpecker Show. Mel Blanc was the original voice of this animated character. He also voiced Daffy Duck and many, many more of our favourite cartoon characters. Woody made his first appearance in a short film in 1940 and you’ll still find him on children’s cartoon shows today.

And how good is AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS by Louis Jordan? James Brown has been quoted as saying that Jordan was one of his greatest influences: “He could sing, he could dance, he could play, he could act. He could do it all.” Jordan’s vocal style was arguably an important precursor to rap. On our show for DAYS OF THE WEEK we played  “Saturday Night Fish Fry” (1950) which featured a rapid-fire, highly syncopated semi-spoken vocal delivery that is strongly reminiscent of the modern rap style.

No reason to leave the farmyard when you can play the Rolling Stones and LITTLE RED ROOSTER. Check out this clip featuring a very young, fresh faced Mick Jagger in 1965.

There are lots if songs about birds that talk of love and longing. Three that I particulary like are  BLUEBIRDS OVER THE MOUNTAIN from Richie Valens, (also recorded by The Beach Boys), YELLOW BIRD from Chris Isaak and SONGBIRD by Bernard Fanning.

Time flew on this week’s show but before I flew the coop (groan…), I had time to play a rediscovery:  A great songwriter and singer, still performing and probably better now than ever – Russell Morris with his 1972 hit THE WINGS OF AN EAGLE. Take a look at this recent clip and see if you agree. This song has a timeless quality.

Couldn’t resist closing the show with a piece of whimsy suggested by one of my loyal listeners:  CHIRPY CHIRPY CHEEP CHEEP from the perfectly named band MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. This clip from Top of the Pops 1971 is worth including just for the outfits. I want those boots! And did I hear “bring back hot pants!”

Here’s the complete playlist:

I Like Birds – The Eels

Blackbird – The Beatles

The Coo Coo Bird – The Be Good Tanyas

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley

Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix

When Doves Cry  – Prince & the Revolution

Bye Bye Blackbird – Etta James

Alfred Hitchcock ‘The Birds’ Lecture  (Trailer)

Rocking Robin – Bobby Day

Chicken Payback – The Bees

The Chicken And The Hawk – Big Joe Turner

Little Bluebird – Johnnie Taylor

Blue Skies – Ella Fitzgerald

Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) – John Lennon

White Bird – KT Tunstall

Daffy’s Rhapsody – Mel Blanc

Bird Dog – The Everly Brothers

Shake A Tail Feather – Ray Charles

Mother (Bird’s The Word) – Jack Ladder

Mockingbird – Taj Mahal & Etta James

Bluebird – Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker + The All-Stars

Night Owl – Carly Simon

Mockingbird – Rob Thomas

Woody Woodpecker Show – TV Themes

The Bird’s The Word  – Rivingtons

Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens – Louis Jordan

Little Red Rooster – Rolling Stones

Blackbird – The Beautiful Girls

Bluebirds over the Mountain – Ritchie Valens

Yellow Bird – Chris Isaak

Songbird – Bernard Fanning

The Wings Of An Eagle – Russell Morris

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep Middle of the Road

Next week: SPORT! I promise there will be no footie anthems. Help! Whaddyagot?

 

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

and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/themeparkradio

Sound Effects – Rooster Crowing2 0:03 4
I Like Birds 2:36 The Eels Daises For The Galaxy Rock/Pop 4
Blackbird 2:18 The Beatles The White Album Rock/Pop 5
The Coo Coo Bird 4:52 The Be Good Tanyas Blue Horse Folk 5
Three Little Birds 3:00 Bob Marley Reggae 10
Little Wing 2:21 Jimi Hendrix Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix Rock 5
When Doves Cry 5:54 Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain Soul And R&B
Bye Bye Blackbird 3:18 Etta James Don’t Go to Strangers Jazz 4
Alfred Hitchcock The Birds Lecture_Trailer 5:09 2
Rocking Robin 2:33 Bobby Day The History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (Disc 2) Rock/Pop 3
Chicken Payback 3:13 The Bees Triple J’s Hottest 100 Volume 12 [Disc 1] Alternative 5
The Chicken And The Hawk 2:39 Big Joe Turner Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 [Disc 3] R&B 4
Little Bluebird 2:57 Johnnie Taylor Little Bluebird R&B 2
Blue Skies 3:46 Ella Fitzgerald Jazz 3
Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) 2:55 John Lennon Lennon [Disc 3] Rock 3
White Bird 3:13 KT Tunstall Drastic Fantastic Pop 2
Daffy’s Rhapsody 3:06 Mel Blanc Comedy 1
Bird Dog 2:20 The Everly Brothers 1957-1962 The Everly Brothers Rock 3
Shake A Tail Feather (1980) 2:47 Ray Charles Blues Brothers s’track/John Landis (1980) R&B 11
Mother (Bird’s The Word) 5:19 Jack Ladder Love Is Gone Alternative & Punk 2
Mockingbird 4:01 Taj Mahal & Etta James R&B 1
Bluebird 2:57 Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker + The All-Stars How High The Moon Jazz 7
Night Owl 3:51 Carly Simon No Secrets Rock 2
Mockingbird 4:01 Rob Thomas Cradlesong Rock
Woody Woodpecker Show 0:48 TV Themes TV Themes Television Theme 2
The Bird’s The Word 2:16 Rivingtons Looney Tunes Pop 4
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens 2:35 Louis Jordan The Best of Louis Jordan [MCA] Jazz 3
Sound Effects – Rooster Crowing2 0:03 4
Little Red Rooster 3:04 Rolling Stones Rock 1
Blackbird 3:56 The Beautiful Girls Learn Yourself Alternative 5
Bluebirds over the Mountain 1:46 Ritchie Valens The Very Best of Ritchie Valens [Music Club] Rock
Yellow Bird 2:29 Chris Isaak Pop 1
Songbird 2:36 Bernard Fanning Tea & Sympathy Folk/Rock 2
The Wings Of An Eagle 3:55 Russell Morris Russell Morris Rock Ballad 1
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep 3:02 Middle of the Road Pop
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