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SPRINGTIME

Whenever I think of Spring, with its warmer days and all the pleasures the better weather inspires, I can’t help but want to put on some reggae. So IN THE SPRINGTIME from Maxi Priest was a perfect opener for this week’s show on possibly the best season of the year.

I must admit, too, that my mind also turns to Spring Cleaning. After all the rain we had during winter, I just want to air everything, get those windows clean and get ready for the beautiful weather ahead of us. Fats Waller’s energetic ditty, SPRING CLEANING, reflects that mood. Ella Fitzgerald has a different outlook on Spring.  Without her man, she’s GOT THE SPRING FEVER BLUES.

Another wonderful jazz singer is Blossom Dearie and  C’EST LE PRINTEMPS (IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING) was a great addition to the playlist. Sung in French, Blossom was actually American. She moved to France in 1952 and it’s where she met her future husband, the Belgian musician Bobby Jaspar. Blossom had an amazing career, performing right through until her 80’s. She passed away in 2009.

I dedicated that track to Ben from local band The Blackbirds, because I know he loves Blossom as much as I do. The Blackbirds need your support right now to fund their first independent album release and Australian tour. So if you would like to donate even the smallest amount, to this wonderful local group, go to fundbreak.com.au and search for ‘Blackbirds’.

You know, there are so many songs that link Springtime with Paris, that it’s almost a cliche.  A version of I LOVE PARIS that surprised me was from the incorrigible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I also adore Little Willie John. He was actually the first one to record Fever, in 1956. It was made famous when Peggy Lee had a hit with it in 1958. His contribution to our Springtime show was I’VE GOT SPRING FEVER.

With all this jazz I thought I’d better slip in some 70’s rock/pop and who better than Electronic Light Orchestra? The track MR BLUE SKY is from their 1977 album Out of the Blue, written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne.

So many songs about Paris in springtime, so it was good to play an authentic French track. Jacques Brel’s AU PRINTEMPS was ideal. We followed with a nice jazz instrumental, I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRINGTIME from Jacky Terrasson. And to round things out, some Latin freestyle with Stevie B, SPRING LOVE. Does this one take you back to the 80’s?

New Zealand band Dragon’s APRIL SUN IN CUBA was written, like many of Dragon’s hits, by keyboard player Paul Hewson who unfortunately died from a drug overdose in 1985. Lead singer Marc Hunter also passed away in 1998 from smoking related oesophageal cancer. The band continues to perform and are currently led by Marc’s brother Todd Hunter. Here’s a clip of the original line-up.

A great Aussie band from the 70’s were the Go-Betweens. The version of  SPRING RAIN we played was recorded live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. The focal point of the Go-Betweens was the song writing skills of Robert Foster and Grant McLennan. Described by Village Voice critic, Robert Christgau, as “the greatest songwriting partnership working today.” Grant McLennan died of a heart attack in 2000.

I must admit that I do like a bit of ukelele so Claire’s suggestion of Leah Flanagan’s SEPTEMBER SONG sat well with me. There’s something about the uke, isn’t there? You can’t help but think of sunny times.

Which bring me to HERE COMES THE SUN from The Beatles:

A great little double that plays on the notion that Springtime is the ideal season for mating followed: The Marvelettes with WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE and the Dixie Cups with CHAPEL OF LOVE. Here’s a clip of the Dixie Cups. Loving the frocks girls.

Here’s a unforgettable piece of comedy for you. It’s from the soundtrack to the film The Producers. Remember SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER?

How good is Dinah Washington?  SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN was just one of a couple of songs that I was happy to include in our Springtime show. A track that’s usually associated with Christmas is IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE BUT IN MY HEART IT’S SPRING by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The show aired on the last day of Winter here in the southern hemisphere, so it was a perfect fit. We followed with Teena Marie’s YOU MAKE LOVE LIKE SPRINGTIME, whatever that means.

Next it was a song for all of you who supported BayFM during our Major Subscriber Drive. IF NOT FOR YOU from Bob Dylan.

Jolie Holland reckons that SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU. Hope not. A really beautiful tune is ANDORINHA DA PRIMAVERA from Portugese band Madredeus. They became world renowned after performing on the soundtrack of the Wim Wender’s film ‘Lisbon Story’.

The Flaming Lips reckon that YOU CAN’T STOP THE SPRING. This song is full of imagery, some of which I can’t pretend to understand, like “There she was just walking down the street, Smoking with her hands and walking with her feet, Keeping her paint cans underneath the seat, Keeping her hair dryer on her favorite piece of meat.” Hmmm.

The Magnetic Fields certainly know how to play with imagery too. Case in point:  LOVE GOES HOME TO PARIS IN THE SPRING. Does it matter that they’re probably singing about Paris Tennesee, not Paris France? Not really.

The Velvets just tell it like it is on the doo-wop tune SPRING FEVER. And then it was time to close the show which we did with the very appropriate EVR’Y TIME WE SAY GOODBYE from Dinah Washington and YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME from Chet Baker and Art Pepper.

A big thank you again to all of you who subscribed to BayFM and mentioned Theme Park. Congrats to all our winners especially Carolyn Adams who gets to donate the Camp Quality holiday to a family in need, in her name.

Next week’s show reflects how I’m feeling right now: SONGS ABOUT BEING TIRED will be the theme. I tell  you, we worked really hard during the Major Subscriber Drive! So get your thinking caps on and see what you’ve got for me. Here’s some inspiration: TIRED OF SEX by Weezer or WORKING IN THE COALMINE from Lee Dorsey. You get the idea.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

In The Springtime – Best Of Me, Maxi Priest

Spring Cleaning – Fats Waller Essential 15,  Fats Waller

I Got The Spring Fever Blues – Ella Fitzgerald – All My Life, Ella Fitzgerald

C’est Le Printemps –  From State Fair/Jazz Goes Hollywood, Blossom Dearie

I Love Paris – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

I’ve Got Spring Fever – Essential Masters, Little Willie John

Mr. Blue Sky – Out of the Blue, Electronic Light Orchestra

Au printemps – Jacques Brel, Jacques Brel

I love Paris in the Springtime – Jacky Terrasson

Spring Love – Stevie B.

Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom – Perez Prado & His Orchestra

April Sun in Cuba – 30 Years of Classic Hits of the 60’s, Dragon

Spring Rain –  Live at the Tivoli, Brisbane 06/08, The Go-Betweens

September Song – Nirvana Nights, Leah Flanagan

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles

When You’re Young And In Love – Tamla Motown Gold (Dics 2), The Marvelettes

Chapel Of Love -Replay/Gold – Vol 1 No 5, The Dixie Cups

Springtime for Hitler – The Producers

September In The Rain – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington

It May Be Winter Outside – Now Thats What I Call Xmas, The Love Unlimited Orchestra

You Make Love Like Springtime – Irons In The Fire, Teena Marie

If Not For You – Essential Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan

In the Spring –  Steppin’ Out, Braxton Brothers

Springtime Can Kill You – Springtime Can Kill, You Jolie Holland

A Andorinha da Primavera – O Paraiso, Madredeus

Love Goes Home to Paris In the S… 2:26 Magnetic Fields

Can’t Stop The Spring – Oh My Gawd!!, The Flaming Lips

Spring Fever – Doo Wop Classics, The Velvets

Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – The Queen Of The Blues, CD4, Dinah Washington

Younger Than Springtime – The Route, Art Pepper/Chet Baker

Next week: TIREDNESS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com


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MACHINES, ROBOTS, COMPUTERS

I purchased my first Apple Computer in 1984 and have been a faithful user ever since. Personal computers were still fairly uncommon then even though, in 1982, Time magazine had declared them the first non-human recipient of its “person of the year” award. “The ‘information revolution’ that futurists have long predicted has arrived”, declared the magazine, “bringing with it the promise of dramatic changes in the way people live and work, perhaps even in the way they think. The world will never be the same.” How right they were.

But everything Time magazine said, in hundreds of words, had already been expressed the year before in the song that opened our program: HOME COMPUTER by Kraftwerk, and in just two lines of lyrics too! “I program my home computer, beam myself into the future.” The group has been incredibly influential ever since. Am I the only one to recognize the theme to Six Feet Under in there somewhere?

Music’s relationship with intelligent machines has been a mass of contradiction. On the one hand, there are songs that express a fear of technology – the harshness the unreliability and the lack of humanity. And on the other, there are songs that yearn for the simple life that machines seem to offer, especially when it comes to your love life. Way back in the 60’s Connie Francis was of the opinion that a ROBOT MAN would solve all her problems. Years later, in 2004,  Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls also thought that an artificial partner could possibly have its advantages. The song was COIN OPERATED BOY.

YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS Pt 1 is from The Flaming Lips’ high concept album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The Lips were in top form in 2002 when this track was released. Apparently, the total destruction of evil robots is the name of the game here. More from the mighty Kraftwerk in the form of POCKET CALCULATOR: “By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody”. That one was for all the book-keepers and accountants out there.

On a show about machines we had to have a song about a Juke Box and what better than Joan Jett, with I LOVE ROCK N ROLL: Yeah, “Put another dime in the jukebox baby”. Other machines included a TIME MACHINE from Grand Funk Railroad and a FRUIT MACHINE from the Tings Tings. As Katie White tells it, she’s fed up with being treated like a gambling device.

Gary Numan and Tubeway Army recorded DOWN IN THE PARK in 1979. It was Numan’s first composition on keyboards and his first release to feature the electronic sound that would become his tradmark. The theme of the song is typical of Numan’s work at the time as it both embraced and feared technology. Here’s a clip from the DVD Urgh! A Music War (1981). Lady Gaga, eat your heart out:

Sufjan Stevens’ contribution to our theme was DEAR MR. SUPERCOMPUTER, from his Avalanche album,  and we followed with Electric Light Orchestra and YOURS TRULY 2095 where we are asked to pity the “cold as ice” IBM that must tolerate a two-timing user.

Melbourne based, Swedish artist Jens Lekman’s  A POSTCARD TO NINA has a shaky connection to this weeks theme. It’s really about him acting as a cover for a friend who is a lesbian but she doesn’t want her family to know. There is a mention of emails, and – wait for it – a lie detector – so hey, how could I leave it out? It’s also quite a nice song. Here’s a clip from a concert he did in Melbourne in 2006. His guitar died, so he played on the uke. Gorgeous. And love the reference to cult film ‘Buffalo 66″.

Are you a fan of Flight of the Conchords? I am. The song ROBOTS, also known as “Humans Are Dead”,  is sung by both Bret and Jermaine. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic “distant future” where all humans are dead and robots have taken over the world. Within the context of the plot of the show, it’s the band’s first music video. Since the band has very limited funds, Murray constructs the robot costumes himself, (“they don’t look like Daft Punk -we wanted ones like Daft Punk”),  and films the video using a mobile phone. Crazy stuff.

Hip-hop trio Deltron 3030 gave us a cartoon villain who loves the idea of creating a “VIRUS to bring dire straits to your environment”.  It’s from their debut album Deltron 3030, released in 2000.

The only cover of a Who song to reach the Top 10, anywhere, is  Elton John’s version of PINBALL WIZARD. It was featured in Ken Russell’s film version of the Tommy opera. The lyrics are forever planted in every baby boomer’s consciousness: “that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.” Here’s an outtake from the film. Makes me want to play pinball again!

James Brown reckons he’s a SEX MACHINE and who am I to argue? Well we had to have at least one song about man as machine didn’t we? And James Brown is the bomb.

I had to play, not one, but, two tracks from Radiohead’s OK COMPUTER ALBUM. First up it was FITTER, HAPPIER. It consists of samples of  music, background sound and lyrics recited by a synthesized voice from the Macintosh Simple Text application. Written after a period of writer’s block, FITTER HAPPIER was described by Thom Yorke as a checklist of slogans for the 1990s, which he considered, the most upsetting thing he’s ever written. We followed with one of their biggest hits, PARANOID ANDROID. This clip was filmed at the 2003 Glastonbury Festival. I so wished I’d been there!

A nice piece of R&B followed with COMPUTER LOVE by Zapp Roger,  featuring vocals by Shirley Murdock and Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band. And then it was Robin Gibb’s interesting attempt at reinventing himself in the 80’s with ROBOT. Sort of a techno/reggae/disco sound. Not sure what I think of it.

Swedish pop star Robyn contributed ROBOT BOY and then it was back to some electro with Daft Punk’s ROBOT ROCK. I’m not crazy about this French duo but of all their releases ROBOT ROCK is one of their best.

More to my liking is the theme to ROBOT CHICKEN, from the cult stop motion animated television series. Brilliant stuff. It was written by Primus lead man Les Claypool.

Styx contributed their classic ROBOTO, from their concept album Kilroy Was Here. The lines in the chorus DOMO ARIGATO, MR ROBOTO have become a catchprase and mean ‘
thank you very much’ in Japanese.

Kraftwerk deserved another outing. This German band came to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s and their distinctive sound was revolutionary then and continues to be highly influential across many genres of music today. We closed the show with COMPUTER WORLD.

This was my last week in the 2-4pm time slot. I’ll still be broadcasting on Tuesdays but I’m very happy to be moving to Drive Time 4-6pm. I hope you’ll continue to tune in to find out what crazy themes I get up to. I’ve been influenced by the move to create a playlist next week based on CHANGE. So if you have any requests, please get in touch.  I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Home Computer – Kraftwerk

Robot Man – Connie Francis

Coin Operated Boy  – The Dresden Dolls

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 – The Flaming Lips

Pocket Calculator – Kraftwerk

Percolator – The Ventures

I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett

Time Machine – Grand Funk Railroad

Fruit Machine – The Ting Tings

Down In The Park –  Gary Numan

Dear Mr. Super Computer – Sufjan Stevens

Yours Truly, 2095 – Electric Light Orchestra

A Postcard To Nina – Jens Lekman

Danger Will Robinson! (Sound grab from Lost in Space)

Robots – Flight Of The Conchords

Virus – Deltron 3030

Pinball Wizard – Elton John

Sex Machine – James Brown

Fitter Happier – Radiohead

Paranoid Android – Radiohead

Computer Love – Zapp & Roger

Robot – Robin Gibb

Robotboy – Robyn

Robot Rock – Daft Punk

Robot Chicken Theme  – Les Claypool

Mr. Roboto – Styx

Computer World – Kraftwerk

All tracks available on iTunes.

Next week: CHANGE

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


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