Now, you may think I’m a bit behind the eight ball, doing a show on RESOLUTIONS AND FRESH STARTS in mid January, but I have a policy of not even thinking about New Year Resolutions until after my birthday, which is around this time. I’m not prepared to give up my wicked ways until those celebrations are well out of the way. And, to be honest, that could take up to 6 months at least.
So, I’ll allow the playlist to do the job for me. The wonderful Nina Simone set the tone with FEELING GOOD. She’s full of optimism because it’s a new day, a new life and she’s feeling good. I wonder how long that lasted? Because, as we all know, new resolutions and fresh starts are often accompanied by regret and, unfortunately, they almost always carry the potential for failure. But, let’s at least try and maintain some hope.
The Allman Brothers Band have had their ups and downs, so on a song like CHANGE MY WAY OF LIVING they’re sounding mighty ambitious. But hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
It was great to have Blues/Roots duo The Fridays in the studio for a chat and some live music. They’re from Adelaide and presently in Byron performing and promoting their EP Woh Oh. Kimberly McKenzie and Kelly Breuer’s original material melds rock out riffs with beautiful harmonies. A couple of the songs had me laughing out loud. As well as playing ROMANCE COMEDY from their EP we were able to have them perform two other numbers live and it was such a pleasure. If you get a chance to catch them perform, anywhere, don’t miss out on supporting some fantastic up and coming Australian talent.
Motown giants The Supremes and The Temptations got together to record a version of Dee Dee Warwick’s I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME and it became a huge hit for them in 1969. We followed that with the very appropriate NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS from two more soul greats, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.
If only Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynot had followed through on his resolution, he might still be with us. Instead, I’VE GOT TO GIVE IT UP, is a sad memorial to this amazing talent who died at 36.
Something a little less serious: Husker Du reckon they’re NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN. Oh come on guys, never say never. Bob Dylan is equally resolute. He swears he’s never going to work on MAGGIES FARM no more. Fair enough.
The Who are convinced that they WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN. A good resolution if ever I heard one, but, like a lot of resolutions, not that easy to keep.
Mama Kin is very convincing on her resolution song I’M GONNA DO IT. As is Bobby Bland who says he AIN’T GONNA BE THE FIRST TO CRY.
John Legend gets a little bit of help from Snoop Dogg on I CAN CHANGE. On this video clip he carries the day on his own (and you get the bonus of Spottie as well). Its a live performance in London with a terrific band and back-up.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers contributed one of those songs full of promises. You know the ones: men make them in order to win the woman of their dreams. In this case George says I’LL CHANGE MY STYLE.
Bobbie Gentry, who’s obviously met a few ‘Georges’ in her time swears I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN.
Nick Cave, apparently has all the right intentions, he just has trouble delivering on his resolutions because RIGHT NOW HE’S A ROAMING. Steve Winwood knows that if you’re really serious about wanting a fresh start you have to make it happen WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE.
Somehow I don’t think Ian Dury and the Blockheads were serious at all when they sang I WANT TO BE STRAIGHT.
Princess Superstar’s QUITTING SMOKING SONG was edited a little, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to play it on radio, and that would have been a pity, I reckon. Meanwhile, Black Kids are promising I’M NOT GOING TO TEACH YOUR BOYFRIEND HOW TO DANCE WITH YOU. Quite right too.
A fun couple of songs to exit on: Mary Martin and the cast of South Pacific with I’M GONNA WASH THAT MAN RIGHT OUT OF MY HAIR. And one of my favourites, the wonderfully eccentric and optimistic Jonathan Richman, who knows all about fresh starts on I’M JUST BEGINNING TO LIVE.
Thanks to The Fridays for coming in and entertaining us in the first hour of the program. Don’t forget they’re performing at the Rails Hotel in Byron Bay on Thursday January 20th so get along and support them.
Thanks also to Lina, Chilla, Shel, Allan, Andy and Victoria for letting us know what their New Year Resolutions were for this year.
Next week’s show will be ALL AUSTRALIAN. Lots of nostalgia and some new stuff as well.
Until then, here’s this week’s playlist:
Feeling Good / Nina Simone
Change My Way Of Living / The Allman Brothers Band
Romance Comedy / The Fridays
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me / The Supremes
New Year’s Resolution / Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
Got To Give It Up / Thin Lizzy
Never Talking To You Again / Hüsker Dü
Maggie’s Farm / Bob Dylan
Won’t Get Fooled Again / The Who
I’m Gonna Do It / Mama Kin
I Ain’t Gonna Be The First To Cry / Bobby “Blue” Bland
I Can Change ft. Snoop Dogg / John Legend
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again / Bobbie Gentry
I’ll Change My Style / George Thorogood and The Destroyers
Right Now I’m A-Roaming / Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
I Want To Be Straight / Ian Dury and The Blockheads
While You See A Chance / Steve Winwood
One Way Or Another / Blondie
Quitting Smoking Song / Princess Superstar
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You / Black Kids
I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair / Mary Martin and The Girl’s Chorus of South Pacific
I’m Just Beginning To Live /Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
Next week: 40 YEARS OF CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN ROCK
How come every songwriter hasn’t written at least one song about schooldays? Come on, it has all the vital ingredients for a hit: that age-old conflict between discipline and rebellion, close friendships, sexual awakenings and enough traumatic experiences to feed a healthy persecution complex for the rest of your life. Mind you, while every songwriter may not have taken up the opportunity to reveal all about their schooldays, those that did contributed to a pretty good playlist this week.
We opened the show with SCHOOL DAYS by Chuck Berry who turns the joy of hearing the final bell into some hot rock’n’roll. Then it was Young MC who seems well versed in being sent to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE, while the Pipettes LIKE A BOY IN UNIFORM. Don’t we all?
Belle & Sebastian could pretty much compile an album of songs about classroom politics but the pick of the bunch is EXPECTATIONS, from the soundtrack to Juno. The song’s misfit heroine wins the heart of every indie boy by “making life-size models of the Velvet Underground from clay”. Now why didn’t I go to that school?
Jack White is a bit of a hero of mine, so I had to include The White Stripes with WE’RE GOING TO BE FRIENDS. Everyone needs a best buddie at school that’s for sure.
A couple of real classics followed. I would have been sent to detention if I hadn’t included ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL from Pink Floyd or Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ fantastic diss on school, JACK SHIT GEORGE.
Steely Dan had us bopping along to the fact that they are “never going back to” MY OLD SCHOOL. And then it was Sam Cooke with WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.
Sonny Boy Williamson contributed one of the most provocative tracks on the playlist this week, GOOD MORNIN’ LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. This blues classic was written about the schoolgirl as sexual fantasy. It’s since been covered by every classic-rock band under the sun, but I think the original is still the best.
ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD is a song performed by Paul Simon from his 1972 self-titled album. In my opinion he’s one of the best contemporary songwriters we have. Here he is performing the song live:
The music video of BAGGY TROUSERS, by Madness, was shot in an English school and park. The band’s saxophone player, Lee Thompson, decided he wanted to fly through the air for his solo, with the use of wires hanging from a crane. The resulting shot is one of the most popular of any of the Madness music videos.
ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL by The Ramones was followed by a personal pick: CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS RULE, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Yes, being an old tyke, or as they say in the trade a “lapsed Catholic”, I have to agree that Catholic Schoolgirls do rule!
A couple of little morality tales followed. James Brown warned DON’T BE A DROPOUT and then it was the wonderful Brenda Holloway performing with the Supremes, as back-up (how’s that!). The song was PLAY IT COOL, STAY IN SCHOOL. All good advice of course.
Cat Stevens took a trip down memory lane with OLD SCHOOL YARD and Busted revealed, THAT’S WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR, a disarmingly frank pop tune about having a crush on a teacher.
Babs Gonzalez taught us a bit about Bebop with PROFESSOR BOP while Nat King Cole favours all things extra-curricular in YOU DON’T LEARN THAT IN SCHOOL.
Boomtown Rats followed with I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS and then it was Billy Bragg with the brilliant, THE SATURDAY BOY which I’ve played before, but with its school setting was a certainty to be played again this week.
Like most of The Coaster’s songs, CHARLIE BROWN was written by the songwriting team of Leiber And Stoller. They wrote hits for many artists, including Elvis Presley, The Drifters, and Ben E. King. The songs they wrote for The Coasters were usually more comical. In this case, the song is about a kid who is always getting in trouble and asks “why is everyone always picking on me?”
A nice piece of reggae followed, suggested by Lynden in Sydney: Dennis Alcapone with TEACH THE CHILDREN.
Otis Rush’s distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes. With similar qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and is cited as an influence on many musicians, including Eric Clapton. Rush is left-handed and, unlike many left-handed guitarists, plays a left-handed instrument strung upside-down with the low E string at the bottom. He played often with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning . It is widely believed that this contributes to his distinctive sound. Check it out on this video where he performs HOMEWORK:
A little change of pace then with The Smiths and THE HEADMASTER RITUAL followed by Graham Parker & The Rumour with BACK TO SCHOOLDAYS.
Jerry Lee Lewis uses high school as a setting, rather than a storyline, in HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. This would have been his fourth consecutive hit in a row, if controversy hadn’t raged about the fact that his new wife was hardly old enough to be in high school. Oops. Doesn’t seem to bother the audience at this concert in London in the 60’s:
It was nearly time for the final bell, but we still squeezed in another triple play: The Hollies with CARRIE ANNE, N.R.B.Q. with STILL IN SCHOOL and WAITIN’ IN SCHOOL from Ricky Nelson.
Our finale was reserved for a song that divides people. Personally I have a bit of a soft spot for TO SIR WITH LOVE, from the film of the same name. How gorgeous was Sidney Poitier? Here’s a clip of Lulu performing the song very recently, (I think it may have been 2008). And how good does she look?
Next week, I’m going to go against the grain. Yes I know that Valentines Day is coming up soon but the cynic in me has decided to mount an ANTI LOVE show. So, if you have any suggestions drop me a line.
Here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Next week: ANTI-LOVE