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SONGS ABOUT CRITTERS

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

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM at the new time of Mondays 1–2pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com


NOUGHT TO WHATEVER… PART 2

I’ve been on a mission to play as many songs as I can with numbers in the title. But the real challenge has been to play them in numerical sequence. Last week we successfully navigated our way from Elvis Costello’s Less Than Zero all the way to Edwin Starr’s Twenty Five Miles . So, this week we were off again, starting with our opening number, OCTOBER 26 (REVOLUTION) from The Pretty Things. This is a great track from what I consider a grossly under recognised band of the 60’s. It’s from their 1970 album Parachute.

TWENTY SEVEN STRANGERS is from The Villagers, who put out one of the best albums of last year – Becoming A Jackal. Here’s the band’s singer and songwriter, Conor J O’Brien, performing solo. Beautiful song. Perfect in its simplicity.

A band called Why? gave us our #28 song, (called exactly that, 28).  Ryan Adams’ contribution was the track TWENTYNINE from the album 29 and the #30 spot was filled by Aussie band The Lucksmiths. The song, $30 is a very cute proposition: They know that they owe you $30 but how about they write you a song instead? Cheeky!

Aimee Mann thought her life would be different somehow, when she turned  31.  Check out this live performance of 31 TODAY in Studio Q.


Another brilliant singer/songwirter is Ani DiFranco . Here she is performing live in 1997. The song:  32 FLAVOURS.

We don’t often play instrumental tracks but funky jazz outfit The New Mastersounds certainly livened things up with THIRTY THREE. We followed with little known, (well to me anyway), American band Promenade with 34 from their Save the Radio album. Then it was Joe Pug with a decent Bob Dylan impression on HYMN #35 and Bobby “Blue” Bland with his favourite numbers 35:22:36.

Then another excellent double : STRAIGHT IN AT 37 from The Beautiful South, now called simply South, and 38 YEARS OLD from Canadian band The Tragically Hip.

Hip Hop producer Re-animator has a great track  called SYMPHONY NUMBER THIRTY-NINE on his album, evocatively titled Music to Slit Wrists. Dido has got to have one of the most beautiful voices of recent times, and she uses it to perfection on  SEE YOU WHEN YOU’RE 40:

Gregory Hoskins gave us his track 41 and then it was Aussie and, Hunters & Collectors with 42 WHEELS. On 43 Mary Lou Lord justifies seeing a younger man by the fact that he’s 17, going on 43. And talking of excuses, I love any reason to go back to the 60’s so the Zombies were in with CARE OF CELL 44. Terrific band, still performing too.

An artist I’ve only just discovered, but like very much is Todd Snider . Here he is performing FORTY FIVE MILES in December 2010 in Tampa, to a very appreciative audience I might add. It’s an amateur video, but worth watching. He’s supported by Will Kimbrough.

If you’re after some good old fashioned Blues then check out Memphis Slim, Jump Jackson and Arbee Stidham. They gave us a fast version of 46TH STREET BOOGIE to fill our #46 spot. Number 47 was looking tough until I found a real cutie: Andy Kirk & His Orchestra, featuring June Richmond on vocals. She was one of the first black women to front an all white band. The song is 47th STREET JIVE.

Enough with songs named after New York streets (surely that’s another show!). A complete change of tone followed with the amazing, enduring, Suzi Quatro with 48 CRASH. I had to play this original clip from 1973, as she looks so great (still does actually). The ultimate rock chick.


Our number 49 song was for Des who presents BayFM’s Colours of Byron every Sunday morning. He’s a big Dylan fan, so DAYS OF 49 was especially for him and all the other Dylan fans. Number 50 couldn’t be anything but Simon & Garfunkle’s FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER, which wasn’t dedicated to anyone in particular, because I don’t want to get myself in any trouble in that department! Here’s a live performance by Paul Simon with legendary drummer Steve Gadd:

Well we  got all the way to #50 with time to spare. We closed the show with a #51 song that also previews next week’s show: Pink Floyd’s COME IN NUMBER 51, YOU’RE TIME IS UP from the soundtrack to the film Zabriskie Point.  As one of the comments on YouTube states: it’s the film that inspired countless people to lose their virginity to Pink Floyd. (The music that is, not the actual band members). Here’s the trailer, featuring that music, with some of the worst promotional jargon I’ve ever heard!

So, next week I’ll be hosting an Oscars special. I’ll be playing lots of songs that were recorded especially for films. Some will have won Oscars, some should have but didn’t. I’d love to have your suggestions and requests. And, of course, your company 4-6pm Tuesdays on www.bayfm.org.

Here’s this week’s full playlist:

October 26 (Revolution) – The Pretty Things, Unrepentant [Disc 1]

Twenty Seven Strangers – Villagers, Becoming A Jackal

Twenty Eight – Why? Alopecia

Twentynine – Ryan Adams, 29

$30 – The Lucksmiths, Spring a Leak

31 Today – Aimee Mann, Smilers

32 Flavors – Ani DiFranco

Thirty Three – The New Mastersounds, 102% Funk

34 – Promenade, Save the Radio

Hymn 35 – Joe Pug, Nation of Heat EP

36-22-36 – Bobby “Blue” Bland, Bobby “Blue” Bland: The Anthology

Straight In At 37 – The Beautiful South, Welcome to the Beautiful South

38 Years Old – The Tragically Hip, Up to Here

Symphony Number Thirty-nine – Reanimator, Music To Slit Wrists By

See You When You’re 40 – Dido, Life For Rent

41 – Gregory Hoskins, The Beggar Heart

42 Wheels – Hunters & Collectors, Under One Roof

43 – Mary Lou Lord, Baby Blue

Care of Cell 44 – The Zombies, Odessey and Oracle

Forty Five Miles – Todd Snider, Happy to Be Here

46th Street Boogie (Fast Boogie) – Memphis Slim, Jump Jackson and Arbee Stidham

47th St Jive – Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy, Jukebox Hits 1936-1949

48 Crash – Suzi Quatro, Suzi Quatro: Greatest Hits

Days of 49 – Bob Dylan, Self Portrait

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover – Simon & Garfunkel , The Concert in Central Park

Number 51, Your Time Is Up – Pink Floyd,  Zabriskie Point (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

Next week:  SONGS RECORDED FOR FILM

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

MY FAVE ALBUMS 2010

If you’re a regular Theme Park listener you’ll know that I have what they call an ‘eclectic’ taste in music. And it comes in handy when you’re putting together a show each week on random themes, I tell you!  This week, just to prove that I do listen to new music, I decided that I would bring you songs from my favourite albums of 2010. So no nostalgia this week, all new music and a look-see at what arrived in my Xmas stocking, all 23  albums! Thank you Santa!

Here’s my rationale for how I devised my list: It’s the age of the singles download, but there are just some albums that you can’t cherry pick from. My list represents those albums: the ones that work best when listened to as a whole experience. Having said that, it is only a two hour program, so a choice had to be made about what singles to play from those albums. So, here goes:

Caribou, otherwise known to his Mama as Daniel Victor Snaith, is a mathematician by trade who, in his spare time, delivers beautiful and captivating electronic music. His 2010 album Swim is the first of my favourites and we opened the show with the track ODESSA. Even if you’re not an electronica fan, (and I’m not particularly),  this album successfully crosses over and appeals to almost everyone who listens to it.

Next on my list the album Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz.  Hard to pick one track from this  incredibly diverse album. It was a toss-up between MELANCHOLY HILL and  SUPERFAST JELLYFISH, featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul. The chance to also play some De La Soul put the latter track on the list in the end. And, I’ve got to say, I’m very jealous of anyone who saw Gorillaz on their recent Plastic Beach tour!

One of the most beautiful songs of the year is PIECES by the Irish band Villagers. Singer Conor O’Brien totally rocks. The song is from their debut album Becoming a Jackal. Check out this live performance from their very first headline show in 2009. Amazing.

My favourite video clip of the year goes to Janelle Monae for TIGHTROPE. It’s from the album The ArchAndroid which is nothing if not ambitious. The album was a very nice surprise indeed. Featuring everything from power ballads right through to the ferocious energy of her signature dance tracks, this is one hot album. Here’s the clip that has garnered so much YouTube attention:

Another surprise favourite for me was Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It  finally convinced me of this guy’s talent. I’ll try and overlook his arrogance for the sake of the music and some of his fine collaborators. One of the best tracks features Ben Iver and its called LOST IN THE WORLD.

Down the Way by Angus & Julia Stone was the biggest-selling Australian album of 2010, and it certainly shows the growing maturity of this brother and sister duo. BIG JET PLANE is the standout track from this album.

Another great Aussie group is You Am I. Their best record in more than a decade is self titled. My favourite track is the second single of that album, TRIGGER FINGER. The clip features Lanie Lane who also supplied backing vocals.

I’m a big fan of the soulful voice of Ray LaMontagne. His 2010 album with the Prairie Dogs,  God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise has a number of great tracks on it. Here he performs BEG STEAL OR BORROW in the studios of Oui FM in France.

Another exquisite song is RUBY from the album Ali and Toumani, released in February 2010. It’s a series of duets from two of Africa’s most distinguished musicians, the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure and kora player Toumani Diabate.

The same kind of purity can be found in a completely different genre by a group called Mountain Man. They’re actually an all girl trio from Vermont who recorded their album Made the Harbor in a disused ice-cream parlour. The whole album is mostly a capella, which just goes to show that the voice really is the ultimate instrument. We played their sublime version of HOW’M I DOIN’.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who thinks that Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy is completely underrated as a singer and a songwriter. This band has been around for about 20 years and yet we’re almost a secret society of  fans. Hopefully their latest album Bang Goes the Knighthood will get them the recognition they deserve.

The Roots have also been around a while, 1987 to be exact, and HOW I GOT OVER is their 11th album. They’re all great albums, but this one is possibly their best:

Despite already declaring that I’m not a big electronica fan, here’s another electronica album in my 2010 faves:  LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening album can’t be overlooked.  I CAN CHANGE is one of the best tracks from the album. Thank God for Jools Holland (what a great show btw). Here’s a great clip from that show:

The Vampire Weekend’s album Contra came out just in time for my birthday in January 2010. Here’s the very energetic track COUSINS from that album:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released a very Bluesy album called Mojo this year which I really love. I particularly like their version of the old standard CANDY.

At the other end of the spectrum, Danger Mouse got together with James Mercer to invent a new group called Broken Bells. They released their first album together in 2010. Here they are performing THE HIGH ROAD, from that self-titled album, at Lowlands 2010.

Two more albums that I’ve been listening to non-stop this year are Arcade Fire’s THE SUBURBS and The Black Keys album BROTHERS. Here are the Black Keys performing I’M HOWLIN FOR YOU from that album, on Jools Holland:

A new discovery for me late in the year was Diane Birch. She released her first album, Bible Belt, in 2009 and the EP Velveteen Age just before Xmas this year. She’s only in her mid twenties but wow, what a voice.

And talking of great voices, soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples released a wonderful album this year called YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy who also wrote two of the songs on the album. Two of my all time favourite artists on one album. Heaven. Here’s a sample of what we’ll be seeing at the upcoming Byron Blues Fest in April. I, for one, cannot wait!

Ex Czars frontman, John Grant, gives a substantial nod to Supertramp and Bread on his debut album, Queen of Denmark. But hey, who else is doing that kind of material these days?  The track I WANNA GO TO MARZ features the band Midlake and its a beautiful song based on Grant’s own childhood experience of escaping to the local sweet shop. In his own words, the song “is a gateway back to childhood and innocence before things have become complicated.”

A band that also sounds a lot like a few bands of the 70’s is The Russians. But gee, what a great job they do of it. Their album Crashing The Party is full of retro power pop/rock melodies. Sort of like Big Star, but , (dare I say it?) better.

We finished up with the song that’s been on everyone’s lips this year, Cee-Lo Green’s F**CK YOU. I had to play the clean version for radio, of course, which he conveniently included on his Lady Killer album as FORGET YOU. This album is more than the sum of its parts, that’s for sure. With its deliberate nods to Motown, 80’s soul and classic pop, its right up my alley. Hey, you’ve seen the official F**CK YOU clip a million times, (well, actually 33 million hits on YouTube!).  So here he is, with his rockin’ all girl band on Later with Jools Holland (have I said already that I absolutely love this show?).

Next week will be the first show of the new year!  I’ll be welcoming band Orkestra del Sol into the studio. They’re from the UK and are touring Australia. Think big band with lotsa high energy swinging sounds with flavours from the Balkans, Oompah, Gypsy and New Orleans. Should be fun. AND the theme will be the show will be MULTILINGUAL SONGS, by which I mean songs that have at least two languages in the lyrics. Any suggestions? Then leave me a message here!

Play safe on New Year’s Eve and keep on dancing!

Here’s the playlist, and accordingly, my favourite albums of 2010 (in no particular order):

Odessa – Swim, Caribou

Superfast Jellyfish Ft. Gruff Rhys & De La Soul – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz

Pieces – Becoming A Jackal, Villagers

Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) – The ArchAndroid (Deluxe), Janelle Monáe

Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West

Big Jet Plane – Down The Way, Angus & Julia Stone

Trigger Finger – You Am I, You Am I

Beg Steal or Borrow – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, Ray LaMontagne/Pariah Dogs

Ruby – Ali & Toumani, Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté

How’m I Doin – Made the Harbor, Mountain Man

The Lost Art Of Conversation – Bang Goes The Knighthood, The Divine Comedy

How I Got Over – How I Got Over, The Roots Feat. Dice Raw

I Can Change – This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem

Cousins – Contra [Bonus Tracks], Vampire Weekend

Candy – Mojo, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

The High Road – Broken Bells, Broken Bells

The Suburbs – The Suburbs, Arcade Fire

Howlin’ for You – Brothers, The Black Keys

This Corrosion – The Velveteen Age, Diane Birch

You Are Not Alone – You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples

I Wanna Go to Marz – Queen of Denmark, John Grant

Sober and Un-upsetting – Crashing the Party, The Russians

Forget You – The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green

Next week:  MULTILINGUAL SONGS

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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