Music Labyrinth Episode 086
Sunshine Superman / Donovan (1966)
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 86 of The Music Labyrinth. First off, some exciting news! Here at Coast FM we have a new website which allows us (I hope) to provide listeners with a link to stream the show at any time of their choosing. So (fingers well-and-truly-crossed) I hope to have that link active in the next 24 hours or so, and you will be able to find it by clicking here. And if you happen to be listening to this introduction via the stream cast - well, HOORAY!!! Now, here is something I did not know until this week: 86 is a slang term used to indicate that an item is no longer available (traditionally from a food or drinks establishment) or referring to a person who is not welcome on the premises. During the 1970s it took on a more sinister feel when the term was extended to refer to murder. Now, I wondered whether that entomology was considered when the number 86 received its most famous use - as the agent number for Maxwell Smart of CONTROL? Well, isn’t Wikipedia a wonderful thing?! It tells us that Mel Brooks decided on Smart's code number, 86, as an inside joke because of the slang meaning earlier described. So, there you are - isn’t knowledge wonderful? I just hope that you, the Patient Listener, are not tempted to 86 any of the content of tonight’s show, because I’ve enjoyed putting it together for us all to wallow in. For those who are new to the game - welcome along to The Music Labyrinth - and let me explain how it is all supposed to work. We started tonight’s episode where we left off a fortnight ago, with Sunshine Superman from Donovan’s 1966 album of the same name. So now I will try and find a credible link between that song and our next. How is this?: A cover of Sunshine Superman appeared on the 1981 EP by The Sports called The Sports Play Dylan (and Donovan). And also by The Sports is this classic 1979 track.
Don’t Throw Stones / The Sports (1979)
From their 1979 album Don’t Throw Stones, that was The Sports with the album’s title track. The Sports were a classic late 70s Australian rock band featuring Martin Armiger, Andrew Pendlebury and Stephen Cummings. The last of that trio, Stephen Cummings, went on to a successful solo career which produced, in 1988, this lovely song.
She Set Fire To The House / Stephen Cummings (1988)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last heard, from the 1988 album Lovetown, Stephen Cummings with She Set Fire To The House. That’s a beautiful song, based on an unpleasant theme. And, as unpleasant as the theme is, there are plenty of songs that address it. Here is another, from 2018.
Fire / Peking Duck (2018)
That was Peking Duk with Fire. Vocals on that track were by Sarah Aarons, a singer/songwriter originally from Melbourne. These days Sarah is based in Los Angeles and is moving with some assurance amongst the big names of contemporary music. By way of example, she is the co-writer of this track by Childish Gambino, featuring Ariana Grande. This is Time.
Time / Childish Gambino (feat. Ariana Grande) (2020)
From the 2020 album 3.15.20, that was Childish Gambino, featuring Ariana Grande, with Time. As you can probably gather from the name of the track and album, a strong theme coming though that particular work is the marking and passing of time. And here at The Music Labyrinth we dont feel as though we should question the genius of Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino), so here is another song also called Time.
Time / Tom Waits (1985)
This is The Music Labyrinth and we have found ourselves contemplating the concept of time, courtesy of Tom Waits’ song of the same name. So, lets stick with the theme for a while. In 2012 the American musician and music producer Nick Waterhouse released his first album called Time’s All Gone, and which contained two songs of that name (parts 1 & 2). If you later visit the Spotify and Apple Music playlists for this episode of The Music Labyrinth you will find the two parts of the song listed separately, but here I have assembled them as a whole. This is Nick Waterhouse with Time’s All Gone.
Time’s All Gone (pts 1 & 2) / Nick Waterhouse (2012)
That was Nick Waterhouse with Time’s All Gone, a song which featured in a 2014 TV ad for the Lexus CT motor vehicle. Another song, also about time, and also featured in a TV advertisement for a Lexus motor vehicle (in 2020) was this song by The Kinks.
This Time Tomorrow / The Kinks (1970)
This is The Music Labyrinth and we last listened to The Kink’s 1970 lament about the repetitive nature of the life of the touring musician, This Time Tomorrow. That particular theme - the monotony of being on the road - has been picked up by plenty of songwriters in plenty of songs. Here is a cover of one of them.
Turn The Page / Metallica (1998)
That was Metallica with their 1998 cover of the Bob Segar song Turn The Page. Speaking of Bob Segar, he sings backing vocals on this next track by Gene Simmons of Kiss fame. This is Radioactive.
Radioactive / Gene Simmons (1978)
From 1978, that was Gene Simmons with Radioactive. That track also features Joe Perry of Aerosmith, AND that weird prelude to it featured a female voice, which was a voice which I am sure that The Listener will know, mainly because of this massive 1975 hit.
At 17 / Janis Ian (1975)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to the heartbreakingly honest At 17 by Janis Ian. Janis Ian has successfully turned her hand to fiction writing, particularly fantasy for young readers. Another singer songwriter to follow a similar literary trajectory is Colin Meloy from perennial Music Labyrinth favourites The Decemberists. And that slightly obscure link has presented me with an opportunity I have been seeking for a while now. You see, I feel that you The LIstener, and I have grown together and matured together over the course of the journey, and I’ve made the judgement that you are ready for exposure to The Decemberists’ Mariners Revenge Song. Enjoy!!!
The Mariners Revenge Song / The Decemberists (2005)
Look, I’m so stoked that we got to share The Mariners Revenge Song by The Decemberists, that I’m just staying with the whole whale theme. Here is Paul Weller from his 2000 album Heliocentric with The Whale’s Tale.
The Whale’s Tale / Paul Weller (2000)
From his 2000AD album Heliocentric, that was Paul Weller with A Whale’s Tale. Guitar on that track was played by Steve Craddock of Ocean Colour Scene. In 2014 Steve Craddock became a full time member of The Specials, who were still recording and touring after they had enjoyed a massive worldwide hit in 1984. So, lets have a listen to that hit and then, because the link is as obvious as a really cheap hairpiece, we’ll roll straight into our next track on The Music Labyrinth.
Nelson Mandela / The Specials (1984)
Mandela Day / Simple Minds (1988)
That was Simple Minds with Mandela Day, a song written for the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday tribute concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, on 11 June 1988. And, opening the musical performance at that concert was Sting with this song.
If You Love Somebody Set Them Free / Sting (1985)
This is The Music Labyrinth and I hope you are enjoying the meandering and the song selections. We last listened to If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, by Sting from his first solo album in 1985. Saxophones on that album and on the track we just heard were played by Branford Marsalis. A couple of years before that work with Sting, Branford Marsalis had teamed up with Was, Not Was for their album Born To Laugh At Tornados, and his playing can be heard on this track.
(Return To The Valley Of) Out Come The Freaks / Was, Not Was (1983)
That was Was Not Was with (Return To The Valley Of) Out Come The Freaks - and that might also be the most times I have said the word ‘was’ in a single sentence! Vocals on that track were by Harry Bowens, who often styled himself as Sir Harry Bowens, and who, amongst other credits, is acknowledged by Rolling Stone Magazine as the vocal arranger for the 50s & 60s R&B vocal group The O’Jays. Now, here is a lovely moment of synchronicity because, earlier in the show, when we wandered into the Stephen Cummings section of The Labyrinth, I almost played you his cover of this song. But now I can deliver the original. Here are The O’Jays, from 1972, with Back Stabbers.
Back Stabbers / The O’Jays (1972)
Thanks for coming back to The Music Labyrinth for the final section of episode 86. We last listened to The O’Jays from 1972 with Back Stabbers. In 2003, the O’Jays co-starred in the film The Fighting Temptations, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles. In the film, they played three barbers with incredible vocal harmony who joined the local church choir. From the soundtrack of that movie, here are Ann Nesby & Shirley Caesar with The Stone.
The Stone / Ann Nesby & Shirley Caesar (2003)
That was The Stone, featuring the voices of Ann Nesby and Shirley Caesar. And that track brings us to the end of this episode. Thanks very much for playing along, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the music and the occasional pellets of fact-like-substance which have knitted the songs to one another. Please come back again in a fortnight when we do it all again - and dont forget to tell your friends that they will shortly be able to stream the show via the Coast FM website. I’ll announce when that link is live via The Music Labyrinth Twitter feed and webpage. Please share it around. So, lets move on to our final track for this episode. Ann Nesby, whom we just heard singing on our last track, joined the band Sounds of Blackness in the late 1980s. Sounds of Blackness were awarded two Grammys in 1991 and 1993, and Nesby sang on a number of their tracks including this one. This is The Pressure. Thanks for listening!
The Pressure / Sounds Of Blackness (1991)