Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dreams, Schemes and Themes

I’m not yet prepared to pay for satellite radio, although I have been tempted. What may push me over the edge is a new program on XM called the Theme Time Radio Hour, hosted by none other than Bob Dylan. The first installment aired May 3, although it was ‘leaked’ by XM for promotional purposes and has been available on Dylan fan sites in various formats for two weeks.

The show in a word is fantastic.

Dylan is notoriously reclusive, doesn’t talk much to the press, and in recent years rarely utters a word on stage between songs. In this format, Bob is chatty, down to earth, informative and supremely entertaining. Last Sunday morning, we listened to the hour long program and felt transported to the 1950s, like we were sitting around one of those old wood radios, sipping Maxwell House and smoking Chesterfields. You imagine Bob sitting behind a big microphone like Ed Murrow, chain smoking, spinning platters and introducing Dean Martin and Slim Harpo with casual anecdotes (in reality he’s recording his bits from home or his tour bus, and XM is finds the tracks and puts it together). It never feels contrived. Dylan has remarked on how listening to the radio in his youth affected him. Here, it seems like he’s opening a door to his subconscious, sharing with us the blues, country and early rock and roll music that shaped his genius. Each week has a theme; the May 3 show was weather. Future programs will focus on mothers (for Mother’s Day), cars and whiskey. Here’s the playlist from the first show:

Blow, Wind, Blow - Muddy Waters
You Are My Sunshine - Jimmie Davis
California Sun - Joe Jones
I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine - Dean Martin
Bob talks about The Prisonaires
Just Walking in the Rain - The Prisonaires
After the Clouds Roll Away - The Consolers
Let the Four Winds Blow - Fats Domino
Raining in my Heart - Slim Harpo
Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
The Wind Cries Mary - Jimi Hendrix
Come Rain or Come Shine - Judy Garland
It's Raining - Irma Thomas
Stormy Weather - The Spaniels
Jamaica Hurricane - Lord Beginner
A Place in the Sun - Stevie Wonder (Italian version)
Uncloudy Day - The Staple Singers
Keep on the Sunny Side - The Carter Family

In future shows, Bob will be answering e-mail from listeners. For a lot of us, this is like talking to God.

Dreams, schemes and themes. Say it in Dylan’s nasal tone and you can’t help but smile.

[Note: I'm trying a new file sharing site, so if the links don't work, I'm working on it]



Blogger Matt said...

Hi, Mark, do you know where I can download the whole show? Would be great – thanks!

4:50 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

9:07 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:00 PM  
Anonymous site said...

The chap is completely right, and there's no skepticism.

5:26 AM  

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