music: more Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour classics

A friend urged me to listen to this show, preserved on a Web site. Open an episode in Chrome, Play in Popup, send to Chromecast Audio, and enjoy Bob nattering away on interesting collections of songs. I Shazam all the uncredited instrumental fragments (always related to the theme of each show) that play in the background; I used to submit the additions to the extended episode notes at The Bob Dylan Fanclub, then I realized anyone who cares can do the same.

I’m up to episode 72 (of 101). I admire more than love the expected blues, country, and folk originals that Dylan favors, but many of the unfamiliar soul and R&B cuts are good. One early shock was Ry Cooder, I knew his movie scores and love of American music but had no idea he had that craggy nasal singing voice. On the Baseball episode he sings a marvelous sad song “Third Base, Dodgers Stadium” from his album Ch├ívez Ravine.

The Birds episode has a great joke about knowing Roger McGuinn (… of the Byrds) and reminded me of Buffalo Springfield’s fantastic “Bluebird” with its hot-mic’d steel string sound and division into movements (developed by the Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young iteration of the band into explicit “Suite Judy Blue Eyes”). I had access to some compilation with the classic “For What It’s Worth” as a kid but never listened to their second album Buffalo Springfield Again, yet another top album from the incredible 1967-1968 time period in which it seems every band on Earth aimed for greatness and most hit it.

The overflow Birds episode has a weirdly compelling obscure track by Bobby Paunetto, “Why Is Woody Sad?” Latin Jazz with vibes and strange lyrics.

The backstory of the show is interesting. Fans have figured out that a lot of the lore Dylan pours out is merely cribbed from Wikipedia, and the building, the studio, the diner across the street, and much of the production staff are made up. E.g. announcer “Pierre Mancini” is actually TV writer Eddie Gorodetsky who is clearly central to the show. His Christmas compilation album, Christmas Party with Eddie G, sounds like a hoot. Most of the time obscure records are obscure for a reason, but sometimes you strike gold.

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