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Monday, October 29, 2007

Episode 44 - The 1st 2nd Annual Dreamtime Halloween Show

Welcome to your other home for Halloween schemes, ghostly themes, and Kandy-Korn dreams. It's Dreamtime's 1st 2nd Annual Halloween Show, the one time of the year where we get to let down our hair and pretend to be our favorite monster, superhero, actor, or deejay...

... and we all know who that would be, don't we?

Listen now with the Dreamtime Player

Playing in the background, Haunted House, from Leon Redbone's first album. A dead man's party is where we're headed to first on tonight's musical Halloween tour. Here's Oingo Boingo with Dead Man's Party. See you on the other side, and make sure to leave your body at the door.

[Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo]

Oingo Boingo was founded in 1972 as the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, later changing their name to Oingo Boingo, and then to Boingo. If the band had stayed together they might have shortened it down even further to just Boing, but they broke up in 19 and 95. The original Oingo Boingo appeared on Chuck Barris' The Gong Show in 19 and 76, getting a score of 24 points out of a possible 30 with an act that featured both a rocket ship and a dragon, and winning them $500 to boot. You can see that appearance on YouTube. Go check it out. As Chuck Barris says, "[They're] an act who may first shock you, but once you get to know them, they'll boggle your mind."

We all know Lord Invader from TTRH. Well, there was another calypso lord - Lord Intruder - who wrote a song called Jumbie Jamberee back in 19 and 53. "Jumbies" were spirits in the song who danced "back to back, belly to belly" in a Trinidad graveyard. Intruder published Jumbie Jamberee, but it would take some other groups to make the song popular in the United States. And they changed "jumbies" to "zombies" and the graveyard location to New York along the way. The Kingston Trio had a big hit with Zombie Jamboree in the mid-'50s, and Harry Belafonte liked the song so much he recorded it three times during the `60s and `70s. One of those versions is what we're going to listen to right now: Harry Belafonte and Zombie Jamboree.

[Zombie Jamboree - Harry Belafonte]

Did you hear that line about Bridget Bardot? Back in the '60s she probably been voted as the girl you'd most want to dance belly-to-belly with. At least, I would have voted for her.

You're listening to the Dreamtime podcast - where every show we do is an encore for somebody somewhere.

If you're a regular Dreamtime listener you already know our love of all things witchy, and what better time to do some more witch songs than our Halloween Special?

Kip Tyler and the Flips recorded She's My Witch way back in November of 19 and 58. Although you don't hear much about Kip these days, he and the Flips were a major California rockabilly force and the pride of the legendary El Monte Legion Stadium rock shows back in the `50s. Kip never made it to the big time, but members of The Flips would later work with Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, and the Beach Boys. Spooky, sexy, and pure rockabilly: Kip Tyler and the Flips with She's My Witch.

[She's My Witch - Kip Tyler & The Flips]

Louis Armstrong had his first big movie break with this Johnny Burke tune from 19 and 36 we're going to play next. Satchmo originally recorded it with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and he and the song were featured in a spooky nightclub scene complete with dancing skeleton in the Bing Crosby musical comedy, Pennies from Heaven.

[The Skeleton in the Closet - Louis Armstrong]

We get all sorts of email in at Dreamtime, and I gotta tell you, I've fallen way behind in answering them. But, when you think that the Dreamtime team is just me, two cats and a couple of honky-tonkin' good-time gals, I'm lucky to get anything done. Anyway, here's an old email from last Halloween that I'm just getting around to answering. It's from a Peggy B. of New Harbor, Maine:
Dear Dreamtime: Love the show, although Jailbait and Joyride Jones aren't on enough. They should do their own show! But that's not why I'm writing. I was watching The Simpsons' Halloween Special and Bart Simpson said that Casper was the ghost of Richie Rich! I never thought of it before, but they do look a lot alike. Any truth to the story?
Thanks for writing, Peggy, but I think you need to get out more if you're starting to believe what a cartoon says. No, there's no truth to the urban legend that the Friendly Ghost, Casper, is really the spirit of Richie Rich, even though it is a bit suspicious that you never see the two together. However, there's always been a question about whether Casper ever died or not, and whether he's a real ghost. Casper started his career in the early 1940s as the ghost of a little boy, but by the 1960s he had ghost parents, who apparently had ghost sex, and Casper was the result. But by 1995 and the Casper movie he was the spirit of a dead person again. A very confusing situation, and we haven't even gotten into the question about how The Ghostly Trio became his uncles.

The Dreamtime podcast - answering all your ghostly trivia questions whether you asked them or not.

Two more witchy songs are coming on the turntable. You heard this first one last Halloween on Theme Time, with Screamin' Jay Hawkins doing the honors. Jay first cut the song back in 19 and 49, and it was the first single he ever released under the name Screamin' Jay. Nina Simone would cover it about 20 years later, in 19 and 65, and use it for the title of her autobiography: You already know what song I'm talking about, so let's get going.

[I Put a Spell on You - Nina Simone]

Nothing more needs to be said about our next artist or the song except this: here's Ol' Blue Eyes with the classic, Witchcraft.

[Witchcraft - Frank Sinatra]

[Trivia: Halloween around the World]

[Poetry reading: Halloween (excerpt) - Robert Burns, spooky poet]

We were just talking about that fender-bender of a poet, Edgar Allan Poe. Bob Dylan read his Annabel Lee on the Women's Names show back in Season One. So I don't need to, which you're probably all relieved to hear. Poe wrote Annabel Lee in 18 and 49, and was his last complete poem before his death that same year. A lot of good artists have put Annabel Lee to music over the years, including this pretty version by Joan Baez, who included the song on her 1967 album Joan.

Annabel Lee - Joan Baez]

Joan Baez and Annabel Lee on the Dreamtime podcast Halloween Special.

You might be familiar with Gene Simmons' - the other Gene Simmons, not the guy from Kiss - version of Haunted House from 19 and 64. We're not going to play that one, but the original from Johnny Fuller, which has a faster beat and a more interesting sound, I think. Listen to that wild guitar plucking to understand what I mean.

Johnny Fuller began recording in 1954, and probably is best remembered for his single All Night Long. That one and Haunted House landed him a spot on one of the `50s package shows, where he toured with Paul Anka and Frankie Avalon. Here's the first of the two 45s he'd cut for the Speciality label: Johnny Fuller and Haunted House.

[Haunted House - Johnny Fuller]

Bruce Springsteen covered that song too,
during The River tour on a Halloween show. Bruce was carried onstage in a coffin.

By 19 and 62 Johnny had more or less retired from the music business, although he'd release one more album in 19 and 74. He worked as a garage mechanic until his death in 1985. I think he might have worked on my car once.

You're listening to the Dreamtime podcast, where we've commandeered Studio B of the Abernathy Building for Halloween night.

One of the hardest things about putting together tonight's Halloween theme show was finding a good country song about Halloween. You want songs about drinking, car wrecks, and fooling around, they're easy to find. But goblins, spooks, and monsters, no. I was thinking about using Porter Wagoner's Cold Hard Facts of Life, but I want to do a Murder show later this season, and that song's too much a natural for that one. (Porter Wagoner passed away during the production of this episode: He'll be sorely missed. - fhb)

I finally settled on Eddie Noack's Dolores. You remember Eddie, we featured Eddie's Psycho back in
Dreamtime 28. You can go read more about him there, but right now we're going to play his Dolores.

[Dolores - Eddie Noack]

The 100-proof Texas honky-tonk, Eddie Noack, who would drink himself to death by age 47.

Dreamtime has a lot of listeners and readers from Great Britain, and we wanted to thank you with what I think is the oldest song on tonight's playlist, recorded on October 30, 1931 by Ray Noble and the New Mayfair Orchestra. I don't have a lot more information on this one... maybe one of my listeners from Merry Olde England can help me out. A trip through yet another haunted house on tonight's Dreamtime Halloween tour, here's the New Mayfair Orchestra and The Haunted House.

[The Haunted House - The New Mayfair Orchestra]

Dreamtime has a long history with this next artist. I'm part of the crowd noise on the album Where's the Money recorded live at the Troubadour back in 19 and 71, when Your Host was all of 19 years of age. And in about a year I'd find myself at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco watching Symphony Sid Page and Papa John Creach do a burn-the-house-down duet on this song. I Scare Myself is about... it's about.... Well, it's about five minutes long.

[I Scare Myself - Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks]

Dylan told us to "go Google" Kay Starr after he played her Wheel of Fortune on the Luck episode, and Dreamtime has another Kay Starr cut for you, appropriate, as they say, to the season. Bing Crosby originally recorded The Headless Horseman in 19 and 49 for Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad. Kay covered the song a few months after the movie. She's backed here by the Billy Butterfield Quintet and - I kid you not - The Three Beaus and a Peep. Kay Starr and The Headless Horseman.

[The Headless Horseman - Kay Starr]

Kay Starr with a pretty spooky thing. And that sounds like a cue for our last song. We couldn't let Rocktober pass without at least one classic Rock song, and here's a good one, the Classics IV with their first national hit. From 19 and 67 on the Imperial Records label, the original (non-instrumental) Spooky.

[Spooky - Classics IV]

I hear the banging on Studio B's door, so I think it's time to get out of here before they start using the fire axes. Tex, thanks for letting me sit in The Man's Seat for this Halloween. Hope I filled his shoes in my own small way and if there's anyone from Cadillac out there - the address is I'm always available to fill in.


Tonight's Playlist

1. Haunted Mansion - (Disney)
2. Intro (Bed Music) Haunted House - Leon Redbone
3. Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
4. Zombie Jamboree - Harry Belafonte
5. She's My Witch - Kip Tyler & the Flips
6. Skeleton in the Closet - Louis Armstrong
7. I Put a Spell on You - Nina Simone
8. Witchcraft - Frank Sinatra
9. Annabel Lee - Joan Baez
10. Haunted House - Gene Simmons
11. Dolores - Eddie Noack

12. The Haunted House - New Mayfair Dance Orchestra
13. I Scare Myself - Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
14. Headless Horseman - Kay Starr
15. Spooky - Classics IV

Many of the songs for tonight's show were inspired by Mark Harvey's article for the on-line Halloween Magazine.


You've been listening to the Dreamtime podcast – occasional commentary on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. Dreamtime is researched and written by Fred Bals and is a Not Associated With production. As the name says, we're not associated with XM Radio, Bob Dylan, or much of anything else.

Some of the music on Dreamtime is provided via the Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Remember that the Dreamtime team loves to get email. You can write us at

The Dreamtime top cats are Curly Lasagna and Shaggy Bear. Our announcers are the notorious honky-tonkin' sisters, Jailbait and Joyride.

Until next time, dream well.

Visit the Dreamtime Store

A Walk Through the Big City

"ukelele.elvis" has done a great job of audio annotating the TTRH poster. If it glitches on you, try pausing the movie until it's fully loaded. or follow the "ukelele.elvis" link back to the original.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Theme Time Radio Hour Poster

via The Expecting Rain TTRH Forum and BoingBoing:

"Coop says, "My pal Eddie Gorodetsky is producer of Bob Dylan's amazing XM satellite radio show, 'Theme Time Radio Hour.' Eddie recently commissioned another pal, 'Love & Rockets' co-creator Jaime Hernandez, to create a promotional poster for the show. I've seen this thing in person, and it's insane. Each of the vignettes in the poster is based on the faux-noir voiceover that starts each episode of the show."

Click the image to your left for a large-size view (warning - very large. May take a bit to load). Here's a link to the poster's page at There's no announced price, nor is it in the Bob Dylan store (yet).

So, our first "official" look at the the Abernathy and environs. Samson's Diner (note the spelling) is in the next building over. Elmo's is further down the street. Carl's Barbershop is in the Abernathy itself, as it should be. The Abernathy is close to the harbor - dig the battleship in the background.

I'm sure some enterprising TTRH fan will quickly annotate the poster. Who knows? I might do it myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Occasional Detour

Obviously the mavens of TTRH read Dreamtime religiously, as a "SkippyFresno" - who only joined YouTube three days ago - has put all three of the Cadillac spots on that site. Above, the :60 sec Cadillac commercial. Below, the long-form 2:00 minute XM Radio spot, which we already featured yesterday. For reasons unknown, "Skippy" disabled embedding of the :30 sec version of the first commercial, maybe to test how many completists will come to YouTube to get their fill, but you can watch it here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cadillac Bob - Where the Rubber Meets the Road

What XM Radio describes as an online "video vignette." The original can be found at the Bob Dylan and Cadillac section of XM, which includes a :30-sec video and a half-hour excerpt from the upcoming Cadillac show, scheduled to be broadcast on October 24th.

XM/Cadillac is, in my opinion kind of missing the march on not creating this as am embeddable video a la the recent flash card viral video campaign that was so successful for Sony, and dropping this call-to-action in at the end...

Find more information on cadillac at and

Christmas in Rocktober: Preview of Cadillac Episode

A preview of this Wednesday's TTRH Cadillac episode is available on-line now at the XM Radio site:

UPDATE: This is what comes of being an early adopter. I apparently saw an early version of the page, which has since been revised. Tabs are gone. The media player now works correctly with Firefox, the half-hour preview of the Cadillac show is no longer streaming, but can be started at the beginning and paused/restarted. Use of Internet Explorer is strongly recommended. I couldn't get the Flash media player to work correctly - that is, clicking on the "Audio" tab did nothing for me using Firefox.

In any case, if you click on the "Video" tab, you can watch a vignette of Our Host on a road trip, while noting: "You know what's even better than a great road tune? Not having some DJ talking all over it. Unless, of course, that DJ's me." Also available is a :30 second commercial: Detour.

Clicking on the Audio tab - in IE at least - will launch what sounds like the first half-hour of the Cadillac show. It's on a continuous, streaming loop, so you pick it up wherever it happens to be and listen through.

I expect to see the usual crabbing from some about commercialization and Dylan "selling-out" and so on. I refer those sour apples to this earlier post.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jesse "The Lone Cat" Fuller - San Francisco Bay Blues

If you went to YouTube and searched for Jesse Fuller as Our Host advised in the California episode, you'd have found this marvelous video of Fuller performing his San Francisco Bay Blues on his invention, the fotdella.

As Dylan notes, the instrument is a good way of cutting back on expenses and if I were a member of his Cowboy Band I might have some cause for concern. "I got hearing about fellers who were making lots of money on records," said Fuller in an interview. "I tried to get some fellers to play with me but they were always busy - drinking wine and gambling. So I said, 'I'm going to make me a one man band.' And I did.

"My wife she call it a fotdella - that's like 'foot diller' cause I play it with my foot. And that's its name." Fuller had a right foot pedal for the fotdella, a left foot pedal to run a high-hat cymbal, and a harness to hold a harmonica and kazoo, all backing accompaniment while Fuller sang and played a twelve-string guitar.

Fuller was a colorful character, born in 1896 in Jonesboro, Georgia. He had a bad home life - no father he ever knew, and a mother who gave him away at age seven. He later recounted he was beaten and starved, "treated worse than a dog."

Fuller constructed his first musical instrument - a mouth bow - at age nine. By his next birthday he had also built a crude guitar and was learning to play songs from various musicians at the Saturday night dances that he managed to sneak into.

When Fuller was twenty-four he hopped a freight train and eventually ended up California, his home base for the rest of his career. He carved wooden snakes and sold them on the streets of Los Angeles, and also worked shining shoes near the gate of the United Artists Studio in Los Angeles. Fuller was befriended by various studio employees and actors, including Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. who helped get Fuller bit parts in several movies, including the classic The Thief of Baghdad.

Fuller moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the late `20s and took a day job with the Southern Pacific Railroad. By the late `40s he was well-known in the Bay area folk and blues community, playing regularly at a small club called the Haight Street Barbecue in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. By the `60s he was playing gigs with the Rolling Stones and the Animals, and his songs were being covered by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Hot Tuna, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan, who used Fuller's You're No Good on his 1962 self-titled album.

Fuller passed away on January 30, 1976 in Oakland, CA.

Sources and Further Reading: Wikipedia article; Roots of the Grateful Dead - Jesse 'The Lone Cat' Fuller

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Episode 43 - Sterling E. Harrison: "E" for Electrifying

After the publication of this column in early October 2007, I received an email from Sterling Harrison's sister, who felt that I wrongly and unfairly implied that Sterling was "working clubs for dollars, change, and tips."

Ms. Harrison, who mentioned she traveled with Sterling from age 15 to the early `80s, pointed out that Sterling regularly performed to packed houses in Richmond and its surrounding counties throughout his career.

As I wrote to Ms. Harrison in my reply,the furthest thing from my mind was any disrespect to Sterling and that if I had given that impression I sincerely apologized.

We never write in a vacuum, and there are real people with real feelings out there reading what we're writing. This column is a way of painting Sterling Harrison's life with a few broad brush strokes. But the thing is that Sterling's life was his life, not my art, and nobody's life can - or should - be reduced to just a few brush strokes. Sterling worked the M&M Soul Food in L.A. He also worked clubs in Richmond, VA. where people had to be turned away from the doors when he performed. As Ruth Harrison wrote, there was so much more to Sterling's life as both a person and entertainer, his love and dedication to his family, and his love for children and his fans. That's worth remembering, too. - fhb.


"... a man named Sterling Harrison, who never got his due. He used to sing demos for Holland, Dozier, and Holland, but never had a hit of his own. Before he died, he was singing for dollar tips in a barbecue joint at 82nd and Western.

There is great music happening all over the country. Sometimes you got to seek it out. And if you don't seek it out, it's just going to disappear." Bob Dylan, on Sterling Harrison, TTRH, "Days of the Week"

Listen now with the Dreamtime Player

[A Nickel and a Nail - Sterling Harrison]

That was Sterling Harrison with A Nickel and a Nail, from his 2007 CD, South of the Snooty Fox. A CD co-produced incidentally by Theme Time Radio Hour producer Eddie Gorodetsky together with the saxophonist from Los Lobos, Steve Berlin.

The Snooty Fox is a real place, a combination motor inn and bar located near 41st and Western in old South Central L.A. where Harrison sometimes performed. South of the Snooty Fox takes you even deeper into the heart of South Central and eventually to M&M Soul Food at Manchester and Western, which was Harrison's home base towards the end of his career and is the "barbecue joint" that Dylan is referring to, even though he gets the address slightly wrong.

Harrison is something of a poster child for all the artists who never get that one break, and whose luck, if it didn't exactly run bad, never ran all that well either. But, maybe the difference between Sterling Harrison and me is that he probably would have disagreed with that assessment. Sterling Harrison thought he was a lucky man, because he did exactly what he loved to do for over 40 years.

“I’m an entertainer,” advised Harrison in a 2001 interview, “so I entertain — sing, dance, impressions, comedy. Whatever it takes to entertain these people, I’m gonna do.” Outside of soul and rhythm and blues, Harrison entertained his audience with jokes so blue they would have made Redd Foxx blush, and impressions of celebrities ranging from Moms Mabley, Al Green and Ray Charles to Ed Sullivan, Paul Lynde and Richard Nixon. And all the while he milked the room for those dollar tips Dylan refers to, giving the crowd their money's worth.

Born in 19 and 41, Harrison was a proud son of Richmond, Virginia, where he would return to die 64 years later.
"All ll I wanted to do from age eight was be a singer," Harrison said. According to family legend, Harrison got his start when a local promoter heard the boy singing The Lord's Prayer on his front lawn and booked him to open for various acts - Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett among them - as they came through town.

In 1955 or `56, the 15-year-old asked his mother for permission to travel to New York City, where he cut his first single,
The Devil’s Got a Spell on Me, for Vim Records. During the late `50s through the `60s, Sterling was a popular act on the chitlin' circuit, touring from Long Island to Nashville, playing at the Apollo, working the same bills as James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. Club owner Bill Jones started calling Harrison "Sterling E." around this time, the "E" for "electrifying," because Harrison had so much on-stage energy.

But as he would throughout all of his career, Harrison had much more success with live performances than he would recording. During the same period he cut two more singles - both of which disappeared without a trace - and would even try capitalizing on the `60s craze for novelty dances. Among the more than 400 new dance steps introduced in the `60s - numbers such as the Batusi, The Freddie, The Dog and The Funky Broadway - was The Wobble, with Mr. Sterling Harrison as "King of the Wobble."

The Wobble faded into perhaps deserved obscurity, and by 1977 Harrison had landed in L.A. and eventually met up with
the songwriting/production team behind the Four Tops’ and the Supremes’ ’60s hits, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian Holland and Edward Holland, Jr. The trio penned a song for Harrison - Roll Her, Skate Her - which was released on the Motown label. According to reports, it was a very good single even with its unlikely title, but it went nowhere, as did an album that Harrison released on Atlantic in 1980.

And for the next 20 years, it was pretty much south of the Snooty Fox for Sterling Harrison, with the occasional trips back home to Richmond and gigs everywhere from Las Vegas to the Virgin Islands. He became M&M Soul Foods house entertainer, churning out soul standards and rhythm and blues, telling dirty jokes, doing a dead-on Moms Mabley, entertaining the Saturday night crowd and collecting his dollar tips. That's where LA deejay, Allen Larman, found him and spread the word about Sterling E. eventually bringing our Eddie G. down to South Central to hear him. Eddie Gorodetsky loved his sound, booked Harrison to play the Dharma & Greg wrap party, and began making plans to cut a Sterling Harrison album to finally bring his sound to the world at large.

South of the Snooty Fox was recorded in 2001, but apparently never attracted any label interest until it was released six years later by Hacktone this August, two years to the exact day after Harrison's death on August 21, 2005. He probably laughed up in heaven about the irony of it all; Sterling Harrison was a good-natured man, happy to have lived his dream.

“I never smoked a cigarette," Sterling Harrison once said. "Never got high, don’t drink nothin’ stronger than cranberry juice... I know you gotta be patient in this business, but it’s just as important to be ready.”

He was always ready.

I could play another track from South of the Snooty Fox, but with only 11 cuts on the album, it's not fair to Harrison's memory I think. I'd rather tell you to go buy the music, which you can find on both Amazon and on iTunes. Personally, I'd go for the CD. It includes an extra track not available through iTunes, Harrison's Funny Life, a 1965 single. Almost all the cuts on Snooty Fox are great - I think Seven Days, which Theme Time played, of course, might be the weakest song on the album. More representative of Harrison's style is A Nickel and a Nail, and there are a couple of standouts: A 7-minute+ version of Bobby Bland's I'll Take Care of You, and a great cover of Tom Waits' The House Where Nobody Lives, which I'm hoping Theme Time will play if they ever do a "Covers" episode.

I'm closing out tonight's Dreamtime with a song played at Sterling Harrison's memorial ceremony. Here's The Original Five Blind Boys with Sending Up My Timber.

Thanks for listening, and we'll be back soon.

Sources: Shining from the South; Sterling Harrison memorial page; Roll with Me, Sterling; Dance Crazes of the `60s

If you want to see Sterling Harrison in all his glory at M&M Soul Food, check out this 9-minute+ clip over at our sister site. The video's quality is extremely poor, but nonetheless gives a taste of what the live Sterling Harrison act was like.


You've been listening to the Dreamtime podcast – occasional commentary on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. Dreamtime is researched and written by Fred Bals and is a Not Associated With production. As the name says, we're not associated with XM Radio, Bob Dylan, or much of anything else.

Some of the music on Dreamtime is provided via the Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Remember that the Dreamtime team loves to get email. You can write us at

The Dreamtime top cats are Curly Lasagna and Shaggy Bear. Our announcers are the notorious honky-tonkin' sisters, Jailbait and Joyride.

Until next time, dream well.

Visit the Dreamtime Store

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blue Monday - Fats Domino

As Our Host noted, some feel Sunday is the beginning of the week, others feel it's Monday. The iconoclastic Dreamtime ranks Monday as the end of the week, or at least the end of our week of TRRH "Days of the Week" video countdown.

We wind up our week - which included Ruby Tuesday, Wednesday Week, Old Fashioned Morphine (and Thursday on a Friday), Friday on My Mind, The Heart of Saturday Night, and Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down with Fats Domino's more famous version of Smiley Lewis' Blue Monday.

Blue Monday, written by Dave Bartholomew, was recorded by Lewis in 19 and 54 and covered by Fats two years later, where it became a monster hit for the latter. Lewis always labored under the shadow of Domino, who recorded on the same label, Imperial, as Lewis. Dave Bartholomew once called Lewis the unluckiest man in the world, introducing songs that would later become hits for other artists, but never selling more than 100,000 copies of a single himself.

Sources: Limited Smiley Lewis discography; Tee Nah, Nah - The Story of Smiley Lewis.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

We open Sunday morning with the Kris Kristofferson classic, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, though not the original featured on TTRH "Days of the Week." Our video is a Johnny Cash/Kris Kristofferson duet of the song. Cash's version, which was known by the less colloquial title of Sunday Morning Coming Down, was a #1 Billboard single in October 19 and 70 - in fact, charted during this week 37 years ago from October 10 through the 17 before being knocked off the #1 slot by Tammy Wynette's Run, Woman, Run.

The original version of the song was recorded by Ray Stevens in 19 and 69 and became Stevens' first country chart hit. Cash also sang the song on his television show Johnny Cash and Friends, ignoring censor demands that he change the "wishing, Lord, that I was stoned," line to something more wholesome.

As Our Host noted, Kristofferson earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University (Merton College, Oxford) after previously attending Pomona College in California. Less well-known are the facts that Kristofferson appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" page on amateur athletics in 19 and 58 for his achievements in rugby, football, and boxing and that he was a Captain in the U.S. Army, eventually resigning his commission in order to pursue songwriting.

He moved to Nashville, took on a variety of janitorial odd-jobs and also worked as a commercial helicopter pilot while trying to break into the music business. In an interview, Kristofferson noted, "That was about the last three years before I started performing, before people started cutting my songs... I would work a week down here [in south Louisiana] sitting on an oil platform and flying helicopters. Then I'd go back to Nashville at the end of the week and spend a week up there trying to pitch the songs, then come back down and write songs for another week... I can remember 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' I wrote sitting on top of an oil platform. I wrote 'Bobby McGee' down here, and a lot of them [in south Louisiana]."

Kristofferson was working at the Columbia Studios in Nashville during Dylan's recording of Blonde on Blonde, but while Kristofferson witnessed several of the sessions, he had no interaction with Dylan, later recalling that he would have almost certainly been fired if he had dared approach Dylan.

A renaissance man, our Kris.

Source: Kris Kristofferson Wikipedia entry.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tom Waits - (Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night

Our Saturday song, still following in the steps of TTRH "Days of the Week" is Tom Waits' (Looking for) the Heart of Saturday Night. We're all grateful that Our Host has better taste than to pick something like Saturday Night's Alright (for Fightin').

I have a Tom Waits story for Dreamtime readers/listeners. My initial college career - such as it was, and it wasn't much - was interrupted by the draft in the early `70s, and consequently I started college several years later than most of my peers. I eventually graduated from the University of Southern Maine in the late `70s; then known as the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham, or sometimes as Pogo U., which may be why the name was changed by the College Fathers.

In any case, although I was less than full of school spirit, I did haphazardly participate in several activities and organizations, including the college paper; a group that put on cult films; and another group that brought music acts to the school. During that time I helped produce USM concerts for such `70s period acts as Loggins and Messina; Phoebe Snow; and Maria Muldaur.

Out of the dozen or so acts that I dealt with, Maria was one of the nicest, a fact that I'd remind her of when I interviewed her for a web site column I was writing earlier this year (the web site and I parted ways, but you can still read the interview here). Maria was still at the height of her Midnight at the Oasis fame in those days, and Tom Waits, who had just recently released his Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night album, was her opening act.

I didn't have all that much conversation with Waits, who I had never heard of at the time, and who seemed a strange, scruffy, boho-type character wearing a cheap Salvation Army suit and with not the best personal hygiene. Getting ready to go on, Waits decided he wanted to bring a beer on-stage. Some security guy stopped him, and I had to intercede when the argument began to get heated. While I had the rent-a-cop distracted, Waits hid several cans of beer in his suit jacket, walked out on stage, sat down at the piano, reached inside his jacket, pulled out a beer, popped the top, put it on the piano, turned to the backstage, and gave the security guard the finger. I spent the rest of Waits' set keeping the security guy from stopping the show.

When I told that story to Maria, thirty-odd years in the future, and mentioned that I remembered Waits had smelled a little, ah, ripe, she began to laugh. "My God," she said. "I haven't thought of that in years. You're right, Tom was pretty pungent. We were saying, 'My God, doesn't this guy ever bathe?'"

Friday, October 12, 2007

The EasyBeats - Friday on My Mind

Friday is on our mind here at Dreamtime, and we wind down the work week with another selection from the "Days of the Week" TTRH episode. This one is from 19 and 66, filmed in Australia, midway through the band's short career from 1964 though `69.

Inspired by the British Invasion and the Beatles, the EasyBeats were the most popular and successful pop band in Australia by the close of 1965. Their concerts were met by the same fan hysteria that greeted Beatle performances, and led to the coining of the term "Easyfever," a malady similar to Beatlemania.

The EasyBeat's 1966 hit, Friday On My Mind placed #1 on the Australian charts, #6 in the U.K., #16 in the USA, and made the Top 10 in Germany, Holland, France and Italy, eventually selling over 1 million copies worldwide.

Still paralleling the Beatles rise and decline, the band members began drifting apart in 1968, at odds with each other and their management, much of it due to their tangled financial situation. Although there was never an official breakup announcement, the band's last public performance was in 1969.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jolie Holland - Old Fashioned Morphine

We should continue our Days of the Week countdown a la Theme Time Radio Hour with Morphine's Thursday, of course, but we already played that last Friday. So here's Jolie Holland's Old Fashioned Morphine instead (Morphine and morphine, get it? Hah!), which Our Host had playing in the background as he summarized the drug in last week's Theme Time. Dreamtime thanks go to Picasso of Belgium at the Expecting Rain TTRH forums for that piece of information.

Holland has a refreshingly non-informative web site, my favorite part being the bio section, which like all but the front page is blank but has the meta-description, "Bio. We have killed the bio. It is dead."

Wikipedia notes of Holland that she is a Texas-born singer who was one of the founding members of The Be Good Tanyas. Tom Waits is reportedly a big fan of Holland, and you can hear why in this clip.

Old Fashioned Morphine, which may be Old Fashion Morphine (it's usually spelled the first way in most Web sources, but the Amazon track listing has the second spelling) is based on the spiritual and staple of the Salvation Army, Old Time Religion. The author of the original song is unknown, but probably African-American. It was first published in 1891 by Charles Tillman, a singing evangelist and music publisher, who said he heard it at an 1889 camp meet­ing in Lex­ing­ton, South Car­o­li­na.

Old Fashioned Morphine includes the lines:

It was good enough for Isabelle Eberhardt
It was good enough for Isabelle Eberhardt
It was good enough for Isabelle Eberhardt
It's good enough for me
"John" a commenter at The Deception of The Thrush blog, provides a nice summary of Eberhardt's life and times.
Isabelle Eberhardt was a Russian born explorer and Islamic scholar who was known for her so-called "eccentricities" - she preferred to dress and be addressed as a man (she bedded both genders with equal aplomb), had tremendous cachet among the Algerian Sufi community, and, so the story goes, was quite the fan of opioid derivatives in all shapes, sizes, colors, and combinations.

Among the many books she wrote, were her diaries, which Paul Bowles translated into English (as "The Nomad") whilst in Tangiers, presumably also while old buddy William "Billy" Burroughs was getting high and writing what would become "Naked Lunch" on napkins, matchbook covers and the backs of (forged) prescription pads. For Isabelle, however, death provided a strange epilogue in an already epic life, as she was found **drowned** in the middle of the desert, alone. She was only twenty-seven years old. Thankfully, (to Bowles, and others) her works survive and stay in print today and are a fascinating glimpse into one of the true adventurers from a rapidly fading cultural past.
John recommends Holland's album Esondida, which includes Old Fashioned Morphine, as do I.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Doing something that would be illegal or filthy is not in his repertoire"

A sometimes smarmy but generally right-on article by Washington Post staff writer Linton Weeks, passed on to Dreamtime by Joyride's shady boyfriend, Jailbreak.

Weeks can't resist the usual generalizations about Dylan which, if not used, would mean that the writer would actually have to think about what he was writing. But, that aside, some interesting stuff follows: Lee Abrams claims that the actual production of TTRH is as much a mystery to XM Radio as it is to the general public. I have no idea what the opaque Abrams quote, "Doing something that would be illegal or filthy is not in his repertoire" is meant to mean. It sounds as if it came directly from Mr. D. himself. Other members of the TTRH posse - including Penn Jillette and Peter Guralnick - also weigh in.

Full formatted article can be read at The Washington Post site, which also includes some TTRH clips, if there's any Dreamtime reader out there who isn't already listening to TTRH.


On XM Radio's 'Theme Time,' Freewheelin' Dylan Calls the Tune

By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 7, 2007; Page M03

Through the years, Bob Dylan's dealings with the public have been difficult.

Hear him live and he can be a mumbling and aloof musician -- as at his recent Merriweather Post Pavilion concert.

Riffle through interviews with Dylan on YouTube and you discover a contentious, pretentious artist who is laconic, distant, apparently indifferent to enunciation, pleasantries and other everyday social constructs.

But listen in on Dylan's weekly satellite show, "Theme Time Radio Hour" on XM Radio-- now in its second season -- and you discover quite a different Dylan. He's voluble, generous, articulate. He's liable to quote a poem, give tips on hanging drywall, pass along a recipe. In his show on baseball, he broke into "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- a cappella.

For nearly 50 years, besides being the voice of his particular generation (and maybe several others), Bob Dylan has been a musical rainmaker. He is a tireless performer, prodigious songwriter and now ardent professor and promoter of all kinds of songs. He has produced more than 30 studio collections. This month Columbia Records is releasing a three-CD retrospective of Dylan's Methuselahian career.

The one thing missing from the radio show, oddly enough, is Dylan's own music.

"With this show, Dylan is tapping into his deep love -- and I would say his belief in -- a musical world without borders," author Peter Guralnick writes in an e-mail. "I feel like the commentary often reflects the same surrealistic appreciation for the human comedy that suffuses his music." Guralnick has written several books about music, including biographies of Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke.

Tight-lipped about actual numbers, an XM spokeswoman will say that about 2 million listeners tune in to Dylan's show, which repeats through the week on several channels. Keen listener Elvis Costello says Dylan's shows "are a bit like those films of Picasso painting on glass. They don't pretend to explain anything about the host but they offer just a little glimpse of the musical -- and literary -- taste of a great singer and songwriter without obliging him to confess every dark secret."

A pitch for Dylan's show might be: Garrison Keillor meets Alan Lomax meets your weird friend who makes theme-oriented mix tapes in his downstairs rec room.

"Theme Time" is a "surreal hour of radio," comedian Richard Lewis writes in an email.

The show is not available on terrestrial radio, but Washington-based XM does offer free three-day trials on its Web site. The company says it has no plans to distribute the show on CD.

XM execs have nothing to do with the production of the show. As part of the contract, Dylan, 66, is given artistic freedom. The show is delivered, pretty much as a done deal, to the XM studio in New York. "Doing something that would be illegal or filthy is not in his repertoire," says Lee Abrams, XM's chief creative officer.

"The actual recording of it is a big mystery," says Abrams, who usually hears it for the first time when it airs.

Every show begins with a noir intro -- spoken sotto voce by whiskey-voiced Ellen Barkin -- such as this: "It's nighttime in the big city. A husband plots his escape route. The last train from Overbrook pulls into the station. It's 'Theme Time Radio Hour' with your host, Bob Dylan."

And for the next hour the listener is transported to Bobby's World. Each show is built around a theme and the music is a deep and multicultural trove of musical history. He plays tunes by a parade of musicians, such as the Andrews Sisters; Hank Williams Jr.; Darlene Love; Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; the Horace Silver Quintet; Bobby "Blue" Bland and the Washington-based Winstons.

"I don't mean in any way to diminish the importance of the quality music he plays," says magician and loyal listener Penn Jillette, "but Dylan's heart is so in this show that you hear Dylan even in other people's music."

Dylan tells lame jokes. "I just came back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport."

Coffee, he says, "is the common man's gold. And like gold, it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility." His voice is rich and dripping with irony.

We learn from Dylan that comedian Phil Silvers wrote "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" for Frank Sinatra to sing about his newborn daughter. That Elvis Presley wanted to be Dean Martin. That Voltaire drank 50 cups of coffee a day. That Bobby Darin took his stage name from a Chinese restaurant -- the Mandarin Duck. The first three letters of the sign were burned out, Dylan tells us.

He reads verse by "Def Poet" Henry Ward Beecher. He recites "Annabelle Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe. This is Dylan the performer, the informer. In one episode, he introduces us to new music: songwriters Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook and Ron Sexsmith. In another, he explains Hawaiian-style slack key guitar. And in still another he gives out a recipe for barbecue sauce.

In the first episode of this season, Dylan's theme is "Hello." Besides waxing etymological about where the word "hello" comes from, he plays songs of greeting: "Hello Mello Baby" by the Mardi Gras Loungers and "Hello Trouble" by Buck Owens.

"If you see trouble walking in, it's probably wearing very high heels and nylons," he says as he unspools a soliloquy on femmes fatales. One of his favorites: Lana Turner in "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

The uncorking of Dylan's wit and wordiness may have begun with a series of interviews Dylan did with his manager, Jeff Rosen, in 2000. The interviews were crafted into "No Direction Home," a 2005 documentary by Martin Scorsese. That same year, Dylan published Volume 1 of his planned three-volume autobiography. "Chronicles" is chatty and fact-filled. "Like his best songs," the Denver Post wrote of the book, "it's full of unexpected twists, turns and observations."

The radio show reveals an even more expansive Dylan. "Theme Time" listeners get the full monty of Dylan's satiric tone and slant wit, as he shares his musical tastes.

To writer and comedian Amy Sedaris, the magic of "Theme Time" is simple. "I like the way Bob Dylan talks. I like how he drags his words out. I like what he finds interesting."

Wednesday Week - The Undertones

As Our Host noted last Wednesday week, The Undertones were a favorite of BBC deejay, John Peel, who called their Teenage Kicks his favorite song. The band formed in 19 and 75, split up in 1983, reformed in 19 and 99 and are scheduled to release their second studio album, Dig Yourself Deep, next Tuesday, the 16th. Wednesday Week charted to #11 in the U.K. in 1980.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones

From a 1967 Ed Sullivan performance. We get to see Brian Jones on recorder, as well as the improbably-young surviving Stones in this one. According to Wikipedia, Keith Richards wrote the song for one of the Stones' groupies in a Los Angeles hotel room in early 1966.

"That's a wonderful song," Mick Jagger told Jann Wenner in 1995. "It's just a nice melody, really. And a lovely lyric. Neither of which I wrote, but I always enjoy singing it." Bill Wyman also notes in his Rolling with the Stones that the song was written by Keith Richards. However, Marianne Faithfull claims that the song was written by Brian Jones, and that Richards only added minor parts to it. Certainly, the recorder is a Jones' signature touch, but at this point in time the authorship is likely to remain unresolved.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Commercial Affiliations

"We've got time for an email now, before we get to the end of the week. Let's go to the email basket. This one comes from Jackie Vann from Manhattan. Jackie writes, 'Bob, I know that Sheryl Crow is a friend of yours, but what is your take on her using Buddy Holly's great Not Fade Away for a TV hair dye commercial? I felt the most awful, stinging disappointment when I first heard it. I felt betrayed by Crow, as I'm almost sure Buddy would have. He was such a stickler for controlling his own material. I can't imagine his liking this commercial adaptation.'

"Well Jackie, I have to disagree with you. When's the last time you heard Buddy Holly on the radio? There aren't a lot of shows like Theme Time Radio Hour. A lot of people get to hear commercials, and if it makes one person curious about either Buddy or Sheryl, I'm all for it. How many people never heard of Nick Drake until he was in a car commercial?

"A lot of musicians have always been proud to have commercial affiliation. Sonny Boy Williamson sold flour. I can't imagine Sonny Boy saying, 'My blues is too sacred. I wouldn't sell flour.' Jimmie Rodgers sold biscuits. Sheryl Crow sells hair dye. More power to her.

"And Jackie, have you ever seen a Victoria's Secret ad?" - Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour, "Days of the Week" episode.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Morphine - Thursday

A group that, as one YouTube commenter puts it, "makes you want to spend the entire day in a bar," and, incidentally, one of Jailbait's favorite bands. From their second album 1993s Cure for Pain.

As Our Host mentions, Sandman's primary instrument was a two-string bass guitar with both strings usually tuned to the same note and played with a slide. The minimalist group also included Dana Colley on a variety of saxes, and either Billy Conway or Jerome Deupree on various percussion instruments. Asked to describe their sound, the band coined the term "low rock."

If you like Thursday, you'll like Morphine and you should go search out their tragically small discography. I also especially recommend Sandman's great collaboration with the Either/Orchestra on their album The Half-Life of Desire, where he does such a sweltering version of the Bing Crosby chestnut, Temptation, that you'll be tempted to ship out on a tramp steamer for the South Seas.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Best Of Theme Time Radio Hour

Update: Isis now has a description of the CD set up at its site. As I suspected, the set does not include Dylan's intros or outros, and I also suspect is not being done in conjunction with XM Radio. The fact that they're using the World's Worst Picture of Dylan - as one commenter here noted it looks like a publicity shot for Alvin & the Chipmunks - is also probably indicative that this is being produced without Dylan's involvement.

Without Dylan's commentary, the set simply becomes an eclectic collection of music that has been played on TTRH. I don't think I can recommend it in good conscience, and have removed my Amazon links to the product. The TTRH completist might still want it, but caveat emptor and all that.

The writer at Isis still apparently hasn't grasped the fact that there were only 50 episodes of TTRH either.


From the Amazon product description ...


"On Wednesday May 3rd, 2006, 3 weeks before his 65th birthday, Bob Dylan's voice floated over the airwaves and into people's homes via the medium of radio.

Nothing unusual there of course, Bob's been on the radio for more than 45 years. But what was different this time was that Dylan was the host of the show; the DJ; the one playing the records by artists other than himself.

Over the year that followed Bob was back every week with a further choice of songs, hand picked from his own collection and covering virtually every genre ever invented. The shows were themed; the tracks each week were about the same topic; from Flowers to Cars, the Devil to Friends and Neighbors, Weddings to Divorce.

This 2CD set takes one track from each of the 52 [sic] shows that Dylan presented, and in doing so gives a fascinating glimpse into the tastes and passions of a man who himself has become a musical style all of his own. Produced in conjunction with Isis magazine - the world's biggest selling Dylan Journal."


We'll let it go that there were only 50 episodes in Season 1, not 52, which is why there are two songs from the Time and Hair episodes. The author also seems to be suffering from a slight case of echolia: "DJ" "one playing the records" and "theme" and "same topic" all meaning essentially the same thing. Link to Amazon.

Here's the Track List according to the Amazon/Germany store. I've done some editing/corrections:

1. Keep On The Sunny Side - The Carter Family (Weather)
2. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean - Ruth Brown (Mother)
3. Ain't Got No Money To Pay For This - George Zimmerman and the Thrills (Drinking)
4. The Ball Game - Sister Wynona Carr (Baseball)
5. Java Jive - The Ink Spots - (Coffee)
6. Send Me To The Lectric Chair - Bessie Smith (Jail)
7. Papas On The Housetop - Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell (Father)
8. Married Woman - Big Joe Turner (Wedding)
9. Alimony Blues - Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson & His Orchestra (Divorce)
10. Ice Cream Man - John Brim (Summer)
11. Tulip Or Turnip - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (Flowers)
12. No Money Down - Chuck Berry - (Cars)
13. Brother Can You Spare A Dime? - Bing Crosby (Rich Man, Poor Man)
14. Race With The Devil - Gene Vincent (The Devil)
15. Brown Eyed Handsome Man - Chuck Berry (Eyes)
16. Hound Dog - Freddie Bell And The Bellboys (Dogs)
17. Last Night - Little Walter - (Friends and Neighbors)
18. Disc Jockey Blues - Luke Jones And His Orchestra (Radio)
19. John The Revelator - Blind Willie Johnson (The Bible)
20. Louisiana - Percy Mayfield (Musical Map)
21. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Sonny Boy Williamson II (School)
22. Telephone Is Ringing - Pee Wee Crayton (Telephone)
23. Jesus Gave Me Water - The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi (Water)
24. All The Time - Sleepy LaBeef (Time)
25. Midnight Hour -Clarence Gatemouth Brown (Time)
26. Pistol Packin Mama - Al Dexter & His Troopers (Guns)

Disc 2
27. I Put A Spell On You - Screamin Jay Hawkins (Halloween)
28. When You Dance - The Turbans (Dance)
29. When Its Sleepy Time Down South - Louis Armstrong (Sleep)
30. Matzoh Balls - Slim Gaillard (Food)
31. Let Me Play With Your Poodle - Tampa Red & Big Maceo (Thanksgiving Leftovers)
32. Tennessee - Carl Perkins (Tennessee)
33. Blue Moon Of Kentucky - (Moon)
34. Five Long Years - Eddie Boyd - (Countdown)
35. Christmas Is A-Comin' (Chicken Crows At Midnight) Leadbelly (Christmas/New Year)
36. Zindy Lou - The Chimes -(Women's Names)
37. Don't Touch My Head - JB Lenoir (Hair)
38. Dont Mess With My Ducktail - Joe Clay (Hair)
39. (Everytime I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone -Roy Montrell (Musical Instruments)
40. Alright, Okay You Win - Buddy & Ella Johnson (Luck)
41. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams Sr. (Tears)
42. Lose Your Blues And Laugh At Life - Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys (Laughter)
43. Good Morning Heartache - Billie Holiday (Heart)
44. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins (Shoes)
45. Deep Purple - The Ravens - (Colors)
46. Blue Yodel 1 (T For Texas) - Bob Downen (Texas)
47. Mystery Train - Little Junior Park (Trains)
48. This Train - Sister Rosetta Tharpe (More Trains)
49. Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Frankie Lane (Fools)
50. Take The A Train - Duke Ellington (New York)
51. Taxes Taxes - Hank Penny (Taxes)
52. Richest Guy In The Graveyard - Dinah Washington (Spring Cleaning)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


An email and gift from Dreamtime regular, Carol...
"I do love checking in on your site! It's gggrrreeaaattt!!" - Carol
Thanks, Carol, and thanks for the image!