Web Dreamtime
SiteSearch Google

Saturday, May 31, 2008

42 Views of Harlem - Earle Hagen 1919-2008

Composer Earle Hagen passed away this past Monday at age 88. As with our comment about photographer David Gahr, who also passed away this week, you're almost certainly familiar with Hagen's work if not his name: Among other pieces, Hagen composed the themes for That Girl; The Dick Van Dyke Show; I Spy; and The Mod Squad. His best-known TV piece is undoubtedly the theme from The Andy Griffith Show. From his obituary in the LA Times:

In his autobiography, "Memoirs of a Famous Composer -- Nobody Ever Heard Of," Hagen wrote that while sitting at home "wracking my brain for an idea for a theme for the Griffith show, it finally occurred to me that it should be something simple, something you could whistle. With that in mind, it took me about an hour to write the Andy Griffith theme."
Hagen was also the composer of the moody and noirish Harlem Nocturne, a jazz and big band staple that has been covered at least 500 times, according to WFMU's Beware of the Blog. WFMU offers 42 versions of Hagen's classic as a tribute, including interpretations by TTRH favorites Johnny Otis; Illinois Jacquet; Louis Prima; and Boots Randolph. Recommended is Mel Torme's silky take on the seldom-heard lyrics.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Blackface Then and Now - Greil Marcus

A March 2008 hour-long+ lecture from U.C. Berkeley. From the description:

"Somebody has to black hisself / For somebody else to stay white." So wrote Melvin B. Tolson in the 1930s in A Gallery of Harlem Portraits. Though we may think of blackface performance as a relic of the past ("I saw one of the last blackface minstrel shows," Bob Dylan writes of his boyhood in Hibbing, Minnesota, in the early fifties), cultural critic Greil Marcus will take up the persistence of blackface in contemporary culture, as bad conscience, yearning dream, and indecipherable joke.
If you're not a fan of watching lengthy videos on your computer (I'm not), the U.C. Berkeley site has the audio available as a downloadable podcast. There are also various tools available to download YouTube videos and convert them into a format that can be watched on a video iPod.

David Gahr 1922-2008

You might not recognize the name, but you know the work. As Henry Sapoznik notes in his tribute below, "It is impossible to think about America's popular and folk music of the last half century without having a Dave Gahr picture in your mind." via Club 47: The Richard & Mimi Farina Discussion Group...

"Pioneering folk music photographer, irascible wag, and all around mentsh, David Gahr died yesterday in his Brooklyn, New York home after several months of steadily deteriorating health. He was 86. Gahr was one of the first photographers to document the burgeoning folk music scene in the 1960s with work regularly appearing on album covers, in music magazines, documentary films and books. (His 1968 anthology "The Face of Folk Music" -- with essays by Robert Shelton -- is a stunning panorama of over 500 photos of the who's who of American folk music still unmatched in its scope.) His photo sessions -- a seamless stream of high voltage shouted profanity with teeth clenched around his ubiquitous cigar -- consistently produced lyrical and insightfully breathtaking portraits. David's fearless disdain of the physical distance between himself and his many, many subjects -- Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Mississippi John Hurt, the New Lost City Ramblers, Bruce Springsteen, Roscoe Halcomb, Miles Davis, John Lennon, Eck Robertson, Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe, (oh, yes: and me, too) just to name a very few -- coupled with his brilliant use of natural light produced pictures of powerful nuance and intimacy whether posed or candid. It is impossible to think about America's popular and folk music of the last half century without having a Dave Gahr picture in your mind." --Henry Sapoznik

Saturday, May 17, 2008

American Eagle to host Summer Music Festival featuring Bob Dylan

Dreamtime has been around long enough that we're on an eclectic list of sites that PR firms send their puffery to (my favorites are the wine/booze press releases, thanks to our link from our friend at The Pour). The following doesn't have anything to do with Theme Time Radio Hour, except for Mr. D., of course. But, what the heck. We're in the slow season, and any news is good news. So, from Christina at The Advance Guard...

Just stopping by to share some news. American Eagle, who I'm so excited to be working with, is hosting it's first music festival featuring an eclectic mix of big artists, including Bob Dylan.

We'd love for you to share this, if you feel it is something your community would be interested in.

That said let me get to the details...... a two-day summer music festival that American Eagle Outfitters is putting on in Pittsburgh on August 8th and 9th. The New American Music Union festival combines some of the most innovative and popular artists with fifteen of the country's best college bands and will be hosted by host Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The line up includes Bob Dylan and His Band, The Raconteurs, The Roots, Spoon and more.

The New American Music Union will take place in Pittsburgh's historic SouthSide Works, which was home to glass factories, steel and iron mills in the 1800s. Today, the area features an eclectic mix of residential neighborhoods, restaurants, shops and businesses, including the headquarters of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

The college band performances will be judged by music industry influencers, journalists and fellow musicians. The winning college band will receive a full-day recording session in a top Los Angeles studio valued at $10,000. American Eagle will support the winning college band by promoting its recording on and in AE stores across the country.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 16th and you can find all the details, complete band line up and the latest information at

Social Media Press Release

Full Press Release

Monday, May 05, 2008

Inside the Folk Den

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm a fan of Roger McGuinn's Folk Den, a personal project he's undertaken since 1995 to keep the folk legacy alive. McGuinn records a folk song per month and offers them as free downloads via his site.

Here's an eight-minute video on the making of a Folk Den session...

If you like that one, check out McGuinn's other videos for the site: "Roger Rocks on Rails," "Mr. Tambourine Man," and "How a Childhood Gift Changed Music History." There's also an hour-long audio interview with Roger on the site. All well worth checking out.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Eddie & Coco and News on Season 3

A very interesting email from Dreamtime listener, Richard...

"So I was at Amoeba Records in Hollywood last Sunday and was thumbing through the Porter Wagoner section to see if they had the new Bear Family 3 CD set of his concept albums. Guy next to me sees what I'm doing and asks if I'm looking for the Bear Family set too.

I turn to tell him I am and its Eddie G (I recognized him from the DVD with the Ricky Jay Plays Poker set). I ask him if he's Eddie G, tell him how I know him and we start talking. Very nice guy.

He introduces me to his wife, Coco [Shinomiya]. He asks me what I'm buying today (Carlene Carter and Jim Lauderdale) and shows me his stash for the day (Carlene Carter, some blues comps, some Tex-Mex, etc) .

Also tells me that he just spoke to Elvis Costello yesterday. Carlene opened for E.C. at a show in Nashville and put on, according to Elvis, a dynamite set. I tell him how much I like the Dylan show. He tells me that he's very proud of that show and that they're working now on shows for the fall. We didn't get into specifics but he says he thinks the third season will be the best yet..."
A little research indicated that Coco, who gets name-checked on the closing credits of TTRH, is indeed married to Eddie G. A "Coco Grimes Gorodetsky" wife to an "Eddie Gorodetsky" was a character in an episode of Six Feet Under, written by Scott Buck, who's a good friend of Eddie G.

So, it also does look we're waiting till the Fall for the next round of Theme Time. Scribble, scribble, scribble, please, Mr. G.

View Larger Map

Friday, May 02, 2008

If You Like Dreamtime (like I like Dreamtime)...

... oh, oh, oh what a podcast!

Sorry, it's a Friday.

Several recent emails to Dreamtime have all had a common theme: What podcasts do I listen to, or if you like Dreamtime, what else would I recommend? So, in no particular order...

  • Roger McGuinn's Folk Den - Each month Roger McGuinn records a traditional folk song, prints the lyrics and chords, adds a note about the music, and posts it up on the Folk Den. He's been doing it since 1995. The Folk Den podcast is also available through iTunes. That's it. It's great. Go check it out. If you like what you hear, McGuinn has a high-quality 4-CD set of The Folk Den Project collecting all the music he's recorded.

    McGuinn, the ex-Byrd, also has a very good Web site, and, being something of a techie (bet you didn't know that), even regularly Twitters. And, he's a Dreamtime follower. What's not to like about the man?

  • Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour - Shows can be downloaded here, or the podcast is available through iTunes. Grassroots, Americana music. folk, bluegrass. Recent shows have featured Kathy Mattea; The Blind Boys of Alabama; Larry Campbell; Jean Ritchie.

  • The Bob Dylan podcast (also available in iTunes) - Released to promote the Dylan anthology, the podcast ended in February, 2008 with its 19th episode. You'll probably not learn anything new in this overview of Dylan's career, which includes interviews with friends, journalists, and critics, but still worth a listen. Patti Smith does the narration through most of the series, and took a lot of criticism for her monotone delivery. Personally, I like Smith's voice. but chacun à son goût, baby.

  • Sadly, one of my favorite podcasts, and a lot like Dreamtime, ended back in 2006. That's "Down in the Flood," and you can find the 12 episodes produced at

    Between the title and URL, you can tell a Dylan fan is going to like this. Shows covered everything from Pop Staples to R.H. Harris to Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Bob Dylan himself. It's interesting to see how much Dreamtime has paralleled Down in the Flood, given that I didn't even know it existed until 2007. I was surprised that Jason Chervokas didn't revive DitF when TTRH started up, but the answer probably lies here.

  • Destinyland - It's gone from iTunes, it's Home Page is in the aether, but if you look hard enough, you can still find the Destinyland podcast, because nothing ever fully disappears on these here InterWebs. But, I'd go get it soon. If you like Old Weird America stories, give this one a try. The seven shows cover everything from Blossom Dearie to the Little Rascals to Rin-Tin-Tin. Another one I miss and wish would come back.
Have your own favorites? Leave a comment or send me email and clue us in, and I'll do a follow-up post, or, who knows? Maybe a whole Dreamtime show on the subject.