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Thursday, October 30, 2008

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

We did have a new Halloween show scheduled, o gentle readers/listeners, but other things got in the way, as they have for the past month or so.

But, what's good enough for Mr. D. and Eddie G. is good enough for Dreamtime too, and so we present our first ever re-run.  From October, 2007,  Episode 44 - The 1st 2nd Annual Dreamtime Halloween Show.

We're hoping things will steady down in the next few weeks and we can get the Dreamtime podcast back on a regular schedule. But in the meantime, enjoy this ah, classic, encore presentation, and have a spooky and safe Halloween. ~ fhb 

Direct link to mp3.

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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?

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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Preview of "War" Episode at Rolling Stone

The online version of Brian Braiker's Rolling Stone article on the return of Theme Time Radio Hour now includes a streaming 30-minute clip of the reportedly 90-minute War episode, targeted for official airing on November 19th.  The link is:

I haven't listened to the excerpt.  I'd rather wait for the official release and listen to the show complete. And given that the Money episodes coincided with a worldwide financial meltdown, I'm a little nervous about the War show already.

The page also contains about 20 minutes of selections from the first  Money episode.

"Maybe I Didn't Write You, But I Found You." ~ Hoagy Carmichael

“One of the most famous songs Hoagy ever wrote was Stardust, and like many songwriters, he wasn’t sure where it really came from. This is what he had to say, the first time he heard a recording of Stardust: ‘And then it happened, that queer sensation that this melody was bigger than me. Maybe I hadn’t written it at all. The recollection of how, when, and where it all happened became vague as the lingering strains hung in the rafters of the studio. I wanted to shout back at it, maybe I didn’t write you, but I found you’…

I know just what he meant.” ~ Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour, Young & Old

Saturday, October 25, 2008

She's My Witch - Kip Tyler & the Flips

One of our favorite discoveries, Kip Tyler's She's My Witch was featured on Dreamtime's 2007 Halloween special, generating more emails than all the other songs put together.

Chacun à son goût is the Dreamtime motto.

I've read claims that She's My Witch is a rewrite of Johnny Horton's Lover's Rock, and while there are certainly similarities between the two songs, I'm not so sure there's a direct connection, but you can decide for yourself. Below is Johnny Horton's Lover's Rock for your edification and enjoyment.

Kip and the Flips were the undisputed champs of the El Monte Legion Stadium Saturday night dances, which in the `50s meant that they were the undisputed champs of the Los Angeles rock scene. Tyler started off as the lead singer of "The Sleepwalkers," who not only had the reputation of being their high school's best rock n' roll band, but also of being the school's toughest band. The Sleepwalkers eventually merged with an equally tough band from Fairfax High School, forming an early version of the Flips.

In 1957, Kip found himself doing a strange impersonation, posing as a non-existent rock-n'-roll bandleader named Jimmy Daley.  Daley had been the lead character in a 19 and 56 exploitation movie titled Rock, Pretty Baby.  But the actor playing Daley, John Saxon, couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, so the producers hired various singers to do the songs in the movie while Saxon lip-synched.

Rock, Pretty Baby became a minor hit with the bubblegum and pony tail set, and the money behind the movie wanted to cash in on "Jimmy Daley's" rise to fame.  Of course, the problem was that there wasn't any Jimmy Daley, at least one who could sing.

What to do? Decca Records started hunting around for a good - but not good enough to be well-known - rock-n'-roller who could be Jimmy Daley. And that rock-n'-roller would turn out to be Kip Tyler.  Kip released two singles under the name "Jimmy Daley and The Ding-A-Lings" for Decca, although "Kip Tyler" was credited for the vocals in the fine print.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Strangeloves/Not The Strangeloves

Mr.D. played the Strangeloves' Night Time in the recent Night episode, giving a nod to the band's strange history in the process. As Our Host mentioned, the band members claimed to be Australian sheepherders, plucked from the Outback and trying to make their way as strangers in a strange land (I got a million of `em folks) after inventing a new method of breeding. Sheep, that is. Take your mind out of the gutter, please.

In reality, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer were U.S. songwriters/producers, who hit it big with the Angels' 19 and 63 mega-hit, My Boyfriend's Back. The arrival of the Beatles on U.S. shores in `64 got the three to thinking - why couldn't they create a pop group from Someplace Else too? So, they adopted phony accents, put on some weird attire - weird for 19 and 64, at least - appropriated the title from a Stanley Kubrick movie as their name, held a couple of press conferences... and the Strangeloves were born.

No one ever really bought into their strange back-story, but the Strangeloves' music was good enough that it didn't really matter.

I Want Candy went to #11 on the charts in 19 and 65. The younger generation probably better knows the 19 and 82 cover of I Want Candy cut by the Malcolm McLaren manufactured band, Bow Wow Wow, a New Wave group best-remembered these days for its 15-year-old girl singer's habit of appearing buck-nekkid on album covers.

But Dreamtime digresses.

I Want Candy turned into something of a two-edged sword for the Strangeloves. On the one hand, they had their first hit single. On the other hand, they now needed to tour to capitalize on their hit, and like Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, the Strangeloves existed only in the studio as session musicians. Feldman, Goldstein, and Gotteher first tried their hands as the touring Strangeloves, but that didn't work out, since they sounded nothing like the studio Strangeloves. So, they went back to New York and recruited four of the musicians who had worked the Strangelove sessions, and that's who we see here, the second of what would be three different Strangeloves touring groups, which still don't sound much like the studio Strangeloves.

One last story about the Strangeloves. When Feldman, Goldstein, and Gotteher were out touring in their first incarnation of the Strangeloves, they met up with a young singer named Rick Zehringer. The three producers took a shine to the 16-year-old Zehringer, and recruited him and his group, who they renamed The McCoys, to lay down vocals and some additional guitar work on a track the Strangeloves had recorded but not yet released. That song was Hang on Sloopy, and it would be a hit for the McCoys and the man who would later become known as Rick Derringer.

Life is strange.

Not satisfied with just one name, the trio also recorded as the Sheep, possibly in an attempt to keep the Aussie connection going. Goldstein and Feldman had a multitude of recording aliases, releasing songs as the Kittens, as Rome And Paris, as Bobby And the Beaus, and as Ezra And The Iveys. You could literally fill a shelf with the output of Messers. FG&G in their various guises and never know you were listening to the same band.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Too Hot To Hoot - "Weird Al" Yankovic

One of the nice things about doing Dreamtime is the interaction between me and my reader/listeners. An anonymous commenter recently noted:
I will admit that, after listening to several bootlegged TTRHs, I was considering XM... but it wasn't until they did an Artist Confidential with "Weird Al" Yankovic that I actually bought a radio and subscribed. So now I have TTRH too. And hey, Dylan has mentioned Weird Al (imagining the differences between Al's high school valedictorian speech and that of a future Chief Justice) and Al has done a fine Dylanesque homage, entirely in palindromes, called "Bob." So they're not entirely unconnected. :)
Now, I have to admit that I'm not all that much of a fan of "Weird Al." Nothing against the man. I just think most music spoofs fall into the "funny-once" category, to borrow a line from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. So, I had missed Yankovic's very funny take on Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues video, done in rhyming palindromes, from back in 2006. Thank you, Anon. for pointing it out and providing me with an entertaining couple of minutes this morning. I needed it.

Anon. also notes that Mr. D. name-checked Al, I believe back in the School episode, comparing the Weird One to William Rehnquist: “I wonder if William Rehnquist gave the same type of [valedictorian] speech as Weird Al. Somehow I doubt it.”

Me too. According to a recent Wired article on Weird Al his valedictory speech was, "... a rant about how the polar ice caps are going to melt and drown us all. It was this crazed Howard Beale kind of thing. People were freaked out."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Presence is Obnoxious to Me

Not directed to you, o gentle Dreamtime reader, but a line from Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, as you probably already know, as is the penultimate line of the song's last stanza: "I've had too much of your company."

Scott Warmuth, an Albuquerque-based deejay, who first broke the news of Dylan's borrowing various lines from the poet laureate of the Confederacy, Henry Timrod, puts forth another interesting discovery . Those two lines from Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum might have originated with a minstrel show skit written in 1856, Box and Cox: In One Act.

Box and Cox, sometimes Cox and Box, were the well-known protagonists of several Victorian-era farces, eventually becoming a popular comic opera, which is still occasionally performed today.  All the Box and Cox comedies center around the same theme: Messrs. B & C are renting the same room, unbeknownst to the other, as Box works during the day and Cox at night. Eventually they discover each other's presence... and hilarity ensues.

In 1856 Edwin Byron Christy adapted Box and Cox to a blackface routine, eventually publishing it under the lengthy title, Box and Cox in One Act, Africanized Expressly for George Christy. The key word of course being "africanized." An example of the "africanization" is the line that Dylan may have adapted for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. "...So if you's no dejections, I'll just remark dat your presence is obnoxious to me."

Sharing the same famous last name and father, Edwin and George were half-brothers and part of the Christy's Minstrels blackface troupe. George would eventually take over the show when E.P. Christy retired.

As I remarked back in Episode 40: A Ghost in Blackface, Bob Dylan's thoughts on minstrel shows and blackface are unknown. But given the fact that he named "Love and Theft" after a book about the history of minstrel shows, it's pretty obvious that he does have some thoughts on the subject. And then there's Masked and Anonymous. In the movie, Dylan - as the character Jack Fate - receives a visitation from his predecessor, a blackface minstrel.

"Do you know me?" he asks.

"You look familiar," Dylan replies.

Carol Was Right

Bob: This is Theme Time Radio Hour. We're talking about money. Let's go to the phones. Hello, caller, you're on the air.
Carol: Hi Bob!
Bob: Hello to you. Where are you calling from?
Carol: Carbondale, Illinois.
Bob: And what's your name?
Carol: Carol Clark.
Bob: Well, Carol, what can I do for ya?
Carol: Well, I heard last week's "Money" show, and I really enjoyed it.
Bob: Hey, thanks a lot! We work hard on `em.
Carol: It shows! I heard you were doing another one this week, and I was wondering whether I could make a request.
Bob: Sure, what do you wanna hear?
Carol: Can you play the Beatles' song, "Money Can Buy Me Love"?
Bob: Carol, I think it's "Money Can't Buy Me Love".
Carol: No, no. It's "Can Buy Me Love." I used to have the record, I know.
Bob: Look, Carol. It's "Money. Can't. Buy. Me. Love."
Carol: I know you're Mister `60s, but I have the record. It's "Can Buy Me Love."
Bob: Alright, Carol, we'll look for it. Keep listening.
Carol: Thanks, Bob!
Bob: (sighs). You can't help some people. Well, Carol, if you're still listening, money can not buy you happiness, but it can give you more places to look. We're still looking for that song, but in the meantime...

... Later in the show...

Bob: The thing that Carol said is still gnawing at me. I mean, I've heard lots of songs that say money can't buy ya happiness, and I've never heard one that says that it can. Well, here's another song, this one from 19 and 44, guy named Tiny Grimes, who actually once told me that "money isn't the key to happiness, but if you have enough, you can have a key made..."

... And still later in the show...

Bob: We spent so much time talking about money, I want to leave you with the words of someone who has an opposing opinion. He's a smart guy. He was smart about bees, relativity, and he's smart about this. I'm talking about Albert Einstein, and he said: "I'm absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can keep humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker. The example of great pure, individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi armed with the moneybags of Carnegie?"

Are ya listening, Carol?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Need Theme Time Radio Hour In Your Life

Dreamtime pal Doug R. writes an impassioned sermon himself on the benefits of TTRH in your life, which we wholly subscribe to. I'm not quite certain of the mechanics of Facebook - dunno if you need to be a member in order to read Doug's full post - but I'm replicating it here with Doug's permission:

Season Three of Theme Time Radio Hour begins today. Featuring your host, Bob Dylan.

You need Theme Time Radio Hour in your life.

I'm serious. I am an evangelist in the church of Theme Time Radio Hour. In the last couple of years, Bob has thoroughly revitalized my love of music.

Every week, Bob Dylan culls his personal record collection, chooses a theme and spins an hour's worth of records devoted to that theme. Songs about shoes. Songs about trains. Songs about guys named Joe. The genres are all over the map. Blues, country, soul, showtunes, reggae... I come away from every show with a new favorite song.

And Bob is a brilliant DJ. He shares recipes and cleaning tips, tells jokes, and occasionally delivers impassioned sermons on how to live right.

Have I mentioned that you need Theme Time Radio Hour as a regular part of your life?

Bob and his people seem very loose about the show's being bootlegged. Which is good, because I can't afford satellite radio.

This guy, Patrick Crosley - - hosts a blog where he posts a lot of music, and usually posts a copy of the newest Theme Time within a day or two of air date.

I'm also going to put in a plug for the Dreamtime podcast.

Fred Bals does a show wherein he will take an artist or phenomenon offhandedly mentioned by Bob, and weave a whole show around it. Fred's an engaging writer and storyteller, in addition to having an encyclopedic pop culture knowledge that I envy deeply. I've picked up almost as many favorite songs from Fred as I have from Bob. The difference being, Fred's my Facebook friend. Hi, Fred.

The meaningful part of the baseball season may be over. The days may be getting shorter. But I don't care. There's less space on my iPod, and more songs in my heart. It's a new season of Theme Time Radio Hour. And I'm trying to convert you. Give it a listen.
And "Hi, Doug," and thanks for the plug!

I just want to add that I fully sympathize with not being able to afford things like satellite radio. Dreamtime has a lot of student listeners who are on a tight budget too, and without torrents and sites like Croz's they'd be out of luck.

As I noted in my F.A.Q., the liklihood of ever seeing a commercial release of The Compleat Theme Time Radio Hour recedes with each new show, and it certainly deserves some permanency, albeit gray market permanency. Having said that, I do want to add that if you're in a position to support Sirius XM Radio by subscribing, whether to the satellite or internet feed, you should, even if you get the show from other sources or not. According to reports, shares in the merged company have dropped over 65 percent since July, and the current market environment is very probably going to devastate financially weak companies. While TTRH isn't likely to disappear, its home base very well could. And that would be bad news for us all.

Farewell to the Gold

The TTRH research staff seems to have plucked Mr. D.'s commentary on Paul Metsers' Farewell to the Gold, sung in Money: Part 1 by Nic Jones, direct from the New Zealand Folk song site. The page is well worth the read, with the somewhat prickly author - he chastises both Dylan and Nic Jones himself for "mangling the song's lyrics" - supplying a wealth of information. The site quotes a letter from Metsers' which reads in full:

"I'm afraid there is no mystery source for the song, no distant broadside or doggerel from which it gained its inspiration. It's all out of my head as it happens.

Even back then, when I wrote it in 1969, I think it was, I had been writing songs for at least 5 years. It's what we do, we songwriters - put ourselves into the subject and imagine we're in the story

I was teaching the Form 2 Music Class at Hutt Intermediate school at the time and had taken them all on a trip down the West Coast of the South Island. We'd been over Arthurs Pass and Cardrona and down to the Shotover River and visited some old gold workings down that way. The kids had panned some gold and the whole thing had fired everyone's imagination.

I went home to my folk's place in Gisborne for the Xmas holidays with this really strong melodic idea and the basis of a chorus buzzing round in my head.

Then, I don't know where from, I got hold of a pictorial history of gold mining, a small but fascinating book called "The Goldfields of Central Otago", I think. When I read of the tragic flash flood of July in 1863, I knew I had the basis of a story.

So I invented a young man who teams up with an equally imaginary experienced old prospector whom I called Jimmy Williams with dreams of riches to come. Jimmy is lost to the sudden waters while the younster survives to tell the tale. That's it!

As far as cover versions go, Nic Jones' version on his "Penguin Eggs" album is by far the best known and the only one to have earned me anything. I've never received any royalties from Mary Black.

Well, I hope that's answered all your queries - I'd be interested in your reaction to it all. All the best, Paul Metsers."
The book Metsers (and Mr. D.) refer to may be, Relics of the goldfields: Central Otago by a Tom Field, which fits Metsers description of a "small, pictorial history," but the 1976 publication date is almost a decade too late if Metser wrote the song in 1969. One of life's little mysteries.

Interestingly, Dylan once covered Farewell to the Gold in a 1992 live performance, the audio of which you can find on YouTube.  And, in the obsessive world of Dylanology, there is another Nic Jones/Bob Dylan connection, with a small group of critics claiming that Dylan "stole" Jones' arrangement of the traditional Canadee-i-o for his own version on Good As I Been To You.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How Can I Say, "Amigo Hombre"?

It's a good thing Theme Time Radio Hour has an international listening audience, or we'd miss half the jokes.  Thanks to Carolina over at the Expecting Rain TTRH Forums for providing the following translation of Mr. D.'s phone conversation - in Spanish - in Money: Part 1.

Antonio: Hello, Bob! I'm Antonio Hernandes and I'm speaking from Guadalajara, Mexico!
Bob: Okay, Antonio, what can I do for you?
Antonio: I'm going to the United States and I want to know how many pesos is one dollar?
Bob: Well, Antonio, usually 10 pesos to one dollar.
Antonio: So It's like 500 pesos to 50 dollars... No?
Bob: Yes, yes, of course!
Antonio: Very well.

Bob: [Carolina hears the following as "Ola! que todo está bien" (Literally: "Hello, everything is all right.").  Trevor notes in the comments that he hears Bob saying "Ojalá que todo está bien", which translates to something like "Hopefully everything is all right," or "I hope everything is fine," which still seems like a non sequitur, but at least Bob isn't saying "Hello" midway through the conversation.  In either case, Bob may have gone to the wrong page in his phrase book. :-)]

Antonio: Thanks a lot.
Bob: Thanks for calling!
Antonio: Bob! Can you do me a favor? Can you play ... how can I say... "Amigo Hombre"?
Bob: Amigo Hombre? You mean Buddy Guy?
Antonio: Yes, yes! Buddy Guy!
Bob: Okay, Antonio, here he is. Buddy Guy, "Amigo Hombre."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Long Wait Is Over

The Birds Are Singing.  The Leaves Are Changing. 
And Season Three Of Theme Time Radio Hour Has Officially Begun. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

And Even More Season 3 Themes

A brief article in the current issue of Rolling Stone (October 16, 2008, Page 16) relates that some of the themes for Season 3 include the already-noted "War," plus "Sugar," "Carnivals," and "Furniture," as well as tomorrow's (and presumably next week's) "Money."  According to writer Brian Braiker, the November 19th "War" episode will be 90 minutes, which would be a first for TTRH.

Braiker provides an abbreviated set-list for tomorrow's "Money: Part 1," as well as Dylan's opening welcome monologue, but why spoil it for my readers? Tomorrow will come soon enough.

Braiker, incidentally, interviewed me for his article a couple of weeks back, but the content of our half-hour phone conversation apparently ended up on the cutting room floor, although he does mention - with no credit - my theory that the roots of TTRH may lead back to Woody Guthrie's Back Where I Come From radio show .

(sigh) Such is the life of the TTRH True Fan - toiling uncredited, unloved, unthanked, and most of all, unpaid in the dusty vineyard of Theme Time Radio Hour research.  I do it for you O Gentle Reader.  Never forget that.

Season 3 To Include "Money," "War," "Presidents," "Cats," and "Famous People"

via PR Newswire...

Bob Dylan's weekly radio program will air on Deep Tracks XM channel 40 on Wednesdays at 10:00 am (ET), The Village XM channel 15 at 12:00 pm (ET) and all day every Wednesday on XMX XM channel 2, the channel showcasing XM's most popular and critically-acclaimed original music shows all in one place.

Themes on season three of "Theme Time Radio Hour" will include "Money," "War," "Presidents," "Cats" and "Famous People."

"Theme Time Radio Hour," an hour-long radio program hosted by Bob Dylan, has been described as "revelatory" by Rolling Stone magazine. Each episode features an eclectic mix of songs, from a wide variety of musical genres, related to that week's theme with Dylan's on-air thoughts and commentary interspersed with phone calls, email readings, contributions from special guests and an array of classic radio IDs, jingles and promos from the past.

"To listen to 'Theme Time Radio Hour' is to rediscover the sense of musical adventure that old-fashioned disc jockeys with strongly individual personalities offered in the days before big-money stations pinned their fiscal hopes to the rigid Top 40-style playlists that took the fun out of radio," observed Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal.
Well, maybe. We're still waiting for "Something," "Nothing," "Fruit," and "Streets" from Season 2. Interesting we're having another "Presidents" theme. November 5th, you think?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Getting ready for Season 3 - Money Part 1

Caroline and Kait, co-directors of The Annotated Theme Time Radio Hour , note in an email...

We'll be up and running with new TTRH annotations starting next week, and are working to get the ["Heat" episode from Season 2 annotated]. Thanks for checking in!!
And a report over at the Expecting Rain TTRH forums brings us the news that the kick-off show for Season 3 will be "Money: Part 1." Given the times, that theme will be highly appropriate. Thanks to Lotusia for the tip and CS Neilsen for the confirmation!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Somewhat Official XM Radio Announcement of Season 3 of Theme Time Radio Hour

Taken from the XMX page on the XM Site  today, October 1st, 10:00 ET:

"...A new season of Bob Dylan's exclusive series begins next week, with more of his own brand of radio with dreams, themes, and schemes. Today, hear two shows from the first two seasons of Theme Time, this time about Luck and Dreams...."
Very confusing, this hiding of the light of Season 3 under the virtual bushel basket.  No press releases.  No articles.  No nothing. If it wasn't for Dreamtime, there'd be no publicity for Season 3 at all. Is XM waiting to ride on the coat tails of next week's buzz for Tell Tale Signs?  Are they pissed that NPR got to stream the CD set and not them?  Without Lee Abrams beating the drum about Mr. D and TTRH does anyone at Sirius or XM Radio still care?

Thanks to the folks at All Along the Watchtower for the lead