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Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Peek at the Friends & Neighbors Disc

Amazon recently updated the images on their Together Through Life "deluxe edition" page, giving us a glimpse of what the bonus CD of the "Friends & Neighbors" TTRH episode exterior/interior will look like. There's been some speculation that the CD might contain only music from the show, but I think it's safe to say that, like the "Baseball" episode, this will be the full show, with Our Host's commentary included.

"Friends & Neighbors" was the 17th episode of Season 1 of Theme Time Radio Hour, originally airing on August 23, 2006. Its playlist includes:

Howdy Neighbor - Porter Wagoner & The Wagonmasters
Don't Take Everybody To Be Your Friend - Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend - T-Bone Burnett
La Valse d'Amitie - Doc Guidry
Make Friends - Moon Mullican
My Next Door Neighbor - Jerry McCain
Let's Invite Them Over - George Jones & Melba Montgomery
My Friends - Howlin' Wolf
Last Night - Little Walter
You've Got a Friend - Carole King
Bad Neighborhood - Ronnie & The Delinquents
Neighbors - The Rolling Stones
Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals - Hank Williams
Why Can't We Be Friends? - War

While it wouldn't be my first choice as a commercial TTRH release, it's a good representation of what you get when you listen to the show, with music ranging from 1952 to 1995, with a heavy emphasis on cuts from the `50s, probably Mr. D.'s peak radio listening period as a kid in Minnesota. The musical highlight may be George Jones and Melba Montgomery's saga of wife-swapping, Let's Invite Them Over, which inspired one of Mr. D.'s greatest on-air rants...
“Now I love country music, but I say ‘What happened to it?'

"You hear a song like this and it's obvious it's about real people, and real emotions, and real problems, that's all, that's the country music we learned to love. Nowadays they want to sweep all the problems under the rug and pretend they don't exist. Well guess what folks – they do exist! And if you try and sweep 'em under the rug, they're just gonna pop up somewhere else. So we might as well all just face it and listen to the old style country music, the real country music. You know, about drinking and sleeping around. That's my kind of country music, and I hope yours. But I digress."
It was after listening to that outburst that I decided Mr. D. was deeply passionate about what was being played on TTRH, rather than just reading a script and collecting a check. One gets the impression that his friends and neighbors have heard a variation on that theme more than once. And God knows, it's true. If you didn't get the chance to read this Newsweek article, Is This the End of Traditional Country Music? when it was featured in the TTRH News & Views column, go read it now.

Commenters have questioned whether purchasing the "deluxe edition" is really worth the money (currently $15.99 at Amazon vs. $9.99 for the "regular" edition), given the fact that most people who care about TTRH probably already have a copy of the show, and the worth of the other bonus material - a DVD containing the so-called "Lost Interview" with Roy Silver - is problematic. And that's true. But the collector's mind isn't constrained by logic, of course, and many of us will pay the extra $6.00.

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