Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Radio Bob Returns

Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour returned to American satellite station XM Radio last week. Those who tune in weekly to 6 Music or hear the occasional programme on Radio 2 are still enjoying Season 1 but, unsurprisingly considering Dylan is the most bootlegged artist in history, the new shows can be found as MP3s pretty soon after broadcast.

Theme Time Radio Hour was one of my cultural highlights of 2006. For the show's first few weeks a 'recent' song (ie post-1980) would slip through the cracks but for the most part Dylan presented a mixture of arcane records, droll commentary and some pretty poor jokes.

I thought it amazing that Bob made 50 episodes. For a performer who barely acknowledges his audience during gigs, the initial announcement that the far from chatty Dylan had turned DJ smacked of a publicity stunt. However, the brilliant Chronicles Volume One should have taught us that if Bob has something to say, he will, and eloquently.

The first show of the new season was appropriately themed 'Hello'. Musical highlights included Willie Nelson's Hello Walls and Hello, Aloha! How Are You? by The Radiolites, the last song prompting Bob's brief history of Hawaiian music and the steel guitar.

Each episode is like a music history lesson hosted by an eccentric uncle for whom no subject can pass without a wry comment. Let's hope the second series runs as long as the first.


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