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Monday, March 02, 2015

The Night We Called It a Day: New Dylan Music Video



A film noirish video promoting "The Night We Called it a Day" and Shadows in the Night.  The other male lead in the video is Robert Davi, who interestingly, released an album of Sinatra covers in 2011 (corrected ~ fhb). His album "Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance," is on Spotify, and well worth the listen.


It's always fun to see if the locations used in the video can be pinpointed. With "The Night We Called It a Day,", the opening scene was shot in front of Màs Malo, an east-LA-style Chicano resturant located at 515 W. 7th Street.



Mr. D walks past the Màs Malo storefront to the door you can see in the alley on the right. The neon "Club" sign shown in the video apparently came from the prop department.

A post in the EDLIS Café Facebook page relates that the other notable location for the video shoot was The Ardmore Wilshire at 722 Ardmore Avenue in Korea Town Los Angeles on January 12th of this year.




A member of the café posted the color photo below of the building's atrium, which was featured in a wide-angle shot in the video.


Frank rehearsed constantly for the next three weeks, afternoons at the Palladium nightclub, in Los Angeles, before Tommy showed up, just Frank and Lyle (Skitch) Henderson or Joey Bushkin on the piano behind him, in the quiet stillness of the huge, empty dance hall. He knew exactly which songs he wanted to wax. They were all ballads, naturally, all dripping with romance: there was “The Night We Called It a Day,” by these new kids Matt Dennis and Tom Adair, who’d written “Let’s Get Away from It All” and “Violets for Your Furs.” There was a sweet Hoagy Carmichael number that hadn’t been recorded much, “The Lamplighter’s Serenade.” And then two classics: Kern and Hammerstein’s “The Song Is You” and Cole Porter’s equally immortal “Night and Day,” whose lyrics he’d once blown in front of the great man himself when Porter stopped by the Rustic Cabin... 
The recording session, which took place at RCA’s Los Angeles studios on the afternoon of Monday, January 19, 1942, went off perfectly. Pointedly, there was no drummer. Nor did Dorsey attend the session—both of the singles that resulted (released on RCA’s discount Bluebird label) were credited to Frank Sinatra with “Orchestra conducted by Axel Stordahl.” ~ Frank: The Voice
:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Since I seem to be on a "Kiss" kick, here's a Spotify playlist of the background music used on the 101st episode of Theme Time Radio Hour.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Theme Time Radio Hour - The Annotated "Kiss" Show Transcript -- Episode 101

Being a Compleat Transcript (with Occasional Commentary) of the 101st episode of Theme Time Radio Hour, first airing on February 11, 2015


Prelude To A Kiss – Ben Webster (excerpt)

THE LADY IN RED: It’s nighttime in the Big City.  Someone is making popcorn. A waitress returns home, happy to take her shoes off…

… I wish people would curb their dogs.

This is Theme Time Radio Hour with your host, Bob Dylan.

***

Commentary

Unknown until its 2015 release, the “Kiss” episode engendered numerous theories among the show’s fans, including whether Ellen Barkin, Theme Time’s Lady in Red, recorded an intro specifically for “Kiss,” or whether it was cobbled together from outtakes of other intros, such as “Food,” “Shoes,” and “Dogs.”

While the Lady in Red’s intros usually had something to do with the show’s theme, there are a few intros that don’t, and even one or two shows where there’s no intro at all.

***

A Little Love, A Little Kiss – Eddie Lang (excerpt)

OUR HOST: Welcome to Theme Time Radio Hour. Today we’re going to take a musical look at one of my favorite pastimes. It’s an act of intimacy, the thing that Mae West called a man’s signature.  And I’m guessing she knows what she was talking about.

You can call it a lip lock, or, as our friends across the pond call it,  “snogging.”  I call it good old-fashioned kissing.  You can kiss up, kiss off,  kiss the Blarney Stone, or kiss my ass.   So, for the next hour, we’re going to play a little musical game of “spin the bottle.” This is your kissing bandit welcoming you to the osculatory edition of Theme Time Radio Hour.

Clip from the film Casablanca (1942)

OUR HOST:  Here’s a little lady from Chicago way, though she was actually born in Mississippi.  She made her name in Chicago, recording for local labels like Vee-Jay, Cobra, and Wonderful.  Wasn’t till she went to Vee-Jay that  she made her mark. Here’s Betty Everett and the Shoop Shoop Song, “It’s in His Kiss.”

It's In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song) – Betty Everett (1964)


OUR HOST:  That was Betty Everett, The Shoop Shoop Song.

Smooching – Mark Knopfler (excerpt)

If it’s in his kiss, perhaps it’s mononucleosis, commonly known as the “kissing disease.” It’s a viral infection, most often the Epstein-Barr virus. It’s carried in saliva and is usually spread by kissing. But you can get it from sneezes and coughs also. Personally, I’d prefer to get it from kissing.

Doctor Joyce Brothers reports that before marriage the average American woman has kissed 79 men, which means 79 men have kissed Doctor Joyce Brothers.

***

Commentary

A well-known personality of the `60s and `70s, so well-known that she played herself in a variety of television shows ranging from “Happy Days” to “The Simpsons,” Doctor Joyce Brothers was sometimes known as the “mother of mass-media psychology,” a forerunner of Drs. Ruth and Phil.  While Brothers’ “report” is cited in many books and websites, where she first said or wrote it is harder to discover, possibly on her radio show, or in one of her many publications.

The crack TTRH research team missed an opportunity to have Mr. D. talk about Brothers’ expertise in boxing knowledge, which probably would have tickled his fancy.

 According to Brothers’ New York Times obituary,  “The demure-looking, scholarly Dr. Brothers had first come to wide attention as a contestant on ‘The $64,000 Question,’ where she triumphed as an improbable authority on boxing… She made her first appearance on the show in late 1955, returning week after week until she had won the top prize, $64,000 — only the second person, and the first woman, to do so. She later won the same amount, also for boxing knowledge, on a spinoff show, ‘The $64,000 Challenge.”’

At the height of the quiz show scandals, Dr. Brothers would appear before a congressional committee to prove that she hadn't been fed the answers. She passed the test easily, and would move on to her first television show, “Sports Showcase.”

And the rest is history. Dr. Joyce Brothers, academic psychologist, counselor to millions, game show panelist, and student of the sweet science.

***



OUR HOST:  Blackie Crawford had a band called the Western Cherokees.  His singer in that band became much more famous.  His name was Lefty Frizzell and he’s a big favorite here around the Abernathy Building.  Blackie and Lefty wrote this song together and it spent 12 weeks at #1 on the country charts. Here’s the always punctual Lefty Frizzell, “Always Late with Your Kisses.”

Always Late With Your Kisses – Lefty Frizzell (1951)

OUR HOST:  That was Lefty Frizzell, “Always Late with Your Kisses.” 

I Will Survive – The Texas Gypsies (excerpt)

OUR HOST:  There’s being late with your kisses and there’s even the worse experience of being left at the altar. That’s what happened to Nicole Contos.  In 19 and 97 she was due to marry a shipping broker by the name of Tasos Michael.  She was in a packed church in Manhattan and he left her. He didn’t even show up. But she went on with the wedding by herself.  The wedding cost $65,000 and she wasn’t going to waste it.  Her friends rallied around her, enjoyed the $175-a-plate dinner and afterwards cheered her on when she danced to the disco hit, “I Will Survive.” Nicole Contos,  a resilient woman.

***

Commentary

The New York Times printed a report that Contos and Michael had married in their Weddings section on November 23rd 19 and 97, and two days later issued a retraction:

Correction: November 25, 1997, Tuesday A report in the Sunday Styles section this week about the marriage of Nicole Contos and Tasos Michael was published in error. The ceremony, scheduled for late Saturday afternoon, was canceled after the section went to press.

Because the Gray Lady always admits her mistakes, you can still read the announcement of the wedding that wasn't on the Times website.  

***

Sombra Que Besa – Trío Matamoros y Los Guaracheros De Oriente (excerpt)

OUR HOST: This is Theme Time Radio Hour. We’re talking about kissing, which means we’re centering on cupidity and not stupidity.  Lucinda Williams wrote a song all about passionate kisses. Lucinda’s father was a poet, and a literature professor, and they traveled extensively when she was a child through Mexico and Chile as well as the American South.   All that travel was good for her,  ‘cause she soaked up a lot of culture.  A lot of people know this song because it was a big hit for Mary Chapin Carpenter.  A #5 smash.  It got Lucinda her first of three Grammy awards.  So, let’s listen to Lucinda’s version from her 1988 album, here’s “Passionate Kisses.”

Passionate Kisses – Lucinda Williams (1988)

OUR HOST:  That was Lucinda Williams, “Passionate Kisses” here on Theme Time Radio Hour, where we’re reminding you that a one-minute kiss burns about 26 calories.  Deep, passionate kissing burns up to 600 calories per hour. If anyone listening needs a workout, I’m available.



OUR HOST:   Billy Boy Arnold was born in 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. And like Betty Everett, he recorded for the Vee-Jay  record label. He got his start playing harmonica with Bo Diddley.  After a couple of records, though, he struck out on his own.  You probably know his song, “I Wish You Would.”  But this one is all about kissing at a particular time. Here’s  Billy Boy Arnold, “Kissing  at Midnight.”


Billy Boy Arnold - Kissing at Midnight (1957)



***

Commentary

To complete the lostness of the "Kiss" Lost Theme Time Radio Hour episode, the Billy Boy Arnold segment is missing from the original Radio Eins broadcast and thus from several of the recordings posted online, including the Soundcloud version that Dreamtime linked to in an earlier post.  Other rebroadcasts, such as from the BBC, include the cut, and one assumes the complete "Kiss" will eventually be available from the usual places. Accept no substitutes! If you don't have William "Billy Boy" Arnold as part of your legally obtained copy of "Kiss" you're being shortchanged.  Thanks to our friends at The Bob Dylan Fan Club for pointing this out.

***
OUR HOST: If you’re kissing at midnight, better be careful and not do it where the blue laws are in effect. You can find blue laws in the United States and Canada and they’re meant to protect the Sabbath as a sacred day. These laws would prohibit breaches in family discipline, public drunkenness, public displays of affection and excesses in dress. They’re called “blue laws” because of the blue paper they were originally printed on.

***

Commentary

It’s a myth that "blue laws" were named after the blue paper on which they were printed. No one actually knows how the term originated, but the most likely theory, according to Snopes.com, is that it was probably derived “…from an eighteenth-century usage of the word "blue" as a disparaging reference to something perceived as "rigidly moral" (a "bluenose," for example, is one who advocates a rigorous moral code).”



Kissing Is A Crime – The Original Carter Family (excerpt)

OUR HOST: Let’s move from blue laws to a purple artist, Minneapolis native, Prince, or as I call him, “The Artist formerly known as the Artist formerly known as Prince.”

Kiss – Prince (1986)

OUR HOST: That was Prince, and “Kiss.”  I always thought KISS should have recorded a song called,  “Prince.”  I’ll have to call Gene Simmons and ask him about that. 

***

Commentary

Except for two weak jokes, Our Host surprisingly has nothing to say about fellow Minnesotan, Prince, who was mentioned twice before on TTRH, in one of the few examples of the producers re-cycling a narrative clip on different episodes. Dylan would re-use the same line, “…just like Prince, she’s from Minnesota” when introducing Judy Garland’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” on the premiere “Weather” show as well as for Judy’s other appearance on TTRH, performing “Smile” in the Season 3 “Happiness” episode.

***



OUR HOST: Here’s Memphis Minnie, one of the great guitarist and singers, “Kissing in the Dark”

Kissing In The Dark – Memphis Minnie (1953)

OUR HOST: That was Memphis Minnie, “Kissing in the Dark,” written by her husband at the time, Ernest Lawlars, who was known as “Little Son Joe.”



Sealed With A Kiss – Artist Unknown (excerpt)

OUR HOST: The average person spends 336 hours of their life kissing.  It doesn’t seem like enough. Another popular “Kiss” was made by Milton Hershey,  a candy maker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In 1894 he started the Hershey Company, and they produce chocolates to this day.  In 1907 they produced a flat-bottomed, cone-shaped candy.  They gave it  the name, “Kiss,” because of the sound the machine nozzle made as it squirted out a drop of chocolate. [kiss sound]

Somehow I wish I didn’t know that.

Clip from the film Naked Kiss (1964)


OUR HOST:  One kind of kiss you definitely want more of is a French Kiss. A lot of people think that the French Kiss originated in France.  Actually, the term became slang in 19 and 23 as a slur to the French.  People thought that the French were overly infatuated with sexual matters as anyone who knows the complete version of the poem that begins….

“The French, they are a funny race”

… can tell you.

***

Commentary

We’re going to get a bit blue here, so kindly cover your children’s ears and ladies and sensitive souls may want to leave the room.

I suspect that somewhere on the shelves of Studio B’s musicology library is the 1992 book,  Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and Folklore: Roll me in your arms, Volume 1, which includes the lyrics to an unexpurgated version of Mademoiselle from Armentières…

Oh! the French, they are a funny race
Parlay-voo?
The French they are a funny race
Parlay-voo?
The French they are a funny race
The fight with their feet—
And fuck with their face—
Hinky-dinky parlay-voo?!

The author of “Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and Folklore..” goes on to note that the tune, sung to the melody of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was the most popular song among the British and American troops of World War I and apparently had its origins in a German drinking song of the early 19th century, “The Landlord’s Daughter,” later known as “Three German Officers Crossed the Rhine.”

***

April Kisses – Eddie Lang (excerpt)

OUR HOST:  In France, there’s no such thing as a “French Kiss.” They probably just call it a “kiss,” just like they call French Fries “fries.” In French what it’s called “embrasser avec la langue,” which means literally, “to kiss the tongue.” Or as some prefer to say, “rouler un pelle,” which means, “to roll the blade.”

Here’s a song out of New Orleans, kind of a local hit, but didn’t make a lot of noise anywhere else. I always enjoyed it though, and I thought this would be an opportunity to share it with you. It’s by a singer named Danny White, this is the closest he ever had to a hit, and it was in 19 and 63. “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye – Danny White (1962)

OUR HOST: That was Danny White, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” Here’s Huelyn Duvall, “Pucker Paint.”

Pucker Paint – Huelyn Duvall (1960)

OUR HOST: That was Huelyn Duvall and “Pucker Paint.” 

Commentary

It’s rare indeed when Mr. D. simply intros and outros a song without any commentary, so Dreamtime will step in. "Pucker Paint" was released on Gene Autry's Challenge label in 19 and 60 b/w the B-side “Boom-Boom Baby.” Neither cut moved the success needle for Duvall, although “Boom-Boom Baby” would later become a  #1 hit for rockabilly Crash Craddock in Australia.

As he tells it, Huelyn Duvall’s closest brush with a hit was with the instrumental “Tequila,” by the Flores Trio (later renamed as “The Champs”) where he was one of the background voices on the original cut shouting out the title at the song’s end.

Released in 19 and 58 as the B-side for "Train to Nowhere" on the Challenge label, “Tequila” is another example of a B-side becoming the more memorable cut. After a Cleveland DJ started promoting  it on his show, "Tequila" skyrocketed up the charts, reaching #1 on the Billboard chart on March 28, 19 and 58.


***
Lipstick Sunset – John Hiatt (excerpt)

OUR HOST:  Connie Francis was a very popular artist who had a very sad life. Her father tried to get her to make a living playing and teaching the accordion. She was on a competition at age 9 on Arthur Godfrey’s “Talent Scouts.” Even then, Arthur Godfrey could tell how beautiful her voice was and convinced her to give up the accordion. She recorded a series of singles that went nowhere. She was on her way to a pre-med scholarship at New York University. But first, one last recording session, which included a song that she hated, but that her father wanted her to record. She sang it quickly, only doing one take. America fell in love with it, and “Who’s Sorry Now” was the first of a long string of hits.  She knew a lot of different languages, and recorded her songs in Italian, Hebrew, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. She starred in the movies in “Where the Boys Are,” “Looking for Love,” and “When the Boys Meet the Girls.”

She retired for awhile, but in 19 and 74 her third husband convinced her to go back on the stage. She had only done four performances when she checked into a motel on Long Island. The motel lock was faulty, and she was raped.  Her marriage fell apart. Shortly thereafter she was bouncing back, but in 19 and 81 her brother was brutally murdered. It was only during therapy for all these events that she discovered  that she was maniac-depressive and had been addicted to pills for maybe as long as 25 years. 

She sued the hotel she got raped in for negligence and received 2.5 million dollars, which at the time was the largest personal injury settlement in history. It doesn't seem enough for the amount of pain she went through. But that’s not how I choose to remember her. Let’s remember Connie Francis in happier times with a light-hearted look at marital infidelity.  Here she is: “Lipstick on Your Collar.”

Lipstick On Your Collar – Connie Francis (1959)

OUR HOST:  That was Connie Francis with a story of trouble told in color on the collar of your shirt. 

You know how people sign letters with “X”s , that mean little kisses? Well, here’s where that came from. Hundreds of years ago when clergy and priests wrote letters  they would sign their name, and then they would add a cross.  That’s because a cross has many interpretations. One of the primary meanings is “love.” So it was nice to sign off a letter with that. ‘Bout three hundred years after that, people who were writing love letters adopted the cross symbol as a shorthand for “love.” But they rotated it ‘bout 45 degrees, so when you take a cross and turn it 45 degrees you get an “X” and they say this rotation was to imitate the way you turn your head when you’re giving a kiss. So the “X” at the end of a letter became the sign of a kiss. 

Now, seems like I know a lot about kissing.  Here’s Don and Phil with a song written by Don.  It’s from 19 and 59 on the Cadence record label, and if you have to ask, “Don and Phil who?” you’re not a regular listener of this show. Here are the Everly Brothers,  “Til I Kissed You.”

('Til) I Kissed You – The Everly Brothers (1959)

OUR HOST: That was the Everly Brothers,  “Until I Kissed You.”

Lou Rossinhol – Geoffrey Mitchell Choir & Martin Best (excerpt)

OUR HOST:  The tradition of lifting the veil and kissing the bride  is a combination of two old customs. Lifting the veil was part of the ancient wedding ritual.  See, marriages used to be arranged by family members. The newlyweds quite often had never met. These arranged marriages had large sums of money riding on them, and sometimes there was the fear that if the groom didn't like the bride’s looks he might refuse to marry her and her family would lose a great dowry. This is why the father of the bride gave the broad away at the wedding ceremony, only after they lifted her veil would he see her face for the first time.

***

Commentary

A pure Groucho Marx moment, Our Host distinctly says “broad” when referring to the blushing bride.

***

OUR HOST: In ancient Rome,  couples became betrothed by kissing passionately before a group of people and that’s why we have kissing at the end of the modern wedding ceremony.

Pepe Le Pew clip

Besame Mucho – Pérez Prado (excerpt)


OUR HOST: You’re listening to Theme Time Radio Hour, your home for themes, dreams, and smooching schemes. So pucker up and listen. If you got to kiss, people do it different ways in different places. For example, in the Middle East, cheek kissing between a male and female is literally considered inappropriate, unless it’s within the same family. Some cultures in the Himalayas don’t kiss at all. They know that saliva has a lot of bacteria and I guess they’re afraid of mono. Some cultures in Africa don’t kiss on the mouth because they consider it a portal to the soul. So someone that kisses you could take your soul.

And in the South Pacific’s Trobriand Islands kissing is highly erotic and very aggressive. It begins with gentle hugging and kissing, then progresses until you bite each other’s lips and bleeding commences. It concludes with biting off each other’s eyelash tips. I know it sounds weird, but it’s pretty good! Trust me.

OUR HOST: Some kisses can get you into trouble, but just as easily you can use them to make up. Here are The Falcons, with a very young Wilson Pickett.  Right after he recorded this record with the Falcons,  he went off on a solo career. From 19 and 63, on the Atlantic label, “Let’s Kiss and Make Up,” The Falcons.

Let's Kiss And Make Up – The Falcons (1963)

OUR HOST: That was The Falcons, here on Theme Time Radio Hour, “Let’s Kiss and Make Up,” not to be confused with KISS and makeup. 

A second email, I got one here, perfect for today’s show. Comes to us from Lawrence P. Boar from Sheepshead Bay, Long Island. Lawrence writes,

“Dear Theme Time Gang.  I heard through the grapevine that you’re doing a show about kissing. I could sure use your help  My girlfriend says I’m a bad kisser. We get along great, but I’m afraid this one problem is going to ruin the whole thing.  Please help!  Anxious in Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, Lawrence P. More.”

Smooch – Miles Davis (excerpt)

OUR HOST:  Well, Lawrence, kissing is an important part of a relationship, and  it’s one of those things that you have to be relaxed to do.  So the fact that you’re getting anxious about it isn’t helping you one bit.  However, I can give you a few tips.  Armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel a little more confident and be able to set things right.  First of all, make sure your lips are moist. Run your tongue over your lips once before you kiss her. No one likes to kiss sandpaper. Stand close to your partner, you don’t want to have her reach too far. Tilt your head slightly to one side. Close your eyes just before your lips meet. Just close them!  Some people like to leave their eyes open during a kiss,  but until you understand your partner’s preference, better to play it safe and close your eyes. 


Open your lips slightly, not like you’re going to swallow her whole head, just a little bit and hold your breath, breathe through your nose. Press your partner’s lips gently, move your lips in a slow, circular motion.  Be gentle but firm. And finally, and I can’t stress this enough,  have a pocketful of mints.  There’s no underestimating the attractiveness of good breath. 

Good luck and happy kissing.  I hope it won’t be until long that your hear your girl say, “Baby, let me kiss you just one more time.”

***

Commentary

“How to Kiss” joins such other memorable TTRH advice from Mr. D. as “Household Cleaning Tips” and “How to Grow Flowers.” Keen-eared listeners will hear a couple of mistakes in this excerpt:  Our Host refers to the letter as a second email, even though it’s the one and only email read on “Kiss.” The writer’s last name also changes during Mr. D.’s reading, from “Boar” to “More.” Nonetheless, it’s one of the best advice segments Our Host has read over TTRH’s run.

***



OUR HOST:  Hey, that sounds like a song cue! Why, golly, it is. Here’s Roy Head and The Traits.

Baby Let Me Kiss You One More Time – Roy Head & The Traits (1958)

OUR HOST:  That was Roy Head and The Traits and “Baby Let Me Kiss You Just One More Time” Everybody talks about how great cow bells sound on records, but they forget how good a tambourine can sound. That record will remind you. Roy was only 16 years old when he recorded that.  It was his first record and was in the Top Ten locally, and by “locally” I mean Three Rivers, Texas, which is where Roy is from. 

You all know Roy from his big hit “Treat Her Right,” and he’s still out there performing. I saw him two years ago at the Ponderosa Stomp and they tore the place up.

Commentary

According to a Dreamtime correspondent, Roy Head has played at the Ponderosa Stomp Festival over various years, including 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010, leaving Mr. D.’s statement on seeing him “two years ago” as unreliable evidence on when the “Kiss” episode was recorded. We’ll come back to the subject in later commentary.

OUR HOST:  We’re getting up near the end of the show, and almost time for a kiss goodnight.

Clip from the film Junior Prom (1946)

OUR HOST:   Well, we’ve got time for a couple more songs. Here’s a song written by a guy whose got the best hair in show business.  If you don’t believe me , Google him right now. The writer’s name was Wayne Cochran. We’ll tell you about him on the other side of the song. But first I want to tell you about the guy who sang it.

The Kiss – Nicholas Hooper (excerpt)

J. Frank Wilson had only one hit. He was the vocalist for a band called “The Cavaliers,” who played around local Texas clubs. This record came out and became a huge hit.  Unfortunately J. Frank Wilson didn’t know how to deal with it. He thought he was a superstar. He filled himself up with sex and booze and stayed up night and day. It was so bad that the band left him behind after just a few shows. He never had another hit.  He died before his 50th birthday, an alcoholic, alone in a nursing home.

OUR HOST:  The song, however, had a longer life. Pearl Jam recorded it in 1999, and it became their biggest chart hit, going all the way up to #2.  One of the saddest songs in pop history.

Last Kiss – J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers (1964)

OUR HOST:   That was J. Frank Wilson, “Last Kiss,”  written by the man with the platinum pompadour, Wayne Cochran. 

Let me tell you how the song was written.  On December 22nd, 19 and 62 16-year-old Janet Clark was out on a date. She was with a group of friends in a Chevrolet on Highway 341.  The car collided with a trailer truck. Janet, the driver, and another teenager were killed.  Two other kids in the car had serious injuries. It was a terribly gory accident. So bad, in fact, that a local gas station attendant who helped in recovery of the bodies did not recognize his own daughter. Fifteen miles away, Wayne Cochran was paying $20 a month rent for an old shack. He saw many accidents on that stretch of highway, so many that he started writing a song about them. But he could never finish it. The death of Janet Clark was a horrible inspiration for him to finish that song. He called it “Last Kiss.”


Kissing A Wolf – Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil (excerpt)

OUR HOST:    Wayne went on to have a career as a dynamic rhythm and blues performer, but eventually he left it all behind to join the clergy, preaching in Miami.

OUR HOST:   Well, we can’t end the show with such a sad kiss, so let’s listen to one of the masters, the fountainhead from which all music flows. Louie Armstrong and a song that was a signature piece of his live performances in the later period of his life. This is a version he recorded in 19 and 51 with “A Kiss to Build a Dream On.”

A Kiss To Build A Dream On – Louis Armstrong (1951)

 OUR HOST:   That was Louie Armstrong, from the movie, “The Strip,” “A Kiss to Build a Dream On.”  If that song sounds familiar, maybe you recognize it from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle.”

OUR HOST:   Before we go, I want to share some words with you written by Robert Burns.  It’s called “Ode to a Kiss”

Romance de los Pinos – Andrés Segovia (excerpt)]

Humid seal of soft affections,
Tend'rest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
Love's first snow-drop, virgin kiss.

Speaking silence, dumb confession,
Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
Glowing dawn of brighter day.

Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
Ling'ring lips, -- no more to join!
What words can ever speak affection
Thrilling and sincere as thine!

OUR HOST:   Robert Burns, kissable poet.

Kiss Urass Goodbye – Redd Foxx (excerpt)

OUR HOST:   Thanks for listening and I’m going to leave you with the words of Albert Einstein. Albert said, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” I agree with him totally.  We’ll see you next week.  Go kiss someone you love.

***

Commentary

Apparently coming up with the Theory of Relativity,
E= MC2 and being a founding member of KISS isn't enough for some people. There are dozens of homilies attributed to Albert Einstein, including the one on “kissing,” where there’s no evidence that he said it. 

There’s a great thread on snopes.com on the “driving … kissing” quote with a writer tracing its origins to as early as 1924, with the line being used by everyone from car companies, gag writers, and even Tennessee Ernie Ford over the years.

***

 [Top Cat Underscore]

PIERRE MANCINI:  Thanks for listening to Theme Time Radio Hour, with your host, Bob Dylan.

Produced by Eddie Gorodetsky and the associate producer is Nina Fitzgerald.

Continuity is by Eeps Martin and the editor is Damian Rodriguiz. The supervising editor is Rob Macomber.

The research team is Diane Lapson and Bernie Bernstein with additional research courtesy of Lynne Sheridan, April Hayes, Callie Gladman, Terrence Michaels, Sean Patrick and Matthew Belcher.

Robert Bower was the li-burn and production coordinator was Debbie Sweeney.

Special thanks go out to Randy Ezratty, Coco Shinomiya, Samson's Diner and Lee Abrams.

Tex Carbone was our Director of Studio Operations. Recorded in Studio B of the historic Abernathy Building, built in 1848.

It’s a Graywater Park production in association with Big Red Tree.  This is your announcer, Pierre Mancini, speaking.

***

Commentary

And we’ll close with the questions that Dreamtime has been asked several times since the “Kiss” episode was first announced: “What is this?” “Is it an unaired show or a new TTRH?”  “Why did it suddenly appear?” “Why did it take until 2009 for Wanda Jackson to get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?”

And my answer is, “Damned if I know.”   Me, I like to think of it as an unexpected Valentine’s Day gift from Mr. D. and the Theme Time Radio Hour gang.  And, maybe, if we’re lucky, there are more shows locked away in the Studio B vault of the historic Abernathy Building and, sooner or later, we’ll get to hear those too.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

~ Emily Dickinson, hopeful poet.


It’s been fun.  We’ll see you next week. In the immortal words of Albert Einstein, “Go kiss someone you love.” 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We kiss and kiss, and kiss some more


TRACKLIST (thanks to "My Echo, My Shadow, and Me")

Theme Time Radio Hour Show # 101 February 11, 2015 – "Kiss“

Intro by Ellen Barkin [music: Prelude To A Kiss – Ben Webster (excerpt)]
A Little Love, A Little Kiss – Eddie Lang (excerpt)
Clip from the film Casablanca (1942)
It's In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song) – Betty Everett (1964)
Smooching – Mark Knopfler (excerpt)
Always Late With Your Kisses – Lefty Frizzell (1951)
I Will Survive – The Texas Gypsies (excerpt)
Sombra Que Besa – Trío Matamoros y Los Guaracheros De Oriente (excerpt)
Passionate Kisses – Lucinda Williams (1988)
Billy Boy Arnold - Kissing at Midnight (1957)*
Kissing Is A Crime – The Original Carter Family (excerpt)
Kiss – Prince (1986)
 Kiss Make Up (commercial featuring Rockin' In the U.S.A.)
Kissin In The Dark – Memphis Minnie (1953)
Sealed With A Kiss – Artist Unknown (excerpt)
Clip from the film Naked Kiss (1964)
April Kisses – Eddie Lang (excerpt)
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye – Danny White (1962)
Pucker Paint – Huelyn Duvall (1960)
 Lipstick Sunset – John Hiatt (excerpt)
Lipstick On Your Collar – Connie Francis (1959)
 ('Til) I Kissed You – The Everly Brothers (1959)
Lou Rossinhol – Geoffrey Mitchell Choir & Martin Best (excerpt)
Pepe Le Pew clip from Looney Tunes
Besame Mucho – Pérez Prado (excerpt)
Let's Kiss And Make Up – The Falcons (1963)
 Smooch – Miles Davis (excerpt)
Baby Let Me Kiss You One More Time – Roy Head & The Traits (1958)
Clip from the film Junior Prom (1946) The Kiss – Nicholas Hooper (excerpt)
Last Kiss – J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers (1964)
Kissing A Wolf – Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil (excerpt)
A Kiss To Build A Dream On – Louis Armstrong (1951)
Bob Dylan reads To A Kiss by Robert Burns [music: Romance de los Pinos – Andrés Segovia (excerpt)]
Kiss Urass Goodbye – Redd Foxx (excerpt)
credits [music: Top Cat Underscore - Hoyt Curtin]

* Missing from Soundcloud recording

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Kiss" - 101st Theme Time Episode Airing Tomorrow?

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

A post in the Expecting Rain forums brought the unexpected news that German radio station RadioEins has announced that they will exclusively broadcast an "unknown" episode of Theme Time Radio Hour this week titled, "Kiss."


The episode is scheduled for this Wednesday, 2/11/15, at 2100 (9:00 PM) CET / 3 PM ET.  According to promotional material issued by RadioEins, the special is running as part of its "Friendly Takeover" series where musicians host and play their favorite music.

Theme Time Radio Hour's 100th episode, "Goodbye," concluded the original series six years ago, on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. The heretofore unknown "Kiss" episode is noted by RadioEins as "never broadcasted," indicating that the show is likely to be an unaired episode from the original TTRH series rather than Dylan returning to the airwaves.

Stay tuned for more news!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Annotated “Weather” Theme Time Radio Hour - Episode 1

Being a Compleat Transcript with Commentary of the premiere episode of Theme Time Radio Hour

***

First Broadcast Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

[Rain and wind sound effects]

“The Lady in Red” (Ellen Barkin): It’s night time in the Big City. Rain is falling. Fog rolls in from the waterfront. A nightshift nurse smokes the last cigarette in her pack.

Ellen Barkin: It’s Theme Time Radio Hour with your host, Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan: It’s time for Theme Time Radio Hour, dreams, schemes and themes. Today’s show… all about the weather. Curious about what the weather looks like? Just look out your window or take a walk outside.

Bob Dylan: We’re going to start out with the great Muddy Waters, one of the ancients by now whom all moderns prize. One of his early songs on the Chess label, “Blow Wind, Blow,” featuring Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, and… Little Walter. From the windy city of Chicago, Muddy Waters, “Blow Wind Blow.” Here’s Muddy.

[Muddy Waters – “Blow Wind Blow”]

Commentary

Although unrelated musically, no one can hear the title of the first song aired on Theme Time without thinking of Dylan’s own Blowin’ in the Wind.

“…one of the ancients by now whom all moderns prize.”

The first shot fired in the great “did Bob Dylan contribute to TTRH scripts?” debate, and a definite point for the “Yes” side.

The line is a paraphrase taken from Alexander Pope’s 1711 poem, “An Essay on Criticism,” an unlikely reference for producer/writer Eddie Gorodetsky to be making in relation to Muddy Waters, no matter how literate the ex-radio jock and comedy writer may be.

The Ancients only, or the Moderns prize:
(Line 394)

There’s much for Bob Dylan to like in “An Essay on Criticism,” including Pope’s argument that all good writing stems from “the imitation of the ancients,” and his contention that bad criticism is much more tiresome to the reader than bad writing.

Dylan may have adapted the “one of the ancients…” line to acknowledge one of the primary tenets of his career: all artists owe a debt to their predecessors, a thread that would run through many Theme Time commentaries.

Although little-remembered in these modern times, “An Essay on Criticism” has made several contributions to the popular lexicon including, “a little learning is a dangerous thing,” and “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”



Bob Dylan: Muddy Waters, “Blow Wind, Blow.” Chicago’s known as the Windy City, but it’s not the windiest city in the U. S. The windiest city is Dodge City, Kansas. Other windy cities are Amarillo, Texas, and Rochester, Minnesota. All of which beat Chicago. But you can’t beat Muddy Waters singing “Blow Wind, Blow.”

Commentary

“…the windiest city in the U. S.”

Theme Time Radio Hour sources often can be found by entering a few key words into Yahoo or Google and following the results. Dylan’s list of the windiest cities in the U.S. appears to be from a 2005 USATODAY.com article, one of the top links appearing in Google results for the phrase, “windiest city in the U.S.”

“…the windiest U.S. city is Dodge City, Kansas, with an average speed of 13.9 mph. Other windy cities include Amarillo, Texas (13.5 mph) and Rochester, Minn. (13.1 mph.).”

Using the first results they found on the Web was a habit that would occasionally get the Theme Time researchers into hot water with the show’s more discerning listeners. An unhappy fan pointed out midway through Season 1 that many of Bob Dylan’s stories about the music and musicians were reproduced almost verbatim from Wikipedia articles or other easily identifiable sources. Occasionally the information the TTRH team found would also be dead wrong, with the error repeated on-air by Dylan.

[“Weather” jingle]


Bob Dylan: James Houston Davis, better known as Jimmy Davis. Not only a singer and songwriter, but also the governor of Louisiana, wrote this song. He also wrote a bunch of risqué songs. At his 100th birthday party in 19 and 99 he performed four songs. One of them this one.

[Jimmy Davis – “You Are My Sunshine”]

Bob Dylan: “I dreamed I held you in my arms. When I woke I was mistaken. You make me happy when shies are grey.” “You Are My Sunshine,” Jimmy Davis.

Commentary

"James Houston Davis, better known as Jimmy Davis. Not only a singer and songwriter, but also the governor of Louisiana, wrote this song."

It’s curious that neither Bob Dylan nor Eddie Gorodetsky seemed aware that Jimmy Davis didn’t write “You Are My Sunshine,” a fact which is cited in almost every piece written about Davis, with even the notoriously unreliable Wikipedia getting it right. Maybe the story was simply too complicated to tell, as there are multiple histories about the cloudy origins of "You Are My Sunshine."

According to most accounts, Davis and his pedal steel guitarist, Charles Mitchell, purchased the song from a Paul Rice - who may or may not have composed it himself- for $35 in 19 and 39 and put their own names on it, a not uncommon practice of the era. In his later days, Davis provided a semi-acknowledgement of the truth, claiming that he had been misquoted over the years about writing the song and had been referring to his efforts in popularizing it, rather than in claiming authorship.

Jimmie Davis did perform four songs at his 100th birthday party at Baton Rouge in 1999, including the one he didn’t write but was best-associated with, “You Are My Sunshine.” He passed away in his sleep at his home on Sunday, November 5, 2000, at the age of 101,

"He also wrote a bunch of risqué songs."

Davis recorded a number of risqué songs during his early career, including a paean to monkey glands, which I wish TTRH had aired, a popular impotence treatment of the `30s, in his "Organ Grinder Blues."

Gonna get me some monkey glands,
Be like I used to was;
Gonna run these mamas down,
Like a Dominicker rooster does.

Bob Dylan: All right now. Going out West, where I belong. Get away from the gee-rind. “I walk. They talk. They twist, they shimmy. They’re frisky, frisky ‘Frisco girls.” This here song was a hit by The Riveras. The Ramones covered it many years later. Here’s the original, this is “California Sun” done by Joe Jones.

[Joe Jones – “California Sun”]

Bob Dylan: “Having fun in the ol’ California sun.” Joe Jones. Joe was from New Orleans. He had a hit record with “You Talk Too Much.” Unfortunately, he passed away last year.

Commentary

"Unfortunately, he passed away last year."

Joe Jones died on November 27, 2005, confirming that Dylan recorded his commentary sometime between January 2006 and the show’s air date of May 6, 2006.

Bob Dylan: “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine.” Dean Martin with Paul Weston and His Dixieland 8. We forget how much Elvis wanted to be Dean. But this is one of the songs that Elvis himself recorded for Sun Records. “I don’t care if the sun don’t shine. We kiss and kiss, and kiss some more. Don’t ask how many times we kiss. There’s no fun with the sun around.” “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine.” Dean Martin, Paul Weston and His Dixieland 8.

[Dean Martin with Paul Weston and His Dixieland 8. – “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine”]

Commentary

"We forget how much Elvis wanted to be Dean."

Bob Dylan’s off-hand remark that would prompt me to begin Dreamtime, and eventually attempt a book on Theme Time Radio Hour.

The idea that Elvis had ever wanted to be Dino had never occurred to me, but a little research did show that Martin had, in fact, been one of Presley’s favorite singers and role models.

Jerry Hopkins' “Elvis: A Biography,” relates a story told by the office manager of Sam Phillips' Sun Records studio, Marion Keisker, who said that in Elvis’ first audition he relied so heavily on Dean Martin material she felt that he had deliberately decided "...if he was going to sound like anybody, it was going to be Dean Martin."

“I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” was originally composed for Disney’s animated film Cinderella, but dropped from the final score.



[The Prisonaires – “Just Walking in the Rain” (excerpt)]

Bob Dylan: The Prisonaires’ lead singer, Johnny Bragg, was sentenced to 99 years for rape when he was just 11 years old. But, you know for a black man in Tennessee in the `40s, rape could have been just looking at the wrong white woman in the wrong way.

Bob Dylan: All right, now get this. The governor of Tennessee heard the Prisonaires sing “Just Walking in the Rain” and arranged for them to record for Samuel Phillips Sun label on June 1st 1953. It hit the airwaves and took off, selling 250,000 copies. Johnny Ray, a very popular singer at the time, covered it for Columbia, selling over two million copies.

Bob Dylan: After the third single, several members of the group were paroled and formed another group called The Sunbeams. In 1955 they changed their names again, to The Marigolds, and recorded a song called “Rolling Stone.” Johnny Bragg, who was out on parole, was sitting in the back seat of a car with a white girl… who was his wife. Which, somehow, violated his parole and he ended up spending the next six years back in the lockup.

Bob Dylan: A sad story. A beautiful song. “Just Walking in the Rain,” The Prisonaires.

[The Prisonaires – “Just Walking in the Rain”]

Commentary

"Johnny Bragg, was sentenced to 99 years for rape when he was just 11 years old."

Dylan misread the script or there was a typo. Bragg was imprisoned at age 17, not at age 11.

"The governor of Tennessee heard the Prisonaires sing “Just Walking in the Rain” and arranged for them to record for Samuel Phillips Sun label on June 1st 1953."

Most histories of The Prisonaires have them discovered by radio producer Joe Calloway, who beat the drum about The Prisonaires to Sam Phillips, and who eventually brought them into the studio on June 1st 1953. After “Just Walking in the Rain” became a hit the band did become favorites of governor Frank G. Clement, and they frequently performed at his mansion.

"Johnny Bragg, who was out on parole, was sitting in the back seat of a car with a white girl… who was his wife. Which, somehow, violated his parole and he ended up spending the next six years back in the lockup."

After his sentence was commuted in 19 and 59 Bragg was in and out of prison on various parole violations, described as both trumped-up and legitimate, depending on the source. Bragg completed his final jail term in 19 and 77, He passed away in 2004.

Dylan missed the opportunity to tell several other stories about Johnny Bragg, including a reported 1961 prison visit from Elvis, who had been captivated by “Just Walking in the Rain.” Another visitor was supposedly Hank Williams Sr. Both stories, as well as the legend that Bragg sold Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” for $5, are likely apocryphal but would have been perfect grist for the TTRH story mill.

Time: 17:01

(Storm sound effects)

Bob Dylan: Theme Time Radio Hour. Dreams, schemes, and themes.

Bob Dylan: “After The Clouds Roll Away” by The Consolers, a husband and wife team from Florida. They recorded this song on the Nashboro label. Don’t know what kind of clouds are rolling away, but they’re probably the alto cirrus, or the altostratus, one or the other. The altoculmulus (sic) might be in there too… rolling away.

Commentary

“… but they’re probably the alto cirrus, or the altostratus, one or the other. The altoculmulus might be in there too… rolling away.”

One of the first examples of Dylan’s and Gorodetsky’s fondness for having Dylan recite lists of things, a riff that would be used throughout the series.

Dylan mispronounces “altocumulus,” saying “altoculmulus” instead.

Bob Dylan: “Everything going all right. Before the day is over, clouds cover the sky. Try not to cry. But you know that indeed in each life some rain must fall. Trouble may be waiting ‘long the way.” Here’s The Consolers, “After The Clouds Roll Away.”

[The Consolers – “After The Clouds Roll Away.”]

Bob Dylan: Brother Sullivan Pugh and his wife, Lola. “After The Clouds Roll Away.”

Bob Dylan: Here’s a song by Jimi when he was trying to write a Curtis Mayfield song. Everybody thought that Jimi was a wild man, but this shows his more gentle side. Sometimes the wind whispers “Mary.” Sometimes it cries “Mary.” Here’s Jimi Hendrix, “The Wind Cries Mary.”

[Jimi Hendrix – “The Wind Cries Mary.”]

Bob Dylan: They call the wind Mariah, south of the border. But here it cries, “Mary.”

Commentary

“…when he was trying to write a Curtis Mayfield song.”

As he does throughout the 100 episodes of Theme Time Radio Hour, Dylan studiously avoids making the obvious reference to himself or his own work. He could have as easily said, “…when Jimi was trying to write a Bob Dylan song,” given the Dylanesque turns of phrases Hendrix uses throughout “Mary.”

According to Jimmy Black’s Jimi Hendrix, The Ultimate Experience, the last time Dylan saw Hendrix he remembered, “[Jimi] was slouched down in the back of a limousine. I was riding by on a bicycle. I remember saying something about a song ‘The Wind Cries Mary’…”

The Wikipedia article on the song includes an unsourced quote from Billy Cox, bassist for the Band of Gypsies: "’The Wind Cries Mary' was a riff that was influenced by Curtis Mayfield, who was a big influence for Jimi."

Various other published works also note Hendrix’s admiration for Curtis Mayfield, so Gorodetsky and Dylan may have known the connection without having to consult Wikipedia.

"They call the wind Mariah, south of the border."

“They Call The Wind Mariah” is a song from the musical, “Paint Your Wagon,” and popularized by The Kingston Trio.

[Judy Garland – “Come Rain Or Come Shine” ]

Bob Dylan: Okay, Judy Garland. Just like Prince, she’s from Minnesota. “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Commentary

"Just like Prince, she’s from Minnesota."

As is, of course, Bob Dylan. The TTRH team apparently had nothing more they wanted to say about Judy Garland, as Dylan would use the exact same line, “…just like Prince, she’s from Minnesota” when introducing Judy’s only other appearance on TTRH, performing “Smile” in the Season 3 “Happiness” episode.

Time: 27:26

Bob Dylan: “I’m gonna love ya like no-body loves ya, come rain or come shine.” Song’s written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Harold Arlen wrote, “The World On a String” and “That Ol’ Black Magic,” and “One For My Baby, One For the Road.”

Bob Dylan: Johnny Mercer wrote “Accentuate the Positive” and “Stormy Weather,” which we’re gonna hear a little later by The Spaniels. But first, here’s a little more music by Miss Irma Thomas.

Bob Dylan: Irma’s still down there in New Orleans, rebuilding and doing what she’s got to do. Irma’s had a song out called “Ruler of My Heart” that Otis Redding changed into “Pain of My Heart.” And of course The Rolling Stones took Irma’s song, “Time Is On My Side” and had a little hit with that.

Bob Dylan: “Drip drop! It’s raining so hard, raining all night. I guess I’ll have to accept the fact that you’re not here. It’s raining.” Is it raining where you are?

[Irma Thomas – “It’s Raining”]

Commentary

"Irma’s still down there in New Orleans, rebuilding and doing what she’s got to do."

The first reference to the Hurricane Katrina disaster of August 2005 made in this show. Dylan would again refer to Katrina’s impact on New Orleans while introducing Fats Domino’s “Let the Four Winds Blow.”



Bob Dylan: “Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.” Saint Basil, def poet.

Commentary

The first Theme Time Radio Hour “def poet” reading is from Saint Basil, also known as "Basil of Caesarea" and "Basil the Great,” a 4th century theologian.

Eddie Gorodetsky and Bob Dylan planned Dylan’s def poetry readings as one of the staples of TTRH from the show’s very beginning, making it somewhat ironic that this first “def poet” – Saint Basil – is better-known for his moral homilies than for his poetry.

During Season 1 of TTRH, Dylan would eventually read selections or entire poems from over 25 poets ranging from Anon. to William Butler Yeats. Omnivorous reader Dylan may have supplied the Saint Basil quote. It’s also possible that Eddie Gorodetsky found it through a quick Web search for quotations about the weather, as he apparently did with much of the content used in the "Weather" show,

[Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “Didn’t It Rain?” ]

Commentary

A noticeable omission in the "Weather" episode was Dylan providing neither introduction nor closing mention of the song after playing Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Didn’t It Rain,” an error he would acknowledge 16 episodes later, on the “Friends & Neighbors” show, when he next played one of the Sister's songs.

While it’s possible that both intro and outro were cut during editing, it’s more likely that the mistake was caused by the sequence not being programmed correctly into the XM computer system. XM’s occasional errors exposing Theme Time’s high-tech seams infuriated the TTRH producers, who spent much of their time trying to maintain the illusion that TTRH was produced as many listeners probably imagined it produced, with Bob Dylan in a studio, spinning platters as he provided a running commentary on the songs. In reality, Dylan's narrative was recorded separately from the other show elements and later mixed in, a common technique in modern radio known as “voice tracking.”  When a similar mistake happened in a later show, this time with Dylan's voice introducing one song and another being played, a livid Eddie Gorodetsky called the East Coast at 7 a.m. his time to have the error fixed in later rebroadcasts.



[Sara Silverman promo - “Hi this is Sara Silverman and you’re listening to Theme Time Radio Hour with Bob Dylan!”]

Commentary

An unlikely candidate for Theme Time’s first celebrity guest spot, there’s no evidence that pretty but potty-mouthed comedienne Sarah Silverman knows, or even has met, Bob Dylan. It’s more probable that, as with many of the other celebrity guests who would be featured on TTRH, Silverman did the spot at the invitation of Eddie Gorodetsky, who she does know.

Bob Dylan: Excello Records recorded artist Slim Harpo with his harp in the rack., singing ‘bout a swampy rain. “I know I was wrong. Please come home. “Bout to lose my mind. Don’t let me cry in vain. “

Bob Dylan: Slim wrote a bunch of his songs with his wife, Lovelle. (laughs). Boy, wish I had a wife like that – help me write songs.

[Slim Harpo – “Raining In My Heart”}

Bob Dylan: Slim Harpo, with his harp in the rack. On Theme Time Radio Hour, “Raining In My Heart.”

[audio clip from “Taxi Driver.” “Some day a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”]

Bob Dylan: Lord Beginner! “Jamaican hurricane, oh what sorrows and pain, Jamaica, because of the hurricane. Hundred-mile-an-hour wind is an awful blow.” Calypso is like a rap, or field hollers. Telling the news to people who got no access to the media. Here’s Lord Beginner, Jamaica Hurricane.

[Lord Beginner – “Jamaica Hurricane”]

Commentary

The first example of TTRH’s ongoing love affair with calypso and reggae, music which would be played regularly throughout the show’s three-year run, especially in the later seasons. Dylan would repeat his analogy of music as a means of distributing news in several other shows.

[WSVA ID jingle]

Time: 40:37

Bob Dylan: Here’s Fats Domino, “Let The Four Winds Blow.” We seem to be playing a lot of records from New Orleans. Well, that only makes sense. New Orleans has been hit pretty hard by the weather. Fats Domino himself was missing for a few days, they finally found him and pulled him up in a boat. Here’s Fats to sing, “I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. Let the four winds blow.”

[Fats Domino – “Let The Four Winds Blow.”]

Commentary

Domino’s 9th Ward home was flooded to the roof during Hurricane Katrina. Due to the confusion caused by the storm and miscommunications – including someone spray-painting “R.I.P. Fats” on his roof – both family and friends thought the missing Fats was likely dead. He was eventually found and rescued on September 1st 2005, taken to the Superdome and later evacuated to Baton Rouge.

[WARM weather jingle]

Bob Dylan: Here’s The Spaniels, “Stormy Weather.” “Life is bare. Gloom and misery everywhere. The blues walked in and met me. Rockin’ chair would get me.” An awfully happy song for gloom and misery.

[The Spaniels – “Stormy Weather”]

Bob Dylan: The Spaniels, with their lead singer Pookie Hudson, were on that ill-fated tour with Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Link Wray, and a bunch of others… which means probably I saw them. Winter Dance Party, February, 1959. The day the music supposedly died.

Commentary

Dylan apparently isn’t a fan of Don McLean’s “American Pie” if the way he spits out, “the day the music supposedly died” is any indicator.

For reasons known only to the prankster, The Spaniels’ Wikipedia entry is regularly vandalized to include the falsehood that the group was part of the 1959 Winter Dance Party tour. It’s likely that the TTRH research team stumbled across the faked “fact” there.

While it’s entirely possible that Bob Dylan was in attendance at the Winter Dance Party show in the Duluth Armory on January 31st 1959, as he’s claimed on several occasions, he didn’t see either The Spaniels or Link Wray during that show. Neither the group nor Wray were part of the `59 tour either before or after Holly’s death. Dylan is careful to note that he “probably” saw the group, possibly ad-libbing off-script while wondering why he didn’t remember seeing them.

Time: 46:45



Bob Dylan: Here’s “Place in the Sun” by Stevie Wonder, only this is the way you might hear it in Italy…. [Speaks Italian gibberish with mentions of prima della and frittatas]: Stevie Wonder, Place in the Sun.”

[Stevie Wonder – “Place in the Sun (“Il Sole E' Di Tutti”)]

Bob Dylan: Stevie Wonder singing, “A Place in the Sun.” Bueno, Stevie, bueno.

Commentary

A nice demonstration of how you can get away with almost anything just as long as you do it with enough brio. Dylan is neither reciting the song’s lyrics in Italian nor making a metropolitan commentary on “A Place in the Sun” but simply mouthing nonsense Italian, mostly the names of different foods.

While still a student at Emerson College in the late `70s, Eddie Gorodetsky was one of the writers and stars of a parody of Italian art films, “Nino, Nino, Nino.” The dialogue in the hour-long movie was conducted entirely in the same pseudo-Italian Dylan uses, including a heavy reliance on the names of Italian foods.

[Wind sound effects]

Bob Dylan: One of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair. Oh yeah, make your nerve jump and your skin itch. Always on the edge of hell fire.

Bob Dylan: It’s hard for people who have not lived on the West Coast to realize how radical the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. West Coast weather is the weather of catastrophe. The Santa Ana winds are like the winds of the Apocalypse.

Commentary

"One of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair. Oh yeah, make your nerve jump and your skin itch. Always on the edge of hell fire.


"… It’s hard for people who have not lived on the West Coast to realize how radical the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. West Coast weather is the weather of catastrophe. The Santa Ana winds are like the winds of the Apocalypse."

Given Bob Dylan’s magpie appropriations from other sources for use in everything from his music to Chronicles, it’s not surprising that he borrowed all his Theme Time commentary on the Santa Ana winds from other writers…. all from quotations found in the Wikipedia entry on the Santa Anas.

Dylan’s first remark is a paraphrase of Raymond Chandler’s famous lines on the infamous winds“…it was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch.” His mention of, “…always on the edge of hell fire” is a reworking of a line in Robert Crais’ mystery novel, “Chasing Darkness.” “…a sick desert wind carried the promise of Hell.”

The next set of lines are from Joan Didion’s essay, “Los Angeles Notebook” published in Slouching Toward Bethlehem, the first a near-quote and the latter two lines paraphrased from the same essay, both substituting “West Coast” for “Los Angeles.”

Didion writes, “It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination.…”

“…Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse….


Bob Dylan: But the summer wind that Frank’s singing about… maybe a little lighter. Come on in, Frank…

[Frank Sinatra – “Summer Wind”]

Bob Dylan: The song was originally a Danish song. Written by the legendary Hans Blotki (sic) [Bradtke] from Denmark. The English lyrics were written by our old friend, Johnny Mercer. And sung beautifully by Mr. Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

Commentary

"Summer Wind" was indeed originally written in Danish. Dylan mangles original lyricist Hans Bradtke's name while claiming (probably with tongue firmly in cheek after his struggles with the name) that he was a famous Dane. Bradtke was actually German. 

Bob Dylan: Here are The Staple Singers singing “Uncloudy Day.” “They tell me of an uncloudy day.” Pop Staples with his dreamy underwater sound of the tremolo guitar. Tremolo guitar bar – that’s one of the hardest things to master if you’re a singer – the tremolo bar. It’s hardly ever used, you won’t hear anybody use it, because it’s very hard to control. But when you use it the right way, it can be a very beautiful effect, as we can hear from Pop Staples and The Staple Singers, singing “Uncloudy Day.”

[The Staple Singers – “Uncloudy Day”]

Commentary


"...that’s one of the hardest things to master if you’re a singer – the tremolo bar." 

Perhaps another one of those quirky Dylanesque (or Gorodetskyesque) jokes that no one else quite gets.  There is no such bar that a singer could master.  The tremolo bar, better known as the tremolo arm is "a lever attached to the bridge and/or the tailpiece of an electric guitar or archtop guitar to enable the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento or pitch bend effect." (Mr. D. isn't the only one with access to Wikipedia).

Bob Dylan: Welllll, the ol’ clock on the wall says it’s time to go. Until next week, you are all my sunshine. If you think the summer sun is too hot, just remember, at least you don’t have to shovel it. We’ll be here next week, on Theme Time Radio Hour

[The Carter Family – “Keep on the Sunny Side”]

59:52

[“Top Cat (Underscore”)]

“Pierre Mancini”: You’ve been listening to Theme Time Radio Hour, with your host, Bob Dylan. Produced by Eddie Gorodetsky. Associate producer, Sonny Webster. Continuity by “Eeps” Martin. Edited by Damian Rodriguez. Supervising editor, Rob Macomber. The Theme Time research team: Diane Lapson and Bernie Bernstein, with additional research by Lynne Sheridan, Kimberly Williams, and Robert Bower. Production assistance by Jim McBean. Special thanks to Randy Ezratty, Coco Shinomiya, and Samson's Diner. For XM Radio, Lee Abrams. Recorded in Studio B, The Abernathy Building. This has been a Grey Water Park Production in Association with Big Red Tree.

This is your announcer, Pierre Mancini, speaking.

Join us again next week for Theme Time Radio Hour, when the subject is, “Mother.”