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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mama Said Knock You Out



Two white guys who are not LL Cool J sing "Mamma Said Knock You Out,"  one of those guys being Bob Dylan and the other being Stephen Merchant, with a special guest appearance by The Cool One himself.

A nice edit job, with Mr. D.'s recitation being taken from Episode #2 of Theme Time Radio Hour,  "Mother" first broadcast on May 10, 2006 where he memorably recited a full verse of "Mamma Said Knock You Out."

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Annotated “Days of the Week” Theme Time Radio Hour - Episode 53 (Part 2)

 Being the 2nd Part of a Compleat Transcript with Commentary on Episode #53 of Theme Time Radio Hour, "Days of the Week" Part 1 can be found here.

Original air date: October 3, 2007



***


In Episode 53 -- "Days of the Week" -- of  Theme Time Radio Hour, we'll meet Monday's and Saturday's children, learn that Jack White knows his Sundays,  look at the leaders in the TTRH playlist race, hear amazing predictions from the even more Amazing Criswell, listen to a surprise recorder rendition, and receive Our Host's final word on commercial affiliation.  I've split the "Days of the Week" transcript into two parts with Part 1 here.

If you like what you read, you can help fund the "Night Time in the Big City" book, chockful of that Dreamtime commentary you've come to know and love.

***



Bob Dylan: Our next performer is truly one of the greats. He signed with Okeh Records in 19 and 25. Between 1925 and 19 and 32, he cut an estimated 130 tracks. He cut blues, guitar duets with Eddie Lang, recorded with Louis Armstrong’s Hot 5 and Duke Ellington. And those aren’t even the records he’s most famous for. In the late `30s and `40s he recorded for the Bluebird label, great blues tracks like, “He’s a Jellyroll Baker.” In 19 and 47 he joined King Records, and that’s where we pick him up today.

[“Tomorrow Night” – Lonnie Johnson]

Bob Dylan: That was Lonnie Johnson and “Tomorrow Night.” Lonnie fell on hard times in the `50s. He was working as a janitor in Philadelphia. Elmer Snowden, the jazz banjo player, discovered him. In an amazing comeback he made some great records for Prestige in the early `60s and toured with the blues revivalists. But he couldn’t catch a break. In 19 and 69 he was struck by a car in Toronto and died a year later from injuries resulting from that accident. The great Lonnie Johnson and “Tomorrow Night” here on Theme Time Radio Hour.

Bob Dylan: Some other people who are able to see tomorrow night are clairvoyants, such as Madame Blavatsky, who founded the Theosophical Society and Edgar Cayce, the spiritual healer. And who could forget the famed TV psychic from the `50s, The Amazing Criswell? He had a great voice, and even better hair. He was in the movie, “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and was a frequent visitor to `50s television. Let’s listen to a few of Criswell’s predictions.


The Amazing Criswell: Ah, greetings my friend. We are all interested in the future for that it is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives, whether we want to or not. And remember my friend; these future events will affect you. The future is in your hands. I predict: Full medical attention by vending machine. I predict that in the future it will be highly possible to have an appendix operation, give birth to a child or receive an abortion, have a heart transplant, a hair transplant or even a brain transplant by vending machine. Your own weight will be controlled by vending machine for ten cents worth of radaric rays.

Bob Dylan: Thank you, Criswell.

Commentary

The clip is taken from the 19 and 70 LP “The Amazing Criswell Predicts! Your Incredible Future” first released on the very obscure Horoscope Records, and later bootlegged on CD. You can listen to the full 44-minute recording at WFMU’s “Beware of the Blog,” where, given how liberal your interpretation of his proclamations, Criswell correctly predicts the political rise of conservatism, genital piercing, and the end of the world on August 18, 1999.

Bob Dylan is reportedly a reader and fan of both Edgar Cayce and Madame Blavatsky. He uses the latter’s writings as a source multiple times in Chronicles, according to researcher Scott Warmuth. I suspect that if someone did a close comparison between passages from Cayce and Dylan’s book, the same would hold true for the former. The Amazing Criswell is a dubious addition to the group, but I think the old, outrageous fakir holds a special place in Dylan’s heart, given his liking for performers who make a living from duping their audience, while entertaining at the same time.

Bob Dylan: You know, some weeks we don’t play a single Irish group. And here we are today with our second one. This one isn’t quite as serious as U2, however. As a matter of fact they say they write a lot of songs about chocolate and girls. You Irish aficionados already know I’m talking ‘bout The Undertones. They recorded a song called “Teenage Kicks” that fellow deejay, the late John Peel, thought was one of the greatest things he ever heard. His attention got them a deal with Sire Records and they toured opening for The Clash. They wrote a great song about Wednesday, a day of the week that there aren’t many songs about. Here’s one of the best, “Wednesday Week,” The Undertones.

[“Wednesday Week” — The Undertones]

Bob Dylan: That was The Undertones, with “Wednesday Week,” which is kinda an English-Irish way of saying, “next Wednesday.”

Bob Dylan: Wednesday is considered either the third or fourth day of the week, depending on whether you start your week on Sunday or Monday. When Sunday is the first day of the week, Wednesday ends up being in the middle of the week. That’s why the Finnish call it something I can not pronounce, but is translated as “center of the week.” Here in the U.S., we just call it “hump day.”

Bob Dylan: One famous Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent.

Morticia Addams: My name is Mrs. Addams and I want you to find my little girl, Wednesday.

Sergeant Haley: Look, I’ll find her Tuesday if I can, but don’t give me no deadlines, willya please?

Morticia Addams: Wednesday’s her name!

Sergeant Haley: Oh, and I suppose you’re gonna tell me her middle name is Thursday, huh?

Morticia Addams: “Friday.”

Commentary

The Finnish name for Wednesday that Dylan did not want to take on is, “Keskiviikko,” which is pronounced just as you would guess, but apparently looked a bit too daunting in the script.

“My name is Mrs. Addams…”

To belabor the obvious, which is what Dreamtime is all about, the clip is from the great ABC series of the `60s, “The Addams Family,” and is from the 10th episode of its first season, “Wednesday Leaves Home” from 19 and 64. Lovers of classic `60s `70s and `80s commercials will recognize “Sgt. Haley’s” voice as that of The Maytag Repair Man, Jesse White.



Bob Dylan: Well, we’ve covered Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll bet you can guess what’s next. That’s right, Thursday, and here’s a song all about that day, by a trio called Morphine.

["Thursday" — Morphine]

Bob Dylan: That was Morphine with “Thusday,” telling ya ‘bout what can happen if you push things too far. Might lose a good thing. Unfortunately, on July 3rd 19 and 99 Mark Sandman had a fatal heart attack and died on-stage while playing in a festival in Rome. Morphine, here on Theme Time Radio Hour.

Bob Dylan: We’re looking at the days one-by-one, but we also want to look at them as simply days. Some days you’re the dog, other days you’re the hydrant. Here’s another Mother Goose rhyme:

[“Solomon a Gundie” (background music) – Eric “Monty” Morris]
Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
This is the end
Of Solomon Grundy
Bob Dylan: The name “Solomon Grundy” was also used as the name of The Man Who Couldn’t Die, who was an arch-enemy of the original Green Lantern.

Commentary

Dylan never refers to the artist or music playing in the background during his recitation of “Solomon Grundy,” which is kind of a pity, as it would have been good for a few minutes of commentary. But we’ll fill in for him.

Eric “Monty” Morris’ `60s ska song, even though using the rhyme as its basis, changes Solomon’s name to “Solomon a Gundie.” Under that name, the rhyme was popular with Jamaican children, and later adapted to music by Morris. He had several hits with ska versions of children rhymes, including “Simple Simon” and “Humpty Dumpty.” “Solomon Gundie” is also a pickled herring paste served on crackers in Jamaica. Interestingly, the same term is used in Nova Scotia for pickled herring with sour cream. Both terms probably were corruptions of the British word salmagundi, used to describea recipe of many different ingredients.



The DC villain Solomon Grundy debuted in “All-American Comics” in October 19 and 44 and was also named after the nursery rhyme. The Undead Cyrus Gold, the original Swamp Thing, arises from the muck and mire of Slaughter Swamp, encounters a hobo camp and when asked his name replies that he has none but helpfully offers that he was “born on a Monday.” This of course incites one of the `bos to recite the nursery rhyme. Hilarity and mayhem ensue.

Bob Dylan: And now, TGIF. Thank Goodness It’s Friday.

[Flintstones theme (excerpt)]

Bob Dylan: If you’re like me, you probably have Friday on your mind. Well, here’s the prefect soundtrack from 19 and 65. The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind.”

[“Friday On My Mind” — The Easybeats]

Bob Dylan: That was The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind,” here on Theme Time Radio Hour. That song was written by Harry Vanda and George Young. Well, after The Easybeats broke up, Vanda and Young became fulltime songwriters and producers. They helped put together AC/DC. As a matter of fact, two of George Young’s younger brothers, Angus and Malcom, were in AC/DC. Vanda and Young also had another project called, Flash and the Pan. They had a novelty hit with “Hey, St. Peter” and recorded another song that ended up being a big hit for Grace Jones. It was called “Walking in the Rain,” and it’s a shame that we’ve already done our “Weather” show, or we definitely would have played that one.

Bob Dylan: We got time for an email now before we get to the end of the week. Let’s go to the email basket. This one comes from Jackie Van from Manhattan. Jackie writes, “Bob, I know that Sheryl Crow’s a friend of yours. But what is your take on her using Buddy Holly’s great “Not Fade Away” for a TV hair dye commercial? I felt the most awful, stinging disappointment when I first heard it. I felt betrayed by Crow, as I’m almost sure Buddy would have. He was such a stickler for controlling his own material. I can’t imagine his liking this commercial adaptation.”

Bob Dylan: Well, Jackie, I have to disagree with ya. When’s the last time you heard Buddy Holly on the radio? There aren’t a lot of shows like Theme Time Radio Hour. A lot of people get to hear commercials. And if it makes one person curious about either Buddy or Sheryl, I’m all for it. How many people never heard of Nick Drake ‘til he was in a car commercial? A lot of musicians have always been proud to have commercial affiliation. Sonny Boy Williamson sold flour. I can’t imagine Sonny Boy saying, “My blues is too sacred. I wouldn’t sell flour.” Jimmie Rodgers sold biscuits. Sheryl Crow sells hair dye. More power to her. And Jackie, have you ever seen a Victoria’s Secrets ad? (laughs)

Commentary

One of my favorite commentaries from Theme Time Radio Hour, the “commercial affiliation” email from “Jackie Van” may be real, but given the timing this was more likely a stalking horse set up by Eddie Gorodetsky allowing Dylan to express his opinion on the subject. Crow had done the commercial for Revlon some eight months earlier and, unlike the usual email read on “Theme Time,” this one had no obvious connection with the theme or music.

Three weeks after the air date of “Days of the Week,” Cadillac and XM Radio released a cross-promotional advertising campaign featuring Bob Dylan and Theme Time Radio Hour. Dylan appeared in a television commercial for the 2008 Cadillac Escalade hybrid (a commercial featuring music from an artist named “Smog”) and hosted a TTRH episode dedicated to the theme, "Cadillac.”

Cadillac became the formal sponsor of Theme Time Radio Hour, acknowledged with a brief announcement at the beginning of the show, as well as with a branded badge on the show's web page. Given all this, the subject of musicians and commercial affiliation may have been a hot topic in the offices of Grey Water Park and Big Red Tree during the months of September and October. Dylan’s citation of Sonny Boy Williamson and Jimmie Rodgers sounds as if repeated from an actual conversation. As well as Rodgers and Sonny Boy Williamson II, Dylan could have used Bob Wills and Hank Williams as two other examples from the legion of artists “proud to have commercial affiliation.” However, as far as I know, Bob Dylan is the only musician who has traveled in ladies’ underwear.



Bob Dylan: Well, with Friday comes the weekend. And one of my favorite songs about the weekend is by the Silver Fox, Charlie Rich. He was a little more sophisticated than a lot of rockabilly musicians. As a matter of fact, Sam Phillips rejected his early demos, complaining that they were “too jazzy.” He did use him as a session musician, though, and you can hear him backing up Johnny Cash, Warren Smith, Billy Lee Riley and Ray Smith, Sam saw the light of day though and in 19 and 58 started releasing Charlie’s records on his Phillips International label. He didn’t have a hit though until 19 and 60 with his third single. Ii became a Top 30 hit and I’m going to play it for you right now.

[“Lonely Weekends” — Charlie Rich]

Bob Dylan: That was Charlie Rich, “Lonely Weekends.” There’s lonely weekends and there’s lost weekends. “The Lost Weekend” won the Academy Award in 19 and 45. It was directed by the great Billy Wilder, and it’s one of the first movie scores to use a theremin. It’s the story of an alcoholic, played by Ray Milland, on a weekend bender. Let’s listen to a little bit as Ray begs his favorite bartender for one more drink.

[“The Lost Weekend” (clip)]

Bob Dylan: There’s no feeling like that moment when you’re getting ready for a Saturday night. The world is full of possibilities. And no one has captured that wistful feeling better than Tom Waits did on this song, the title track from his 19 and 76 album, “The Heart of Saturday Night.” Here’s Tom Waits.

[“(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night” — Tom Waits]

Bob Dylan: That was Tom Waits, “(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night.” Some people look for the heart of Saturday night and they never find it and they get lost in the search. When they do, they can fall victim to wasted days and wasted nights. I’m going to let Dough Sahm do a shout-out to the man who wrote it before he sings it.

[“Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” — Doug Sahm]

Bob Dylan: That was Dough Sahm doing the Freddy Fender classic, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” The thing about days is that they keep rolling on. You finish off a Saturday, and there’s another Sunday waiting in line. We started off our show on Sunday, and we’re going to end it there. After all those wasted days and wasted nights you know there’s going to be a Sunday morning coming down. Here’s Kris Kristofferson with one of his greatest songs, “I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad. So I had one more for dessert.”

[“Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” — Kris Kristofferson]

Bob Dylan: That was Kris Kristofferson. He’s a Rhodes Scholar. “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down.” Well, I can see the sun coming up over the horizon, and our day here is done. Night creeps in, throwing shadows across the Abernathy Building. I’m going to leave you with the words of the husband of the woman who wrote, “Frankenstein.” That’s right, it’s Percy Byshhe Shelley. At the end of the day, it’s a good night.
Good Night (Shelly c. 1819-20)

Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood --
Then it will be -- good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.
Good night everybody, see you next week.

[“Top Cat (Underscore)"]

“Pierre Mancini:” Thanks for listening to Theme Time Radio Hour with your host, Bob Dylan. Produced by Eddie Gorodetsky. Associate producer, Ben Rollins. Continuity by “Eeps” Martin. Edited by Damian Rodriguez. Supervising editor, Rob Macomber. Research team: Diane Lapson and Bernie Bernstein, with additional research by April Hayes, Callie Gladman, Terrence Michaels, Sean Patrick and Lynne Sheridan. Librarian: Robert Bower. Production coordinator; Debbie Sweeney. 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, in the historic Abernathy Building. Studio engineer: “Tex” Carbone. This has been a Grey Water Park Production in Association with Big Red Tree. This has been your announcer, Pierre Mancini, speaking. Join us again next week when our subject is subject is, “California.”

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Annotated “Days of the Week” Theme Time Radio Hour - Episode 53 (Part 1)

Being the 1st Part of a Compleat Transcript with Commentary on Episode #53 of Theme Time Radio Hour, "Days of the Week"  Part 2 is here.


Original air date: October 3, 2007



***


In Episode 53 -- "Days of the Week" -- of  Theme Time Radio Hour, we'll meet Monday's and Saturday's children, learn that Jack White knows his Sundays,  look at the leaders in the TTRH playlist race, hear  amazing predictions from the even more Amazing Criswell, listen to a surprise recorder rendition, and receive Our Host's final word on commercial affiliation.  I've split the "Days of the Week" transcript into two parts with Part 2 here.

If you like what you read, you can help fund the "Night Time in the Big City" book, chockful of that Dreamtime commentary you've come to know and love.



[Background – “What a Difference a Day Makes”]

The Woman in Red: It’s nighttime in the Big City. A storm is coming. A woman wonders. It’s Theme Time Radio Hour with your host, Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan:
Monday's child is fair of face.
Tuesday's child is full of grace.
Wednesday's child is full of woe.
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving.
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
Bob Dylan: That’s “Monday’s Child,” a nursery rhyme from “Mother Goose.” It’s also considered a fortune-telling song. You’re supposed to be able to tell a child’s character or what would happen to them in the future based on the day they were born. We’re going to be learning about every day of the week and hearing songs about Monday through Sunday. We’ll hear about “Blue Mondays,” “Ruby Tuesdays,” all the way through Saturday and Sunday. The first page of the Bible explains how God created the world and rested on the seventh. But even people who don’t follow the Judeo-Christian Bible have a seven-day week, so this week’s show will certainly have a world-wide appeal.

Commentary

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, “Monday’s Child” was first recorded in A. E. Bray's “Traditions of Devonshire” in 1838 and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century.

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born on a Saturday, prophetically making him a child who would “work hard for a living.” Perhaps there’s something to the old rhyme after all.

Bob Dylan: Let’s start out with an old tune linking in all seven days. A song by a man named Sterling Harrison, who never got his due. He used to sing demos for Holland, Dozier and Holland, but never had a hit of his own. Before he died he was singing for dollar tips at a barbecue joint at 82nd and Western. There is great music happening all over the country. Sometimes you gotta seek it out, and if you don’t seek it out, it’s just gonna disappear. Here’s a great guy you never heard of, Sterling Harrison and “Seven Days.”

[“Seven Days” — Sterling Harrison]

Bob Dylan: That was Sterling Harrison and “Seven Days,” a song originally recorded by Little Junior Parker.

Commentary

One of the few instances during TTRH’s run where you can see writer/producer Eddie Gorodetsky working behind the curtain. Sterling Harrison’s last album was South of the Snooty Fox, which includes “Seven Days,” and was co-produced by Gorodetsky and Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. South of the Snooty Fox was recorded in 2001, but attracted no label interest until finally picked up by HackTone Records, a boutique imprint based in Culver City, Calif. The CD was released on the second-year anniversary of Harrison’s death, August 21, 2007, about two months before the “Days of the Week” episode aired.

Although not intended as an insult, Gorodetsky/Dylan’s implication that Sterling Harrison had been reduced to “…singing for dollar tips at a barbecue joint…” before his death is neither accurate nor fair to Harrison’s memory. Sterling Harrison’s sister contacted me shortly after I did a Dreamtime podcast quoting that line. She angrily pointed out – quite rightly – that while Harrison had been happy to pocket dollar tips during his gigs at M&M Soul Food in L.A. he had also regularly performed to sold-out houses in his home town of Richmond, VA until the end of his life. While Sterling Harrison never got his due from a popular standpoint, in his own circle he was successful, well-respected and loved.



Bob Dylan: Some people start the day of the week off with Monday, but I start it off with Sunday, myself. There’s a lot of songs written about Sunday, and some of them are pretty heavy. For example, this one, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,”from 1983 by U2. It’s a song about the slaughter of innocent civilians in Ireland. It attempts to compare and contrast the troubles in Northern Ireland with the significance of Easter Sunday. On January 30th 1972, thirty thousand people marched into Derry, in a march organized by the civil rights association. Armored cars appeared from behind barriers. British troops boxed in hundreds of people. All of the soldiers were fully armed with combat rifles. Suddenly, shots rang out. At the end of the day, thirteen people lay dead and seventeen wounded. U2 wrote the following song so those people would never be forgotten. Here’s U2, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.”

[“Sunday Bloody Sunday” — U2]

Bob Dylan: That was U2, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” Let’s take a moment and remember the names of the people who died that day: John Duddy, Paddy Doherty, Bernard McGuigan, “Pi” Gilmour, Kevin McElhinney, Michael McDaid, William Nash, John Young, Michael Kelly, Jim Wray, Gerald Donaghy, Gerald McKinney, William McKinney and John Johnston.

Bob Dylan: Jack White doesn’t find Sunday particularly sad. But he knows when it is a Sunday. I’ll let him explain.

Jack White: Y’know, funny you should ask, Bob, about the days of the week because going out on tour it seems like no matter where I am in the world I always know when it’s Sunday. Y’know, I don’t know what the date is, maybe I don’t even know what month or year it is or what country we’re in, but I know it’s Sunday for some reason. And, uh, I’ve always wondered why that is.

Commentary

The barely articulate Mr. White was on the list of “special guests” noted in the XM Radio press release announcing Season 2 and by early 2008 would air two more commentaries on Theme Time.

There was a period during 2007 when Bob Dylan and Jack White appeared to have pledged to be BFFs, with White participating in Dylan’s still-unreleased Hank Williams Project and joining Dylan at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for the first ever live performance of “Meet Me in the Morning.” The relationship may have cooled somewhat by 2009, with White pointing out during a lecture at Trinity College that in her own way Britney Spears was more “authentic” than either Tom Waits or Bob Dylan. On the other hand, that’s the sort of off-the-wall opinion that one wouldn’t be surprised to hear expressed by Bob Dylan himself.

Bob Dylan: Let’s cheer things up a little bit. I don’t want the whole show to be tear-stained. Here’s Frankie Lee Sims. You might be wondering why a song called, “Lucy Mae Blues” is being played on our “Days of the Week” show. Well, give a listen.

[“Lucy Mae Blues” — Frankie Lee Sims]

Bob Dylan: That was Frankie Lee Sims, He’s Lightnin’ Hopkins cousin. Born in New Orleans, died in Dallas. And recorded that song, which is kind of a mash-up, between a couple of blues standards. You hear a little bit of “Ain’t No Tellin’” which Mississippi John Hurt made famous and a little taste of, “My Sunday Woman,” or as some people call it, “Every Day in the Week.” I like the version by Sleepy John Estes.

Commentary

Dylan is a longtime fan of Sleepy John Estes, name-checking him in the first stanza of his free-form poem used for the liner notes of 19 and 65’s “Bringing it all Back Home.”
I'm standing there watching the parade/
feeling combination of sleepy john estes.
jayne mansfield. humphry bogart/morti-
mer snerd. murph the surf and so forth/
Bob Dylan: Let’s move on through the week now. We’ve gotten through Sunday. You know what that means.

[Robotic jingle – “Monday”]

Bob Dylan: It’s time for Monday, and if I know my radio show, that sounds like a song cue. Here’s Smiley Lewis and his song, “Blue Monday.” You probably know it better by Fats Domino. But whenever we have the chance to play Smiley, we like to do it.

[Blue Monday – Smiley Lewis]

Bob Dylan: That was Smiley Lewis, who is edging out George Jones as the most-played artist on Theme Time Radio Hour. “Blue Monday.”

Commentary

By the close of Season 3, George Jones had been supplanted as “most-played artist” on TTRH by Tom Waits and Dinah Washington. Both would have a total 10 spins on the turntable by the end of the series. For the completist, Tom Waits is unquestionably the “most-mentioned” TTRH artiste, thanks to his many taped commentaries during Seasons 2 and 3 as well as the airplay he was given by Dylan.

George Jones, who had led the “most-played pack” in both Seasons 1 and 2, would make no appearances at all during Season 3. He still had accumulated enough airplay in the previous two seasons to tie with Elvis Costello for second place, having a total nine songs played on Theme Time.

Smiley Lewis ended up placing in the Top 5, sharing fifth-place honors with June Christy, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Doug Sahm & the Sir Douglas Quintet, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, JB Lenoir, Little Walter, Los Lobos, Loretta Lynn, Randy Newman, Elvis Presley, and The Stanley Brothers. That list is a pretty accurate representation of the catholic tastes of the three major influences on the TTRH musical playlist: Bob Dylan, Eddie Gorodetsky, and the pseudonymous jazz-loving associate producer who during Season 2 was referring to him/herself as “Ben Rollins.”

Bob Dylan: In the beginning, the days of the week were named after deities who had dominion over that particular day. Some of these are pretty obvious. You know Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Nowadays, English has retained the original planet names for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Saturn, Sun, and Moon. The other four days are the names of Anglo-Saxon or Nordic gods, replacing the Roman gods who gave names to the planets. For example, Wednesday is named after Woden or Odin. Thursday’s named after Thor. And Friday is named after Freya.

Bob Dylan: Personally, I would have named Tuesday after “Ruby.” But The Rolling Stones beat me to it.

[“Ruby Tuesday” – The Rolling Stones]

Bob Dylan: That was “Ruby Tuesday” by The Rolling Stones. One of the prettiest songs they ever recorded and it’s from “Between the Buttons.” You might be interested to know that “Ruby Tuesday” was supposed to only be a B-side. For those of you who don’t know what a B-side is, that was the other side of a 45, that wasn’t a hit. The A-side in this case was supposed to be “Let’s Spend the Night Together.’ But a lot of disc jockeys thought it was too sexual, and so they wouldn’t play it. But they played the flip side, and that’s how “Ruby Tuesday” became such a hit.

Bob Dylan: What I like about that record is Brian Jones playing the recorder. The recorder is a woodwind of the family known as “fipple flutes.” A “fipple” is a wooden plug at the end of a flute. The flute, in its heyday, was associated with birds, shepherds, miraculous events, funerals, marriages, and amorous scenes. I think it’s one of the most beautiful sounds known to man. I brought mine with me today, and if you don’t mind, I’m gonna play a little somethin’ for ya.

[clears throat]

[“Blowin’ in the Wind”(excerpt) – Bob Dylan]

Bob Dylan: How ‘bout that? Anton Chekhov once said, “There isn’t a Monday that would not cede its place to Tuesday.”

Commentary

“How ‘bout that?”

One of those unanticipated, delightful moments on TTRH, equal to his a capella rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” is Bob Dylan playing an excerpt of “Blowin’ in the Wind” on a recorder during the “Days of the Week” show. While there were many instances when he would allude to his “other job” during Theme Time’s run, this would be the only time Dylan would play one of his own songs on the show, and play it live to boot.

There are at least two documented instances of Dylan publicly playing the recorder, both during appearances for the West Coast Chabad Lubavitch Telethon in 1989 and 1991.



“There isn’t a Monday…”

A paraphrase of a quote from “Note-Book of Anton Chekhov,” a volume of notes and quotations which Chekhov liked, as well as themes and sketches for works which he intended to write. The editors of the book noted that it was “characteristic of the methods of [Chekhov’s] artistic production.”
“There is no Monday which will not give its place to Tuesday.”
As with many writers Dylan uses a similar mechanism, sometimes referred to as his “box of notes” according to the few first-hand accounts of his writing methods.

Dylan stated in a PLAYBOY interview that Chekhov was his favorite writer and later claimed in Chronicles that he wrote an entire album based on Chekhov short stories, wryly remarking that the critics had called it, “autobiographical.” Dylan is probably stretching the truth when he uses the term, “based.” Given that the line wasn’t deliberately designed to madden obsessive fans, it’s likely that, as is Dylan’s habit, he took several lines and phrases from Chekhov for use in his songs. There’s evidence that the unnamed album he refers to was “Blood on the Tracks,” which contains several phrases and descriptive passages which seem to have originated with Chekhov.  (cont. in Part 2.)