So the second Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host Bob Dylan has gone to air. Good Midwest boy with a sense of occasion, Bob chose a theme for Mother's Day.
Bob's own mother Beatty was very dear to him and died several years ago. Her recipe for a Banana Choc Chip Loaf was published in the Detroit Free Press newspaper, since removed from there but archived here. I made it a few times and recommend.
As a deejay, like as a songwriter, can't help skewing things. Of Doughboy Tommy Duncan he says "his real name was Thomas Elmer Duncan" leaning on the middle name like a particularly revelatory punchline. Elmer, huh? That explains everything. He rolls out lines and lines of the lyrics of the songs he plays, placing the stress where no stress was meant to be. It's like, almost, he is playing with the 40 years of lyrical dissection handed out to him as Poet Laureate of Rock, the Voice of the Generation. Taking the piss (translation) by intoning You Are My Sunshine as if it were, well, as if it were Dylan.
Whatever the music was, it was going to be sublime. And he distributes nuggets of biographical and musical info, confiding in us as fellow music fans. "Here's one by Little Junior Parker ... I don't know if you need Little and Junior. His real name was Herman Parker, Junior. I guess I'd call myself Little Junior Parker too."
Bobby's love for the various forms is well known of course, no surprise the first song of the first show was Muddy Waters, "one of the ancients by now, whom all moderns prize." Current touring buddy Merle Haggard is an obvious choice with Mama Tried. Interestingly, the Rolling Stones (Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby?) are the only act over the two shows not to get a background spiel. But it isn't all blues, country, pre war oddities and obvious influences and peers like Jimi Hendrix. Randy Newman's Mama Told Me Not to Come ("An exhilirated (?) performer ... Randy's better known as a songwriter, an eclectic one. But nevetheless, one.") got a spin in the Mother show, as did LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out. In a future show on Drinking Mary Gauthier's I Drink -- a stone cold modern classic for mine -- is scheduled.
One thing that surprised even me a bit, is how warm and friendly Bob sounds. A great voice for radio, and a musical generosity which shines though. And wildly funny, which is something casual fans or the unconverted need convincing of but the rest of us know for sure.
Bob plays songs and wheels out his typically corntastic jokes about mothers-in-law and the "mamas" in the song titles are sometimes wayward girlfriends but he comes back to the ideal of mothers. There are, he says, 82.5 million mothers in the USA which may be true, or it might be one of those sly little things Bobby just makes up. And he reads a poem, you're allowed to be cheesy on Mother's Day:
M is for the many things she gave me
O is for the other things she gave me
T is for the things she gave me
H is for her things, which she gave me
E is for everything she gave me
R is for the rest of the things she gave me
He closes with the stern instruction: "Go call your mothers!"
Good advice, Bobby.