Burning Down the House

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Recommended: Dylan on the Air, Essays in Color

"Often it's asked, 'Is our children learning?' "
-- George W. Bush

For all the blather spilling over on the Interweb, there are some true oases of sublime pleasure, offering such all-around sustenance (and you had no idea how hungry and thirsty you really were), they're worth lingering at and going out of your way to return to again and again.

Today, I share two such places to rest and be filled.

The personalities involved both offer something we as Americans don't get enough of -- edification. It's possible on the radio, and certainly on the Web. Unless you're a right-wing nutjob, in which case there's no help for you.

Bloggers who do their homework, with deep research presented in artful writing, are so rare. I don't claim to be either thorough or artful (much), and never will. For that reason and more, I can't speak highly enough of Chris over at Locust St. – he hooked me with his current "6 Cardinal Colors" series and I've since been immersed in his archives of the 7 Drinks of Mankind (the Coffee entry is especially strong, no pun intended) and the 7 Deadly Sins. He's also currently going through the 1950s, year by year.

Go get you some learnin' – in full color, linked to sources throughout and with a playlist for each subject. Chris goes for
so-not-the-obvious musical cues, too – there are enough songs about "Yellow" that a Coldplay MP3 wasn't necessary.


OK, now I need to talk about Bob Dylan, and where to get a recent episode of his famed satellite radio show. But only after several other words about ... Singapore. Sort of.

One of my favorite Webzines for a long time, since waaay before the blogosphere sucked me under, is The Big O – a left-of-center pop culture zine out of Singapore with lots of goodness for your hipster soul and a special emphasis on rare recordings. There are also frequent, feisty rants and jibes about the state of politics in that overcrowded Asian city-state that seems to be some prolonged historical flux.
I get a real man-on-the-street vibe from the Big O, and that street has some very cool bookstores and record shops. Recent downloads I've sampled from their server all the way across the world include a Berlin show by the late rock dandy Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps, Jacobites) – I saw him play at New York's Knitting Factory this year, two weeks before he died at age 49 – and vintage Coca-Cola jingles by bands like The Bee Gees and The Who. And that's just some of the more esoteric stuff. Pink Floyd? Neil Young? Dylan, Stones, New Pornographers? Check, check, check, and check.

And this week, the lead article is on "Your Host, Bob Dylan" and the wonderful thing that is Theme Time Radio Hour on XM. They don't get satellite radio in Singapore, but that did NOT stop the mag from posting a complete set of MP3s of Episode 13, "Rich Man, Poor Man." With printable CD covers!

Do I need to recommend this further?
He's a poet of the microphone, a raconteur, a helluva witty emcee, and as the article states, a throwback to the day long past when DJs actually knew a LOT about the music they played. He'll give you a history lesson as well, in old-time blues and much, much more. Dylan's spiels about the songs spin out multiple contexts and he is ALWAYS entertaining while doing so.

The teaser for the next week's show: The theme is "Devil." OMG I love Bob all over again since he started doing this.

As the man said,
You better go now:
Time Radio Hour: Rich Man, Poor Man

You'll thank me, I know.

"The nail that Lil' Kim didn't drive through feminism, Mariah Carey finished off."
-- John Darnielle


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