Bob Dylan – Theme Time Radio Hour – The Whiskey Episode (Crystal Cat CC1121/22)

Bob Dylan, ‘Theme Time Radio Hour – The Whiskey Episode’ (Crystal Cat CC1121/22) 

Intro Diana Krall / B.Dylan Hello Friends / Wynonie Harris “Quiet Whiskey” / B. Dylan About W. Harris & Other Musicians / B. Dylan About Floating Verses / Charlie Poole “if The River Was Whiskey” / B. Dylan About Johnny Bush & Willie Nelson / Johnny Bush “I’m Dreaming In A Whiskey River” / Willie Nelson “Whiskey River” / B. Dylan He Was At Elmo & About Bottleneck / B. Dylan About Zonophone Label / Edmund Tagoe & Frank Essien “Whiskey Sununu Odia” / Dylan About Cocktails / Bobby Charles “He’s Got All The Whiskey” / B. Dylan Playing Songs About Intoxicating Amber .. / Penn Jilette Of Penn And Teller / Timmie Rogers “Oh Yeah” / B. Dylan About Pinpoint Carboration / B. Dylan About “Beer Goggels” / Laura Cantrell “The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter” / B. Dylan About Mose Alison & Helo From David Hidalgo / Frank Sinatra “Drinking Again” / B. Dylan About Jeff Beck’s Album “Truth” From 1967 / Jeff Beck / Rod Stewart “I’ve Been Drinking” / Professional Speaker / B. Dylan About Corn Whiskey / Jimmy Witherspoon “Corn Whiskey” / B. Dylan About Billie Harbert / Billie Harbert “Ain’t That Whiskey Hot?” / B. Dylan About Hot Toddy / B. Dylan About American Jump Blues / Alfred Brown “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer! / B. Dylan Was Nursing A Drink At Elmo’s Lounge / B. Dylan About H. Choates And Rye Whiskey / Harry Choates “Rye Whiskey”

Disk 2 – B. Dylan About Robert Burns w. John C. Reilly / John C. Reilly “Coming Through The Rye” / Julie London “Comin’ Thru The Rye” / B. Dylan About Haven’t Done A Show In A While, Still Get E-Mails / B. Dylan About Drink Responsible / The Stanley Brothers “Mountain Dew” / B. Dylan About Moonshine Liquor / B. Dylan Met Van Morrison In Greece / Van Morrison “Moonshine Whiskey” / Dean Martin “Bourbon From Heaven” / B. Dylan About Lotte Lenya / Lotte Lenya “The Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) / Hey, It’s Billy Gibbons / B. Dylan About Horce Race / Tom Waits “Jokey Full Of Bourbon” / B. Dylan About A Good Bourbon Drink / B. Dylan About George Jones / George Jones “Tennessee Whiskey” / Hey Bob, It’s Me Allison Janney / Thin Lizzy “Whiskey In The Jar” / B. Dylan About The Clancey Brothers / The Clancey Brothers “The Parting Glass” / B. Dylan About A Wonderful Story / Liam Clancy Tells A Story / B. Dylan About A Cure To Recommend / Byllye Williams “Hangover Blues” / B. Dylan About Recordings… / B. Dylan Read A Poem By Hayden Carruth / B. Dylan About Tuff Green / Tuff Green & His Orchestra “Let’s Go The Liquor Lounge” / B. Dylan About Charles Bukowski / B. Dylan Read From Novel “Mother” C. Bukowski / B. Dylan But There’s Plenty More To Say On This Subject / B. Dylan, A Toast David Crosby Taught Me / B. Dylan To Stay Safe, See You Soon, Oh, Yeah!

No one could ever accuse Bob Dylan of not being forward thinking or sticking to one concept but strangely anachronistic he is and one of the spokes to his bike wheel was joining in on broadcasting – Aping the jockeys that he no doubt heard on the radiogram while at home in Duluth in his formative years. 

His speaking voice, slow and easy, warm and rich with a gravelly knowledge of life is one of the selling points, his encyclopaedic knowledge of the back history of music (A friend of mine suggested that he had a good support group behind him to feed him the script, while more likely true, it’s nice to think that Bob turns up the radio when he’s in his painting studio when something attracts his attention, maybe he’ll get a call from Louie Kemp occasionally and they’ll say, “Hey, remember that song ..” or Jack White will drop an MP3 on an email and suggest that Dylan hasn’t heard it before.) that spans decades – Though usually steps further than anything released in the new ‘00’s, which never seems to bother his peripheral as much as the 1900’s to the 1980’s. This is all mixed with Dylan’s own asides, tales tall and short, poetry and guest appearances. 

The first three series of Dylan’s radio shows were bootlegged, sorry, pirated all together series by series on beautiful boxes. Though, as the text that introduced the show on Apple’s podcasts app goes: “This episode of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is the first since 2009, and it’s a deep dive into the world of that amber intoxicant popularly known as whiskey. Aptly, this episode is a double; two hours of music, musings and more from the famed musician and Nobel Laureate, broadcasting around the globe from Studio B in the Abernathy Building.”

A singular show then, albeit over two short hours, ostensibly to promote Dylan’s Heavens Door whiskey line – in itself, a beautifully produced thing – but also to give Dylan something to do on a whim – It’s a great show – and full to the rafters with some odd, beautiful, strange, breathtaking, funky tracks (Edmund Tagoe & Frank Essien’s “Whiskey Sununu Odia” was a personal fave) Dylan intersperses this collection with some brilliant witticisms, jokes, lexicographical lyricism. 

As I’ve already pointed out however, it’s obviously a pirate (Not that that stops us collecting anything anyway, really) so noting it can be found through podcasts is worth it, however, for the collector, Crystal Cat have done us a real service by pressing and packaging it for us. 

In a year where Dylan’s new musical output is slender, a great sideline to ‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’, an hysterical and warming listen and a CD that’ll end up costing you more as you’ll be inspired to seek out some of these artist’s albums when your local record stores open again.

It is packaged in a glossy digipack, using the official artwork for the cover while the standard 27 page booklet filled with informative text detailing the songs that are played, the artists that played them and also the guest names that featured throughout the show. 

A great little set, very collectible, but just for the completest maybe. It features nothing new by way of Dylan’s own music and so will remain a curiosity for some. 

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