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It’s nighttime in the city. There’s a hint of jasmine in the air. A startled cat runs across the piano keys. My neighbor keeps walking around upstairs. A man slowly falls out of love.

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

We’re going to need more ice.” ~ Diana Krall

Airing from 2006 to 2009, Theme Time Radio Hour with your host, Bob Dylan was a weekly satellite radio series that explored different topics through music, such as “Money,” “War,” and “Presidents.” …


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After 11 years, Bob Dylan is returning to his fabled Theme Time Radio Hour series, which will take over SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks (Ch. 27) with a brand-new show and a one-week limited-run channel featuring every episode of the original Theme Time, starting Monday, September 21 at 12pm ET.

First introduced in May 2006, Theme Time Radio Hour was a weekly one-hour radio show hosted by Bob Dylan, with each episode dedicated to a different topic, including “Money,” “Presidents,” and “Spring Cleaning.” The show was among the most-listened-to programs on all of satellite radio.

All of Dylan’s classic satellite Theme Time shows will air back to back during the week, including a brand new, never-before-heard episode titled “Whiskey” a tie-in to his whiskey collection, Heaven’s Door Spirits. …


Why isn’t Billy The Kid Emerson credited on “Rough and Rowdy Ways”?

Dig into the online ASCAP repertory and you’ll find some crazy stuff there. For example, the co-writers of “Beyond the Horizon,” a song released on Bob Dylan’s 2006 album, ‘Modern Times,” are listed as Robert Dylan, Wilhelm Groz (who wrote under the pseudonym of “Hugh Williams”), and James B. Kennedy.

We all know of “Robert” Dylan. …


Bob Dylan, Gladys Bentley, and the music of Juneteenth Jamboree

“‘Fatso’ Bentley, singing about the Juneteenth Jamboree, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery. The State of Texas made Juneteenth an official holiday in 19 and 80, and its the only state to celebrate this event.

‘The Juneteenth Jamboree, where everything is strictly free. …


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Callow Youth of America: So, why all the noise about “Murder Most Foul”?

The Wise Old Owl: Outside of it being Bob effing Dylan we’re talking about — The Big Bubba of Rebellion, High Priest of Protest, the Czar of Dissent, the Duke of Disobedience, Leader of the Freeloaders, Kaiser of Apostasy, Archbishop of Anarchy, the Big Cheese — “Murder Most Foul” is the first original song he’s released since 2012.

And at 16 minutes 56 seconds, it’s also the longest song he’s ever released.

And it’s his first-ever #1 Song on a Billboard Chart.

Plus, it’s got all sort of things in it to push Boomer buttons. …


A Playlist for the Apocalypse

December 7, 1941, and America in shock.

“Me, I was born in 1941,” Bob Dylan says onstage a few minutes before Barack Obama is officially declared the 44th President of the United States. “That’s the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. I’ve been living in a world of darkness ever since. But it looks like things are going to change now.”

November 22, 1963, and America again in shock. “America leads the world in shocks,” says Gil Scott-Heron. “Unfortunately, America does not lead the world in deciphering the cause of shock.”

Is the world just one big magic trick and we’re the hoodwinked audience?

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Esquire Magazine September 1965 — By this time both JFK and Malcolm X were dead, gunned down by assassins and possibly both victims of conspiracies

Bobby Zimmerman didn’t vote in the 1960 election, the 19-year-old being far too busy with the task of becoming Bob Dylan. As far as anyone knows, Bob Dylan doesn’t vote in any election — evading the question the few times he’s been asked about exercising his franchise. On the other hand, in Chronicles Dylan does relate an anecdote of his mother seeing Kennedy in Hibbing in October 1960, watching JFK give a “heroic speech” and writing to her Bobby that Kennedy was a ray of light bringing people a lot of hope. “If I had been a voting man, I would have voted for Kennedy just for coming there.” Dylan adds. …


Part 1: What the Hell is Vril?

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Some of the Hunters. From left: Mindy and Murray Markowitz; Roxy Jones; Joe Torrance; and Lonny Flash. (Christopher Saunders/Amazon)

It’s Summer, 1977. New York City. After his grandmother — a Holocaust survivor — is murdered, young Jonah Heidelbaum discovers that she was a member of a group dedicated to tracking and murdering Nazis living in America under assumed identities. Seeking vengeance, Jonah joins the group — a motley crew of characters that includes their leader, multi-millionaire Meyer Offerman; Sister Harriet, a pistol-packing foul-mouthed nun; obnoxious B-movie actor Lonny Flash; black power activist Roxy Jones; Asian-American kung-fu expert Joe Torrance; and tech wizards Mindy and Murray Markowitz.

In Hunters Episode 6: “Ruth 1:16” the “red journal” owned by various Nazis is found to be a wacko science fiction novel called Vril that is, as Lonny Flash describes it, “an instruction manual” for the coming Fourth Reich. …


Buddy Holly’s Plane Was Brought Down by His Own Gun

That’ll be the day.

Buddy Holly did carry a gun, and it was with him on the plane, although likely in its usual place in Holly’s shaving kit rather than on his person during the flight. Being from Texas, and being responsible for the Crickets’ cash, Holly carried the gun mostly for protection against robbery, although in at least one instance he did have to display it in order to convince a reluctant promoter to turn over the band’s earnings.

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Holly’s gun was discovered in the field where the plane had gone down a couple of months after the crash and was rumored to have had one shot fired. That led to various conspiracy theories; there had been some sort of airborne struggle ending with the gun being fired, Buddy had flipped out because of the bad weather and demanded that the pilot land right now, the gun was accidentally discharged when Buddy and the Big Bopper tried to exchange seats. There was a bullet hole in the back of the pilot’s seat. …


“Renaldo wants to be free from his unforgettable past — in other words, he wants to forget his unforgettable past and something earthshaking must have happened to him.” ~ Bob Dylan to Allen Ginsberg and Pierre Cottrell — 1977.

According to John Bauldie, editor of the Dylan fanzine, “The Telegraph,” Dylan demanded Ginsberg’s tape at the end of his first interview about “Renaldo and Clara,” claiming he had “revealed too much.”

The Death of Bobby Zimmerman

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The motorcycle accident? Here’s the true git from one who was there and saw it.

Bobby Zimmerman was cruising down the highway when the muffler fell right off his bike. No hassle — it had happened before — the muffler was just wired on until Bobby could get around to welding it. …


Frank Sinatra sings a version of Old MacDonald for the swingiest cat he knows, Peter Epsteen

So, why was Ol’ Blue Eyes doing a radio commercial for a Skokie, Illinois car dealership?

Why do you think? Three little letters. M.O.B.

Some claim that Sinatra did the gig for Sam Giancana, boss of bosses in Chicago from the late `50s to the mid-60s, a friend — if friend is the right word — of Sinatra’s since 1958, and the person who Sinatra acted as the front man for in Giancana’s buy into a piece of the action of the Cal/Neva Casino in Lake Tahoe. …

About

Fred Bals

Corporate Storyteller. Tech enthusiast. Mini Cooper fanboy. One-time chronicler of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour. Husband of Peggy. Human of Lily Rose.