The Whole Bloody Bob Renaissance Rave

The past couple of years have been an absolute Bobsend for all of us Dylan fans. Not only did we get The Bob's great autobiography, "Chronicles Vol 1", but there was also "Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews", an excellent collection of sometimes-hilarious and often-bizarre Q&A sessions spanning a 40 year period. Then there was the fantastic Martin Scorsese-directed documentary "No Direction Home" with its terrific double-CD soundtrack. Then last year, in late August, Bob gave us "Modern Times", the third album in his modern trilogy of revitalized greatness. And, finally, for the past year and a half now there's been his fascinating weekly radio show, "The Theme Time Radio Hour". We're talking about a whole bloody Bob Renaissance here people. The guy's as productive, creative and full of talent now as he's been at any other time in his career, save the early to mid-60s.

I've been wanting to write a rave about "The Theme Time Radio Hour" for a while now. It's such a remarkable show for anyone who has seen Bob in concert over the last couple of decades and has, thus, become accustomed to his almost-stubborn silence and reluctance to say anything to his fans. In the four times I've seen him live he's probably said less than 20 words in total. On this radio show, however, we're truly talking about another side of Bob Dylan, one reminiscent of his old pre-'67 self. He's not only talkative, he's also full of good humor, funny stories, interesting and obscure facts and a clear and present love of music. Mainly good old-time music, but some great modern stuff as well.

After years of seeming guarded, reticent, taciturn, abrasive, even bitter, The Bob's now writing books about himself and laughing, joking and talking away on the airwaves week after week on this great show of his. So, say goodbye to old embittered Bob, people, and say hello to new happy, joyful Bob. He still may scowl from time to time and wear some funny get-ups that look like they're straight out of the '30s or '40s, but that's all just part of being The Bob.

Anyhow, as I was saying, I've been wanting to write about the Bob's radio show for some time now, but today my friend Hersh sent me a fantastic article by Greg Gaston in Crawdaddy Magazine ("The Magazine of Rock") raving about the show. And since this article says almost exactly what I want to say, albeit much more articulately than I ever could, I'll just send it along to express my love of the show.

It's a good read. Enjoy: "Bob Dylan: The Methuselah of Righteous Cool"

Enjoy the article, enjoy the show and just sit back and enjoy the whole damn Renaissance.

Oh, and if you're relatively new to Dylan and you're looking for a great place to start, he just released a career retrospective this week. It's simply called "Dylan". Definitely get the 3-CD box set, not the overly-predictable single-disc version. There's nothing there, even in the box set, for long-time Dylan fans - I mean, I have every single song and there are no new versions or outtakes - but it'd definitely be a great place for any new fan to start.

Long live the new revitalized happy freewheelin' Bob! Hell, I mean, if this continues much longer I might even be able to start forgiving "Fundamentalist Bob" and "1986-88 Bob" for all the horror and trauma they put me through.

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007


To read my two - yes two - recent rave reviews of Tell Tale Signs click here: Bob's Back: Tell Tale Signs of Joy... and A Complete Lack of Judgement


And here: Tell Tale Signs of Genius: Dylan's Best Album of The Past 20 Years? (Rave #2)


And to read my piece on Bob, Neil and Joni click here: Talkin' Prairie Triangle of Inspiration (A.K.A. Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell Make Their Great Escape)


And for much more on all things Dylan click here: The Bob (as in Dylan)


Or for more on other artists and albums click here: Music Homepage


Or here: Music: Album and Concert Raves


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The NET (Never Ending Tour)

Interesting that when you list Dylan's recent achievements you overlook to mention the 100 or so shows a year he continues to play. It always amazes me when people do this. The NET is Dylan's single most sustained piece of creative output. He frequently sets other things aside to continue with its punnishing schedule. Maybe people have become blase about this mendbending endeavour. One day, when the dust has settled on the man's great career, it will become apparent just what he has achieved in the halls and fairgrounds, the arenas and clubs across the world. This is where Dylan's soul is to be located. It should, by virtue of the sheer time and dedication he gives it alone, come top of any list of recent achievements. Mr Jinx