Now here's something I could listen to on the radio! (Our most recent radio discussion is in comments here.)

I used to love creative musical programming, long ago on commercial radio, then on college broadcasts. When I met Allan, he was doing college radio at University of Vermont, and he re-introduced me to its joys.

I'd love to get XM radio to hear things like this. If I spent large amounts of time driving, I'd do it.

From the essay linked above:
And now Bob Dylan breaks our hearts. How? By his weekly Theme Time Radio broadcasts on XM satellite radio, warm evocations of old-timey radio. In each hour, Mr. Dylan covers a chosen theme: Mothers, Fathers, Baseball, Coffee, Weddings, Divorce, showing how the common musical traditions of the United States shaped our lives in song and lyric. The broadcasts are one-hour lessons in the history of who we were and are.

Mr. Dylan's succinct commentary makes the music shine. He is witty, gently humorous, erudite and always reverent about the music he is playing. We hear the sounds of big band, country swing, rock-a-billy, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, jazz, Nashville, MoTown, Sun Records, Frank Sinatra, the Ink Spots, Bob Wills, Prince La La, Dirty Red, and Kitty Wells. Interspersed he gives plainly spoken information about the artists, where they came from, where they went, who influenced them and what influence they had. He recites lyrics, painting pictures of our lives in sound.

Mr. Dylan doesn't peddle himself or anything else. No product placement here. Period commercials are spliced in to set the mood. A listener asks on Theme Time Coffee: "Why do you play so much old music? Do you have something against new music?" Mr. Dylan replies, "I like new music. But there's more old music than new music."

Mr. Dylan retrieves many classics and brings to light many should-be-classics. On Theme Time Mothers, he plays Buck Owens' "I'll Go to Church with Mama," and tells us an old joke from Buck's t.v. show "Hee Haw." He spins Ernie K. Doe's 1961 chart-topper "Mother-in-Law," and LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out," explaining its ultimate origins in the African-American insult-song contests known as the "dozens".

Theme Time Radio is hip, but not Tarantino's jaded hip, or William Shatner's self-mocking hip. Mr. Dylan respects the music we and he loved. He respects the artists who created it, even lived it.

Mr. Dylan tells us that Billy Stewart, who poured his soul into his version of the Gershwin Brothers' "Summertime," died in a cars crash at age 32, in the summer time. And Bobby Hebb wrote the beautiful "Sunny" overwhelmed by the assassination of JFK and the death of his own brother in a knife fight the very next day. Hebb needed to pour his soul into something good in life, a song, and then pour it back out for us.

Another listener writes that she likes to listen to baseball broadcasts at night, but that bothers her boyfriend. Mr. Dylan's solution, "Put the radio under your pillow and rest your ear on the pillow. That's what it's made for." Remember listening to ball games like that, or music programs from distant cities at night? These shows are so humane, so out of time, they will break your heart.
Nice, eh?

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