May 3, 2006

"Pounced with fire on flaming roads, using ideas as my maps..."

Hey, "Theme Time Radio Hour with Bob Dylan" is on a 9 am on XM Radio, and I've only got the satellite radio activated for the car.

It was 5 to 9, and despite having written only one blog post this morning, I threw my things in the car and drove west, out anywhere where the landscape might mesh with Bob and the music and light up a dramatic mindscape.

It was the first show, the one I'd already streamed on the computer and been a little unenthusiastic about, but listening to it in the car, I melted into love. It's a very tight show, with a brilliant mix of songs and styles, tied together with Dylan's commentary and recitations of some of the lyrics. The peak of the show -- reached somewhere in the rolling farmland and twisty backroads around Black Earth, Wisconsin -- came when Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" -- the theme was weather -- gave way to Judy Garland's "Come Rain or Come Shine." Surrounding them on either side were less well-known artists, much quirkier choices. A beautifully orchestrated program.

I've been resisting turning on the web version of my XM subscription. (It's a matter of making a phone call.) I think I like the idea of the car as a necessary part of the radio. What are the shows I love so much that I take a drive just because they are on? I've only ever had one other show I felt that way about.

UPDATE: Here's a nice review of the show that includes a full playlist.

10 comments:

wheeler said...

"I think I like the idea of the car as a necessary part of the radio."

I don't know, there is something to sitting on the couch, coffee in hand, and enjoying a good radio show. It is strange at first to just sit and listen; the lack of other stimuli almost makes me feel slothful. But then I get absorbed in the show and realize the experience is much more powerful for having focussed my attention upon it, as opposed to dividing it with traffic.

kaos said...

If I'm not mistaken you can sign up for a web feed online. I think it's free too.

Ann Althouse said...

Wheeler: I don't think I would just sit and listen. I'd start doing housework or blogging or something.

Richard Fagin said...

Of course the car is a necessary part of the radio. It just helps if the car is a 40 year old Corvette convertible and you're listening to the Byrds' version of "My Back Pages" on a scratchy, one-speaker AM radio.

Smilin' Jack said...

I think I like the idea of the car as a necessary part of the radio.

Plus it helps further global warming, which those of us who live north of the Mason-Dixon line should be promoting at every opportunity.

Hamsun56 said...

Ann, was it better the second time around because you needed to adjust your expectations and senses to what he was doing, or because it was better hearing it on the car radio?

As someone who can't get XM radio, I'll have to settle for vicarious enjoyment - so your postings are appreciated.

YAMB said...

Did you hear Dylan's promos last week for his show? "It'll be great! I can't wait! Don't be late!" said in his trademark gravely voice. I thought it was hilarious.

Ann Althouse said...

Andrew: First, try to get satellite radio, if you can. It's wonderful to listen to all kinds of programmed music without commercials. Trying to buy everything and deciding what to play takes a lot of trouble. I'd much rather have satellite radio than a iPod full of everything I've been able to figure out I like. And I think it's a lot cheaper overall.

Anyway, I think there are many reasons why I liked it better. Better sound on the car system. Better concentration when driving, especially on the musical performances (listening on the computer, I mostly cared about what Dylan had to say). The minimal commentary seemed cooler in the context of listening carefully to the music. Dylan's speaking voice sounded very rich on the car stereo, and his enigmatic hipster persona seemed more enticing.

When the show first came on and I realized it was the one I'd already heard, I decided to just drive to a café and get some work done. As I drove, I got hooked and rerouted out into the country, thus proving to myself how much I cared. I think the first time, I wasn't conscious of how special it was to me.

Hamsun56 said...

Ann: Sounds like you'll be coordinating your driving trips with his radio theme hours. Hope you don't get to into the drinking theme hour.

I'd be tempted to take your advice if I lived in a country that has satellite radio or if I had a car.

Ann Althouse said...

When I did my drive for the drinking show, I got pulled over by a cop who gave me the first speeding ticket I've ever gotten in my life! I was going 58, and I think I thought the speed limit was 55. Turns out it was 45. The ticket was $160. Maybe Bob will read this and hit the PayPal button for me.