Various Artists

Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour: The Best of the Second Series

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Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour: The Best of the Second Series Review

by Steve Leggett

The first episode of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour aired on May 3, 2006 and featured Dylan as DJ spinning an eclectic mix of folk, blues, R&B, soul, rock & roll, bebop, country, and even rap drawn from his personal record collection, and aside from revealing the broad sweep of Dylan's musical interests, the shows, each of which were woven around a single theme, were a fascinating tour through roots and urban music in all of its forms. This two-disc set contains 50 tracks, one each from Dylan's first 50 broadcasts, and it exhibits that same delightful diversity, with sides ranging from the "5" Royales' original version of "Dedicated to the One I Love" to the early bop of Charlie Parker's "Bird Gets the Worm," with stops along the way for obscure gems like Andre Toussaint's wonderfully languid take on "Hold 'Em Joe," the Coasters' "Down in Mexico," Cisco Houston's folk reconfiguration of "Diamond Joe," and so much more. It works as a diverse anthology of music all on its own, but since it also affords a glimpse at Dylan's listening interests, it reverberates and works as a kind of primer for his own work, as well, and the best news of all is that these 50 cuts are just the tip of the iceberg.

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