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Journalist Richard Williams joins us to talk Dylan and to surf “the waves of his career”, from Freewheelin’ (“one revelation after another”) to Murder Most Foul (“I was astonished by it. The level of detail. It’s like a John Coltrane quartet.”). Richard reminds us of “one of the great things I learned from Dylan: if you don’t understand something, …
 
Music and political journalist John Harris joins us just before Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday to celebrate the man with “the wink and the nod and the little impish skip” as well as the man who gives us “the solace of emptiness”. Mr Harris is not afraid to go against the grain: “”Love And Theft” is as good as Highway 61 or Blood On The Tracks”. As for J…
 
Dinner with Dylan On BBC Radio 4, Saturday 22nd May 2021, 3pm "My name’s Jon Canter and I’m a Bobaholic. That means I’m addicted to the songs and mystery of Bob Dylan. But it’s an addiction from which I never want to recover, because it’s sustained and nourished and challenged me for nearly 50 years. There are millions of people like me and this pl…
 
Nashville musician Charlie McCoy’s Dylan-related achievements include those distinctive guitar licks on Desolation Row, that blues harmonica on Obviously Five Believers (a rare example of another person playing harp on a Dylan session) and the inventive bass lines on John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait. His motto: “Say yes - an…
 
Musician and writer Michael Simmons has written dozens of Dylan cover pieces for MOJO magazine, as well as incisive liner notes for Another Self Portrait and Bob Dylan 1970. “I remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated and I remember the exact moment I heard Like A Rolling Stone. It sounded like freedom.” He praises Bob as both “a revoluti…
 
To mark our 50th episode, writer and podcaster Tom Jackson gives us his clear-eyed take on Dylan’s “Born Again” albums: Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot Of Love and Trouble No More. “Slow Train Coming is not a smooth record, not a pleasant record, but I enjoy the tension.” And the accompanying live performances? “They were church services, really. Bu…
 
Novelist, former A & R man and screenwriter John Niven begins by summing up Bob’s generally unloved Neighbourhood Bully: “I have a soft spot for Heritage Rock acts trying to do Punk in the late 70’s and early 80’s” before summing up the Dont Look Back days: “When you’re in your 20’s, you’re all about the cruelty”. His response to attending a New Yo…
 
Edward Docx (novelist/screenwriter/journalist) is a hyper-articulate defence witness for some of Bob’s least understood albums: Street-Legal, Infidels, Empire Burlesque and Together Through Life. “There is no uninteresting Dylan album. He opens his veins and says "This is what it’s like for me now."” How passionate is Ed Docx about Bob Dylan? After…
 
Academic and author Pamela Thurschwell gives us her conflicted feminist take on Dylan, including his queer lyrical metaphors and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a Dylan mansplaining session. Her namechecks range from Amy Rigby, Emma Swift and Joan Baez to Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Hall and Jane Eyre. Pam describes Dylan as “the dangerou…
 
Screenwriter Daragh Carville (ITV’s The Bay) praises Dylan’s “extraordinary ear for spoken language” while reminding us that he “draws on cinema, is fascinated by storytelling but his own films don’t work at all”. All the great story-songs are explored, including Highlands (“I phoned people up, I was so excited!”), Dignity (“it never resolves but a…
 
Sitting on the porch of his Long Island lockdown hideaway, serenaded by a local bird, Loudon Wainwright III reminds us that he was proclaimed “the first of the new Bob Dylans”. It helped me get a record deal but then it got to be a pain in the ass”. He still has a “reservoir of respect, admiration and awe” for the man and his work. “I dream about D…
 
Singer/songwriter/podcaster/painter Dan Bern admits: “It was not lost on me, being an isolated Jewish kid in Iowa, that Bob had come from just up the road in Minnesota.” When he first heard Dylan at age 15 (“everything he was saying had a bit of a sneer to it. It was a portal for me”), he traded in his cello for a guitar and started writing songs. …
 
Actor Rufus Jones (writer and co-star of Channel 4’s Home) has hardly answered the BobPhone before he confesses that, despite his Cambridge English degree, “Dylan still scares the hell out of me”. But he’s relieved that “Bob’s entering a 'jolly grandpa' phase. He seems less concerned with preserving the myth”. Rufus references Beyoncé, the Eagles (…
 
Rolling Thunder Revue bass player and bandleader Rob Stoner on Jacques Levy, Emmylou Harris, Sam Shepard and how he “made out with Joan Baez on a motel room balcony” for Renaldo & Clara. Rob also sets the record straight on the Scorsese Netflix film: “I got a beef with that Van Dorp character!” and alerts us to his uncredited harmony vocal on Aband…
 
Actor/musician Danny Horn, 31, played The Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies in the West End; but it was listening to Dylan at age 14 that changed his life. Do Dylan and Davies have anything in common? Danny tells us that - in 1967/68 - “they both made love letters to versions of their own countries that never existed. And they share a mercurial way of thi…
 
Actress Nathalie Armin (speaking at a digital distance) has been a Dylan fan since the age of six, when an unknown voice “showed her the colours in her mind” as she lay in the back seat of her father’s car. She graduated to playing Bob games on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company (“we’d whisper Dylan song titles to each other. I always won”) and…
 
Bestselling Shakespeare authority James Shapiro joined us on the Bob Phone from New York, just before the world locked down and the Shakespeare-laden Murder Most Foul unexpectedly dropped. “In a time like this,” he told us, “I find great comfort in the complete works of William Shakespeare and Bob Dylan”. He goes on to link them more closely: “we t…
 
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