Original air March 25, 2023 | Time 58:00
Bob Dylan's New Book "The Philosophy of Modern Song" contains 66 essays about 66 songwriters and their music. Many of them are from the formative years of Rock, Blues and R&B from the 1950's, a list of which I'm only familiar with a few.
We start the program with Dylan's Crossing the Rubicon from 2020's album Rough and Rowdy Ways. Then we hear Little Walter's" version of Key to the Highway by Big Bill Broonzy and George Sugar, released on Checker Records in 1958. He's the only harmonica player ever inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. You can tell how the young Dylan was strongly influenced by Little Walter when you hear the songs back to back. Then I read his essay.
He writes about Edwin Starr's version of WAR, released on Gordy Records in 1970. It's a revelation to read his assessment of this attempt to monetize the burgeoning peace movement. Dylan's earliest songs were social commentary and dealt with political issues. But much of his later work is about relationships and emotions. However in his essay on WAR he doesn't hold back with his assessments, brilliant and passionate. We hear Dylan's Masters of War and I read his essay.
The program finishes with two songs from Dylan's Rough and Rowdy Ways, "I Contain Multitudes" and "Goodbye Jimmie Reed".