Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan

Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan

Actors Kerry Shale and Lucas Hare talk to interesting people about Bob Dylan. Proud part of Pantheon - the podcast network for music lovers.

Episodes

December 27, 2020 59 min
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 recording the podcast, we continued our digital discussion for another hour....
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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 dangerous guy who sees the world as it is”, but also “fragile”, “mean” and just plain “ornery...
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November 1, 2020 47 min
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 at the same time it’s perfectly satisfying”), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Br...
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October 4, 2020 39 min
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 Dylan a lot. He is on, in and under my mind: the Muhammad Ali of songwriters.” Loudon ...
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September 6, 2020 42 min
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. They eventually included the outrageous Talkin’ Woody, Bob, Bruce and Dan Blues (“Whe...
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August 9, 2020 44 min
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 (“the story of the Eagles is better than the sound of the Eagles”), T.S. Eliot...
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July 12, 2020 53 min
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 Abandoned Love. What was it like playing live with Bob? “Sink or swim. If you’re good ...
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June 14, 2020 45 min
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 thinking”. Despite hanging out with Ray D, Danny knows his Bobby D. The conversation ran...
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May 17, 2020 35 min
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 watching him perform at the Royal Albert Hall (“he was 72. I don’t know any 20 year-...
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April 19, 2020 47 min
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 think of Shakespeare as a word guy - but he collaborated with the greatest musicians o...
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March 22, 2020 47 min
Comedian Nish Kumar says: “Bob Dylan is the most enduring and important creative relationship of my life. If you can’t think of one Dylan song you like, then a part of your humanity may be missing”. When Bob and his band played the Hendrix arrangement of All Along The Watchtower at his first (and only) Dylan concert, it was “one of the greatest moments of my life”. In other words, he’s our sort of chap. Cheerfully agreeing that “th...
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February 23, 2020 45 min
Scottish playwright David Greig was first “cracked open” to Dylan when he heard Desire in a remote part of South Africa “under the influence of the most extraordinarily strong dope”. “That’s it”, he thought, “I’M GOING IN!” He has yet to come out. David wrote his version of Euripides’ The Bacchae by playing the Hard Rain album over and over while drinking red wine and channelling “Dylan as Dionysius, Dylan as shaman”. Quotes that...
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January 24, 2020 46 min
Writer Neil Gaiman fell in love with A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall via Bryan Ferry’s cover version. It ended up influencing the imagery of his novel American Gods (as well as the Amazon TV series). The song also provided a few gloomy pronouncements (“we’re in an apocalyptic state of mind: the doomsday clock is ticking”) in our otherwise jolly discussion. Colourful Bob theories are espoused: “if I were going to go cold turkey, I would ...
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December 26, 2019 41 min
Rock journalist Barney Hoskyns comes on board for a special episode that focuses on The Band, with Dylan as their “weird” sideman. Tears Of Rage is compared to Philip Roth’s novel American Pastoral. Barney suspects it might just be “an anti-hippie song”. His “deeply emotional” attachment to the town of Woodstock is explored in depth: “overwhelmed by the mythology of the place”, he raised his kids there and explored its musical hist...
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December 15, 2019 48 min
On the BobPhone from the USA: it’s award-winning writer Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, with a supremely quotable episode. On his “Big Kahuna” interview of Bob for Rolling Stone: “he was direct and generous; we had a good time”. An advocate for Dylan’s latter-day stuff, he believes that “humour is underrated as a feature of the operation”. Among Jonathan’s many provocative thoughts: “The power of (Dylan’s) negativit...
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December 1, 2019 51 min
Broadcaster, journalist and “swivel-eyed Dylanologist” Andy Kershaw, “a radio station within a radio station” during his time on Radio 1, gives us his unvarnished thoughts. From arguments with his dad about Bob’s greatness to his first sighting of “the human American bald eagle” at Earl’s Court in 1978, to his unravelling of the identity of the “Judas!” heckler, to Bob’s actual response (“he doesn’t say “play fucking loud!”), this ...
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November 17, 2019 37 min
As an early Thanksgiving treat, Luke and Kerry welcome American singer Piney Gir. Piney (real name Angela), hails from “a very strict part of the Bible Belt”, where she grew up listening to cassettes of wholesome Christian music and a few of the “less psychedelic” Beach Boys tracks. One day, Dylan’s Slow Train Coming caused chaos in her parents’ car: her dad, a born-again Vietnam vet, loved it but her mom hated it (“or maybe she mi...
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November 3, 2019 44 min
Is Bob Dylan a poet? We ask Ian McMillan, one of the UK’s best. Ian compares Bob to Dylan Thomas, both of them “great poets who can rub vowels against consonants and make a kind of smoke come out of them… a kind of music.” “Meaning doesn’t matter”, he says. “The basis of poetry is being able to mint a phrase like “Lay, lady, lay”. I was so excited when Dylan won the Nobel Prize. Dylan’s stuff will last forever”. Yorkshire-born Ian ...
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October 19, 2019 47 min
Music journalist Andrew Male begins by examining “the humour that turns sour… the madness” of Bob’s 1965 “speedy, hipster world”, the “fascinating cruelty” of Dont Look Back and Eat The Document (“he couldn’t stand that close to the flame anymore”). He goes on: “if you’re interested in Dylan, you have to see it as a grand narrative, even the points that you flinch from.” This episode bounces between Elvis’s version of “I Shall Be R...
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October 6, 2019 44 min
When writer Geoff Dyer approaches us as a fan of the podcast, we jump at the chance. He leaps right in with a detailed analysis of Idiot Wind, praises previous guest Michael Gray, quotes Simon Armitage and Clinton Heylin, applauds Desire and Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue and hails Dylan’s voice: “you always believe what he’s saying, even though he’s always an unreliable witness. It’s his incredible narrative power”. A few of the...
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