Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Changing Times radio series: enjoyable. (Part 4 transmits Wednesday @ 1900 GMT)

Inter-cutting all 10 tracks with comments by writers Howard Sounes and Sid Griffin, Bob Dylan: Changing Times, part 3 – 1989, 0h Mercy, which just finished on BBC 6 Music, was a largely enjoyable dissection of the 1989 album.

Like the previous pair, the programme strove to prove that years ending in “9” have been particularly significant in the Dylan story.

Many, me included, would dispute that.

Other voices heard were Dylan himself (short clip about live performance), Sean Penn (impersonating Bob, reading from Chronicles), Malcolm Burn, muso/engineer on Oh Mercy, and presenter John Wilson.

The programme’s strength was its focus on the music.

But, for those who know the music, that was also a weakness – we all possess the album and can play it whenever we want. More evaluation and some fresh insights would have been preferable.

Those reservations aside, programme 3 will send me back to the earlier two, via BBC iPlayer:


Programme 4, unlisted in Radio Times, the woeful BBC listings mag, runs tomorrow, Wednesday 30 Dec, @ 1900 GMT. It looks as if it might be “experts” “chatting” about Dylan in the Noughties.


Gerry Smith

Tempting new three-part BBC radio series to track the changing Dylan

Over the Xmas holidays, BBC 6 Music, the rock radio station, is broadcasting a tempting new three-part series surveying Dylan’s changing times.

Bob Dylan: Changing Times, a trio of one-hour programmes to be transmitted on successive evenings from Sunday 27 December (Sunday @ 2000 GMT, then 1900 on Monday and Tuesday), examines Dylan’s abrupt end-of-decade changes – country in 1969, Christianity in 1979 and a “return to large-scale touring” in 1989.

BBC 6 Music is a digital-only station, focusing mainly but not exclusively on post-Punk rock. It targets a younger audience than hoary old Radio 2 - the older brothers of pubescent Radio 1 listeners.

If you live in a territory where copyright allows, you might be able to hear the series online at:


Gerry Smith