This past Wednesday, Bob turned 65, and I don't think he mentioned it on the show. The theme wasn't birthdays or getting old, it was baseball. He started off the show by singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," not trying to sing it well, just singing it like your grandad might do if he was trying to remind you why it's great to go to a baseball game. In fact, Dylan does the whole show as if he's an old grandad reminding us of the past:
The majority of the music Dylan plays predates his own rise to fame.He tells jokes that are either old or written to sound like they're old:
"I think it's more akin to the way radio sounded in 1952 than it does in 2006," said Lee Abrams, XM Satellite Radio's chief creative officer.
Dylan's entertaining baseball show also mixed in calls from classic baseball games, like Curt Gowdy announcing Ted Williams' home run in his final at-bat with the Boston Red Sox.
He refreshingly avoids the obvious: Dylan spins Billy Bragg and Wilco's "Joe DiMaggio Done it Again" and not Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" ("where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio ..."). He plays Buddy Johnson's "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball" and ignores John Fogerty's overexposed "Centerfield."
"If diamonds are a girl's best friend, why do so many girls get mad when you want to go to the ballpark?" Dylan says during this week's show. "You tell me."And he does some surprising things in his old geezer persona, like the week when his theme was mothers and he played something by LL Cool J:
That sort of absurdist humor is what may most surprise listeners. Dylan told mother-in-law jokes a la Henny Youngman during one show ("I just came back from a pleasure trip — took my mother-in-law to the airport"). He discussed — seriously, we think — watching the old country-flavored musical/variety TV series "Hee Haw."
Dylan's intro to "Mama Said Knock You Out" became an old white man's rap.And here's how he introduced the mothers theme:
"Here's LL Cool J," he said. "Don't call it a comeback. He's been here for years, rockin' his peers, puttin' 'em in fear, makin' tears rain down like a monsoon, explosions overpowerin' the competition. LL Cool J is towerin'."
"Going to pay tribute to that bountiful breast we all spring from, mother dearest," he said. "`M's' for the many things she gave me. `O' is for the other things she gave me. `T' is for the things she gave me. `H' is for her things, which she gave me. `E' is for everything she gave me. `R' is for the rest of the things she gave me. Let's talk about mothers."Do you understand the mystery of why that's so funny?