16 episodes

“What is Bob Dylan?” That’s the fundamental question behind this new podcast, which explores the work and career of Bob Dylan in a series written and produced by Michael Hacker. The first season is a projected 12 episodes covering from Dylan’s roots in Minnesota up to his 1997 release, Time Out Of Mind. With literally hundreds of books already written about Dylan, along with countless documentaries, radio shows and articles devoted to his life and music, one might ask if there’s a need for anything else about the man. A BOB DYLAN PRIMER is an attempt to cut through the enormous mass of material already produced, to create something simple and enjoyable, yet with journalistic accuracy and a depth of insight that can engage both the brand-new fan and the wizened Dylanologist, as well as anyone in-between. Drawing on a lifetime spent listening to and studying Dylan’s music and career, A BOB DYLAN PRIMER is unabashed in its appreciation for the magnitude and amplitude of Dylan’s achievements. Still, every observation is filtered through a freshly polished and contemporary lens, examining the varied path of Dylan’s work with a deep historical perspective and a heavy shot of humor.

A Bob Dylan Primer A Bob Dylan Primer

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 110 Ratings

“What is Bob Dylan?” That’s the fundamental question behind this new podcast, which explores the work and career of Bob Dylan in a series written and produced by Michael Hacker. The first season is a projected 12 episodes covering from Dylan’s roots in Minnesota up to his 1997 release, Time Out Of Mind. With literally hundreds of books already written about Dylan, along with countless documentaries, radio shows and articles devoted to his life and music, one might ask if there’s a need for anything else about the man. A BOB DYLAN PRIMER is an attempt to cut through the enormous mass of material already produced, to create something simple and enjoyable, yet with journalistic accuracy and a depth of insight that can engage both the brand-new fan and the wizened Dylanologist, as well as anyone in-between. Drawing on a lifetime spent listening to and studying Dylan’s music and career, A BOB DYLAN PRIMER is unabashed in its appreciation for the magnitude and amplitude of Dylan’s achievements. Still, every observation is filtered through a freshly polished and contemporary lens, examining the varied path of Dylan’s work with a deep historical perspective and a heavy shot of humor.

    Goodbye is too Good a Word

    Goodbye is too Good a Word

    As we say fare thee well, Dylan drops his best music in years



    Episode links:

    Spotify playlist for A Bob Dylan Primer Episode 15

    Dylan – Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

    Bob Dylan speech at the 2016 Nobel Banquet, as read by American Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji

    Patti Smith – Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Nobel Prize Ceremony December 2016

    Frank Sinatra – It Was a Very Good Year – Filmed Recording Live 1965

    Dylan – The Night We Call it a Day – Video

    Dylan – The Night We Call it a Day – Live on Letterman

    Dylan – Girl from the North Country – London July 2019

    Dylan – It Ain’t me Babe – Live at The Beacon December 2019

    Definitely Dylan Podcast – Episode about “Murder Most Foul”

    • 39 min
    Modern Times, Olden Times

    Modern Times, Olden Times

    40 years after showing up in New York, Dylan propels himself headfirst into the 21st century with a quartet of ferociously strong albums and a sweet book that tells more than the most telling tell-all.



    Episode links:

    Dylan – A Change is Gonna Come – 2004

    Victoria’s Secret Ad – Love Sick

    Dylan – Must be Santa

    Dylan – Duquesne Whistle

    Dylan – Chronicles Vol. 1 Audiobook (read by Sean Penn)

    Dylan – NPR Radio Interview Re Chronicles

    • 35 min
    Time is in the Mind

    Time is in the Mind

    Never a dull moment for Mr. D, he contracts a serious infection of the heart, sings for the Pope, and releases his strongest album in 20 years.



     

    Episode links:

    Not Dark Yet – Dylan with Eric Clapton

    Love Sick – Dylan at the Grammys – SOY BOMB!!! – 1998

    Time Out of Mind – Dylan – Complete Album/Different Live Versions

    The Sounds of Silence – Dylan with Paul Simon – 1999

    Sugar Baby – Dylan – live May 5, 2002

    Sugar Baby – Dock Boggs

    The Lonesome Road – Gene Austin

    The Lonesome Road – Fank Sinatra

    • 31 min
    Beginning the Next Beginning

    Beginning the Next Beginning

    Dylan somehow stops his creative slide at the end of the 1980s and turns it all around, again.



    Episode links:

    Dylan Live (TV Broadcast) – 1993 – Hard Times

    Dylan – Live in Paris – February 23, 1993 – Simple Twist of Faith

    Dylan – Live w/Orchestra – Nara, Japan – May 22, 1994 – Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

    Dylan – Live at Woodstock II – August 14, 1994 – Complete Concert

    Dylan – Live at Stratford-on-Avon – July 14, 1995 – Tears of Rage

    Dylan – Live from Prague – 1995 – Shelter from the Storm

    Dylan – Concert for the Pope – 1997 – Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

    Dylan – November 12, 1996 – Dubuque, Iowa – Craziest Show Ever

    • 26 min
    Synthesizer Dylan

    Synthesizer Dylan

    Few who lived through the nineteen-eighties would claim the decade as their greatest era. Dylan is no exception.



    Episode links:

    Dylan 2019 – Girl From The North Country (partial)

    Dylan 2019 – When I Paint My Masterpiece

    Dylan 1985 – Dylan rehearses We Are The World (very entertaining)

    Dylan 1986 – Press Conference – Sydney, Australia

    Hard to Handle (with Tom Petty) Concert Video

    Dylan & The Dead – The Times They Are A-Changin’ – July 4, 1987

    • 33 min
    A Voice in the Wilderness

    A Voice in the Wilderness

    Twenty years into his career, Bob Dylan unleashes his most shocking transformation



    …and finds religion.

    Episode links:

    Bob Dylan – June 1978 Live – Like a Rolling Stone

    Bob Dylan – Pressing On

    Bob Dylan – Solid Rock

    Bob Dylan – Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

    Bob Dylan – Sermon from Toronto Concert

    Bob Dylan – What Can I do for You?

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
110 Ratings

110 Ratings

kbayline ,

Epiphany

Both a pr-eye-mer and a primer, this series came at a most unique time in history-dedicated to an impossibly unique artist, laureate and entertainer that voices a love, a respect and an awe of the talent of an individual that himself has expressed he is no different than you or I. Thank you Michael & Associates

The Jack of H3arts ,

Road Map for the Soul

2020 was shaped up to be my “Year of Dylan.” Even before the zeitgeist defined itself by the events of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement, I found myself pulled towards Dylan. Clairvoyance or coincidence, it turned out to be a saving grace. It is no exaggeration to say that my yearlong obsession with Dylan was one of the few crutches that allowed me to limp across the 2020 finish line.

This is not a new found obsession. Rather, in the spirit of Kierkegaard, I find myself returning to Dylan in an act of “repetition”. As a boy, I was obsessed with the protest songs and the 60’s albums where Dylan first “plugged in.” In my 20’s, I gravitated to some of Dylan’s more exotic material—such as “Desire.” Now in my 30’s, I’m immersed in everything he’s done since the return to the profane marked by “Infidels”.

The World of Dylan is really a universe. I had my five albums, my Hohner Marine Band Harmonica, my houndstooth scarf and my fussed up hair and I thought the heaven’s spun around me. But now that I’ve taken a mature effort to understand the man, I realize I am staring into a blackhole. I’m not a fan. I’m an extraterrestrial who picked up Subterranean Homesick Blues on a radio station a million light years away.

There are a lot of great Dylan podcasts out there, but Michael Hacker’s is the best I’ve heard. Hacker’s podcast places Dylan’s career in the larger context of musical and cultural history it is both a part of and has helped to shape. The unity of narrative and sequence of episodes raises the podcast to the heights of an “audio documentary”. Hacker manages to present his material in a way that is both objective and deeply personal by placing himself as a listener in the same larger historical and cultural context that he places Dylan. Hacker is profoundly aware of the influence of history and technology on our lives. Some of my favorite passages from the podcast come when he steps back to meditate on the implications our technology has on our ability to appreciate our cultural heritage and properly remember the events and artifacts that comprise our past.

Probably the most endearing aspect of Hacker’s podcast is the charity he offers in his interpretation of Dylan’s work. A survey of Dylan podcasts shows that some of Dylan’s biggest fans are also some of his biggest critics. Hacker is never sycophantic or fawning in his treatment of Dylan. Rather, he seeks to break through the “screen memory”— hackneyed, boilerplate— interpretations of Dylan’s catalogue. He listens to every album with new ears as though he had never heard another person’s opinion. He provides wonderfully original interpretations of Dylan albums that have traditionally been dismissed by others.

Hacker convincingly establishes a continuity to A career that is most often summarized as “disjointed” and referred to in phases and periods. Hacker is “revealing” where others interpret. He is interested in understanding Dylan’s music as personal and historical acts, not words or notes to be compared or analyzed. He allows Dylan’s work to speak for itself while simultaneously expressing his appreciation for how Dylan has influenced his own life in significant ways.

Hacker opens each episode by asking: What is Bob Dylan? When the distinction between the artist and culture dissolves, the beauty of art reveals the truth of history. And perhaps, in some sense, this is what “Bob Dylan” is.

Cat Plaza ,

Outstanding podcast

I came to this podcast with a great appreciation for Dylan’s iconic works, and I hoped to leave with more appreciation for his lesser known and under appreciated works. I was not let down. A truly terrific exploration of Dylan’s life and art, this podcast has me listening to Tempest, Street Legal, and Empire Burlesque for the first time. Can’t wait to keep going. Thank you!

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