Hold on to your hat there – here comes another double (count them one….two) “Theme Time Radio Hour” CD, the third and last one … for a while at least. Some folks think it’s easy gluing these things together, and some even use the archaic copyright laws in Europe to chuck a bunch of out of copyright tracks together and call it a compilation – pshaw.
But you dear customer are much more discerning than that and recognise that these officially sanctioned, meticulously researched, beautifully annotated, superbly illustrated, handcrafted compilations are the result of months of blood, sweat and tears on the part of the team of high-skilled Ace operatives. And what you end up with is a seamless compilation to be enjoyed over dinner, in the car or on your hi-fi, but best not all three at once.
The first two volumes garnered plaudits from far and wide from the Daily Telegraph to the Socialist Worker, which just goes to show the power of great music to unite capitalist lackeys and the base proletariat. But enough of this polemic, let’s leave that to the communist and tea parties.
“Season 3” continues the theme of eclecticism with some sly connections between tracks and even some questions we haven’t yet managed to answer. Is this the first compilation to feature both of the Elvises (Elvae?)? Speaking of which, the Costello version has been kind enough to contribute a few extremely well-chosen words to accompany Dave Bartholomew’s ‘The Monkey (Speaks His Mind)’, a song he himself has been known to cover. The other one is unfortunately long distance, no area code, so unavailable to comment on Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago from Jack Good’s musical Catch My Soul in a super rare rehearsal performance of ‘Lust Of The Blood’. Hey, maybe just as well – Jerry Lee and Elvis had history of Shakespearean proportions.
I think it is fair to say that on “Season 3” we have a commentary on current affairs, in Joe Mooney’s ‘The Man With One Million Dollars’, as erudite an explanation for the collapse of capitalism as you’ll find this side of Highgate Cemetery. And speaking of money, that is exactly what Mel Blanc talks about alliteratively in more ways than you could imagine, but why did Pat Boone jump at the chance to write the encomium to Mel? OK OK that’s an easy one – answers on a postcard to Ace Records and the first one we open gets a free slipcase for all three “Theme Time” CDs and a limited edition poster.
My suggestion is to sit back, put on those favourite carpet slippers, pour yourself a good shot of Prairie Falcon finest Old Malt Whiskey and enjoy another spin through seven decades of truly great music. So goodnight and goodbye for now from all at Ace and at Theme Time Radio Hour with your host Bob Dylan.
By Roger Armstrong