On Friday we are going to spend a lot of time in the company of these men…….

They are called the Avett Brothers and is if by magic one of the stories they will share with you is how they met Bob.…..oh, yes…that Bob. More on the Avetts later but back to Mr. Dylan.

When Richard Murdoch and I sat down to talk about Bob Backwards it was fair to say we didn’t over analyse the weaker Dylan albums. We recognised there might be good weeks and great weeks and the occasional week where we’d be glad we weren’t playing an entire album. What we both thought was that by the time we got to the 1970 we’d be fairly safe.  That was to prove slightly naive. Right between two pretty good Bob Dylan albums comes one of these odd curios that I’ve always know was there but have resolutely refused to explore for 41 years. Until now. As I write this on a late wet Wednesday I am putting the proverbial needle down on the first song. …..flipping heck……it’s a double album! How could I have forgotten that?


I like to think I know about thses records. It’s not that I owned half of them. I couldn’t afford that. It was more that we as secondary school pupils used to go and hand around the record racks in Boots, Largs and Chalmers and Joy of a lunch time in Dundee. We may not know what was going on on the vinyl but, by crikey, we could tell you what “Weazels Ripped My Flesh” looked like.

In case you need reminded….

As it happens sometimes the reality of these things is better than the expectations. I’m sitting here quite liking what I’ve heard so far. I think I like Bob’s voice of this period and I love the fact that we get to know what songs he loved at the time. And lest we ever think Bob was flattering to deceive he is not above paying tribute to one of THE songs of the year, Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer. (That’s PJ Harvey doing Foster The People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ folks.)

However all of this can be discussed further on Friday when we’ll play the album and at this moment on this Wednesday it’s sounding really fascinating and worth the £7 I just shelled out.

One of the most interesting things is meeting artists second time around. On the AC we”ve been lucky to have had return visits from a few special artists. Justin Townes Earle, Mary Gautier and of course Richmond Fontaine…who will hold the record soon. But none of these acts have had quite the experience of The Avett Brothers. Since they first called in they have steadily grown their US fan base. (They’ve just played Red Rocks for goodness sake) They came back to see us when they were in Glasgow recently. All three guys turned up and made a point of thanking us for our support and told us the pieces in the story of The Avetts success. Anyone who wants to be in a successful band needs to listen to this interview. It’s heartening to know that a cottage industry involving printing CDs, lumping PA systems and playing barbecues can wind up with Gold records and Grammy Awards appearances with Bob Dylan. It’s rags to riches Avetts style and it gives an excuse (an excuse is needed?) to play that great session again.

We’ll have great new music from……… The Jayhawks, Blitzen Trapper, Ben Glover, Eilen Jewell and Anna
Coogan. We’ll start the road trip at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland. Please know there’s a seat in the car for you.


Sunday Morning With…..

I am really looking forward to meeting Scott Rennie.

Scott is a man who probably wishes he hasn’t become a familiar name. However I suspect that is a burden he’s going to have to bear for a long time. Scott is the openly gay Church of Scotland minister who had to fight to be ordained against a fairly vociferous opposing such a plan . Although there were forces lined up against his becoming a minister there are also many people who have supported him and he will be joining me on Sunday to talk through that experience . We’ll hear Scott’s own story, hear some of his music choices and we will all get the chance to know Scott a little better.


Also….when was the last time you went on a march? Perhaps you have never done it.In light of the fact it’s been 30 years since the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland, 30 years since Glasgow gave Nelson Mandela freedom of the city and 30 years since the Greenham Common protests began, we’re discussing protests and protesting. We’ll be talking about how protesting and our response to protest has changed over the years.

I’ll also be finding out more about why this man has no intention of retiring….

His name is Lewis Wolpert he’s an octogenerian and he’s talking about how to grow old well.

I’ll also be finding out why David Peat didn’t get  this photograph developed for forty years..

And finally, a question: Have you got …….?



We hear from The Humanist Society and let you know where the auditions are being held. The good news is there’s no Simon Cowell. The bad news is they probably don’t whisk you off to a pool-side location somewhere warm either.

We’ll hear music from Danny Kaye, Nanci Griffith, Hoagy Carmichael, Seasick Steve and The Dixie Cups. All from seven on Sunday morning BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can.