About a decade ago, a musician named Kevin Ryan had a singularly weird idea — take the the surrealistic poetry of Theodore Seuss Geisel and mash it up with the acid-tinged music of Bob Dylan’s mid-1960s period.
If that even remotely appeals to you, then you would have really enjoyed the resultant work, cheekily entitled Dylan Hears a Who, which Ryan posted online in 2007 after recording 7 songs all by himself.
Obviously, Bob Dylan has been parodied from probably the moment he arrived on the scene — even a contemporary like Paul Simon couldn’t resist — but Ryan’s masterstroke was not trying to do his own version of Dylan’s words, but rather the appropriating of Dr. Seuss’s words.
So he was able to concentrate on the music, and like the pastiches that Neil Innes came up with for the Rutles, the music on Dylan Hears A Who feels like it could have come from a bootleg like Thin Wild Mercury Music as Ryan fills the songs with just the right amount of soaring organs, jaunty pianos, drum builds and harmonica solos.
So you’ve got the long repetitive anthems like “The Cat in The Hat,” and “McElligot’s Pool,” the lovely waltz-time airyness of “Oh, The Things You Can Think,” and even the acoustic interlude, “Too Many Daves.”
My favorite, of course, is supersonic rock drive of “Green Eggs and Ham,” where you can feel the narrator not just getting worn down by Sam I Am’s continual insistence at all of the ways he might serve the titular meal, but by the insistent organ & guitar riffs as well.
Of course, this was all too good to last, and within a few weeks of Ryan posting the songs (for free, of course) to a website, he was slapped with a cease-and-desist by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, who somehow didn’t see the humour and love in all of this.
Of course, the internet being the internet, they might have stopped it at the time, but once the songs were out, they weren’t just going to up and disappear, and no doubt can still be found out there in the wilds.
“Green Eggs and Ham”
“Too Many Daves”
“The Cat in The Hat”
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