Ballad of a Houston Man Caught Nibbling on Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham

Categories: Music

Last month, on a weekend whim, I posted to Unfair Park a link to the greatest unofficial album released via the Interwebs this year: Dylan Hears a Who. It was a most ingenious collection of songs: seven Dr. Seuss pieces, some beloved classics ("The Cat in the Hat," "Green Eggs and Ham") and some more obscure works ("McElligot's Pool," "Too Many Daves"), that were performed by a guy doing a spot-on Bob Dylan impersonation, down to the mid- to late 1960s instrumentation (Hammond organ, even). What you got was something kinda magical -- songs that sounded like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Ballad of a Thin Man" (even the vocals could have fooled A.J. Weberman) but were, in reality, kiddie-rock classics better than most anything else being made by folks peddling pop to pups.

At the time, it wasn't known who the phony Robert Zimmerman was. Now we do -- and he's a Texan. Turns out the man behind Dylan Hears a Who is a 33-year-old guy from Houston named Kevin Ryan, who sang every word and performed every instrument on the virtual album you will no longer be able to hear if you haven't already downloaded it. Turns out, his mash-up masterpiece got him nothing more than a cease-and-desist order from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which tends to the business of the late Theodor Geisel. Today, Salon has a great piece about Ryan and, more importantly, the chilling effect copyright enforcement has when taken so far as to remove from the Interwebs a free collection of music that, most likely, falls under the "fair use" escape hatch. Hope you got yerself a copy, because it you visit Ryan's site now, all you get is a wocket in your pocket. --Robert Wilonsky


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