Letters: Randy Adams, Neil Young, Bob Dylan

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Scott Simon reads letters from listeners. Topics include displaced New Orleans resident Randy Adams and his volunteer work in Memphis; an interview with musician Neil Young; and reaction to a satirical look at songsmith Bob Dylan.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typewriter, music)

SIMON: We received lots of mail about our coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Many of you wrote to tell us how moved you were by our conversations with Randy Adams of New Orleans. We first heard from Mr. Adams five days after the hurricane from the Red Roof Inn in Memphis where he was living with his family. We called him back last week to see how they were faring. Jennifer Bullock of Durham, North Carolina, writes, `Mr. Adams' poignant description of the struggles and impossible decisions he and his family are facing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina gave me the most clear insight I've had yet at the devastation this tragic event has wrought on evacuees everywhere. Mr. Adams' deft, uncomplicated descriptions struck me more powerfully than any reporting I have seen or heard to date.'

And Paula Bennett of Randolph, Vermont, wrote, `At a time when politicians on both sides have so utterly failed us, to hear, quote, unquote, "news" that there is still people like Randy Adams--decent, wise, caring--in the world is like finding water after a 10-mile trudge in the desert. My heart goes out to him and his family with all the best wishes.'

We also had several letters about our interview with Neil Young. John Osborn of Santa Monica, California, wrote, `There was something so real about the story of how his latest album was made. You really caught the essence of his creative process, his music and its message.'

Now my essay in which I claimed to hear in some of Bob Dylan's early songs some signals that he would one day sign a music distribution deal with Starbucks got a mixed reaction. Jay MacIntyre(ph) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was not amused by my satire. `The, quote, unquote, "clever use" of song snippets in the piece only served to demonstrate Bob Dylan's inspired contributions to our musical world. Let's hear Mr. Simon come up with better ones if he wants to make fun of Dylan's.'

But Linda Janney(ph) of Macomb, Illinois, said, `It's been a long time since a radio program made me laugh out loud. I, as with many others who came of age in the '60s, consider Bob Dylan the poet laureate of my life. Now I do find that my morning coffee, even though it's not at Starbucks because I live in a rural area, has taken on increasing importance as the years roll by. Bob Dylan is, once again, one step ahead in reporting back to the rest of us.'

Susan Cherry of Evanston, Illinois, added, `If I'd written the story, I probably would have added that Mr. Dylan's voice is as annoying as the sound of an espresso machine.'

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(Soundbite of music, typewriter)

SIMON: And it's 22 minutes before the hour.

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