Friday, 15 May 2009

Bob Dylan - Together Through Life


Two years after the release of ‘Modern Times’, Bob Dylan has returned with new offering ‘Together Through Life’. Sounding more and more weather beaten, Dylan croaks and croons his way through ten songs of broken love and longing sounding more and more accomplished, if possible, in parts of a patchy album.
It all sprouted from one song,’ Life is Hard’, which was recorded for Olivier Dahan's forthcoming film, ‘My Own Love Song’. Instead of writing and recording just one song, in true Dylan style Bob went and recorded another nine to complete an album which lacks the tenacity of previous records.
‘Together Through’ life is Dylan’s 33rd studio album and many of the album’s songs are a collaboration with old buddy and ‘Grateful Dead’ lyricist Bill Flanagan. It’s the first time since 1976s’ Desire that Dylan has collaborated so extensively.
It’s opened with the loose and beautifully detached ‘Beyond Here Lie’s Nothin’ in which he crows lavishly “Beyond here lies nothin, nothin we could call our home.” It’s quite the start and matches its predecessor of album openers, Thunder on the Mountain.
It quickly slinks into slow moving and elegant sounding ‘Life is Hard’, an apt choice for a film titled ‘My Own Love Song’ as Dylan sings, “My dreams are locked and barred, admitting life is hard, without you near me.”
The 67 year old is getting gloomy in his old age and ‘If You Ever Go to Houston’ keeps you locked on a porch, swinging softly on a rocking chair, y-fronts and dirty wife beater on show with a lazy sunshine medley of sweat dripping onto you. The rhythm swings two and fro throughout and makes you want to stop dead, wash your garments and go and do something other sit and rock in the repetitive tempo.
‘Jolene’ is much the same and just sort of sits below the par Dylan has set for himself. It’s still got the sense of his previous album and you can feel it in ‘Shake Shake Mama’ but it doesn’t capture your imagination like its forerunner.Either way you look at it, this album has astounding bits of work on it, it’s easy to cope with and your finger doesn’t twitch towards to stop button. There’s enough on here to keep us entertained and we shall all look forward to number 34.

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