"Together Through Life" by Bob Dylan (2009)
Long Train Still Comin'.
Arriving seemingly out of nowhere, Bob Dylan's new album Together Through Life was even a shock to Columbia, his one and only label home for over 45 years now. Rush released to match the spontaneous feel of the proceedings, Together Through Life certainly has the essence of a feather, clocking in at only 10 lightweight tracks and feeling like maybe Dylan's most off the cuff record in…well…maybe ever.
I don't get the feeling that this off the cuff sound was by accident either. Dylan's last couple of records (Love & Theft, Modern Times) were masterpieces of Ragtime and Skip Blues that were crafted with his touring band after countless years of grueling worldwide tours. Together Through Life however just feels like a bunch of buddies sitting around a porch or under a shady tree just playing for the fun of it. Chalk that up to Mike Campbell from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Los Lobos' David Hildalgo giving the record a south-western style tone throughout the proceedings and also chalk it up to the playful nature of Dylan's lyrics and arrangements throughout as well. Take for instance "My Wife's Home Town" which is musically a wink and a nod to Willie Dixon's Blues classic "I Just Want to Make Love to You" but has the devilish chorus of "I'm telling you again that hell's my wife's hometown" while Dylan slyly laughs in the background near the end of track if you listen real close.
Other fun ones include the album closer "It's All Good" where Dylan, who could never be mistaken for an outright optimist throughout his career, barks out the sunny lines "Big politician telling lies, restaurant kitchen all full of flies, don't make a bit a difference, don't see why it should, cause it's all right and it's all good." Lines like that are meant to make you realize that even though it can be a big grind out in the real world, don't let the little things get you down and try to enjoy life to its fullest. Bob Dylan's excellent Together Through Life will make anyone who listens remember that credo.
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