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Together Through Life


Price: £5.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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BOB DYLAN Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to ... Read more in Amazon's Bob Dylan Store

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Together Through Life + Tempest + Modern Times
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia / Sony
  • ASIN: B001VNB56I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
2. Life Is Hard
3. My Wife's Home Town
4. If You Ever Go to Houston
5. Forgetful Heart
6. Jolene
7. This Dream of You
8. Shake Shake Mama
9. I Feel a Change Comin' On
10. It's All Good

Product Description

Product Description

Together Though Life, produced by Jack Frost, was recorded late in 2008, prompted by the composition of a new song, “Life Is Hard,” which was written for a film by French director Oliver Dahan (La Vie En Rose). The album will be the 46th release from Bob Dylan, and follows 2006’s Platinum album Modern Times, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and reached the top of the charts in seven additional countries and the Top five in 22 countries around the world. Bob Dylan’s three previous studio albums have been universally hailed as among the best of his storied career, achieving new levels of commercial success and critical acclaim for the artist.

BBC Review

There's a famous anecdote about Bob Dylan stalking Neil Young around the mid-70s, irked to find that someone was getting chart action by sounding a bit like him. As if to echo those far off days he's now matching the Canadian's recent work rate. His 33rd album appears with unexpected haste following 2006's Modern Times. And while cut from the same bluesy cloth as his 'renaissance' trilogy of albums (Time Out Of Mind, Love And Theft and Modern Times) that seemed like tablets hewn from the very fabric of American history, Together Through Life is a distinctly more light-hearted affair.

The album's vibe is resolutely grounded in jolly 12 bar material, at times making it seem more like some Chicago urban blues tribute. My Wife's Home Town (which actually ends with Bob laughing it up) reads like a stand-up comedian's version of a Muddy Waters standard, and at least has the honesty to co-credit Willie Dixon as a writer. Shake, Shake Mama sees Bob, ''Motherless, fatherless and almost friendless too'', but he sounds remarkably chipper about it. Ultimately it's another masterful reading of 20th century American folk, albeit shot through with some mischievous lyrical twists. Whereas on Modern Times he was listening to Alicia Keyes here (on I Feel A Change Comin' On) he's listening to, "...Billy J Shaver and reading James Joyce''. Go figure...

With Donny Herron's steel playing livening the more standard licks of Mike Campbell the loping bar band feel (If You Ever Go To Houston, Jolene) isn't entirely prevalent. The song which got Dylan's creative juices flowing once more - Life Is Hard, penned for the soundtrack to Olivier Dahan's new road movie, My Own Love Song - revisits his recent forays into swingtime jazz; complete with continental mandolins. Also the addition of Los Lobos' David Hidalgo on accordion adds a dash of Tex Mex spice, particularly on Beyond Here Lies Nothing and This Dream Of You, where additional violin recalls his Desire period.

Despite the fact that for nigh on ten years Dylan's been writing songs that deal in Americana cliches there seems little danger of him regressing into some kind of dullard purism like, say, Van Morrison's. He still injects enough of himself to keep above genericism. Having said that, one can't help feel that too much of this easy-going fare may eventually wear out his current re-deified status. Together Through Life isn't a classic but it's no Self Portrait either. --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By MJHulme on 30 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
This recording features Dylan's gutsy blues style that has been present on and off throughout his career. It is not a classic, but still better than could be expected for someone of 68, showing that he is perhaps returning more and more, via his track choices and sentiments to his early rural youth influences, and the folk/blues that is indelibly imprinted in his soul. The lyrics alternate between light and dark, nothing too profound, but musically this sound from his latest band is very good indeed including the feature of the much wondered about accordian. Well done Bob, keep 'em coming, and your lifetime fans guessing what the next one will be like.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By P. D. Warburton on 28 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
I think this is a better record than most of the critics I've read have said. It's not so much about words, though there are some great lines here and there. Throughout the album, Dylan treads a fine line between bathos and banality. No, it's about sound. 'Jack Frost' has really done his time in the galleys and come of age here. It's warm, deeply human, somewhat fetid, yet bright, alive and immediate. Gone is the single coil brilliance of the Larry Campbell/Charlie Sexton period. Instead, we have the darker humbucking sound of Mike Campbell. Add to that the brilliance of David Hidalgo's accordian work, a sound that so suits Dylan it's amazing he hasn't used it more in the past, and you end up with a tight, unified sound. This is a minor collection, to be sure, but one with an overall unity which is absent from earlier Dylan albums which fall into this category. Taken on its own terms, I think it's very good indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr Nostalgia on 10 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD
I can only assume that some of the reviewers on here listened to this album on a cheap, portable cd player, while sitting in a doorway and drinking meths. Some say this is a worse album than 'Infidels' and 'Empire Burlesque'!! Have you gone stark raving mad or just plain bonkers? While not one of Bob's greatest albums, it still contains a solid collection of old time rockers and blues numbers to satisfy any Dylan fan. Listen to the record a few times and let the vibe sink in and hopefully you'll see what I mean. The stand out track for me is 'Shake Shake Mama'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Nicholl on 12 May 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although I am a massive Bob Dylan fan, I do find his later offerings a little harder to get into, and 'Together Through Life' is no exception. There are no bad tracks, but again no really outstanding ones either. If I was pushed into it I would have to say that 'Shake Shake Mama' which has hints of his mid 60s work in its arrangement is the pick of the crop. Overall it is the more up-tempo tracks that are catching my ear at present with their New Orleans blues feel. This will be a grower rather than an immediate album, and it would be fair to say that it is 'Modern Times Revisited'. Maybe we still expect Dylan to be continually breaking new ground and proving himself. That is something he no longer needs to do. He has been there, shown us all how it is done and the world is still trying to catch up with him. He has every right to settle into a comfortable groove and it is a good groove! Together Through Life is certainly well worth inclusion in your collection, especially if you are a Dylan fan, and even if you are not.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Samson Briggs on 3 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's interesting, the wide ranging opinions on this and the last few Bob albums.... Whichever reviewer said 'stop at Time Out Of Mind' as the rest is drivel' must have cotton wool in their ears - as did Daniel Lanois when he produced Time Out Of Mind... That album had 4 great songs on it, 1 very good one and the rest is pretty dull and sounds like it was recorded through a wall.
Love and Theft was far better and for my money, Modern Times was better still. I can't see what is 'dull' about it and still listen to it regularly.
This one however, is a bit dull.... It's alright, it's got a couple of very good songs, it sounds like they had a good time making it, it all sounds fine because the band are good, but there is a distinct lack of depth to 'Together Through Life', which ensures that, while I'm pleased to have heard it, I know I won't still be playing it regularly in 2012.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the mining of old blues tunes has started to sound tired and secondly, the decision to write with Robert Hunter has ensured that the lyrical quality is not sufficient to take your eye off the afore-mentioned, tired-sounding musical framework.
Hunter is no Dylan, but seems to try to be, so we get faux Dylanisms which Bob would never have written. Songs such as 'My Wife's Home Town' and 'It's All Good' sound kind of dumb, rather like 'Silvio' and 'The Ugliest Girl In THe World' from 'Down In The Groove', co-written with...erm... Robert Hunter.
The dilution of Dylan by Hunter diminishes the intelligence, artfulness and emotional impact of the words, and the 'adapted / adopted' melodies aren't strong enough to compensate for this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. C. H. Mounsey on 30 May 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary record. The sound that Dylan is making both vocally and instrumentally is unique. It sounds like nothing else around: who would have thought that the accordion (forever, to British ears at least, associated with cheesy French songsters like Charles Aznavour and Maurice Chevalier) could ever swing like it does on 'Together through Life'? Even Dylan's ruined voice sounds amazing: his phrasing has never been better and there are some pretty good tunes, as well as lyrics that make you laugh out loud - 'Down by the river, Judge Simpson walking around/ Down by the river, Judge Simpson walking around/Nothing shocks me more than that old clown' Hard to beat.
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