"He not busy being born is busy dying", the master says in "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)". And the master is busy and produces album after album, makes tour after tour.
I’m always happy when I can make connections. Of any kind.
In Bob Dylan’s latest album Together Through Life it’s the reference to James Joyce. (For those who don't know: this blog was created long ago in honour of James Joyce) “I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver/And I’m reading James Joyce … Some people they tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice” he sings in “ I Feel a Change Comin’ On".
The blood of the land, indeed. For a European person this album is soo American. The texts written by BD himself and none other than the lyricist Robert Hunter as a co-writer cover universal themes like hardship, struggle, love, murder, death in decidedly American settings. The texts are strange, wise, funny, apocalyptic, sentimental, psychedelic, ironic, and sometimes they sound as if they have been sung with a smile on the face of the singer.
But the best is still to come. The music. It has been described as blues pop with Tex/Mex, Latin-American and Creole elements. Very prominent: David Hidalgo on the accordion and Mike Campbell on the guitar. Beautiful arrangements.
Willi Winkler, a renowned German author (of, amongst other books, a Dylan biography), critic and translator (he translated books by Updike, Burgess and Bellow) and who writes for the German daily “The Sueddeutsche” sees “Together Trough Life” as the best, most beautiful and greatest the master has ever delivered to his audience.
Well, let’s listen for ourselves.
The album sure is impressive. Very different from Modern Times.
My favourites? I’ve not decided yet. Maybe” I Feel A Change Comin’ On”, “This Dream of You” (a hell of an almost Viennese type of waltz), or “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”.
There’s a website where you can create an interactive lyrical portrait based on the song “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”.
The video below gives a good overview. It has 30 seconds from each song. The playlist:
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. Its All Good
"This Dream of You"