So it has been exactly 10 years today since Bob Dylan’s “Love and Theft” was released on September 11, 2001. This is obviously a minor footnote on the day’s historical significance but an important event nonetheless.
Bob Dylan had a long stretch of albums that were not great up until 1997’s Time Out Of Mind. The albums weren’t bad, but not up to the standards we had come to expect from the greatest songwriter ever. Time Out Of Mind was a stone cold classic album, the next release would tell whether that release was lightening in a bottle or a sign of things to come. “Love and Theft” proved Bob Dylan was back.
From the opening track “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” to the closer “Sugar Baby” “Love and Theft” is just plain brilliant. The album has no weaknesses and still 10 years later sounds fresh and interesting. Dylan had finally figured out exactly how to use his ragged vocals to make the songs dignified and unique.
The album is full of highlights but the strongest portion of the album comes in the last four tracks. “Honest With Me,” “Po’ Boy,” “Cry A While” and “Sugar Baby” may be the strongest closing set of any album in Dylan’s prestigious career. The slow down/speed up of “Cry A While” and the flat out blues stomp of “Lonesome Day Blues” serve as individual song highlights.
The album was and is unlike any music anybody else was and is making. Dylan found a way to create music that sounds like it belongs in The Great Gatsby but still sounds modern and classic at the same time. For an artist as accomplished as Dylan to create this kind of record at 60 years old has to be one of the greatest achievements in music history.
Key Tracks: “Lonesome Day Blues” “High Water(for Charley Patton)” “Honest With Me” Cry A While”