Love and Theft

Love and Theft

4.5 20
by Bob Dylan

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Forty-three albums into his four-decades-plus career, Bob Dylan at 60 still keeps us on our toes. At an age when his peers have long lost their creative edge, Dylan continues to toss his audience curveballs. Furthering the winning streak begun with 1997's acclaimed Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft offers acerbic observations, slapstick humor, and keening…  See more details below


Forty-three albums into his four-decades-plus career, Bob Dylan at 60 still keeps us on our toes. At an age when his peers have long lost their creative edge, Dylan continues to toss his audience curveballs. Furthering the winning streak begun with 1997's acclaimed Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft offers acerbic observations, slapstick humor, and keening blues-rock galore -- the product of a man who's matured, yet willing to learn a thing or two along the way. The music is edgy, and his lyrics are laden with a unique combination of dark humor and chagrined cynicism. Dylan gets decidedly down-and-dirty on songs like the unvarnished "Lonesome Day Blues," which rivals the looser rockers on Blonde on Blonde, and the electrifying "Cry a While." When he's ready to reach beyond the full-tilt boogie approach, he heads for the hills -- of Appalachia, that is -- for the banjo-buoyed "Floater" and the gorgeous, gossamer "High Water (for Charley Patton)," which echoes the haunted growl of the titular bluesman. Like Dylan's best work, the album is as riddled with belly laughs as with head-scratchers, as borne out by the jug-band rib-tickler "Po' Boy," which practically bursts with Marx Brothers surrealism. The humor is abundant, as are the harsh indictments, making Love and Theft a criminally good album from a musical icon officially on a roll. Don't think twice, it's more than alright.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Time Out of Mind was a legitimate comeback, Bob Dylan's first collection of original songs in nearly ten years and a risky rumination on mortality, but its sequel, Love and Theft, is his true return to form, not just his best album since Blood on the Tracks, but the loosest, funniest, warmest record he's made since The Basement Tapes. There are none of the foreboding, apocalyptic warnings that permeated Time Out of Mind and even underpinned "Things Have Changed," his Oscar-winning theme to Curtis Hanson's 2000 film Wonder Boys. Just as important, Daniel Lanois' deliberately arty, diffuse production has retreated into the mist, replaced by an uncluttered, resonant production that gives Dylan and his ace backing band room to breathe. And they run wild with that liberty, rocking the house with the grinding "Lonesome Day Blues" and burning it down with the fabulously swinging "Summer Days." They're equally captivating on the slower songs, whether it's the breezily romantic "Bye and Bye," the torch song "Moonlight," or the epic reflective closer, "Sugar Baby." Musically, Dylan hasn't been this natural or vital since he was with the Band, and even then, those records were never as relaxed and easy or even as hard-rocking as these. That alone would make Love and Theft a remarkable achievement, but they're supported by a tremendous set of songs that fully synthesize all the strands in his music, from the folksinger of the early '60s, through the absurdist storyteller of the mid-'60s, through the traditionalist of the early '70s, to the grizzled professional of the '90s. None of this is conscious, it's all natural. There's an ease to his writing and a swagger to his performance unheard in years -- he's cracking jokes and murmuring wry asides, telling stories, crooning, and swinging. It's reminiscent of his classic records, but he's never made a record that's been such sheer, giddy fun as this, and it stands proudly among his very best albums.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
[***** FIVE STARS] ...a stone-cold Dylan classic. Love and Theft takes us on a full-blown tour of American song in all its burlesque splendor, which includes, of course, Dylan's own psychedelic mutations of the blues....the remarkable achievement of Love and Theft is that Dylan makes the past sound as strange, haunted and alluring as the future - and this song and dance man sings as though he's drunk too deeply of the past to be either scared or impressed by anybody's future, least of all his own. And he sounds as if he's enjoying the ride.
USA Today
Dylan's 43rd album exudes the breezy confidence of a veteran and the adventurous energy of a budding prodigy...Love and Theft breaks new ground while simultaneously mining glorified traditions in American song. Edna Gundersen

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Product Details

Release Date:

Related Subjects


  1. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
  2. Mississippi
  3. Summer Days
  4. Bye and Bye
  5. Lonesome Day Blues
  6. Floater
  7. High Water (for Charlie Patton)
  8. Moonlight
  9. Honest with Me
  10. Po' Boy
  11. Cry A While
  12. Sugar Baby

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bob Dylan   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Charlie Sexton   Guitar
Augie Meyers   Organ,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Vox Organ,Hammond B3
Larry Campbell   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Violin
Tony Garnier   Bass,Bass Guitar
David Kemper   Drums
Clay Meyers   Bongos

Technical Credits

Steven Berkowitz   Reissue Producer
Didier C. Deutsch   Tape Research
George Marino   Mastering
Geoff Gans   Art Direction
Kevin Mazur   Cover Photo
Chris Shaw   Engineer
Jack Frost   Producer

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Love and Theft 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Get it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a sampling of styles from every decade since the 30's - each with that unique Dylan influence. vocals as strong and clear as anything we'ver heard from Dylan in years. Great backup band.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bob Dylan, the great, has once again taken the cake. In this new album, he breathes life into his music, from the fun Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee to Mississippi where he's ''been in trouble ever since he put his suitcase down.'' He mixes a variety of American Styles from the blues to a cute sewing song. As a younger fan of Dylan I am happy to know that his glory days aren't over just yet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dylan's back on top of his game. After the fifth listening, you really start to appreciate it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Easily Dylan's greatest album since Blood on the Tracks. It's not his greatest album, but it is very very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I beg to differ from all the enthusiasts that are rating this album one of Dylan's best. In my view, it's very second-rate, the sort of music we've heard before,and doesn't open any new frontiers at all. I admire Dylan greatly, but this album is just formulaic.It isn't a patch on its predecessor. Sorry Bob...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Love and Theft is great! The darkness of Time Out of Mind combined with the storytelling in Blood on the Tracks. Wow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having spent more time than I care to discuss during my misspent youth listening to the songs of Mr. Dylan, and learning to play and sing quite a few for my own whiny, nasally repertoire, I became disenchanted during his long 'bad' spell of the eighties and nineties. Although Greatest Hits Volume III is an excellent distillation of Dylan's good work during that period of time, there was much to be unhappy with. ''Time Out of Mind'' seemed to herald a new attitude on Dylan's part. The songs were great, but too one dimensional; there was scant humor, only dark and dire observations. Dylan returns to claim his crown as king of the weird funny wordsmiths on ''Love and Theft''. Move over any and all pretenders, (this means you, Beck). Singing simultaneously in the voice of seventy five years ago and the present, the Bard whups some wild and exhiliarating wordplay on ya, in front of some of the catchiest musical settings he's chosen for quite a while. This collection is just plain fun. If you remember cracking open albums like ''Blood On The Tracks'', ''Blonde On Blonde'', and ''Highway 61 Revisited'' and being blown backwards out of your bedroom in your parents house, laughing and crying all at the same time, do yourself a favor: Try to rekindle your faith in Bob Dylan, the faith he so carelessly squandered for the last twenty years. Go out and buy ''Love and Theft''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Combining classic Dylan folk with bluesy rock as only he can. Each cut portrays a recognizable Dylan flavor in the ever rich lyrics which paint a picture and tells a story...and then some.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A mindblowing album which could have come only from the genius that Bob Dylan is. The great music matched by the inimitable voice of the master with his perfect intonations and evocative lyrics-- some of the lines uncannily capturing the gloom of the fateful day of its release (Sept 11,2001)
Guest More than 1 year ago
the first time i listened to this record i thought ''yeah! he's still there!'' rock on, bob!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Voice sounds great. Good mixing. Dylan doing what Dylan does best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each song offers something special. The music, turn of phrase, and variety all make this album worth listening to again and again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is incredible. The best piece of music in a long, long time. To appreciate some of these songs fully, see Him live. Dylan is no less than a God. Buy this album now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If it weren't for the time-ravaged voice of Dylan I would have given this more stars. I found many of the good songs unlistenable because of his voice (while the bad songs just meandered on an on (Lonesome Day Blues)). Dylans voice has never been his strong point, but it was listenable. The band sounds great and the good songs are some of his best in years (Po' Boy, Summer Days, High Water), but that voice, ugh!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard through the grape-vine that some music critics dismissed Dylan's latest, Love And Theft. They could never be more wrong! The album is fresh, upbeat, ironic at times, and even a bit sexy. Dylan has never sounded more clear. The man is an incredible talent- a poet- a devil- and a working man's friend. This album covers a variety of styles incredibly well. The sound quality is crisp and intricate. Nothing seems stale or contrived. Dylan's cadence is perfect, as is his wit. "Honest With Me", "Po' Boy", and "High Water" are standouts. But "Floater (Too Much To Ask)" and "Sugar Baby" show a soft side to the man that I am growing ever fond of. Old fans and new fans alike will find this album a real joy. It is a must for your cd collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why does anyone think Dylan's early albums were nothing short of brilliant? Because the record company let the man do what he wanted to!!! Finally, they've come to their senses, and are letting Dylan do the songs he wants to do however he wants to do them. Be it blues, folk, bluegrass, rock, traditional pop (circa 1920s-1930s style) or everything in between, Dylan covers it. From the witty, jazzy-rocker of "Tweedlee Dee and Tweedlee Dum" to the haunting folk-bluegrass number of "High Water (For Charley Patton)," Dylan's lyrics are subtle and light-hearted, but deep at the same time. Some also complain about his vocals being shot. Well, guess what - his voice was always shot! True, time has made it rougher, but that only gives the songs the emotional depth they truly deserve. So if you're a Dylan fan who only wants the best, get the album! You won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being one to like mostly Dylan's earlier stuff, upon first hearing this album, I wasn't terribly intrigued. Then I listened to it again, and slowly, it began to grow on me. It may just have been me who wasn't absolutely loving this at first, but as I listened more intently to the songs, I came to really appreciate the uniqueness of this album. Different sounding than his earlier pieces, but who said change was a bad thing, anyhow?
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
This is a fine album but it suffers a bit in comparison to his previous "Time Out of Mind" release. It did not help that this album happened to be released on the morning of September 11th, 2001 (the day of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon) so, understandably, people were not much in the mood for buying music and it took a while before most got around to listening to this one. But despite all that, there is some fine work here even if it doesn't quite make the list of his masterpieces. Certainly one you ought to hear.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Critics had been writing Dylan off for so long they over-reacted when Bob began to make vital music again. After listening to this off and on since I bought it seven years ago I have decided it is good but not perfect. Dylan sounds best on the rockers but the slow songs highlight how ruined his voice has become. He (Jack Frost is an alias) has learned how to produce himself, his sense of humor is back, and the band is very competent. High Water Everywhere is an all-time Dylan classic but some of the other songs seem a bit limp. Overall, though, this CD is music few thought Bob Dylan was capable of making anymore.