Together Through Life

( 21 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
By all accounts, Together Through Life arrived quickly, cut swiftly by Bob Dylan and his touring band in the fall of 2008, surprising the label upon its delivery a couple months later, then rushed into stores in April 2009, just half a year after the release of the monumental archive project Tell Tale Signs. Given the speed of its creation, it fits that the album has a spontaneous, kinetic kick, feeling so alive that it's a little messy, teeming with contradictions, crossed signals, and frayed ends. That liveliness turns Together Through Life into a much lighter affair than its weighty predecessor, Modern Times, which was tinged with doom and had thematic unity,...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
By all accounts, Together Through Life arrived quickly, cut swiftly by Bob Dylan and his touring band in the fall of 2008, surprising the label upon its delivery a couple months later, then rushed into stores in April 2009, just half a year after the release of the monumental archive project Tell Tale Signs. Given the speed of its creation, it fits that the album has a spontaneous, kinetic kick, feeling so alive that it's a little messy, teeming with contradictions, crossed signals, and frayed ends. That liveliness turns Together Through Life into a much lighter affair than its weighty predecessor, Modern Times, which was tinged with doom and had thematic unity, two things missing from this comparatively breezy affair. If Together Through Life is about any one thing, it is -- as its title and cover photo elliptically suggest -- the enduring power of romance, how it provides sustenance and how its absence can make life hard. But all this suggests that Dylan has turned in a meditation on the meaning of life and love here, when its core charm is its very modesty. It's an old-fashioned ten tracks, clocking in at 45 minutes, a simple set of songs co-written with Robert Hunter -- Jerry Garcia's lyricist and previous Dylan collaborator, co-writing the irresistibly jaunty "Silvio" in 1988 -- and delivered without adornment, its clean yet earthy production slyly emphasizing the musical variety here. Sonically, this is right in line with Dylan's 2000s albums, the sound of a well-lubricated traveling band easing into the same chords it plays every night, but this isn't strictly roadhouse rock & roll: Dylan remains fixated on pre-rock & roll American music, emphasizing the blues but eager to croon love-struck ballads. In this context, David Hidalgo's accordion -- which appears so often it soon ceases to be noteworthy -- can suggest a romantic stroll down Parisian streets or a steamy sojourn with Doug Sahm in a Tex-Mex border town, but everything here is recognizably, thoroughly Dylan's mythic picturesque America that stretches from the hazy past to the barbed present. While the music is proudly, almost defiantly, rooted in the past, with Dylan borrowing Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" wholesale for the riotous "My Wife's Home Town," there's no avoidance of the present here, with Bob even going so far as to turn the omnipresent catch phrase "It's All Good" into a mordantly funny rocker. Dylan's not just aware of the modern-day vernacular, he's wound up with an album that fits the spirit of 2009: it's troubled but hopeful, firmly in favor of love and romance, but if that fails there are always romantic dreams and sardonic jokes to get you through life.
Entertainment Weekly - Clark Collis
Produced, like his last two albums, by Dylan alter ego ''Jack Frost,'' it prominently features south-of-the-border-style accordion (courtesy of Los Lobos' David Hidalgo) throughout, which handsomely frames the guitar playing of Tom Petty sideman Mike Campbell. [B-]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/28/2009
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 886974389323
  • Catalog Number: 743893
  • Sales rank: 47,417

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bob Dylan Primary Artist, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Mike Campbell Guitar, Mandolin
Tony Garnier Bass, Upright Bass
David Hidalgo Guitar, Accordion
George Recile Drums
Donny Herron Banjo, Mandolin, Trumpet, Steel Guitar
Technical Credits
Willie Dixon Composer
Bob Dylan Composer, Lyricist
Robert Hunter Composer, Lyricist
David Bianco Engineer
Eddy Schreyer Mastering
Rafael Serrano Digital Editing
Bruce Davidson Cover Photo
David Spreng Digital Editing
Jack Frost Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    On the Road

    I like the photo on the cover because when this album first came out I listened to it over and over on my way to and from work which involved a 25 min drive on the highway - before the sun was up - then when it was going down. As a blues album it has that road feel to it -not unlike his very first album. It's fun to alternate listening to the two albums. The only qustion I have is what are we going to do when guys like Bob Dylan and Johnny Winter die. They are our among the last of our living connection to the blues legends of the past. That's why I treasure everything they turn out. In that regard, if you like this album you should definitely check out Johnny Winter's latest ("Roots") which is along the same lines and which I think I would rate slightly higher than "Through Life".

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Very good

    One of the top Dylan's albums

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dylan's Cafe is Dark, but Witty & Warm

    Dim light. The border town cafe is tacky and dingy but at least it's clean. You've been hanging out in this place for as long as you can remember. Smoking is still allowed. There's the smell of smoke mixed in with the aromas of whiskey, tequila and beer. The talk becomes a whisper when the band meanders on the stage. The accordion player is new, you recognize the guitarist. The familiar voice of the singer is rougher than ever, but he's as happy to see the crowd as the crowd is to see him. "Together Through Life" is Bob Dylan's most atmospheric album. He enlisted Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead Lyricist and writing partner of Jerry Garcia and quickly recorded this inspired collection of songs. David Hilgado, from the great Los Lobos, plays accordion, giving the same sort of inventive and distinctive texture that Al Kooper's organ gave "Blonde on Blonde" or Scarlet Rivera's violin gave "Desire." Dylan then traverses back to his more usual landscape of American blues. Dylan's most recent records, "Modern Times" and "Love & Theft," feature an accomplished mosaic of styles-rock and roll, crooner ballads, and various iterations of blues. "Together Through Life" is also a pastiche, although the blues predominate. The accordion and lonesome lyrics about love amidst desolation augment the end-of-the-line, border town, feel while also exploring the rarely acknowledged common ground of Tex-Mex music and Blues. It's pretty hard to claim at this point Dylan is redefining his career. He's done that a few times already, so many times that the redefinition is irrelevant. Few have had such a long and fruitful run-since about 1963-and he's still writing and performing in ways that are challenging and uncompromising. The last twelve years or so has been one of his most sustained and richest periods of creativity. There's a whole bunch of fans now more excited for new Dylan than to hear the legend's latest rendition of "Like A Rolling Stone."
    Clearly, Dylan is having a lot of fun and he is expressing that fun with a refreshingly cordial wit. Rarely has he been so inviting, And, almost as rarely, he has an audience willing to be invited, willing to appreciate without precondition his latest muse. In the Tex-Mex spiced blues ballad, "This Dream of You," he sings "in an all night cafe, as night turns into day." Anyone who wants to be in that cafe is in that cafe and having a wonderful time.Please visit: Timothyherrick.blogspot.com

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Dylan's streak of good albums continues

    On this album, Dylan adopts a bluesy approach as he takes a bittersweet look at the world around him, from the point of view of someone who's seen it all. As you might expect, he doesn't like everything he sees. But he's not full of despair, either. He's having a great time as he sings about the human condition in his growly voice. Love the addition of David Hidalgo's accordion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The mature Bob Dylan

    Has all the character of recent Dylan music - soul-searching, thoughtful and insightful. Belongs in any serious Dylan collection.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Bob's Been A Changin'

    Dylan has been getting raspier and grainier in the past years and has switched his style somewhat but it's a welcome progress as he is still cranking out great, listenable tunes with memorable lyrics and dry humor. This is the perfect disc to play in the shade with a beer in your hand to just kick back get mellow. I like the slight cajun flavor in some of the tracks where it's hard to keep the foot from tapping. I have every one of Dylan's albums and will continue to collect them as they come out because there is no doubt that he is one of the Great American Classics who continues to put his individual stamp on American music like no one else can.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Not good.

    Sorry, just couldn't listen to this one. I'm getting old and recognize the signs of decay.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Bob Dylan so far

    The man in poetry in human form. Great album.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Well...

    Not as good as Modern Times, but still a decent Dylan work...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Album

    Another great Bob Dylan album. After a first listening, I thought it was good, but not great. But after repeated listenings, it really grows on you. The songs are great and I would rank the album as equal in high quality, but with a different sound, to Modern Times.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Dylan does it again.

    Another interesting album from Dylan. This album sounds like a cross between an old Muddy Waters album and Hank Williams. It is very old school with a 1950's sound. A definite must have for any Dylan fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Romance, Dylan style

    Certainly lighter in tone than Modern Times, Together Through Life still finds a way to shine new light onto the American landscape. Sounding a bit like a honky tonk band playing as if their lives depended on their music, Dylan and company give us 10 new songs of romance, lust, and greed. A highlight is My Wife's Home Town, with Dylan sounding like the ghost of an old bluesman.

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    Posted May 16, 2009

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    Posted July 7, 2009

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    Posted June 6, 2009

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    Posted December 12, 2009

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    Posted July 18, 2009

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    Posted May 24, 2009

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    Posted April 21, 2009

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews