Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Together Through Life – “a stinker that’ll soon be forgotten”

I suspect I’m not the only Dylan Daily reader who’s yet to make up his mind about Together Through Life.

But I doubt there’s be many who share the views of a certain Russ Smith (no relation - honest!), who’s posted a very dismissive review on Splice Today.

Not all Dylan Daily readers think that the Sun shines out of Dylan’s a**e. Russ Smith certainly doesn’t. I enclose a few extracts, below - just to whet your appetite!

You can see the full review online at

Gerry Smith


Nothing Is Delivered, by Russ Smith

* Together Through Life, Bob Dylan’s latest recording, is a stinker that’ll soon be forgotten.

* the last time Dylan released an exciting bunch of new songs was in early ’75, Blood on the Tracks, and that coincided with my most recent cavity. And, let’s be honest, that record, while a step up from Planet Waves and New Morning, hasn’t aged all that well, with the clunkers “Meet Me in the Morning” and “Simple Twist of Fate,” getting in the way of his two gold-standard 70s songs “Idiot Wind” and “Tangled Up in Blue.”

* his last 20 or so records, including his latest, Together Through Life, really stink, and I imagine that once this article is complete I’ll relegate the CD to the pile of near-discards, maybe next to Imagine or anything Morrissey released after he and guitarist Johnny Marr broke up the Smiths, the best band of the 1980s.

* Dylan’s value today is as an archivist (of his own songs and those artists he admires)

* Listening to Together Through Life, it’s possible, I suppose, to believe that Dylan really thinks he’s making exceptional new music… the songs, mostly co-written with Robert Hunter (immediate tip-off), have little lyrical merit and while reviewers have somehow fallen for the singer’s p.r. that he’s incorporating his love for old Chess Records classics with his own tweaks and observations, this record’s a bust. Not wholly embarrassing, but a bust.

* David Hildago’s brain-numbing accordian…

* with very few exceptions (maybe “Catfish,” “Seven Days” and “Jokerman”), the songs he’s composed since the mid-1970s are half-baked and would never even be considered by the staff who help him compile the playlist for his radio show…