Song of the Day #4,670: ‘Shake Shake Mama’ – Bob Dylan

Today’s Random Weekend selection is a by-the-numbers blues song from Bob Dylan’s 2009 album Together Through Life.

Dylan was 68 when he released this album, a rowdy boot-stomper of a record that came on the heels of his marvelous late-career trilogy of Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times. At the time, it wasn’t out of the question that this would be his last album.

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Song of the Day #763: ‘I Feel A Change Comin’ On’ – Bob Dylan

Many of Bob Dylan’s albums are noteworthy for the atmosphere they evoke. The Basement Tapes sounds like it truly was recorded by a group huddled together in a basement (which it was, in part, but that’s not really important). Oh Mercy evokes the gothic New Orleans streets outside the studio. Blonde On Blonde has always sounded to me like the music of a shanty fishing town.

Together Through Life is one of the best examples of Dylan’s work creating an atmosphere. In this case, it’s the sound of a dive bar on the U.S.-Mexico border. The instrumentation (particularly David Hidalgo’s accordion), Dylan’s hard-luck vocals and the songs themselves all paint that place vividly in my mind.

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Song of the Day #762: ‘This Dream Of You’ – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s 33rd studio album, and currently his most recent collection of original songs, was 2009’s Together Through Life. After the five year span between Love and Theft and Modern Times, a wait of less than three years for this CD was welcome. And the album came as a surprise, announced in the media just a month or two before its release.

Together Through Life can be viewed as the completion of a trilogy that began with Love and Theft, as the three albums share a producer (Dylan himself, under his Jack Frost pseudonym) and a general vibe and attitude. Time Out Of Mind, his other brilliant release of the past dozen years, stands apart from these three though it marked his creative resurgence.

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Song of the Day #556: ‘It’s All Good’ – Bob Dylan

Yesterday I posted the first track on Dylan’s first album, so today I’ll post his most recent. I’m skipping the Christmas album as that’s more of a novelty and posting the final track of Dylan’s 2009 album, Together Through Life.

Dylan is known for excellent closing tracks and this one, while not on the level of his classic album finishers, is indeed one of the better songs on the album.

It’s funny to hear a wizened old dude like Dylan repeating the very modern phrase “It’s all good,” and of course he knows that.

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Bob Dylan – Together Through Life

togetherthroughlifeMy recent post about the new video for Bob Dylan’s ‘Beyond Here Lies Nothing’ reminded me that I’ve been putting off my review of the album on which that song appears, Together Through Life.

It’s hard to believe that, at 68 years old, Bob Dylan is in the middle of a streak that rivals his output in the mid 1960s. From 1965-67, he released Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding. That streak would be a career for most artists.

It took him a little longer this time, but from 1997 through this year, he has released Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, Modern Times and now Together Through Life — another streak that other artists must envy.

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