Ranking all 39 Bob Dylan studio albums- #18 – Together Through Life [2009} Released April 28, 2009. 4 Stars
The countdown so far 39- Dylan -1973 38- Down In The Groove -1988 37-Knocked Out Loaded- 1986 36-Christmas In The Heart- 2009 35-Under A Red Sky- 1990 34-Saved- 1980 33-Fallen Angels 2016 32- Good As I Been To You- 1992 31- World Gone Wrong 1993 30- Triplicate 2017. 29- Shadows In The Night. 2015 28- Self Portrait 1970- 27- Bob Dylan- Bob Dylan 1962, 26- Empire Burlesque 1985, 25- Street Legal 1978, 24- Nashville Skyline 1969 23- Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid 1973- 22- Shot Of Love 1981 21. New Morning- 1970 20. Rough And Rowdy Ways -2020, #19- Tempest 2012 and now #18- Together Through Life 2009.
Together Through Life- Bob Dylan’s 33rd studio album. At least in my mind the final phase of Bob’s career [which still shows no signs of ending} began in 1997 with the Time Out Of Mind album- which came after his serious health issues which many feared could have sidelined him forever. Together Through Life was the fourth album in Bob’s comeback. This album came out of nowhere in a way- it sprung from the request of director Oliver Dahan’s to contribute a song to his movie My Own Love Story. Every song on this album but one was co-written with The Grateful Dead songwriter Robert Hunter. In the past Dylan had only taken on another writer in this manner once- Jacques Levy who was a co-writer with him on Desire. Dylan on working with Hunter- “Hunter is an old buddy, we could probably write a hundred songs together if we thought it was important or the right reasons were there… He’s got a way with words and I do too. We both write a different type of song than what passes today for songwriting.”
The album which features as backing musicians not only his touring band but Michael Campbell from Tom Petty’s band and David Hidalgo from the underrated Los Lobos has a recorded live kind of feel to it. Dylan has never been accused of overdoing it in the studio though. This album has a grimy, dirty, sweaty feel to it- and that isn’t a criticism. Not a bad song on the album- if I were to pick a Mount Rushmore on it- “Beyond Here Lives Nothing” the opener, “Life Is Hard”, ‘I Feel A Change Comin’ On” and “It’s All Good.” At the age of 68 Bob had returned to the top of the album charts in both the United States and United Kingdom. .. “I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver..and I’m reading James Joyce.”