Monday, September 24, 2001  Volume 67, Issue 23


Dylan's distinctive voice powers 'Love and Theft'

Bob Dylan
Love and Theft
****1/2 (out of five stars)
Columbia Records

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff

As soon as Bob Dylan's Love and Theft album starts to spin, it's obvious the legendary singer/songwriter laughs at the thought of
slowing with age.

While his voice has hardened with time, Dylan's imaginative lyrics accommodate a sound that runs with everything from classic
blues to electric rockabilly.

Dylan's songwriting has always been witty, but Love and Theft thrives on the musician's lighter side.

The album plays like a parody of experiences that Dylan scribbled out in the form of riddles and collected in his guitar case through
the years.

With songs like "Summer Days," "Lonesome Day Blues" and "Cry Awhile," Dylan puts on a grin and cracks out the witty prose he's
well known for, smothered with the sound of blues.

"Summer Days" describes a hapless optimist: "My back's been to the wall so long it seems like it's stuck‚ and I got my hammer ringin'‚
pretty baby, but the nails ain't going down."

These are just a few lines from the album that show Dylan at his best with words.

"Sugar Baby" and "Honest With Me" are two of the 12 songs that express one-sided love, a recurring theme in Dylan's lengthy

With "Sugar Baby," Dylan concludes that "every moment of existence seems like a dirty trick," while he sounds more sympathetic in
"Honest With Me" as he belts out lyrics like: "I'm not sorry for nothing I've done/ I'm glad we fought, I only wish we won."

Two cleverly written satires, "Mississippi" and "Highwater (for Charlie Patton)," describe things gone wrong, too much to even get
close to explaining.

These two tracks are similar to Dylan's more readily recognized works -- only now he's in a different time surrounded by different

The most surprising element in Love and Theft is Dylan's attempt to raise his worn voice a couple of notes as he looks to pull off a
few romantic ballads.

"Moonlight" and "Bye and Bye" are two songs that will surely spark a few laughs when Dylan does his best to croon his way through
the soft lyrics.

Larry Campbell, Charlie Sexton, Tony Garnier, David Kemper and Augie Meyers play the array of sounds found throughout Dylan's
43rd album.

Except for Meyers, these players also fill Dylan's background on his extensive road trips, which may be why the album took only two
weeks to record.

Love and Theft can also be found with an extra disc.

The limited edition two-disc package features two songs that are vintage Dylan. If you want your money's worth, the special edition
is the one to buy.

For those who enjoy Dylan's earlier works, these two tracks will bring back the image of his poetic words and raspy sound
representing trying times in dire need of a voice.

The rarely heard song "I Was Young When I Left Home" is the first track on the second disc.

With verses like: "Not a shirt on my back/ not a penny on my name," a melancholy Dylan expresses mixed feelings about going back

Everything about this track ensures this ballad a place on Dylan's long list of greatest songs.

This edition is definitely worth the few dollars more if "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is a song you haven't heard before.

Dylan's popular lyrics on this particular track show his uncanny ability to define a time and the place it was headed.

Dylan's Love and Theft is certainly a must-have as the resilient performer pulls out a few tricks to propel his riddle of furious words
and warbling voice.

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