The recent release of the astonishing Rough and Rowdy Ways was yet another reminder that Bob Dylan has always been a confounding artist, creating a near 60-year patchwork of masterworks and forgettable throwaways. But when he hits it, few can equal the guy. Dylan was 60 when this follow-up to 1997s acclaimed Time Out of Mind was released in 2001. It’s one of his most confounding sessions—and, as MoFi’s outstanding reissue reminds us, also one of his best. Love and Theft could not be more different from the world-weary darkness of its predecessor. Whether it’s the rockabilly twang of “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,” the music hall shuffle of “Bye and Bye,” “Po’ Boy,” and “Moonlight,” the rollicking swing of “Summer Days,” or the Biblical country-blues of “High Water (For Charley Patton),” Dylan sounds both happy and confident as he tears through these songs with his crackerjack yet loose-limbed band—these guys are having fun. Mobile Fidelity’s vinyl edition significantly betters the original. The balance and blend between the band and Dylan’s voice is spot-on; there’s a greater sense of clarity and continuity, studio air, instrumental texture, dynamics, low-end richness, and presence. Excellent stuff here and highly recommended—especially if you don’t know it.
By Wayne Garcia
Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.More articles from this editor
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