- "Love and Theft"
"Love and Theft" Studio album by Bob Dylan Released September 11, 2001 Recorded May 2001 Genre Folk rock, blues, alternative country Length 57:25 Label Columbia Producer Jack Frost (Bob Dylan pseudonym) Bob Dylan chronology Time Out of Mind
"Love and Theft"
"Love and Theft" is the 31st studio album by Bob Dylan, released by Columbia Records on September 11, 2001. It featured backing by his touring band of the time, with keyboardist Augie Meyers added for the sessions. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified with a gold album by the RIAA. A limited edition release included two bonus tracks on a separate disc recorded in the early 1960s, and two years later, on September 16, 2003, this album was one of fifteen Dylan titles reissued and remastered for SACD hybrid playback.
The album continued Dylan's artistic comeback following 1997's Time Out of Mind, and was given an even more enthusiastic reception. Though often referred to without quotations, the correct title is "Love and Theft". The title of the album was apparently inspired by historian Eric Lott's book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, which was published in 1993. "Love and Theft becomes his Fables of the Reconstruction, to borrow an R.E.M. album title", writes Greg Kot in The Chicago Tribune (published September 11, 2001), "the myths, mysteries and folklore of the South as a backdrop for one of the finest roots-rock albums ever made."
The opening track, "'Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum', includes many references to parades in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where participants are masked, and "determined to go all the way" of the parade route, in spite of being intoxicated. "It rolls in like a storm, drums galloping over the horizon into ear shot, guitar riffs slicing with terse dexterity while a tale about a pair of vagabonds unfolds," writes Kot. "It ends in death, and sets the stage for an album populated by rogues, con men, outcasts, gamblers, gunfighters and desperados, many of them with nothing to lose, some of them out of their minds, all of them quintessentially American.
"They're the kind of twisted, instantly memorable characters one meets in John Ford's westerns, Jack Kerouac's road novels, but, most of all, in the blues and country songs of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. This is a tour of American music—jump blues, slow blues, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley ballads, country swing—that evokes the sprawl, fatalism and subversive humor of Dylan's sacred text, Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, the pre-rock voicings of Hank Williams, Charley Patton and Johnnie Ray, among others, and the ultradry humor of Groucho Marx."
Offered the song by Dylan, Sheryl Crow later recorded an up-tempo cover of "Mississippi" for her The Globe Sessions, released in 1998, before Dylan revisited it for Love and Theft. Subsequently the Dixie Chicks made it a mainstay of their Top of the World, Vote for Change, and Accidents & Accusations Tours.
As Tim Riley of NPR notes, "[Dylan's] singing [on Love and Theft] shifts artfully between humble and ironic...'I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound,' he sings in 'Floater,' which is either hilarious or horrifying, and probably a little of both."
"Love and Theft is, as the title implies, a kind of homage," writes Kot, "[and] never more so than on 'High Water (for Charley Patton),' in which Dylan draws a sweeping portrait of the South's racial history, with the unsung blues singer as a symbol of the region's cultural richness and ingrained social cruelties. Rumbling drums and moaning backing vocals suggest that things are going from bad to worse. 'It's tough out there,' Dylan rasps. 'High water everywhere.' Death and dementia shadow the album, tempered by tenderness and wicked gallows humor."
"'Po Boy', scored for banjo with lounge chord jazz patterns, 'almost sounds as if it could have been recorded around 1920," says Riley. "He leaves you dangling at the end of each bridge, lets the band punctuate the trail of words he's squeezed into his lines, which gives it a reluctant soft-shoe charm."
The album closes with "Sugar Baby", a lengthy, dirge-like ballad, noted for its evocative, apocalyptic imagery and sparse production drenched in echo. Praising it as "a finale to be proud of," Riley notes that "Sugar Baby" is "built on a disarmingly simple riff that turns foreboding."
This album has been incorrectly cited as being recorded digitally into ProTools. This album was recorded to a Studer A800 mkIII @ 30ips on BASF/Emtec 900 tape at +6/250 nanowebers per meter. Pro Tools was used solely for editing of specific tracks and was thus used very sparingly. Whatever work was done in ProTools was flown right back to the 2-inch (51 mm) masters. It was mixed from the 2-inch (51 mm) masters to an Ampex ATR-102 1-inch 2-track customized by Mark Spitz at ATR Services.
In an interview conducted by Alan Jackson for The Times Magazine in 2001, before the album was released, Dylan said "these so-called connoisseurs of Bob Dylan music...I don't feel they know a thing, or have any inkling of who I am and what I’m about. I know they think they do, and yet it’s ludicrous, it's humorous, and sad. That such people have spent so much of their time thinking about who? Me? Get a life, please. It’s not something any one person should do about another. You’re not serving your own life well. You’re wasting your life."
Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating PopMatters (favorable)  The A.V. Club (favorable)  Spin (favorable) November 2001, p.127 The Village Voice (favorable)  Allmusic  Q (favorable) October 2001, p.122 Blender (favorable) October 2001, p.102 Music Box  Robert Christgau (A+)  Rolling Stone  George Starostin 
In a glowing review for his "Consumer Guide" column published by The Village Voice, Robert Christgau wrote: "Before minstrelsy scholar Eric Lott gets too excited about having his title stolen . . . he should recall that Dylan called his first cover album Self Portrait. Dylan meant that title, of course, and he means this one too, which doesn't make "Love and Theft" his minstrelsy album any more than Self Portrait's dire "Minstrel Boy" was his minstrelsy song. All pop music is love and theft, and in 40 years of records whose sources have inspired volumes of scholastic exegesis, Dylan has never embraced that truth so warmly. Jokes, riddles, apercus, and revelations will surface for years, but let those who chart their lives by Dylan's cockeyed parables tease out the details. I always go for tone, spirit, music. If Time Out of Mind was his death album—it wasn't, but you know how people talk—this is his immortality album. It describes an eternal circle on masterful blazz and jop readymades that render his grizzled growl as juicy as Justin Timberlake's tenor—Tony Bennett's, even. It's profound, too, by which I mean very funny. 'I'm sitting on my watch so I can be on time,' he wheezes, because time he's got plenty of." Christgau gave the album an A+. Later, when The Village Voice conducted its Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 2001, "Love and Theft" topped the list, the third Dylan album to accomplish this.
In 2003, the album was ranked #467 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, while Newsweek magazine pronounced it the second best album of its decade. In 2009, Glide Magazine  ranked it as the #1 Album of the Decade.  Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "The predictably unpredictable rock poet greeted the new millennium with a folksy, bluesy instant classic."
Year Chart Position 2001 Billboard 200 5
Allegations of plagiarism
"Love and Theft" generated controversy when some similarities between the album's lyrics to Japanese writer Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza were pointed out. Translated to English by John Bester, the book was a biography of one of the last traditional Yakuza bosses in Japan. In the article published in the Journal, a line from "Floater" ("I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound") was traced to a line in the book, which said "I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded." Another line from "Floater" is "My old man, he's like some feudal lord." On the first lines of the book is the line "My old man would sit there like a feudal lord." However, when informed of this, author Saga's reaction was to feel honored and not abused at Dylan's use of lines from his work.
All songs written and composed by Bob Dylan.
No. Title Length 1. "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" 4:46 2. "Mississippi" 5:21 3. "Summer Days" 4:52 4. "Bye and Bye" 3:16 5. "Lonesome Day Blues" 6:05 6. "Floater (Too Much to Ask)" 4:59 7. "High Water (For Charley Patton)" 4:04 8. "Moonlight" 3:23 9. "Honest With Me" 5:49 10. "Po' Boy" 3:05 11. "Cry a While" 5:05 12. "Sugar Baby" 6:40Total length: 57:25
- Bob Dylan — vocals, guitar, piano, producer
- Larry Campbell — guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin
- Charlie Sexton — guitar
- Augie Meyers — accordion, Hammond B3 organ, Vox organ
- Tony Garnier — bass
- David Kemper — drums
- Clay Meyers — bongos
- Chris Shaw — recording engineer
- ^ RIAA website retrieved 03-12-10. Archived 2 September 2008 at WebCite
- ^ PopMatters Review Archived 16 November 2007 at WebCite
- ^ The A.V. Club Review Archived 20 June 2007 at WebCite
- ^ Village Voice Review Archived 16 November 2007 at WebCite
- ^ Allmusic Review
- ^ Music Box Review Archived 20 June 2007 at WebCite
- ^ Robert Christgau Review
- ^ Rolling Stone Review
- ^ George Starostin Review
- ^ "#2 'Love and Theft' Bob Dylan". Newsweek. 2009-12-11. http://2010.newsweek.com/top-10/best-albums/love-and-theft-bob-dylan.html. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
- ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest MOVIES, TV SHOWS, ALBUMS, BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SCENES, EPISODES, SONGS, DRESSES, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND TRENDS THAT ENTERTAINED US OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
- ^ Allmusic website
- ^ This is a reprint of an article from The Wall Street Journal as cited in next footnote."Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From Dr Saga?". California State University, Dear Habermas. 2003-07-08. http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/plagiarbk010.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- ^ "Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From Dr Saga?". Wall Street Journal. 2003-07-08. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10576176194220600.html?mod=home_page_one_us. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- ^ Wilentz, Sean. Bob Dylan in America. ISBN 978-0-385-52988-4, p. 310.
- ^ Bjorner (January 25, 2002) New York City, New York, October 23, 1963 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved August 27, 2010
Bob Dylan Studio albumsBob Dylan · The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan · The Times They Are a-Changin' · Another Side of Bob Dylan · Bringing It All Back Home · Highway 61 Revisited · Blonde on Blonde · John Wesley Harding · Nashville Skyline · Self Portrait · New Morning · Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid · Dylan · Planet Waves · Blood on the Tracks · The Basement Tapes · Desire · Street-Legal · Slow Train Coming · Saved · Shot of Love · Infidels · Empire Burlesque · Knocked Out Loaded · Down in the Groove · Oh Mercy · Under the Red Sky · Good as I Been to You · World Gone Wrong · Time Out of Mind · Love and Theft · Modern Times · Together Through Life · Christmas in the Heart Live albumsBefore the Flood · Hard Rain · Bob Dylan at Budokan · Real Live · Dylan & the Dead · The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration · MTV Unplugged · Live 1961–2000: Thirty-Nine Years of Great Concert Performances · Live at the Gaslight 1962 · Live at Carnegie Hall 1963 · In Concert – Brandeis University 1963 Compilations The Bootleg SeriesVolumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 · Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert · Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue · Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall · Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack · Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 · Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964 Concerts and tours Never Ending Tour Films Writings Books about DylanThe Bob Dylan Encyclopedia · Bob Dylan, Performing Artist · Invisible Republic · The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan Related articlesAlbums · American folk music revival · Awards · Bob Dylan bootleg recordings · List of Basement Tapes songs · The Bootleg Series · Discography · List of artists who have covered Bob Dylan songs · Related topics · Songs recorded by Bob Dylan · Songs written by Bob Dylan · Great White Wonder · The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams · The Masked Marauders · Theme Time Radio Hour · The Best of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour · Traveling Wilburys
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