Released September 11, 2001, "Love And Theft" snuck in under the radar like the Al-kaeda terrorists' airliners. A new Bob Dylan release was not exactly the top news story that day. After years of somewhat disappointing recordings, Dylan had made a major artistic comeback in 1997 with the release of "Time Out Of Mind". While this CD doesn't quite live up to that, it's still a fine piece of work. Dylan's voice was never gangbusters but now in the 21st Century he doesn't really sing so much as croak, like Moms Mabley on a bad day. If great singing and over production is your thing then this CD is not for you. This isn't Celine Dion. So if you have no interest in singers who can't sing, you might as well leave now. It will just be a waste of your time.
The darkness and desolation of the previous mentioned CD is mostly gone and despite the scowls on the cover photo, he actually sounds cautiously playful on this recording. That's highly unusual to anyone familiar his work. "Love And Theft" covers the gamut of American roots music including folk, country, blues and rock. There are few pretensions here. Most of the arrangements are stripped bare, the way I'm sure he wanted it. It is produced by someone named Jack Straw who I suspect might be Dylan himself. As with any Dylan album, there are flaws you have to ignore. A perfectionist he isn't. He's 60 years old and he sounds world weary and a little tired but he still has the energy for some subtle humor. In a nutshell, if you like Bob Dylan this CD would be hard to dislike.