Shadows In The Night
Bob Dylan is an amazing singer. He always has been, but his voice, like so many things in this life, isn't for everyone. With recent Bootleg Series releases for Self-Portrait and The Basement Tapes, Dylan's camp has been re-focusing attention on the one-in-a-million lyricist's gifts as an interpreter of other people's ideas.
Of late Dylan's own songs have never been harsher: "I pay in blood / But not my own," he lashed out in a punk-infused rasp on 2012's biting Tempest. Conversely, this collection of deeper cuts that Frank Sinatra recorded is a romantic respite from Dylan's edgy workingman's blues, and it prompts him to actually croon.
In his unparalleled phrasing, he reverently calls out to the Chairman, singing sweetly, seriously and strongly, while his crack band, bolstered by horns, lays down rubbery, mellow textures in raw takes. It's intimate, too; you can hear Dylan's lips smack and nostrils whistle as he concentrates on the task of inhabiting his favourite American singer. The music means the world to him, and it's wonderful.
Top track: Full Moon And Empty Arms