[New Releases] Bob Dylan

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[New Releases] Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan has never called “Shadows in the Night’’ a Frank Sinatra tribute album. The idea seems nuts: one of the last century’s greatest songwriters challenging perhaps its greatest voice, on Sinatra’s turf. No wonder it was the butt of jokes before anyone heard a note.

The fact remains that each of the 10 standards here, written between 1923 and 1963, was recorded by Sinatra. Some, like “Some Enchanted Evening’’ or “That Lucky Old Sun,’’ are fairly well-known, others more obscure. Dylan closed his last few concerts with one of them, “Stay With Me.’’

The precise, and even more intimidating, comparison is Sinatra’s superb 1955 concept disc, “In the Wee Small Hours.’’ For these are all songs that come to mind when the night gets long, when missed opportunities, regrets and lost loves come to mind. They’re the songs you’d expect the 73-year-old man sitting alone at the bar to request. Here they are performed in muted fashion, not with an orchestra, but with Dylan’s band, supplemented by a mournful pedal steel guitar. The remarkable thing is that he pulls it off, with crooning you’ve heard from Dylan before. AP
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