Bob Dylan – Fallen Angels

by Rick Moore

bob-dylan_fallen-angelsJeff Slate of Esquire magazine recently pronounced Bob Dylan The Greatest American Singer Of All Time. A subjective opinion, obviously, like asking who was the real Allman Brothers natural virtuoso, Duane or Dickey (Dickey of course). But no matter what you think of Dylan’s voice, it’s back again on his second album of Sinatra covers in as many years, Fallen Angels. And it’s wonderful.

On Fallen Angels, Dylan covers some Sinatra tunes that are less obscure than the ones he did on last year’s Shadows in the Night. As he covers such classics as “Young at Heart,” “All or Nothing at All,” and “Melancholy Mood,” the question “Why?” springs to mind. These songs have already been recorded by Sinatra, the greatest male pop singer of all time, as well as countless other people, just because they’re great songs and every singer wants to sing great songs. But maybe that’s the answer. That Dylan, who is a singer no matter what some people may think of his voice and delivery, wants to cover a great catalog like everybody else. The fact that his own catalog is one of the greatest is immaterial here.

Supported by hot players on various pedal steel, acoustic steel-string and electric guitars and the occasional horn, this album is only for certain people, as is everything Dylan does. The only real clunker here is his version of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark,” a song whose gorgeous melody isn’t given justice with the swingin’ arrangement Dylan does. But in the end, he’s still Bob Dylan, dammit, and he still has a record deal and can do what he wants. After surviving and helping steer the course of the music business for more than half a century, he deserves to. And he still does it unlike, and in so many ways better than, anyone else.

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