Sunday, 1 March 2015

Art of the Cover - Bob Dylan's "Shadows In The Night" (2015)

Some real nice Blue Note style artwork adorns Bob's brand new opus, "Shadows In The Night".

Album design was by Geoff Gans and photography by John Shearer.

Yap, hot on the heels of the wonderful recent The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11, Bob's new studio album, Shadows In The Night, has just dropped.

"Shadows In The Night" is the 36th studio set from Bob Dylan and marks the first new music from the artist since the wonderful 2012 collection, Tempest.

The album features ten songs recorded live in the studio by Dylan and his band, and was produced by the singer under his pseudonym Jack Frost.

His Bobness said of his spanking new release.....
“It was a real privilege to make this album. I've wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a 5-piece band. That's the key to all these performances. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded.”

Although "Shadows In The Night" features a selection of standards, it’s not a covers record according to its creator.

Although the songs are all acknowledged standards – tackled at some point by Frank Sinatra – Dylan insists he’s brought a new approach to the likes of The Night We Called It A Day and Some Enchanted Evening.

“I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way,” Bob explains. “They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.”

Shadows In The Night is available now NOW! .. just click the link above!

It’s obviously up against some stiff competition from lingerie adverts and festive albums that came with free Christmas cards, but there’s an argument that Shadows in the Night may be the most improbable moment yet in Bob Dylan’s latterday career. 

By releasing a collection of standards from the Great American Songbook, Dylan, presumably inadvertently, joins in a trend begun 14 years ago by Robbie Williams. Ever since Williams proved that you could sell 7m copies of Swing When You’re Winning to an audience who’d never previously evinced much interest in the work of Cole Porter or Johnny Mercer, the Great American Songbook album has become a kind of sine qua non among rock stars of a certain vintage. They’ve all been at it, from Paul McCartney to Carly Simon to Linda Ronstadt. Rod Stewart seemed to treat the whole business less like a canny career move than a terrible endurance test to inflict on the general public. By the time he released his fifth Great American Songbook collection, you got the feeling that even the most indefatigable fan of the jazzy standard was on the floor tearfully pleading for mercy, and in danger of developing a nervous twitch brought on by the opening chords of Mack the Knife.

However, Dylan has latterly made a career out of doing the exact opposite of what most of his peers do. They dutifully tour their big hits, or perform classic albums in order; he takes to the stage and either brilliantly reinterprets his back catalogue or wilfully mangles it beyond repair, depending on whether you’re the kind of critic who gets whole paragraphs out of a change of syllabic emphasis in the lyrics of All Along the Watchtower or an audience member who’s heard three-quarters of Like a Rolling Stone without realising it’s Like a Rolling Stone. They make albums that cravenly attempt to conjure up the atmosphere of their best-loved classic works; he makes albums that conjure up a world before Bob Dylan existed – filled with music that sounds like blues or rockabilly or country from an age when pop was as yet untouched by his influence.


I’m A Fool To Want You
The Night We Called It A Day
Stay With Me
Autumn Leaves
Why Try To Change Me Now
Some Enchanted Evening
Full Moon And Empty Arms
Where Are You?
What’ll I Do
That Lucky Old Sun

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