Bob Dylan Covers Sinatra Again, Announces Triple-Album, Is Wonderful
"I Could Have Told You" is another Sinatra cut for the Nobel Prize-winner, and the first track from the forthcoming 'Triplicate.'
Bob Dylan has spent the last few years copying out Frank Sinatra's songbook in his own intricate handwriting. The two albums he's released since 2012's lyrically epic Tempest—Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels—involved covers, after a fashion. But Dylan himself would contend with that categorization. "I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way," he told Rolling Stone around the release of Shadows in the Night in early 2015. "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."
This reanimation has been breathtaking. His performance of "The Night They Called It a Day" on one of Letterman's last Late Night shows was a haunting, dimly-lit four minutes that barely concealed its grace beneath Dylan's suspicious glances to the camera. But there's a wealth of country literature to be found beyond that performance, and you don't have to dig for long. Alive though it may be, there's a sense in which it's funeral music for the American 20th century; they're tracks that take on a disturbing poignancy now that the past is being desecrated and sold off for parts.
Today, Dylan announced a new triple-album, Triplicate, his first since receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature last year. Its three discs will each work from a different theme: 'Til The Sun Goes Down is autumnal; Devil Dolls builds on passionate love and its fallout; Comin' Home Late, we're told, works towards some sort of hope. There will be more tracks that Sinatra made famous, not least "The Best Is Yet to Come" and "September of My Years."
And then there's "I Could Have Told You," the Carl Sigman and James Van Heusen-penned cut that Sinatra laid down in 1959. Dylan released his version of the track today to go along with the Triplicate announcement. As ever, it twists Frank's high string arrangements into country slides and lilting cymbal-splash breaths. Dylan's voice is incomparable: a gruff, exhausted, but stoic semi-drawl that remains playful despite the weight of its emotion.
Listen to the track below.
Photo via Bob Dylan Official on Instagram.
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