May 252016
 

dylan fallen angelsThere’s something inherently ironic about a musician long criticized for his vocal abilities releasing an album of covers, each of whose success is predicated on the strength of the vocalist in question. While there have certainly been a handful of performers with admittedly “unique” voices covering this territory – Jimmy Durante and Willie Nelson immediately spring to mind – vocal-oriented pop derived from the so-called Great American Songbook has long been the purview of singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and scores of others.

That none other than Bob Dylan should look to tackle the Great American Songbook is intriguing not just for his admitted vocal shortcomings, but also his early positioning as the polar opposite of everything the supper club set stood for. Perhaps it simply has something to do with the maturation process – something of a rite of passage for aging musicians – in that a certain level of nostalgia begins to creep in and an overwhelming urge to explore the music of their youth starts to take hold. That they would have largely scoffed at the idea of endeavoring such a feat during their formative proves all the more interesting now decades removed from the idealism of youth.

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Oct 032011
 

Tony Bennett dropped Duets II a couple weeks back, pairing himself with a wide array of singers. One of the surprises was a version of “The Lady Is a Tramp,” reminding us that, oh yeah, Lady Gaga has one hell of a voice. She sounds so natural on the Rodgers and Hart song, you’d never guess this was an unusual pairing. Unless you saw the new music video, though, which looks significantly odder. Continue reading »

Sep 142011
 

Had she lived, Amy Winehouse would have turned 28 today (and beaten the oft-discussed 27 Club for good). Instead, she passed in July, not long after recording what would be her final performance. It’s a version of ‘30s jazz standard “Body and Soul” with Tony Bennett. The video and single hit the Net today in honor of her birthday. Continue reading »