In October of 2015, when Bob Dylan started performing Frank Sinatra covers that weren’t on his first standards album Shadows in the Night live, we wrote “Shadows Volume 2 may be closer than you think.” Sure enough, a few months later, that “Volume 2” appeared, titled Fallen Angels.
Then this past June, we noticed that another American songbook standard had entered his setlists, prompting us to write a post titled Is Bob Dylan Planning a Third Album of Frank Sinatra Covers?. And today we got our answer: Yes. It’s called Triplicate and it’s three discs long.
We cheered that first album Shadows in the Night as loudly as anyone – we even named it the best covers album of the year. Last year, though, Fallen Angels didn’t even make our year-end list. Those songs reportedly came from the same sessions as the Shadows tracks, and it sounded like it. Songs that weren’t good enough to go on Shadows ended up on Fallen Angels. One standards album, as it turned out, was enough.
But it wasn’t for Bob. Nor was two standards albums. On March 31, we’re getting another. Or, rather, we’re getting three more bundled together as his first three-disc album ever. The first single, “I Could Have Told You,” is that same song we wrote about back in June.
Supposedly all these thirty new covers were at least recorded in a new session, so they’re not just scraps that weren’t even good enough to make the first scraps album. And “I Could Have Told You” sounds fine. Nothing revelatory – not like his “That Lucky Old Sun” or “Stay with Me” from the first album – but fine. Still though, enough is enough.
Though Bob Dylan can be a wonderful song-interpreter – something we’ve celebrated again and again – there’s no question that his greatest contribution to the world of cover songs has been writing songs for others to cover. Many of the greatest and most iconic covers of all time have come from Dylan songs. Hell, the most popular post in our site’s history is a 3,000-word history of one of them, Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
That’s what we need, Bob. Write the next “All Along the Watchtower” for the next Jimi Hendrix to cover. We’ll even take a “Wiggle Wiggle” at this point. This standards thing has gone far enough and, to quote one of your own songs, beyond here lies nothin’.