Mining the same territory he did in his two previous releases, for Bob Dylan’s 38th studio release, Triplicate, our best pop songwriter once again ‘covers’ classic American tunes. This three CD collection features three ‘themed’ 10-song CDs (though I am loathe to exactly catch the concept of each), titled 'Til the Sun Goes Down, Devil Dolls, and Comin' Home Late, respectively.
For the most part Dylan and his spectacular musicians take a solid stab at the 30 here…though there’s few surprises to the arraignment of the pieces. There’s a laconic “September of My Years,” which makes use of a perfectly played pedal steel (there’s lots of great pedal steel guitar played throughout the three discs here), Mr. Dylan actually managing some sweet and sad ballad singing over trickling guitar layering on “Once Upon A Time,” and the opening horn arrangement of "Stormy Weather" is so stunning I wish it could have just stayed Dylan and the horns for the whole song.
Things get downright jumpy on “Braggin’,”, the opener of the second CD, while “There’s a Flaw in My Flue,” the last tune on Devil Dolls, is probably one of the most creative in all of the Great American Songbook. It’s a lyric worthy of Dylan’s best wordsmithing.
One might not think Dylan’s less-than-golden-throat could handle these classics, but he does manage round them rather competently. Yes, the man’s no Sinatra (certainly one of Dylan’s idols) and one might be hoping for original tunes from 2016’s Nobel Prize honoree, but on Triplicate Bob Dylan delivers well- played, decently sung covers of great songs.
Reprint permissions courtesy of Shawn Perry (VintageRock.com)