Bob Dylan has released a new standards album, ‘Shadows in the Night,’ but appears not to like comparisons with Rods record breaking series of ‘American Songbook’ albums.
The difference, as Dylan pointed out during his recent interview with AARP Magazine, is one of execution. Dylan insists he tried to serve the songs by digging as deep into them as he possibly could — and he doesn’t think Rod lived up to that responsibility.
“I was looking forward to hearing Rod’s records of standards. I thought if anybody could bring something different to these songs, Rod certainly could. But the records were disappointing,” he argued. “Rod’s a great singer. He’s got a great voice, but there’s no point to put a 30-piece orchestra behind him.”
Insisting that he wasn’t trying to “knock anybody’s right to make a living,” Dylan continued, “You can always tell if somebody’s heart and soul is into something, and I didn’t think Rod was into it in that way.”
A big part of the problem with Stewart’s ‘American Songbook’ albums, Dylan added, was the “modern recording techniques” he used, particularly with regards to overdubbing vocals. But aesthetic differences aside, he made it clear that he did his best to interpret his ‘Shadows’ selections instead of simply singing them, and intimated that he doesn’t think Stewart gave his own records the same level of care.
“With all these songs, you have to study the lyrics. You have to look at every one of these songs and be able to identify with them in a meaningful way. You can hardly sing these songs unless you’re in them,” concluded Dylan. “If you want to fake it, go ahead. Fake it if you want. But I’m not that kind of singer.”
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Photo Marcy Braunstein