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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Dylan -Fallen AngelsFallen Angels – Bob Dylan
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Bob Dylan’s 37th studio album is his second volume of songs that he has recorded that have been mostly sung by Frank Sinatra. In fact, of the twelve songs here that were personally picked by Dylan, only “Skylark” was not recorded by Sinatra.

The album was primarily recorded at the same time and with the same core band as 2015’s acclaimed Shadows in the Night, which reached the top ten in seventeen countries and debuted at number one in the U.K. So Shadows could have been a double album. Should we consider Fallen Angels an album of songs not good enough to be included on Shadows and only released because of the success of the initial release? Are these the leftovers? No, this album is a triumph, a masterpiece, from an artist that never fails to surprise.  Dylan, who will turn 75 four days after this album is released, has done something like this before with two albums of folk covers, 1992’s Good As I Been to You and 1993’s World Gone Wrong.

The low-key arrangements of the songs, with Dylan being backed by his excellent touring band, with great work by Donny Herron on pedal steel guitar, acoustic guitar and light drum, puts Dylan’s weathered but effective voice up front and center. It was self-produced by Dylan using his Jack Frost pseudonym. As with Shadows, his voice sounds the best it has in years.  If you enjoyed Shadows you’ll enjoy this excellent new album.

Here are a few thoughts about each of the twelve songs:

Young at Heart – Written by Johnny Richards and Carolyn Leigh, it was recorded by Sinatra in 1953.  Features guitar, some light bass and a particularly expressive vocal by Dylan.

Maybe You’ll Be There – Written by Rube Bloom and Sammy Gallop in 1947 and recorded by Sinatra in 1957. The band is supplemented by strings and some light horns.

Polka Dots and Moonbeans – Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke it was Sinatra’s first hit with the Tommy Dorsey band in 1940. The song begins with an extended acoustic guitar and pedal steel opening as it leads to a light breezy beat.

All the Way – Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn and recorded by Sinatra in 1957. This was the second single released from the album and features an excellent vocal from Dylan over the pedal steel guitar of Donny Herron and a relaxed beat.

Skylark – Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer and recorded by a number of artists including Bing Crosby.  This is the one song on the collection that was not recorded by Sinatra. It opens with an acoustic guitar and strings moving to a light breezy beat that really shows off the band.

Nevertheless – Written by Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar and recorded by Sinatra in 1950. It features light percussion, pedal steel guitar, and a nice guitar solo near the end of the song.

All or Nothing at All – Written by Arthur Altman and Jack Lawrence, and recorded by Sinatra in 1939. Was included as part of Dylan’s set list during his recent Japan tour dates.  A bit of a faster pace than most songs on the album, featuring a nice guitar solo near the end of the song.

On a Little Street in Singapore – Written by Peter DeRose and Billy Hill and recorded by Sinatra with Harry James and His Orchestra in 1944.  It opens with a guitar solo and Dylan shows some vocal flexibility here.

It Had to Be You – Written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn and recorded by Sinatra in 1980. Features a particularly good Dylan vocal here over a subdued backing, featuring some light, muted horns. A nice acoustic guitar solo comes in the middle of the song.

Melancholy Mood – Written by Walter Schumann and Vick R. Knight, Sr. and recorded by Sinatra in 1939. Was the first single from the album and was included in Dylan’s set list during his recent Japan tour dates.  It opens and closes with a nice extended guitar solo over a light drum.  Some of Dylan’s best vocal work on the album as he sounds very comfortable here.

That Old Black Magic – Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and recorded by Sinatra in 1961. Was included as a part of Dylan’s set list during his recent Japan tour dates.  A faster pace than most songs as the light percussion is more pronounced here as they drive the pace of the song. Definitely a standout. Dylan delivers a great vocal performance.

Come Rain or Come Shine – Also written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and recorded by Sinatra in 1961. Features a relaxed pace and some tasty guitar.

music news

  • Lecrae Signs with Columbia. After a decade of success with his own Reach Records, Lecrae has signed with major label Columbia.
  • Where The Light Shines Through Album Trailer. Here is the trailer for Where the Light Shines Through, Switchfoot’s 10th album, to be released on July 8.
  • “Baby Baby” Remake. Listen to Amy Grant and Tori Kelly remake Grant’s hit song on its 25th anniversary. If you are not familiar with Kelly, check out her excellent song “Hollow”.
  • Pastor Composes Entire Sermon from Chris Tomlin Songs. The Babylon Bee in its tongue-in-cheek humor reports “In what would turn out to be a wildly popular message, Joe Thomason, Pastor of Preaching at First Evangelical Free Church of Moore, compiled an entire sermon from song titles and lyrics attributed to Chris Tomlin.”
  • DC Talk Announces 2017 Cruise On Sea Of Fans’ Tears. The Babylon Bee reports “After an endless week of hype following several social media teasers, legendary Christian music trio DC Talk announced Wednesday that their “Jesus Freak Cruise” will set sail in 2017 upon the tears of their many fans who thought the announcement would be a new full-length album.”
  • Abide with Me.  “Abide with Me”, co-written by Matt Maher and Matt Redman, was my top song of 2015. Here is the new radio version of Matt Maher’s version.
  • No Pow’r of Hell, No Scheme of Man. David Mathis writes “Great hymns have the ability to unite the family of God, throughout history and around the world, in the truths about God that matter most. But when voices from within the church begin to question or deny what the church holds most dear, great hymns become flashpoints of controversy. Such is the case with “In Christ Alone.””
  • Facing a Task Unfinished Pre-Order. Keith and Kristyn Getty’s new album will be released in both a standard and deluxe edition on June 17. The studio album includes live congregational singing and guest artists that include Fernando Ortega, Chris Tomlin and others. Pre-order now and get 10% off.
  • Music to the Glory of God: A Google Hangout with Jeff Lippencott and Paul Plew. On May 17, Ligonier Ministries hosted a Google Hangout event with Emmy-nominated composer Jeff Lippencott. Mr. Lippencott served alongside Dr. R.C. Sproul in the sacred hymns project, Glory to the Holy One, and is responsible for the music on many of today’s most successful television shows. We were also joined by Dr. Paul Plew, the chairperson of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at The Master’s College. Together, we discussed the importance of music and art, and the call for Christians to worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
  • Charlie PeacockNew Charlie Peacock Song. Charlie Peacock recently released his first new vocal performance in four years. “That’s the Way They Came to Us” is available on iTunes and Amazon. He states that this begins the first of many songs to come out over the next 18 months as he “cleans out the vault”.
  • Andrew Peterson – Helping Bono Find What He’s Looking For. Andrew Peterson responds to Bono’s recent comment about a lack of honesty in Christian art.
  • Keith Getty’s Work-Life Balance. Warren Cole Smith writes “We talked about the business of being a songwriter and band leader with his wife Kristyn, who is an integral part not only of his family, of course, but also his career.”
  • Prince’s “The Cross”. Here is Kevin Max’s cover of Prince’s song “The Cross”, featuring his former DC Talk bandmates.
  • “Let’s Go Crazy” In his recent concerts in Minneapolis, the hometown of Prince, Paul McCartney paid tribute to Prince by performing his “Let’s Go Crazy”.
  • Young Fan Joins McCartney for “Get Back”.  Watch this young fan join Paul McCartney onstage to perform the Beatles classic “Get Back” at McCartney’s May 17 concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Cool Papa Bell. Listen to this new song from Paul Simon’s forthcoming album Stranger to Stranger, which will be released June 3. And if you liked that one, check out “The Werewolf” from the same new album.

Quotes of the Week

  • If you live for people’s acceptance you’ll die from their rejection. Lecrae
  • Entitlement and a bad attitude is the result of an ungrateful heart & forgetting your blessings. Andy Mineo
  • If it’s one thing the book of Job taught me it’s – when we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough. Tedashii
  • People get mad when you don’t fit in their boxes. Boxes were made for products not people. Lecrae

Crowder Quote

Song of the Week          All the Way by Bob Dylan

This week’s song of the week is “All the Way” from Bob Dylan’s new album Fallen Angels, his second album of standards previously popularized by Frank Sinatra. Rolling Stone writes that “Dylan transforms the Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn song into a tender, lonesome country waltz.” The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song after appearing in the 1957 Sinatra-starring musical The Joker Is Wild. Listen to the song here.  Listen to Frank Sinatra’s version here.

When somebody loves you
It’s no good unless he loves you all the way
Happy to be near youDylan -Fallen Angels
When you need someone to cheer you all the way

Taller than the tallest tree is

That’s how it’s got to feel
Deeper than the deep blue sea is

That’s how deep it goes if it’s real

When somebody needs you
It’s no good unless he needs you all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in-between years come what may

Who knows where the road will lead us
Only a fool would say
But if you’ll let me love you
It’s for sure I’m gonna love you all the way all the way

So, if you’ll let me love you
It’s for sure I’m gonna love you all the way all the way

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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