I don’t think I’m going to like this all that much and I will therefore be at one end of the reviewing spectrum I have already read – so that is neither here nor there.
I liked one defense of Dylan continuing to perform these standards which amounted to the logic that as he’d written almost every other song out there he is entitled to grab on to a few others. A fanciful notion, but we get the point.
I’ve also read about how Dylan’s fragile and sensitive interpretations are endearing, but I tend to hear mainly the gruffness – a shredded sound that isn’t all that suited to such standards, not that one needs to be a dulcet-devotee of crooning.
The arrangements and musical accompaniments are, yes, accomplished – but then they should be. I do like the pedal steel of Donnie Herron. There is a brooding introduction to Stormy Weather that augers something dynamic, but this immediately lies down on the comfortable couch of familiarity.
A song like September of my Years has a poignancy because of Dylan’s time of life and how this taps into his own experiences and, at the least, an implicit personal interpretation; the pedal steel here is also an effective nuance. That Old Feeling has a certain languid charm. But it isn't Cohen singing on his last You Want it Darker.
But apart from this – accepting I haven’t listened to all three album, and more than once [but that isn’t going to happen….] – this is clearly for the other kind of devotee: that legion of loyal fans.
At least Dylan is going to physically go and ‘receive’ his Nobel Prize. He must have been prompted and persuaded after singing the first song on Disc 1: I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plans.