With his third album of covers in a row – this one a 30-song extravaganza of old favourites such as Sentimental Journey, As Time Goes By and Stormy Weather – the casual observer might assume that Bob Dylan is subjecting his long-suffering fans’ forbearance to its most stringent test since 2009’s Christmas album. But on Triplicate – as it was with Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels – his singing is sensitive and the exquisite arrangements avoid Rat-Pack brashness and cloying sentimentality. Dylan is a prism through which American music is revealed in new and fascinating ways. From his interpretations of folk and blues songs in the 60s to his Theme Time Radio Hour show in the 00s, he is a dependable connoisseur whose choices illuminate his own compositions. As Dylan points out in a remarkable interview on his website, none of these songs were originally recorded by their composers. Though all but one (Beggin’) were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dylan is unintimidated by their pedigree.
Jon Dennis is Guardian's multimedia production editor and also writes about music.