Initially Ms. Lamb’s idea [Peggy Lamb of Acuff-Rose] was to ask one artist to record a full album based on the manuscripts. Ms. [Mary] Martin approached Mr. Dylan, sending him 27 of them; he weighed the idea for “about a year and a half,” she said, before replying that “the task is too mighty.” He chose one song, “The Love That Faded,” for himself — setting lines like “Vows that we made turned into lies/My life is empty, my lonely heart cries” to a chugging waltz with a pedal-steel guitar refrain — and they started coming up with a roster of potential contributors and sending them lyrics to consider; Mr. Jackson was the first artist asked.
Ms. Martin said that some of the choices — Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young — opted not to participate and laughed as she described Mr. Dylan’s wondering why they weren’t involving Luciano Pavarotti.
Why not Pavarotti, indeed? Too late now, since he died in 2007.
Previews of the tracks are now available via Amazon, but to me at least those 20 second previews aren’t really good for much. Who listens to music that way? But I am looking forward to the album.