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After a dull start with Bono, this inaugural set from Bob Dylan’s new label proves one of the most touching, entertaining, and surprising tribute albums around. Basically divided between sweet love letters and unrepentant celebrations of street life and alcohol, The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers makes both styles work together in service of a vibrant portrait of the white bluesman who was the first lasting country music superstar and something of a template for Hank Williams, Bob Wills, and even Elvis. Like the body of work it salutes, this record is finely shaded—its badass quotient alone is filled by John Mellencamp’s bemused “Gambling Bar Room Blues,” Steve Earle’s gleeful “In the Jailhouse Now,” and the swamp-drenched “T for Texas” with which Dwight Yoakam closes the proceedings. (With so many references to the unwelcomeness of police in these lyrics, it’s too bad Ice Cube wasn’t invited.) Dylan furthers his reputation as a brilliant cover artist with a dreamy “My Blue Eyed Jane,” while Alison Krauss and Mary Chapin Carpenter each issue little pinpricks to the heart. Two extremely swinging acoustic tracks, though, take the blue ribbon. Willie Nelson’s take on “Peach Pickin’ Time Down in Georgia” is as nimble and sweet as you’d expect, but Dickey Betts, who has hardly registered a pulse for years, sounds so vital on “Waiting for a Train” that my brain refused to recognize his voice the first several times the disc played: one more thing to thank Rodgers for.—Rickey Wright