Friday, February 17, 2012

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

2012 four CD collection containing music from Patty Smith, Rise Against, Pete Townshend, Diana Krall, My Morning Jacket, Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Jackson Browne, Sugarland, Joan Baez, Flogging Molly, Joe Perry, Bad Religion and many others. Two iconic forces that have impacted the past 50 years -- the life-saving human rights activism of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Amnesty International and the incomparable artistry of Bob Dylan -- are being saluted by musicians who contributed new or previously unreleased recordings to Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International. Almost 30 tracks on the album were mixed gratis by famed engineer Bob Clearmountain. Bob Ludwig and Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering donated their mastering services. The album cover illustration is by Grammy Award winning artist Mick Haggerty.

Fifty years after its founding in 1962 (the year Bob Dylan released his first album), Amnesty International continues to do lifesaving work for prisoners of conscience and victims of injustice throughout the world. In 1977, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since the 1970s, Amnesty's Secret Policeman's Ball concerts and records have generated funds for the promotion of human rights and raised awareness of discrimination, state censorship, police brutality, torture, the death penalty, and genocide. AI currently has over three million supporters.

As for Bob Dylan, few artists have been offered accolades to match those laid at his feet. He's among the greatest poets of our age, a transformational figure in the history of music. There's not a singer or songwriter alive who doesn't owe a debt to his wit and wisdom, and thousands cover his inspiring, compassionate songs every day. They line up to perform on albums like this one, and there's a Dylan tribute disc for every genre you can name: pop, rock, blues, reggae, country, folk, classical, jazz. While most of these are heartfelt, many are uninspired or insipid, and few are memorable.

Fortunately, this four-CD compilation is both musical and meaningful. The renowned performers on Chimes of Freedom possess not only ample talent but also a deep feeling for the political and personal messages that Bob communicates. And they clearly support Amnesty International, whose anniversary they celebrate. None of them accepted any money for their work (nor did producers, arrangers, engineers, or studios), thereby maximizing their assistance to AI. The music and the cause mesh perfectly.

In 1992, Dylan and his legendary contemporaries held the greatest concert ever produced in his honor. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, The Band, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roger McGuinn, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Johnny Winter, Ron Wood, Richie Havens, Chrissie Hynde, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, and others expressed love and gratitude for the man and his music. Such a laudatory gathering will never be repeated, but the names on this new 73-track compilation provide evidence of Dylan's continuing relevance.

Nearly all of the tracks are new studio recordings, but Joan Baez, Sugarland, Adele, My Chemical Romance, Dierks Bentley, The Dave Matthews Band, and Marianne Faithfull each contribute previously unreleased live tracks. There are giants like Johnny Cash, Pete Townshend, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Bryan Ferry, Sinead O'Connor, Jeff Beck, Taj Mahal, Kris Kirstofferson, Eric Burdon, and Pete Seeger, among others, as well as more recent stars: The Avett Brothers, Raphael Saadiq, Rise Against, Diana Krall, Ziggy Marley, My Morning Jacket, Lenny Kravitz, Angelique Kidjo, Seal, Lucinda Williams, and many more. And of course Bob himself is here in the form of his original 1964 song "Chimes of Freedom."

A majority of the most acclaimed Dylan anthems are covered, but in over five hours of playing time, there's plenty of room for rarely-heard songs, unusual interpretations, and little-known groups and individuals. Of course, that's a selling point for those of us who like to explore new music. The inclusion of a few performers may irritate those who are not fans (Miley Cyrus, anyone?), yet almost all of them do credit to Amnesty and to Bob's music (with the horrifying exception of Ke$ha, who groans, sobs, and screeches like she's on an epic bender). Listening to the variety of styles represented reveals the universality of Dylan's melodies and lyrics and the pervasive influence he has had on our culture. May it also motivate listeners to lend their support to AI and to human rights.

Most of the music is marvelous, the album benefits a great cause, and the price is remarkably low. Don't hesitate. Get it!

Disc: 1
1. One Too Many Mornings (Johnny Cash featuring The Avett Brothers)
2. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Raphael Saadiq)
3. Drifter's Escape (Patti Smith)
4. Ballad of Hollis Brown (Rise Against)
5. Blind Willie McTell (Tom Morello The Nightwatchman)
6. Corrina, Corrina (Pete Townshend)
7. Most of the Time (Bettye LaVette)
8. This Wheel's On Fire (Charlie Winston)
9. Simple Twist of Fate (Diana Krall)
10. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Brett Dennen)
11. Love Sick (Mariachi El Bronx)
12. Blowin' in the Wind (Ziggy Marley)
13. Changing of the Guards (The Gaslight Anthem)
14. Not Dark Yet (Silversun Pickups)
15. You're A Big Girl Now (My Morning Jacket)
16. Boots of Spanish Leather (The Airborne Toxic Event)
17. Girl from the North Country (Sting)
18. Restless Farewell (Mark Knopfler)
Disc: 2 Amazon Music Sampler
1. Outlaw Blues (Queens Of The Stone Age)
2. Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35 (Lenny Kravitz)
3. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below Steve Earle & Lucia Micarelli)
4. Heart Of Mine(Blake Mills)
5. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Miley Cyrus)
6. Lay Down Your Weary Tune (Billy Bragg)
7. License to Kill (Elvis Costello)
8. Lay, Lady, Lay (Angelique Kidjo)
9. Ring Them Bells (Natasha Bedingfield)
10. Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Jackson Browne)
11. Seven Curses (Live)(Joan Baez)
12. No Time To Think (The Belle Brigade)
13. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Live)(Sugarland)
14. Mr. Tambourine Man (Jack's Mannequin)
15. 4th Time Around (Oren Lavie)
16. All I Really Want To Do (Sussan Deyhim)
17. Make You Feel My Love (Recorded Live at WXPN) (Adele)
Disc: 3 Amazon Music Sampler
1. With God On Our Side (K'NAAN)
2. I Want You (Ximena Sariñana)
3. She Belongs to Me (Neil Finn with Pajama Club)
4. Bob Dylan's Dream (Bryan Ferry)
5. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Zee Avi)
6. Just Like a Woman (Carly Simon)
7. The Times They Are A-Changin' (Flogging Molly)
8. Buckets Of Rain (Fistful Of Mercy)
9. Man Of Peace (Joe Perry)
10. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bad Religion)
11. Desolation Row (Live) (My Chemical Romance)
12. Knockin' on Heaven's Door (RedOne featuring Nabil Khayat)
13. Abandoned Love (Paul Rodgers & Nils Lofgren)
14. New Morning (Darren Criss featuring Chuck Criss and Freelance Whales)
15. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Cage the Elephant)
16. It Ain't Me, Babe (Band of Skulls)
17. Property of Jesus (Sinéad O'Connor)
18. Shelter From The Storm (Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project)
19. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Ke$ha)
20. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Kronos Quartet)
Disc: 4 Amazon Music Sampler
1. I Shall Be Released (Maroon 5)
2. Political World (Carolina Chocolate Drops)
3. Like A Rolling Stone (Seal & Jeff Beck)
4. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (Taj Mahal)
5. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) (Live) (Dierks Bentley)
6. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) (Mick Hucknall)
7. I'll Remember You (Thea Gilmore)
8. John Brown (State Radio)
9. All Along the Watchtower (Live) (Dave Matthews Band)
10. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Michael Franti)
11. Mama, You Been On My Mind (We Are Augustines)
12. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Lucinda Williams)
13. Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) (Kris Kristofferson)
14. Gotta Serve Somebody (Eric Burdon)
15. I'd Have You Anytime (Evan Rachel Wood)
16. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Live)(Marianne Faithfull)
17. Forever Young (Pete Seeger)
18. Chimes Of Freedom (Bob Dylan)


Leon Kennedy said...

I have to say I actually kind of enjoyed Miley Cyrus' cover

James Nader said...

Bob Dylan was way ahead of his time, great post I will be following, hope to head bac from you soon :D
-college speed