I don't like Bob Dylan singing. However, I know he's an incredible songwriter and a living legend, so this collection ("Chimes of Freedom-The Songs of Bob Dylan") is perfect for someone like me-actually, there's literally something for everyone here.
The 4 CD set includes over 70 Bob Dylan songs, re-interpreted by a stellar list of entertainers, with some incredible moments captured on disc; Steve Earle's "One More Cup of Coffee", Mark Knopfler's "Restless Farewell", Natasha Bedingfield's take on "Ring Them Bells", Eric Burden's wailing on "Gotta Serve Somebody", Adele's spin on "Make You Feel My Love" and "The Times They Are A Changin" by Flogging Molly stand out as such moments.
Some unexpected surprises happen as well: actress Evan Rachel Wood delivers an absolutely sultry version of "I'd Have You Anytime" and Ziggy Marley channels his dad on "Blowin in the Wind", but the biggest surprise is this: never in a million years would I have believed that the guy (RedOne) responsible for co-writing and producing some of the biggest hits by Lady Gaga, Pitbull and J.Lo could give us such a touching rendition of the famous "Knocking on Heaven's Door"-dare I say it's as good as the Guns N Roses version? Yes, it is. The lead vocals are handled by RedOne's own brother Nabil Khayat. As I listened more and more to this song it made me realize just how powerful a songsmith Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan's real name) really is. This is definitely the best song in the collection.
The only slight disappointment is on "One too Many Mornings" with Johnnie Cash and The Avett Brothers. Obviously this mix was done posthumously, and the song is good; Johnny Cash's parts are excellent and the Avett Brothers sound great too, but when they are combined on the choruses, the song sounds mismatched and off a little bit. That's a shame.
It's a nice touch though including 2 of Bob's folk music peers in the collection: Pete Seeger does "Forever Young", and Kris Kristofferson sings "Quinn the Eskimo". Pete is now 92, and Kris will be 76 this year-both performances show us that some things do indeed improve with age.
Other artists include Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello, Kesha, Dierks Bentley, Miley Cyrus, Bad Religion, Jackson Browne, Joe Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Maroon 5, Pete Townsend and Sting to name just a few of the many, many artists included here.
So there you have it, a collection covering pop, country, bluegrass, blues, jazz, celtic punk and more. Plus, all the proceeds from sales of this collection go to Amnesty International, in honour of their 50th anniversary. Music with a conscience never sounded better.
on March 11, 2012
Wow, a 4 disc set with 73 tracks and a very eclectic group of artists. The fact that proceeds from the sale go towards Amnesty International is reason enough to buy this set. I'd rate the overall content as 90% good. There are a few duds, but with Bob Dylan as song writer it's hard to miss. A few stand-outs are; Maroon 5, Seal, Taj Mahal, Mick Hucknall, Eric Burdon, Raphael Saadiq, Brett Dennen, Ziggy Marley, Mark Knopfler, Lenny Kravitz, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne and even Miley Cyrus's track impressed me. A great mix to put on with any get-together.
on February 28, 2012
There are lots of reasons to buy this collection. You're supporting Amnesty International and you get four CDs! That means everyone will find something they really like. I was most interested in the interpretations by artists that I already knew but I found one or two gems by people I'd never heard of. Best cut of the lot --Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. Absolutely stunning but why, oh why, did they have to follow it with an instrumental version of the same song?
on February 18, 2012
I highly recommend "Chimes of Freedom" for several reasons: it's for a good cause (Amnesty International), the price is excellent ($14.98 when I bought it from amazon.ca about a month ago), Bob Dylan is--of course--a wonderful songwriter, and there are plenty of fine performances on the four discs. Unlike the reviewer from Quebec, when I received "Chimes..." from amazon.ca, it included the four songs that aren't mentioned in the track listing on this website.
Some of my favourite recordings in this collection are "Most of the Time" (Bettye Lavette), "Love Sick" (Mariachi El Bronx), "One More Cup of Coffee" (Steve Earle and Lucia Micarelli), "Ring Them Bells" (Natasha Beddingfield), "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" (Billy Bragg), "Make You Feel My Love" (Adele), "With God On Our Side" (K'naan), "The Times They Are
A-Changin'" (Flogging Molly), and "Abandoned Love" (Paul Rodgers and Nils Lofgren).
The only one that I hate is Marianne Faithfull's lifeless live version of "Baby Let Me Follow You Down". I liked her when she could still sing, but--sadly--that time appears to have passed. Kris Kristofferson's version of "Quinn the Eskimo" sounds almost as bad.
Of course, there are some recordings that fall into my can-take-it-or-leave-it category, such as My Chemical Romance's live version of "Desolation Row", which comes across as sound and fury signifying much less that Dylan's original version but still manages to entertain.
I think it's well worth your while to spend time weeding through the 73 songs here. You'll probably find more than enough ones you enjoy to justify buying these CDs.