Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (Amnesty International)

Phases & Stages

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

(Amnesty International)

By the time Bob Dylan emerges on the title track closing out this epic, 4-CD benefit for Amnesty International, it's a revelation. Dylan's sinewy drawl grounds a contorting collection back to its purpose and struggle – personal, artistic, and social – and casts the varied revisions that precede it in the glare of their harrowing provenance. Brandishing unreleased or new takes on his catalogue, the vast array of contributors only emphasizes the depths to which Dylan can be interpreted. Disc three's finale – dueling versions of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" by unlikely celebrants Ke$ha and Kronos Quartet – highlight the material's expansive versatility: the former reading the tune with raw desperation, a broken-morning counterpoint to her party nights, while the latter strings an ephemeral instrumental. Both are exceptional. Expected artists pay due diligence (Patti Smith, Kris Kristofferson, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger), though only Pete Townshend's stripped "Corrina, Corrina" and Steve Earle's "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)" demonstrate old-guard inspiration. Instead, diversity drives the real innovations here: Raphael Saadiq's bluesy "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"; Mariachi El Bronx's "Love Sick"; Angelique Kidjo's seductive "Lay, Lady, Lay"; K'NAAN's poignant "With God on our Side;" Flogging Molly's raucous "The Times They Are A-Changin'"; and Cage the Elephant's haunting "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." Conversely, Maroon 5 ("I Shall Be Released"), Sting ("Girl From the North Country"), My Chemical Romance ("Desolation Row"), and even Elvis Costello ("License To Kill") deserve Amnesty International intervention. The women shine behind Diana Krall's "Simple Twist of Fate," Bettye LaVette's "Most of the Time," Lucinda Williams' crackling "Tryin' To Get to Heaven," Zee Avi's breathy "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," and showstopping live cuts from Adele and Marianne Faithfull, delivering "Make You Feel My Love" and "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," respectively. Dylan covers are always a polarizing product, yet even purists will find moments on Chimes of Freedom worthy of the legacy it extols.

***.5

READ MORE
More Bob Dylan
Gift Guide 2015: The Boxing Lesson
Bob Dylan
The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Dec. 18, 2015

Playback: Bob Dylan Goes Electric – Again!
Playback: Bob Dylan Goes Electric – Again!
Fifty years ago, Dylan and the Band went electric at Austin's Municipal Auditorium

Kevin Curtin, Sept. 25, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Crack Pipes
Beauty School (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Oct. 20, 2017

Texas Platters
Milligan Vaughan Project
Milligan Vaughan Project (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 1, 2017

More by Doug Freeman
Texas Platters
David Ramirez
We're Not Going Anywhere (Record Review)

Oct. 27, 2017

Chris Stapleton’s Outlaw Triple Threat
Chris Stapleton’s Outlaw Triple Threat
Smokin’ guitar licks, howling wail, and forceful songs

Oct. 24, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bob Dylan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)