I don't like Bob Dylan's "Changing Of The Guards," and I really don't like The Gaslight Anthem. Yet, I really like The Gaslight Anthem's version of "Changing Of the Guards" on the new 4 CD Amnesty International collection,"Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan." How's that for a summation of 5 hours of previously unreleased Bob Dylan covers, sprawled over 4 CDs in a delicately packaged boxed set for hardly any money?
And aside from the politics and proceeds, which are good...good...good, this collection seems like a sure thing....so far.
I wish I could tell you I made it through all 4 CDs, but I didn't. Not yet. TNT was running "The Shawshank Redemption" and well...I took the bait...again. (That Morgan Freeman!) But I did give full attention to Disc One.
Let's start with the losers, since there aren't that many.
Silversun Pickups- Not Dark Yet
(The textures and mood are simply boring. It's unpleasant.)
Tom Morello- Blind Willie McTell
(I know Bruce loves him, but I don't. He ruins this masterpiece with his affected delivery. It kinda stinks.)
Bettye Lavette- Most Of The Time
(I love her. I love this song. And this version isn't terrible. I just don't like how she plays around with the lyrics. It's not quite sacrilege, but it's enough to change the feeling of a song that was already flawless.)
My Morning Jacket- You're A Big Girl, Now
(This song breaks my back every single time I hear it. Dylan's words and delivery on this "Blood On The Tracks" tour de force, make genuine, personal heartbreak seem manageable. I watched Daryl Hall pull this off on his web show. Jim James tries...but it's a no go. Sorry.)
I really and truly loved everything else on Disc One.
I loved Raphael Saadiq's cool and groovy take on "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat." He really gets it.
I loved Ziggy Marley's not-so-reggae folk take on "Blowin' In The Wind." (Cool surprise, Zig.)
I loved Pete Townshend's straight but sweet "Corinna Corinna."
And I absolutely ADORED The Airborne Toxic Event's "Boots Of Spanish Leather." This was the real winner, so far. Smart and respectful. Subtle, yet powerful. Wow.
And there's more...
Even Sting managed to shrink his head a bit with a safe take on "Girl From The North Country."
Mark Knopfler, someone else I never really understood or cared for very much, hands in an emotional "Restless Farewell."
I don't know much about Mariachi El Bronx, but I really enjoyed their version of "Love Sick."
There is so much more to digest and I am serious when I say, I can't wait.
I'll be back with Discs 2-4...as I listen.
But right now, "Chimes Of Freedom" is already a class act, only 1/4 of the way in.