Triple Played: Huge variety of musicians on ‘Chimes of Freedom’

Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter of my generation and maybe of all-time. I have said that many times.

I also have said that sometimes the fact is even more evident when someone else is singing one of Dylan’s songs.

This never has been more obvious to me than it is right now because of the amazing “Chimes of Freedom, the Songs of Bob Dylan,” released on Jan. 24.

“Chimes of Freedom” is a four-CD set containing 73 previously unreleased songs sung by 73 artists including Dylan covering the title track.

Dylan is one of only two artists that have ever had a list of their top 100 songs published. The other is the Beatles.

As an honest reflection of the reach and influence of Dylan, the ages and styles of the musicians on “Chimes of Freedom” vary greatly. In fact, there are several artists who I have never heard of, such as the Airborne Toxic Event (“Boots of Spanish Leather”), the Belle Brigade (“No Time To Think”), Jacks Mannequin (“Mr. Tambourine Man”), Nick Hucknall (“One of Us Must Know”), Silversun Pickups (“Not Dark Yet”), Raphael Saadiq (“Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat”), Ximena Sarinana (“I Want You”) and Zee Avi (“Tomorrow Is A Long Time”).

From musicians more familiar to me, there is Sting (“Girl From the North Country”), Mark Knopfler (“Restless Farewell”), Pete Townshend (“Corinna Corinna”), Carly Simon (“Just Like a Woman”), Elvis Costello (“License to Kill”), Eric Burdon (“Gotta Serve Somebody”), Kris Kristofferson (“Quinn the Eskimo”) and Lucinda Williams (“Tryin’ To Get To Heaven”).

For me, the standout tracks so far include Johnny Cash featuring the Avett Brothers (“One Too Many Mornings”), Tom Morello the Nightwatchman (“Blind Willie McTell”), Jackson Browne (“Love Minus Zero / No Limit”), Adele (“Make You Feel My Love”), Flogging Molly (“The Times They Are A Changin’ “) and Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project (“Shelter From the Storm”).

Dylan is known more for his protest music of the 1960s than any other style or type of song he has written. However, he also has written some of the greatest love songs ever put to paper. Songs such as “Love Minus Zero / No Limit,” “Make You Feel My Love,” “I Want You,” “Most of the Time,” “I’ll Remember You,” “She Belongs to Me,” “In Want You” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” which is covered by Miley Cyrus on “Chimes of Freedom.”

That’s right, Miley Cyrus. And she does an amazing job. The song sounds a bit like Melanie, Natalie Merchant and Alison Krauss.

When I first read that Cyrus was on the set, I thought, “what the hell is she doing on a Bob Dylan cover record?”

When the song played, it sounded so good that I had to check the name of the singer. Touché.

Maybe it was the song that brought it out, but Cyrus’ voice sounds mature beyond her years.

You can see and hear Cyrus in a video on Triple Play Records’ Facebook page.

In fact, my son Matthew is going to post on our page a different video from “Chimes of Freedom” each day, courtesy of YouTube. Who knows, it may become an everyday thing even after we run out of Dylan songs.

If you are at all a fan of Dylan’s music, “Chimes of Freedom” is a necessity as sure as it will be a recording for the ages.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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