Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International

The Queen of Hearts and I were in Manhattan last week and everywhere we went, Bob Dylan songs issued forth, always sung by other people. It seems there’s a new record out, a tribute to Dylan honoring fifty years of Amnesty International, and people apparently like it, cause it’s ubiquitous, at least in NYC.

So I was bumping around the Starbucks at 53rd and Lexington, and they had a video screen that was showing who was singing what. This was before I had realized that—yeah—all these songs are on one “record” and, you know, you can BUY it, RIGHT NOW, and the money goes to a good cause. Up came You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, a great song from the greatest Break-Up album ever, Blood on the Tracks, and—OMG—it’s Miley Cyrus, a performer you’d have to tie me down to listen to under any other circumstance. I mean, I don’t even like her DADDY. But there was something about that great lyric, the simple guitar arrangement, the way she wrapped her 19 years around the core of Dylan’s ineffable genius, that made the morning very pleasant indeed. And it also made me think: 76 Bob Dylan songs in one “album,” all available at the push of a button in iTunes RIGHT NOW. This is some sort of epochal event. The idea that a producer could put artists as diverse as My Morning Jacket, Sting, Band of Skulls, Lucinda Williams, My Chemical Romance, and Dylan himself on a single product, and GIVE away the profit?!…well, that’s some pretty hippy-dippy stuff, don’tcha think?

Let’s be clear about it: Bob Dylan’s music has scored the feature film (or at least the miniseries, to be more modest) of my entire adult life. As an early “baby boomer,” I watched him eclipse the “folk scare” of the late 50’s and early 60’s and turn popular song into something that, quite literally, changed the world. I’ve seen Dylan perform live perhaps two-score times, the first when Joan Baez shared her stage with him in 1963 and he was drunk on his ass. He sang Masters of War and A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall, and everything changed for me in the instant. Dylan’s music was everywhere in the 60’s. His “protest songs” were on AM radio every hour. FM stations played Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands—one whole side of the two-record set Blonde on Blonde—every night, and it was more than 11 minutes long.

My older son, a musician, talks a lot about “conscious hip hop,” and—though it certainly isn’t something that constitutes a steady diet for me—guys like Mr. Lif and Chuck D and Sage Francis continue to walk the road that Bob Dylan originally paved for them and Nas and Mos Def and Talib Kweli too. The difference, though, is that Bob Dylan can write a damned good love song too. Listen to Ximena Sariñana sing I Want You on this record, or Sugarland doing Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You live and you’ll be struck by the range of Dylan’s talent as a songwriter and his generosity of spirit as a human being.

My ex-brother-in-law the rocket scientist hates Dylan cause he “can’t sing.” I disagree with that statement, of course, but then, I’m a blues man—there’s singing and then there’s SINGING. The beautiful thing about Bob Dylan’s career is that now—at 70 years of age—he’s finally become the old blues man he wanted to be when he first picked up his guitar back in Hibbing after the war.

Don’t you dare go cherry-picking Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International for the two or three tunes or groups you know, love, or are curious about.

Spend 20 bucks and download the whole thing for a good cause for a change.

Because, yeah, the times they still are a-changin’.

Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International

Track List

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)

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)

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)

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)
19. When the Ship Comes in (Outernational)
20. Song to Woody (Silverstein)
21. Man in the Long Black Coat (Daniel Beddingfield)

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