BOB DYLAN | Amnesty International
This collection is massive. Amnesty International is releasing a record of Bob Dylan covers, “Chimes of Freedom”, featuring four CDs with 75 songs by as many artists. You can stream minute-long samples of all the songs at Amnesty’s facebook page, as long as you click on “like”. Raphael Saadiq covers “Leopard-Skin Pillbox-Hat”, Steve Earle “One More Cup of Coffee”, Elvis Costello “License to Kill”, Angelique Kidjo does “Lay Lady Lay”, and Lucinda Williams tries her hand at “Tryin’ To Get to Heaven”. Granted, there are some duds on there, and a number of bands that don’t appeal to me in the slightest. But Dylan is the best songwriter to grace this planet, and out of 75 songs, there’s certainly a cover or style for everyone. It’s nice to see some of the lesser-heard Dylan tunes — if any of his songs can be called that. And I like to see “Boots of Spanish Leather” on the record, a song that contains one of my favorite romantic Dylan phrases, “If I had the stars from the darkest night / And all the diamonds from the deepest ocean / I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss …” I dare any songwriter to top a verse as beautiful and simple as that. You can pre-order the discs now and they’ll arrive late January 2012. — David D. Robbins Jr.