Various Artists: Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

Brendan‘s back with a review of Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan. Amnesty International’s four-disc tribute to Dylan’s substantial catalogue was recently released in honor of the human rights organization’s 50th anniversary. The lengthy tribute features Dylan covers by Adele, Angelique Kidjo, Flogging Molly, The Gaslight Anthem, K’naan, Mariachi El Bronx, My Chemical Romance, Pete Seeger, Patti Smith, Queens of the Stone Age, Sinead O’Connor and many more.

There is something for everybody on this four-disc set of Bob Dylan covers. Unfortunately, this also means there will be some songs that don’t suit your tastes. For me, that dissatisfaction is exemplified by offerings by Ke$ha and Cage The Elephant. Eventually, I whittled the collection down to a core of 30 great renditions, some of which I’ll highlight here.

Easily topping my list is Diana Krall’s gorgeous version of “A Simple Twist of Fate.” As always, Krall’s voice drips with honey and inflects the lyrics with tenderness. Incidentally, if you haven’t heard her version of “A Case of You,” do yourself a favor and track it down.

Joan Baez’s voice manages to be revelatory every time I hear her, and her version of “Seven Curses” is beautiful.

I had not heard much by Dierks Bentley before, but his banjo-accompanied version of “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” stands out from the pack.

Kris Kristofferson’s voice has matured into one that sounds eerily similar to Leonard Cohen’s and his version of “Quinn the Eskimo” is another highlight of the collection.

Mark Knopfler gives “Restless Farewell” a welcome Celtic flavor, while Flogging Molly are at their boisterous best on “The Times They Are A-Changin.”

Mick Hucknall’s “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)” is almost an impersonation of Dylan but still a memorable track, and the instantly recognizable voice of Brett Dennen offers up an enthusiastic “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

Sting’s “Girl From the North Country” is a welcome addition, as is the unique instrumental “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” performed by Kronos Quartet.

I love Bryan Ferry’s voice and his “Bob Dylan’s Dream” is so good, I’m excited to hear his 2006 album Dylanesque – for which the track apparently wasn’t good enough.

Other names on the tribute I’d previously been unfamiliar with, but hope to hear more from are: The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Tom Morello, Thea Gilmore, Ximena Sarinana, We Are Augustines, Darren Kriss, and The Belle Brigade.

We were not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below…

Buy @ Amazon

Buy @ Amnesty International

Giveaway: Win The Billie Holiday Tribute CD!

Muruch and ROMO*PR are giving away one copy of the new A Tribute To Billie Holiday CD, which features Esperanza Spalding, Shelby Lynne, Babyface and other modern artists covering several Billie Holiday classics. You can read my review of the album by clicking here and the contest details are below…

The Prize:

One winner will receive:
1 A Tribute To Billie Holiday CD

The Rules:

Comment to this entry with the name of your favorite Billie Holiday song or your favorite cover (or both) and your email address. All new comments are moderated to avoid spam (which is why you must include the required text in your comment), so it may take a day for your comment to appear if you haven’t commented on Muruch before.

Note: This contest is open to everyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name and postal address for shipping purposes.

The Deadline:

The contest will end on Friday, July 22nd. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.

Go now go! And tell others.

Album Review

Buy @ Amazon

Various Artists: Rave On Buddy Holly

Rave On Buddy Holly will be released on June 28th and you can stream the album in its entirety below. With a cast of superstar singers like Florence + The Machine, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, She & Him and Lou Reed, I’m not at all surprised that I love this new tribute to rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly.

First, the spectacular: I would’ve written this review much sooner had I not been listening to Florence + The Machine‘s cover of “Not Fade Away” on repeat. The Machine saves Buddy Holly’s trademark quirks for their clanging, banging-industrial-sized-pots-and-pans arrangement, allowing lead singer Florence Welch to unleash all the unearthly wails and gorgeous vibratto of her magnificent voice.

Fiona Apple and Jon Brion opt for a simpler, splendidly tinkling, truer-to-original rendition of “Everyday.” Who knew Fiona Apple was a folk singer?

Nevermind that, who knew that Kid Rock was a soul singer? I do now thanks to his wonderfully brassed up cover of “Well…All Right.” He needs to drop the country-rap stuff and collaborate with Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears.

Julian Casanblancas’ moody “Rave On,” Jenny O.’s cooing “I’m Gonna Love You, Too,” She & Him’s retro dance party “Oh Boy!,” and the legendary Patti Smith’s soulful rendering of “Words of Love” are also stand outs.

Elsewhere, Cee Lo Green reminds me why I loved Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” but couldn’t stomach his tepid new solo pop album. Cee Lo’s unusual pipes can be so powerful, but he requires an interesting and solid arrangement to bring out the best in his voice. The Caribbean chimes and percussion of “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” is the perfect song for him.

Other highlights on the tribute include Karen Elson’s “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” (featuring Elson’s husband Jack White), Nick Lowe’s “Changing All The Changes,” My Morning Jacket’s “True Love Ways” and The Detroit Cobras’ “Heartbeat.”

But, ugh, Modest Mouse’s dreary, deadpan “That’ll Be The Day” reminds me why I always referred to that surge of irksome, post-Death Cab “indie-rock” boy bands as “mouse rock.” It’s the only track on the album I skip every time.

Rave On Buddy Holly gives a solid finish, however, with a trio of covers by Lou Reed, John Doe and Graham Nash.

Rave On Buddy Holly by concordmusicgroup

*SoundCloud Album Stream Uploaded by Concord Music Group & Posted w/ Permission of Label’s PR Rep

Pre-order @ Amazon

Rave On Tribute Official Site

Liz Janes Tribute & Son Lux Mp3

Time & Space is a new tribute EP to Asthmatic Kitty artist Liz Janes. The EP features covers of seven Liz Janes songs by artists such as My Brightest Diamond, Fol Chen, Black Heart Procession and Son Lux. Asthmatic Kitty is offering a free, legal mp3 of Son Lux’ chiming cover of the Liz Jane song “Desert.”

Son Lux – Desert (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of Asthmatic Kitty Records

Time & Space Tracklist:

1. Son Lux – Desert
2. My Brightest Diamond – Bitty Thing
3. Helado Negro – Tristeza
4. Black Heart Procession – Martyr’s Grind Up
5. Fol Chen – Streetlight
6. Danielson – Wonderkiller
7. Arrington de Dionyso – Poison & Snakes

BUY @ AMAZON

Gaba Kulka: Iron Maiden Cover Mp3

Polish superstar and Muruch pal Gaba Kulka has recorded a new Iron Maiden tribute album under the moniker Baaba Kulka. She is sharing a free, legal mp3 of “Aces High,” which you can download and/or stream at the links below. The album will be released on March 21st on CD, vinyl and a limited edition of cassette, each with an enclosed code for a digital album download.

Baaba Kulka – Aces High (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist

Buy @ Amazon (not yet available)

Buy @ Bandcamp

Gaba Kulka Official Site

Muruch’s Gaba Kulka Reviews