Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus sing Bob Dylan

The Cinch Review

The Amnesty International collection of eighty different cover versions of Bob Dylan songs, Chimes of Freedom, won’t be officially released until January 24th, but it has in effect hit the streets already. I haven’t gone out of my way personally to listen to much of it (all in due time) but I have heard two tracks: the artist known as Ke$ha singing “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” and the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana (i.e. Miley Cyrus) singing “You’re Gonna Make Lonesome When You Go.”

I can’t say that I’m very familiar with the body of musical work produced to date by these ladies, so in a way that’s good: I hear these performances strictly on their merits. They’re both interesting in their way. Continue reading “Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus sing Bob Dylan”

Chimes of Freedom – Amnesty International benefit album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan

The Cinch Review

Chimes of Freedom - The Songs of Bob DylanDetails have been released on a huge collection of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs, featuring about 80 different artists, which is coming out next year as both a tribute to Bob Dylan and a benefit for Amnesty International. It’s called Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (and the album cover features Bob Dylan as Doctor Who). Most of the tracks are brand new recordings; an exception is the single track by Bob Dylan himself, which is his original recording of “Chimes of Freedom” from 1964.

I knew something along these lines was coming out, but when I saw the scope of it and the track list, my first reaction was: Isn’t this kind of excessive? Four CDs worth? Some of it will be good, no doubt, but some of it will be pretty painful too. Well, I guess it’s too late to stop them now. Might as well face it: we live in an age of huge excess. Something like this wouldn’t even have been dreamed of in the ’60s or ’70s, because it would have required something like 8 or 10 LPs. Now it’s just some space on an iPod, for most listeners. Ten tracks; eighty tracks; two hundred tracks: what difference does it make? People will just listen to the ones they care to hear anyway. Continue reading “Chimes of Freedom – Amnesty International benefit album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan”

The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams to be released in October

The Cinch Review

UPDATE: Click to see my review of The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams

Hank Williams sings “Lovesick Blues”

Looking back, the first blog post from Yours Truly on the Bob Dylan/Hank Williams project was on November 16th, 2007. It was one of several more, and now—proving that if you keep the pressure up results will surely one day come—it’s been announced that an album titled The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams will be released on October 4th, 2011. It has been created from unfinished songs that Hank Williams left behind in a briefcase when he departed this Earth in 1953, at the tender but for him weary age of 29, and which same songs were at some point given to Bob Dylan to finish. Continue reading “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams to be released in October”

Johnny Cash: Ain’t No Grave

It’s said to be the final song that Johnny Cash composed, titled “I Corinthians 15:55,” and the refrain goes like this:

Oh death, where is thy sting?

Oh grave, where is thy victory?

Oh life, you are a shining path

And hope springs eternal just over the rise

When I see my Redeemer beckoning me

The first two lines are the ones cited in the title, from St. Paul, but Paul in his turn was quoting Hosea 13:14 in that particular passage. As goes Scripture, so goes country music: The great lines are reused forever. Cash would have known well that he was invoking both the Old and New Testaments there, and the resonance of a promise that doesn’t fade.

This song is the fourth track and the heart of the new, posthumously-released Johnny Cash album, American VI: Ain’t No Grave. (It is the sixth in Cash’s “American Recordings” series, produced by Rick Rubin, the first of which was released in 1994.) By itself, “I Corinthians 15:55” must make most listeners grateful for the Continue reading “Johnny Cash: Ain’t No Grave”

Follow the Light: The Heart in Bob Dylan’s Christmas

Christmas in the Heart Bob Dylan

(Warning: Contains spoilers for those who still believe in Santa Claus)

Bob Dylan’s album Christmas In the Heart struck me both strongly and delightfully upon the very first listen, and it continues to strike me that way after many further spins. However, rather than try to make a grand case here as to why others ought to like the album (I know that some people love it and some people feel quite otherwise) I’m just going to explore why it seems to work better for me personally than most Christmas albums. I do suspect that how I have inwardly responded to it is true for quite a few others as well, whether or not they have analyzed it for themselves in the same way I do here. Continue reading “Follow the Light: The Heart in Bob Dylan’s Christmas”