Friday, January 27, 2012

Pete Townshend's "Corrina, Corrina": One of the Highlights of the New Bob Dylan/Amnesty International Benefit Record

I've been digging into the house of mirrors that is Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan, the  new 4-CD, 73-track tribute to the Zim-master that honors and benefits Amnesty International.

Pay a visit to Amnesty's website and you'll learn their mission is to "Expose and prevent human rights abuses." Hard to argue with that.

Amnesty was founded 50 years ago by English labour lawyer Peter Berenson the same year Dylan released his first LP, so a Dylan-themed project was a natural. Plus, the guy wrote the best Amnesty- ready tunes ever, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "I Shall be Released." For this project, Bob kindly offered up his peerless song catalog up for free to everyone who wanted to do a cover, and pretty much everyone asked said yes.

Participants run the gamut from My Morning Jacket to Lucinda Williams to Bryan Ferry to Adele to Miley Cyrus to a lot of interesting, international artists I've never heard of, likXimena SariƱanaMost of the versions are good or at least interesting. If you are a Dylan fan, it's a must buy.

One of my favorite tracks thus far has been Pete Townshend's gentle take on "Corrina, Corrina," an old folk tune which Dylan recorded for on his second LP The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and I think the only song on the tribute wasn't actually written by Dylan. You can hear Dylan's version here.

Pete's been playing it live recently, and he talks about the origins of the tune here.

Townshend and Amnesty go way back - he's probably done more than any other public figure to bring the organization's mission to the public light.

He also did one of the great unplugged performances of all time in 1979 as part of the Amnesty-benefiting Secret Policemen's Ball. Best was this performance of the Quadrophenia track featuring some career-best singing and guitar playing. Had The Who never happened, Pete would have made a fine singer-songwriter.

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan is priced to move. You can download it on Amazon for $19.99 or a get a physical copy for a dollar less below.


Singing Bear said...

Pete has done a lovely version here. Maybe I should consider getting the whole album? A few of the names are putting me off, though (even if the cause is highly worthy). This makes me want to reach for my guitar and try a ham-fisted version myself! Nice blog, by the way. May I link to you on my blog list?

Steve said...

Hi - glad you like my blog - please link to it on your blog list! Thanks. Yes I'd say the whole record is worth getting - it's for a great cause and the sheer number and variety of artists is awe-inspiring.

Steve (Rock Turtleneck)

Dovid K said...

Hey - if they had asked me to do a cover of a Bob song, I'd have picked "Neighborhood Bully".