Monday, December 24, 2012

Dylan Cover #67 The Byrds- "Chimes Of Freedom"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The next cover to be examined is "Chimes Of Freedom". 

Thoughts on Original:
This song is a giant one in Bob's catalog, but it has always been one of the classic Dylan anthems that never really struck a chord with RtBE.  For some reason when we talk about Dylan moving from protest singer to full on song writer, this is the tune that comes to mind. It seems to be stuck between those two worlds and the version on Another Side Of Bob Dylan just doesn't connect on many levels. I may be in the minority but this has never been a great Dylan song in my eyes...which in-turn does make it ripe to cover...  

Thoughts on Cover Band:
We have discussed a lot about the group, and still have more to say next week, but for now lets give props to the one constant of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn.  Puffy hair and square glasses was his 60's image but he has also aged gracefully. His playing style and vocal work has defined the Byrds through all their incarnations and helped influence generations of singer songwriters.  We here at RtBE are heavily into Dylan's Rolling Thunder touring days and it is noticeable that McGuinn was present and performed during some of these.  His song "Chestnut Mare", which he wrote with fellow Dylan collaborator Jacques Levy, was always a highlight from the bootlegs that we have of that tour.     
Thoughts on Cover:
McGuinn plays heavily on this cover as well spicing up the song with a fantastic guitar introduction, immediately raising it above the original. The band holds this cover in high esteem and if you haven't heard the story about David Crosby and this one give it a read here. The band's harmonies are as always gorgeous and help the song along, it must be said it is a good version, in RtBE's opinion an improvement to the original, just not the most compelling song to our ears...
Grade: A    

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