Blowin' in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan
Here Comes the Sun: A Reggae Tribute to The Beatles
First Appeared at The Music Box, March 2003, Volume 10, #3
Written by John Metzger
Collections of cover songs are inevitably hit and miss affairs. Nevertheless, they always make for interesting listening. Such is the case with the recent series of Reggae Rocks releases from Madacy Entertainment, each of which reinterprets, with varying degrees of success, music by different classic rock artists such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
The Beatles’ collection, which is titled Here Comes the Sun: A Reggae Tribute to The Beatles, features terrific renditions of Come Together, Hey Jude and With a Little Help from My Friends by Edi Fitzroy, Toots and the Maytals, and Ellis Island, respectively. Other tracks such as Steel Pulse’s We Can Work It Out, Mello’s In My Life, and Chalice’s Imagine come close, but ultimately fall shy of the mark. The problem with Here Comes the Sun, unfortunately, is that far too often it dives off the deep end into generic, synth-oriented, dance arrangements that dampen the spirit of the original compositions rather than grace them with the sunny warmth that reggae can bring.
Blowin’ in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan gives similar treatment to Bob Dylan’s exquisite catalog, and although this twelve-song collection suffers from some of the same inconsistencies as Here Comes the Sun, it does fare better as a whole and is actually quite a fun compilation of tunes. Of course, it helps that the songs actually lend themselves quite naturally to reinterpretation in a reggae format. The overall problem here is that in tackling the verbosity of Dylan’s lyrics, the artists tended to allow the grooves to become a little too monotonous. Nevertheless, there are quite a few highlights including a sprightly rendition of I Shall Be Released by The Mighty Diamonds, the jazzy electronics that Mello lends to Silvio, the earthy pulse given to Blowin’ in the Wind by the Abyssinians, and the gentle beauty of You’re a Big Girl Now that is sensually explored by Sugar Black.
Neither Here Comes the Sun: A Reggae Tribute to The Beatles or Blowin' in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan holds essential or critical material for fans of either artist or of reggae in general. But both sets at least do what many cover song collections don’t: They actually reinvent the songs, rather than simply remake them.
Here Comes the Sun —
Blowin’ in the Wind — ½
Blowin' in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan is
available from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box