Various Artists

Blowin' in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan

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There's something kind of nice about Blowin' in the Wind, which drops some notable reggae outfits into the studio to cut their versions of Bob Dylan tunes. Dylan's melodies are malleable, and many really are suited to the reggae treatment. Songs like "I Shall Be Released" and "You're a Big Girl Now" fall into their new setting easily. Despite being an insurgent form at one point, the more overtly political material (such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'") doesn't work quite as well. Removed from the various settings Dylan himself has given to his music over the years, it's interesting to hear a slice of his catalog placed against this backdrop. The interpretations reveal some of the common themes in Dylan's melodic approach. The artists cover a fairly wide swath of reggae, from '70s vocal sensations the Mighty Diamonds to the electronic programming of Mello (on a great reading of "Silvio," co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter). Some of the production tricks on the disc (notably bouncing synthesizers instead of rolling organs) are a bit lo-fi, but when you just gotta hear some reggae covers of Dylan tunes, this should hit the spot.

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