Unplugged albums are frequently corny, but this was an important artistic move for Dylan in 1995, when many fans had given up on his incomprehensible singing and lackluster concerts. With sympathetic backup musicians, including organist Brendan O'Brien and guitarist John Jackson, Dylan returns the coherence to his originals ("All Along the Watchtower," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Desolation Row," "Like a Rolling Stone") and rearranges them just enough to freshen their sound. The previously unreleased "Dignity" is one of Dylan's best songs this decade, and it fits nicely with the rickety versions of "John Brown" and the finale, "With God On Our Side." –Steve Knopper, Amazon.com.
Collection includes: Placebo (1996); Without You I'm Nothing (1998); Black Market Music (2000); Sleeping with Ghosts (2003); Meds (2006).
This is undoubtedly the equivalent of Gilberto Gil "Unplugged" – Gil, his acoustic guitar, and a nonelectric five-piece band recorded live in a studio – and it is a thoroughly musical triumph as Gil mesmerizes his attentive audience for some 74 minutes. He starts out with the nearly pure reggae of "A Novidade," but before long, he establishes himself in a mostly consistent, loping set of intimate grooves thoroughly rooted in Brazil. Gil had a hand in writing all of this tuneful material except Anastacia Dominguinhos' "Tenho Sede," Caetano Veloso's "Sampa," and a left-field choice, Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants," which lends itself very well to Gil's bossa nova approach and proenvironmental position. It is not a complete live portrait of Gil, though; the astounding quickness and flexibility of his voice is fully vented only toward the end of the concert. The later Quanta Live album will give you a wider panorama of Gil's range.
A very special collection of the late singer's very best performed in an acoustic setting, without the embellishments of recording overdubs. Here are the raw songs in all their beauty performed by one of the sweetest voices ever to grace the pop music charts. Includes his signature song "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Leaving On A Jet Plane", "Thank God I'm A Country Boy", "Annie's Song", "Perhaps Love", "Rocky Mountain High" and many more.