It shouldn’t take a disaster to create a magnum opus, but it looks like that's what's happened here. Although the aftermath of September 11 produced a spate of musical offerings, a bulk of them from the land of the stars and stripes itself, this one overrides the rest.
"God Bless America" contains some unparalleled classics: Simon and Garfunkel’s "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", John Mellencamp’s "Peaceful World" (an unreleased, acoustic version), Billy Gilman’s "There’s A Hero", Mariah Carey’s own "Hero" and Billy Withers' "Lean On Me".
And, as this one is a tribute to the American, some of the States’ legendary anthems - Frank Sinatra’s "America The Beautiful", Peter Seeger’s "This land Is Your Land", and Bruce Springsteen’s "Land Of Hope And Dreams" - also grace this space. Tramaine Hawkin’s take on the soulful "Amazing Grace" is quite mediocre, although she takes the notes to an all-time high.
But the piece that makes all this worth it is Bob Dylan’s "Blowin’ In The Wind", which has the legend sounding like he’s unaware of accompanying guitar, with a seasoned voice that almost tells a very moving philosophy instead of singing it.
If you don’t already have these classics, this album gives it all to you.This article was first published on 10 Dec 2001.