Hezron One of the many classic songs written by Bob Dylan, ‘I Shall be Released’ was a massive hit in 1968 for The Band, the Canadian unit that toured with him for several years. A version by The Heptones for Studio One, one year later made reggae charts around the world.
Hezron and Big Youth have covered ‘I Shall be Released’ for ‘Celebrating Jamaica 61’, a compilation album marking Jamaica’s independence on August 6. The 20-song set is distributed by Tad’s International Record, whose principal Tad Dawkins Senior suggested Hezron put a fresh take on the popular song.
“I became familiar with Bob Dylan as I was searching for the lyrics of the song while typing in The Heptones and was surprised to find out that Bob Dylan was the original singer,” said Hezron. He added that he took a more soulful approach to his version with Big Youth complementing that feel with his distinctive toasting.
Dylan first recorded ‘I Shall be Released’ in 1967. The Band cut it for their influential album, ‘Music from Big Pink’. ‘I Shall Be Released’ has been covered by many artists including Nina Simone and Joe Cocker.
‘Celebrating Jamaica 61’ will be out on August 4. It contains songs by Dean Fraser, Richie Spice, Duane Stephenson, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown.