Monday, December 3, 2007

These songs represent each and every descendant of humanity

Gotta Serve Somebody is a well-produced music documentary that showcases highly-skilled and creative artists in studio recording sessions. Individually, and inter-dependently, they attempt to reach personal pinnacles of expression in their interpretations of some well-chosen Dylan `gospel' songs. Opportunities to view musicians recording in a studio are rare; recording sessions produced with such attention to technical details of filming are even rarer and Gotta Serve Somebody may be in a class all its own. Some of the vocalists are well-known; others are probably known to followers of gospel music; their performances are strong and triumphant - even delicate and powerful, at the same time - as they react to the lyrics and the other musicians. Each and every musician, not only the vocalists, is emotionally invested in this music; their collaboration during recordings is a focus, in itself. The interviews with musicians are enlightening but the film is mostly about Bob Dylan's music. Dylan obviously chose gospel as the most easily identifiable and naturally adaptive style to express his words and sentiments in these songs. The music, lyrics excluded, is worthy of reflection to anyone who is interested in what constitutes `great artists' - their development through time and their exploration of nearly every possible genre as a means of personal expression. The lyrics reflect Dylan's personal longing for salvation and joy in the mystery of his own transformation, in contemporary Christian religious vernacular. For those who think that his gospel songs are best left to people with similar religious beliefs, adjust your attitudes. These songs represent each and every descendant of humanity who thinks, wonders, stumbles and falls, and seeks direction outside of what is only obvious and potentially disappointing. It isn't the target of salvation, but the act of seeking it that is, in itself, redemptive. CLICK HERE to read more

Bob Dylan: Still Christian after all these years? (1997)

THE CHRISTIAN community has not always been kind to high-profile musicians who have espoused Christian beliefs. A prime example is Bob Dylan: although he did some superb Christian albums and a phenomenal gospel tour, and continues to perform faith-affirming songs in concert, I've encountered church musicians who have told me Dylan has "left the Lord." Because of this assumption, they refuse to play his songs, thus depriving congregations of some of the best Christian lyrics ever written. CLICK HERE to read more

HARVARD CRIMSON The Gospel According to Bob Slow Train Coming Columbia Records (1979)

LIKING THIS ALBUM depends on whether or not you like Jesus Christ.

Liking it also depends on how much you are willing to take from Bob Dylan. For years loyal fans have followed Dylan through mediocre efforts like Planet Waves and political gaffs like Hurricane "Indict Me Twice" Carter. But few love Dylan enough not to question his new and curious turn to Christianity. CLICK HERE to read more
“The highest form of song is prayer.”
-Bob Dylan

STOCKHOLM 04.05.2002

Just a few days after performing at the 2002 Grammy's, Bob Dylan recorded a new re-write of "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking" for "Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan" with longtime friend Mavis Staples. One month later he would kick off a new tour in Stockholm Sweden and perform Solid Rock (what many consider the theme song to his gospel era concerts) for the first time in 20 years. Dylan would continue to perform this rousing song as well as other gospel era songs at numerous concerts across Europe and beyond. The two-time Grammy nominated compilation would be released on Sony/Columbia one year later on April 1, 2003.

Sinead O'Connor - Property Of Jesus