From the YouTube Music Video Archives: Dylan’s Gospel Records Revisited

I started listening to Dylan in 1982 when a Mormon friend of mine — who was leaving on his mission year and was unloading material possessions — gave me his cassette of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. I loved it, listened to it constantly, and before too long made my way to the used record store where I laid hands on The Greatest Hits (volumes I and II) and then the more recent gospel records: Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love. I was transfixed by all of it, and the gospel records chimed in with the C.S. Lewis I’d started reading about that time to knock me upside my Zen-Beatnik-Lutheran-syncretist head. Which eventually led to the Catholic Church and thence to this blog and other strange places.

So now a quarter of a century later some real gospel singers get together and try out those Dylan songs again and they hold up well. I bought the CD when it came out, and it’s good, but the documentary about the making of the record is really even better than the record itself — because it’s the first documentary, to my knowledge, to really treat this period of Dylan’s career in any depth at all. It’s a phenomenal thing that deserves to be studied as much as Dylan’s early career and the transition to electricity (which is great stuff to be sure but it’s been hashed over plenty). Anyway, if you’ve got Netflix, go there and stream this baby … cause I’m hangin’ on … to a solid rock!


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    If you haven't inhaled meth from a prostitutes mouth then you haven't been to a strange place buddy.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    What about his Victoria's Secret phase? When are scholars and critics going to give that the attention it deserves?

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    You got me Quin, you have the upper hand.

    Bizarre beyond words.

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