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Bob Dylan|Slow Train Coming

Slow Train Coming

Bob Dylan

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Perhaps it was inevitable that Bob Dylan would change direction at the end of the '70s, since he had dabbled in everything from full-on repudiation of his legacy to a quiet embrace of it, to dipping his toe into pure showmanship. Nobody really could have expected that he would turn to Christianity on Slow Train Coming, embracing a born-again philosophy with enthusiasm. He has no problem in believing in a vengeful god -- you gotta serve somebody, after all -- and this is pure brimstone and fire throughout the record, even on such lovely testimonials as "I Believe in You." The unexpected side effect of his conversion is that it gave Dylan a focus he hadn't had since Blood on the Tracks, and his concentration carries over to the music, which is lean and direct in a way that he hadn't been since, well, Blood on the Tracks. Focus isn't necessarily the same thing as consistency, and this does suffer from being a bit too dogmatic, not just in its religion, but in its musical approach. Still, it's hard to deny Dylan's revitalized sound here, and the result is a modest success that at least works on its own terms.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Slow Train Coming

Bob Dylan

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1
Gotta Serve Somebody (Album Version)
00:05:25

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Precious Angel (Album Version)
00:06:31

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
I Believe in You (Album Version)
00:05:10

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Slow Train (Album Version)
00:05:59

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Gonna Change My Way of Thinking (Album Version)
00:05:28

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Do Right to Me Baby (Do Unto Others) (Album Version)
00:03:53

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
When You Gonna Wake Up (Album Version)
00:05:30

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - Lee Williams, Lyricist - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Man Gave Names to All the Animals (Album Version)
00:04:27

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
When He Returns (Album Version)
00:04:26

B. BECKETT, Producer - Barry Beckett, Keyboards - Barry Beckett, Percussion - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Carolyn Dennis, Background Vocal - David Yates, 2nd Engineer - Greg Hamm, Engineer - Helena Springs, Background Vocal - J. Wexler, Producer - MICKEY BUCKINS, Percussion - Mark Knopfler, Guitar - Muscle Shoals Horns, Horns - Pick Withers, Drums - Regina Havis, Background Vocal - Tim Drummond, Bass

(P) 1979 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

Perhaps it was inevitable that Bob Dylan would change direction at the end of the '70s, since he had dabbled in everything from full-on repudiation of his legacy to a quiet embrace of it, to dipping his toe into pure showmanship. Nobody really could have expected that he would turn to Christianity on Slow Train Coming, embracing a born-again philosophy with enthusiasm. He has no problem in believing in a vengeful god -- you gotta serve somebody, after all -- and this is pure brimstone and fire throughout the record, even on such lovely testimonials as "I Believe in You." The unexpected side effect of his conversion is that it gave Dylan a focus he hadn't had since Blood on the Tracks, and his concentration carries over to the music, which is lean and direct in a way that he hadn't been since, well, Blood on the Tracks. Focus isn't necessarily the same thing as consistency, and this does suffer from being a bit too dogmatic, not just in its religion, but in its musical approach. Still, it's hard to deny Dylan's revitalized sound here, and the result is a modest success that at least works on its own terms.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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