10 Good cover versions of Bob Dylan’s Christian songs
I love the “Christian period” in Dylan’s career, always have. In the beginning I felt quite alone in my belief in Dylan, but now he is finally getting recognised for his faith-based songs. The Bob Dylan records from that period are so much better than the critics at the time wrote, they were simply too shocked by his conversion to see the beauty in the songs. I have to say that not all critics were harsh, some recognised quality.
And so what if he’s taken up with the God of Wrath? Since when have you been so crazy about the God of Love? Or any other species of hippie bullshit?
– Robert Christgau
First his live shows from these years got well deserved praise and now finally the albums. They might not be among his best by Dylan’s standard, but by anyone else’s they’re actually quite decent!
Here are evidence that the songs are solid Bob Dylan compositions. I have tried not to only include gospel choirs, there are a lot of performances I could have chosen, but instead I’ve tried to show how the songs work in different styles.
I Believe In You – Sinead O’Connor
Such a presence, and the voice, man!
What can I do for you – Helen Baylor:
Solid Rock – Widespread Panic
Jam-band version of brimstone christianity, and they do it good.
Pressing On – Regina McCrary & Chicago Mass Choir
This is amazing, really! McCrary lifts the song to newer heights.
Gotta Serve Somebody – Mavis Staples and Johnny Lang
Mavis Staples and Johnny Lang do Bob Dylan’s song “Gotta Serve Somebody” at the Points of Light Tribute event on March 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. I think I have posted this one once before, but it is too great not to include.
Saved – Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir:
They’ve done many of Dylan’s gospel songs, here with Sharon McKenzie singing lead vocals, a fine performance!
When He Returns – John Lee Sanders:
John Lee Sanders in the studio recording his cd, “The Gospel Sessions” a slightly Jazzy-piano version.
Man Gave Names to all the Animals – Tucker’d Out
Property of Jesus – Chrissie Hynde:
The Mighty Chrissie Hynde does a fine cover version!
Finally a truly great cover of Pressing On by Christian Bale as Jack Rollins/Pastor John in I’m not there. The song starts about 2 minutes in.
It is actually the artist John Doe that is singing and Mr. Bale is lip syncing to the song (see comments):