May 4: Bob Dylan – 5th and last Slow Train Coming Recording Session in 1979

Bob Dylan slow train

The reaction on the (U.S.) Slow Train tour was disheartening at times. But it doesn’t wound you because you get used to the ups and downs. You get to where the praise doesn’t mean anything because it’s often for the wrong reason, and it’s the same with the criticism. Besides, I don’t think I’ll be perceived properly till 100 years after I’m gone. I really believe that. I don’t think anybody has really caught on to Blonde On Blonde yet.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – June 1984)

…. Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art. Bob Dylan is the greatest singer of our times. No one is better. No one, in objective fact, is even very close. His versatility and vocal skills are unmatched. His resonance and feeling are beyond those of any of his contemporaries. More than his ability with words, and more than his insight, his voice is God’s greatest gift to him. So when I listen to “When He Returns,” the words finally don’t matter at all. They are as good as they ever were, maybe even better. … I am hearing a voice.
~Jann Wenner (the famous “Slow Train Coming” review Sept 1979)

The last recording session brought us 4 masters: Gotta Serve Somebody, Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others), When He Returns & Man Gave Names To All The Animals.

bob dylan slow train back

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Sheffield, Alabama
4 May 1979
Produced by Jerry Wexler & Barry Beckett

  1. Gotta Serve Somebody
  2. Gotta Serve Somebody
  3. Gotta Serve Somebody
    ..a brilliantly crafted bit of songwriting and singing, exquisitely sung, this one is a confection and a great one, with a sting in it’s tail..
    ~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)

  4. Gotta Serve Somebody
  5. Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
  6. Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
  7. Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
  8. Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
    But if you do right to me, baby
    I’ll do right to you, too
    Ya got to do unto others
    Like you’d have them, like you’d have them, do unto you
  9. When He Returns
  10. When He Returns
  11. When He Returns
  12. When He Returns
  13. When He Returns
  14. When He Returns
  15. When He Returns
  16. When He Returns
  17. When He Returns
    ..[“When He Returns” is] just as magnificent and every bit as essential [as “Slow Train”], though hardly characteristic of the album as a whole..
    ~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)
    This is the final track on Slow Train Coming, the first of Dylan’s ‘Born Again’ albums, and one of the strongest of the period. Not an especially attractive place to be, nevertheless the world of this song is fiercely, abrasively impassioned and Dylan gives it a tour de force, self-flagellant performance, demanding to know:
    ‘How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice? /
    How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the
    ~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)
  18. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  19. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  20. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  21. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  22. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  23. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
    Man gave names to all the animals
    In the beginning, in the beginning
    Man gave names to all the animals
    In the beginning, long time ago


  • 1–9, 18–23  Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal), Mark Knopfler (guitar), Tim Drummond (bass), Barry Beckett (keyboards), Pick Withers (drums).
  • 10–17 Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal), Mark Knopfler (guitar), Barry Beckett (piano).
  • 1–4,  18–23  Barry Beckett (organ), Harrison Calloway Jr. (trumpet), Ronnie Eades (baritonr saxophone), Harvey Thompson (tenor saxophone), Charlie Rose (trombone), Lloyd Barry (trumpet), Carolyn Dennis, Helena Springs, Regina Havis (background vocals).

bob dylan slow train sessions muscle shoals

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6 thoughts on “May 4: Bob Dylan – 5th and last Slow Train Coming Recording Session in 1979”

  1. I remember liking the first side of the record but apart from WHEN HE RETURNS thought side 2 was a downer in quality .The songs TROUBLE IN MIND & YE SHALL BE RELEASED
    would have been welcome additions perhaps at the expense of DO RIGHT UNTO ME BABY and MAN GAVE NAMES…

  2. I’m guessing I never understood this photo till tonight — We’re laying the tracks. At least we’re supposed to be.

  3. Glory Cloud Revelation agrees that this is one of the most finest inspirational albums . Bob Dylan’s God given gifts of poetic lyrics, imagery, symbolism, and the unique sound and expression of his voice come together for this masterpiece album. There is none like it! Thank you Bob Dylan. It is a beautiful work of art and spiritual inspiration, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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