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.
Continue reading May 4: Bob Dylan – 5th and last Slow Train Coming Recording Session in 1979 →
..he performs the song dressed in full evening attire, to a very appreciative audience. It is a great performance, ironically far surpassing his vocal on the actual record. He even plays some demon harmonica. With typical perversity, he also changes the words, and the entire performance clocks in at over six minutes. Not surprisingly, Dylan wins his first Grammy Award, thanking in his acceptance speech “The Lord, Jerry Wexler, and Barry Beckett … who believed.” The award ceremony takes place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and receives the usual extensive television coverage.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
Los Angeles, California
27 February 1980
22nd Annual Grammy Award Ceremony
Continue reading Feb 27: Bob Dylan performs a blistering version of “Gotta Serve Somebody” @ Grammy Award Ceremony in 1980 (video) →
In the autumn, Dylan made what many found a surprising appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live” on NBC-TV on October 20, performing three of the songs from the album, backed by five musicians and three female gospel singers ( and looking, despite the fire- and -brimstone lyrics sung, strangely tame: almost domesticated).
-Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
He sang three songs that night. The least memorable was the first, a reluctantly delivered “Gotta Serve Somebody,” complete with a botched lyric. The other two — a passionate acoustic “I Believe in You” and, finally, a proselytizingly blazing “When You Gonna Wake Up” highlighted by searing support from Terry Young (organ) and Fred Tackett (lead guitar) — remain transcendent to this day.
-Villagevoice (Saturday Night Live’s Forty Essential Music Moments, Ranked)
Previous posts in this series:
Continue reading Bob Dylan´s Gospel Years Part 5: Saturday Night Live Performance →
It’s in my system. I don’t really have enough time to talk about it. If someone really wants to know, I can explain it to them, but there are other people who can do it just as well. I don’t feel compelled to do it. I was doing a bit of that last year on the stage. I was saying stuff I figured people needed to know. I thought I was giving people an idea of what was behind the songs. I don’t think it’s necessary any more. When I walk around some of the towns we go to, however, I’m totally convinced people need Jesus. Look at the junkies and the winos and the troubled people. It’s all a sickness which can be healed in an instant. The powers that be won’t let that happen. The powers that be say it has to be healed politically.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Nov 1980)
Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art.
~Jann S. Wenner (rollingstone.com – Sept. 1979)
Slow Train Coming was a collection of songs Dylan had originally intended to donate to backing singer Carolyn Dennis.
~Clinton Heylin (The Recording Sessions)
Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions
Are they lost or are they found
Have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend
~Bob Dylan (from the title cut)
Slow Train Coming:
Continue reading Bob Dylan: The Gospel Years, Part 3 – Slow Train Coming (album) →