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.
Today I’m accused of being a follower of religion. But I’ve always been a follower! My thoughts, my personal needs have always been expressed through my songs; you can feel them there even in ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. When I write a song, when I make a record, I don’t think about whether it’ll sell millions of copies. I only think about making it, the musical end-product, the sound, and the rhythmic effect of the words. It’s purely a technical piece of work because the most important thing is to come out with something that’s perfect artistically. Even Charlie Chaplin used to say that and I respect him for that judgment.
~Bob Dylan (to Sandra Jones – June 1981)
And it’s this dishonesty, this unhelpful concealment of the soul when we most needed to know what was going [on] inside the man, which hurts the hardest… …. His handling of matters spiritual is bad enough, but when he applies himself to more worldly topics he’s frighteningly inflammatory and positively dangerous..
~Chris Bohn (review – Slow Train Coming, Melody Maker – 26 Aug. 1979)
On the 4th recording session we got 2 new master versions… one of them “Slow Train” is i fact the best song from the album. The other is also among the best: “I Believe in You“.
“…his fall 1979 concerts. “What Can I Do For You?”, “Solid Rock”, “Saving Grace”, “Covenant Woman” and “In The Garden” as performed at these shows are some of the finest work in Dylan’s oeuvre, but you’d never know that from listening to “Saved”, the 1980 studio album that features these compositions.
…….you’re awareness and appreciation of Dylan’s greatness is incomplete until you hear these songs (and “When He Returns”) as performed live in the fall of 1979..
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)
“….this gospel show explodes with vocal passion to be found in few other Dylan periods.”
The November shows @ Warfield in 1979 are by many fans (& collectors) considered to be the highlight of the “Gospel Tours”. Nov 6,7,11 & 16 are the shows I’ve been listening to…. and Nov 16 is my personal favorite. It is an amazing concert… … it’s actually one of my absolute fav Dylan concerts, top 10 for sure.
Fox Warfield Theatre San Francisco, California 16 November 1979
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
Tim Drummond (bass)
Terry Young (keyboards)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Regina Havis , Helena Springs , Mona Lisa Young (background vocals)
May 2: Bob Dylan 3rd Slow Train Coming Recording Session 1979
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)
Slow Train Coming was a collection of songs Dylan had originally intended to donate to backing singer Carolyn Dennis.
~Clinton Heylin (The Recording Sessions)
The first 2 recording sessions for “Slow Train Coming” had only resulted one master take for the album – Precious Angel (recorded the previous day).
Bass player Tim Drummond died today – Rest in Peace
Tim Drummond, born Timothy Lee Drummond, 20 April 1940, Bloomington, Illinois, USA was sadly reported dead today, January 11th. He played with a lot of great artists, Bob Dylan during “the Gospel Years”, Neil Young, Ry Cooder and James Browne among others. Drummond has co-written songs with many of the artists he has worked with, including: “Saved” (Bob Dylan), “Who’s Talking” (J.J. Cale), and “Down In Hollywood” (Ry Cooder). He often plays as part of the session rhythm duo Tim & Jim with drummer Jim Keltner.
“He joined Brown’s band, touring with great players such as Jimmy Nolen and Maceo Parker in North America, Vietnam, Korea and Africa, but eventually quit. Drummond then moved to Nashville, playing sessions for blues and R&B singers including Joe Simon, Margie Hendricks, Fenton Robinson, and country artists including Ronnie Mislap, Jimmy Buffett, Doug Kershaw and Charlie Daniels. A meeting with Neil Young resulted in Drummond playing on Young’s highly successful Harvest, and touring as part of his Straygators backing group. Drummond moved to California, where he has become an in-demand session player, working with a stellar list of artists including Young, Bob Dylan (Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot Of Love), Ry Cooder (Bop Till You Drop, The Slide Area, Borderline), J.J. Cale (Naturally, Travel Log, Anyway The Wind Blows), Crosby, Stills And Nash (CSN), Graham Nash (Wild Tales), the Beach Boys (16 Big Ones), John Mayall, Rick Danko, Don Henley (Building The Perfect Beast) and Jewel (Pieces Of You).”
Neil Young – Long May You Run (with Tim Drummond, MTV Unplugged):