Monday, September 10, 2007

The Gospel According to Bob Dylan

As you might have noticed, if you are regular readers, that I've been posting the gospel songs written by Bob Dylan and performed in a concert in 1980. Of all the songs Dylan ever wrote, these are my very favorites. Of all songwriters out there, one who gained his fame through folk and rock music, decided to write songs about God, Jesus Christ and authentic faith. And they are deep in theology and full of black gospel tradition. When they first came out, Dylan was boo'd by audiences and disparaged in the press. And he went on to write and record two more albums.

It is one thing, when a composer always writes music about the Christian faith (and is paid by the church) and excells and receives adulation for centuries. It is quite another when a composer writes music about the Christian faith and excells and receives absolutely no credit for it at all for what beauty is contained in the music. In fact, not only never recognized, but actually despised. A new film is coming out about Dylan. And like most of the recent biographies about him, they focus on the 60's period of his life and work (Ms. Blanchett is going to be honored for her portrayal of Dylan in the 60's). When he was the most messed up and frankly, angry at the world, it seems. But no one pays more than a nano second on his conversion or his extraordinary work in the Black gospel tradition.

As for me, Black gospel always provokes a strong emotion in me whenever I see or hear it performed. I don't know why, but I cry every time for joy. Click on the video below and hear how the African American Gospel singers feel about Dylan's songs.

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