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What do the Gospel era haters think of BS13?
It sucks. As I knew it would 10%  10%  [ 4 ]
Meh, tsOK, I guess 12%  12%  [ 5 ]
Better than expected, not great 29%  29%  [ 12 ]
This stuff rocks. Consider me converted. I repent! 45%  45%  [ 19 ]
Get this, wormster: I will never, ever, EVER, buy this. You can print that if you want. 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 42
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PostPosted: Mon November 13th, 2017, 01:31 GMT 

Joined: Mon June 27th, 2016, 21:50 GMT
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i’m just average, common too
i’m just like him, the same as you
i’m everybody's brother and son
i ain't different than anyone
it ain't no use a-talking to me
it's just the same as talking to you


- i shall be free no. 10


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PostPosted: Thu November 16th, 2017, 07:22 GMT 
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It's more of the same from the era and has not changed my mind.

But I hope any fans of the era enjoy it.

I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu November 16th, 2017, 11:13 GMT 
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I was never that sold on the gospel era. I always thought Slow Train Coming sounded great, as any album produced by Jerry Wexler in Muscle Shoals would. Better than the songs themselves, if anything. But I could never be bothered with Saved; and Shot of Love, I jumped from Lenny Bruce to Every Grain of Sand without missing a beat. I'd heard some live stuff, like Toronto, but was slightly bothered by how nasal he sounded and only really loved the occasional barnstorming performance - Saved, Pressing On.

Devouring this box set over the last couple of weeks - and I've barely listened to anything else - the most important thing I can hear is a level of care and conviction that I think may be unique in his career. Aside from my reservations about the content, the following is clear to me: the musicians that supported him were one of the best units, aside from The Band, that he ever shared a stage with. They simply smoke with talent, soul and sweat.

But back to Dylan's care; his conviction. It's sort of the opposite of theatre - it's not necessary that we believe it, but it's essential that the performer does. And Dylan really does - he invests this music with a passion that you don't even get in 1966. You get the feeling that he will fight for this music like he would his own children. What's interesting about the film footage of this era is how reserved he seems - confident, I suppose. But close your eyes and it's pure hellfire.

Anyone interested in Dylan as a singer should really give this the time. I mean, even just the two versions of When He Returns (Take 2 from 1979; the live version from April 1980) - I would hate to have to choose between them as some of the most impassioned singing that Dylan has ever committed to.

A closing word about Toronto - as I've said, this is for me the great unreleased Dylan live album (presumably it's very similar to the material that Dylan wanted to release at the time). It's at least as good as, say, Before The Flood: perhaps better. After several discs of admittedly wonderful music, Gotta Serve Somebody comes on with that great count in and it simply blows the roof off. Any sceptics should head straight for the Toronto discs, and play them f*cking loud, like the man said.


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PostPosted: Thu November 16th, 2017, 18:01 GMT 

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Who was happy with the era, will be happy to get the chance to listen to the shows or to at least parts of the shows in a better quality.
Who wasn't, won't be converted because of the sound. Nor was I - what doesn't mean that I wouldn't like some of the performances presented on BS13.
It's no surprise that Bob sang well, that band and choir did a great job. We knew this and we knew that they sounded quite good. Unfortunately the content of the lyrics didn't change as a result of the hifi-sound. So there is no reason to change my mind.
I won't listen to 8 cds and watch one dvd with pope-sermons and litanies only because the pope sings from the bottom of his heart and because his cds sound quite good (and to be honest, the actual pope's sermons seem to be nearly less narrow-minded and more liberal than Bob's contributions to the Christian belief in those days.
Who loved Dylan's gospels before, may do it today too. But I don't understand no one, who regards that era different because of this BS13. I don't even understand those people, who now are converted into fans of the gospel era because of the intensity of the performances - with the exception of those people, who didn't listen to a bootleg from 79, 80 or 81 before (is there someone here on ER?)
But fortunately I don't have to understand and I don't have to judge that. Fortunately no one must be of a similar opinion!
I'm content that I like some few tracks of BS13 and that I'm allowed to forget, what I don't like.


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PostPosted: Fri November 17th, 2017, 13:47 GMT 

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HopE wrote:
I don't even understand those people, who now are converted into fans of the gospel era because of the intensity of the performances - with the exception of those people, who didn't listen to a bootleg from 79, 80 or 81 before (is there someone here on ER?).


I really wonder how people can stand artists doing disgusting things and liking it only because he/she is doing it so seriously. A different example now is how Kevin Spacey is wiped out of his movies because of what supposed he once (once?) did. Dylan did his doings three years.

BTW. I've never listened those bootlegs.


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PostPosted: Fri November 17th, 2017, 15:45 GMT 
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Futile Horn wrote:
I really wonder how people can stand artists doing disgusting things and liking it only because he/she is doing it so seriously. A different example now is how Kevin Spacey is wiped out of his movies because of what supposed he once (once?) did. Dylan did his doings three years.

BTW. I've never listened those bootlegs.

Futile horn indeed


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PostPosted: Mon November 20th, 2017, 11:55 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 6th, 2015, 15:03 GMT
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First time around, I kinda liked STC, if only for the SOUND of it, but couldn't abide Saved, so I never sought out any of the live bootlegs. I read Paul Williams' raves about the gigs, but all I had on the page were the lyrics, which left me cold. I couldn't imagine the melodies or performances at all. So BS13 has come as a very pleasant surprise. The Saved songs are superior to the studio versions in every way. And the otherwise unreleased songs are also great. The band are on fire, and the vocals are prime Dylan. Part of me though, keeps wondering how those songs would have come across with secular 'Dylanesque' lyrics - maybe the best material of his career. I'll take it, though.


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PostPosted: Mon November 20th, 2017, 13:16 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 6th, 2015, 15:03 GMT
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Further to the above, I wonder if the public and critics' reaction would have been more sympathetic had he released a killer live album (along the lines of BS13 discs 1& 2), instead of Saved?


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 14:23 GMT 
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They say it takes one to know one and like John Lennon, who wasn't himself immune to the charms of a persuasive guru or two, I find the message expressed by Dylan in this era problematic to say the least.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXd25Jqi7G0

Although, since Darwin, belief in an interventionist God by an educated person is clearly delusional so many humans seem to be susceptible to this cognitive dissonance I don’t really blame Bob for his new found faith and suspect something had to come along at a time of strife.

The part of his conversion I can’t stomach is the cultish idiocy of the ultra-conservative Vineyard fellowship where only so called right thinking Christians with a literal belief in the Bible would avoid eternal damnation when 'he' returns. Dylan's wholehearted adoption of this claptrap represents a total surrender of tolerance and reason and lessens his credibility not as a serious artist but as one who might have something intelligent to convey.

Once the awfulness of the new message was revealed on Slow Train Coming I rejoice at every retort from the audience expressing their dissatisfaction and cringe at the Trumpian insistence by Dylan of fake news from mainstream media and his dismissal of his 'collegiate' audience.

As far as this release goes it doesn’t really change any of the above but does document better than before just how awful it really was. The excision of the raps robs the concerts of their true meaning and dynamic edge. The live tapes contain the worst singing of Dylan's career. He's just an awful gospel singer; strained, stiff and wholly unconvincing all at the same time. As someone said he sounds like he's trying to convince himself! The band, despite good musicianship, is leaden and over rehearsed omitting all the light, shade and spontaneity of his best bands. It wouldn’t be until the 84 Letterman performance that we'd get some decent live Dylan again.

The best thing about this era is the speed at which the re-adoption of critical faculties and quality of writing returned to pen the stunning and inclusive songs of the Shot of Love sessions. Unfortunately, this release under represents this studio work failing to adequately include such gems as Groom, Angelina and Caribbean wind. So at least this set quarantines all the terrible stuff into one place and leaves the way clear for an 80's Tell Tale Signs that will finally do justice to the Shot of Love songs.

Peace and Love!


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 15:05 GMT 
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man in the moon wrote:
They say it takes one to know one and like John Lennon, who wasn't himself immune to the charms of a persuasive guru or two, I find the message expressed by Dylan in this era problematic to say the least.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXd25Jqi7G0

Although, since Darwin, belief in an interventionist God by an educated person is clearly delusional so many humans seem to be susceptible to this cognitive dissonance I don’t really blame Bob for his new found faith and suspect something had to come along at a time of strife.

The part of his conversion I can’t stomach is the cultish idiocy of the ultra-conservative Vineyard fellowship where only so called right thinking Christians with a literal belief in the Bible would avoid eternal damnation when 'he' returns. Dylan's wholehearted adoption of this claptrap represents a total surrender of tolerance and reason and lessens his credibility not as a serious artist but as one who might have something intelligent to convey.

Once the awfulness of the new message was revealed on Slow Train Coming I rejoice at every retort from the audience expressing their dissatisfaction and cringe at the Trumpian insistence by Dylan of fake news from mainstream media and his dismissal of his 'collegiate' audience.

As far as this release goes it doesn’t really change any of the above but does document better than before just how awful it really was. The excision of the raps robs the concerts of their true meaning and dynamic edge. The live tapes contain the worst singing of Dylan's career. He's just an awful gospel singer; strained, stiff and wholly unconvincing all at the same time. As someone said he sounds like he's trying to convince himself! The band, despite good musicianship, is leaden and over rehearsed omitting all the light, shade and spontaneity of his best bands. It wouldn’t be until the 84 Letterman performance that we'd get some decent live Dylan again.

The best thing about this era is the speed at which the re-adoption of critical faculties and quality of writing returned to pen the stunning and inclusive songs of the Shot of Love sessions. Unfortunately, this release under represents this studio work failing to adequately include such gems as Groom, Angelina and Caribbean wind. So at least this set quarantines all the terrible stuff into one place and leaves the way clear for an 80's Tell Tale Signs that will finally do justice to the Shot of Love songs.

Peace and Love!


Someone's delusional for sure, and it ain't Bob. ;)


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 16:30 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 6th, 2015, 15:03 GMT
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man in the moon wrote:
The live tapes contain the worst singing of Dylan's career. He's just an awful gospel singer; strained, stiff and wholly unconvincing all at the same time. As someone said he sounds like he's trying to convince himself! The band, despite good musicianship, is leaden and over rehearsed omitting all the light, shade and spontaneity of his best bands.


As a lifelong atheist, I bow to no-one in my contempt for superstition and fundie Christianity, BUT... the above is utter nonsense.

Both Dylan's singing, and his band's playing are absolutely peerless on these live recordings.


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 16:58 GMT 
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That is the consensus veiw and I want to join in with it but just don't personally warm to particularly Bob's voice. Great that you're enjoying the music.


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 18:53 GMT 

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Oh, indeed, it's all just opinion at the end of the day. As I've said, I was dismayed (like you) by the original albums. STC was slightly er, saved, by the excellent band and production, but I thought Saved was execrable - both message and playing/production. Then I read Paul Williams saying that he too disliked Saved, because it was so inferior to the way those songs had come across in the live shows. That intrigued me, but I was still sceptical. Having heard TIM deluxe, I totally see what he meant. The band were ON FIRE - Fred Tackett particularly, but all of them, really. And Dylan (to these ears) sounded better than has has ever done since - putting all his previous singing styles into his delivery, so that it was obvious he meant it. Compare that to the 'Jesus' songs on his debut album - I used to like them BECAUSE they sounded like he was being tongue-in-cheek, but this 79-81 stuff was something else again. I still wince a bit at some of the lyrics, but actually there's still a lot of great Dylanesque lines in there as well - enough to make me enjoy the songs like I didn't before. It all sounds like a red hot blues band - unlike Saved which came across as stodgy 70s rock.


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 19:00 GMT 
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mjmooney wrote:
Compare that to the 'Jesus' songs on his debut album - I used to like them BECAUSE they sounded like he was being tongue-in-cheek


I don't think he's being tongue in cheek at all. I mean, he's obviously not evangelising, like in 79-81, but he's performing with a clear respect and reverence to the artists who originally recorded them, as opposed to reverence to God.


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 19:24 GMT 

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gibsona07 wrote:
mjmooney wrote:
Compare that to the 'Jesus' songs on his debut album - I used to like them BECAUSE they sounded like he was being tongue-in-cheek


I don't think he's being tongue in cheek at all. I mean, he's obviously not evangelising, like in 79-81, but he's performing with a clear respect and reverence to the artists who originally recorded them, as opposed to reverence to God.
Yes, you're quite right. That's what I meant, really - tongue-in-cheek was the wrong choice of words. But it sounded like a very young lad trying his best to sound like an authentic old testifying bluesman - there's an interview from the time where he very modestly says as much himself, and how he hoped to get there when he was considerably older. Personally, I think he was pretty much there by 1980 - on stage, if not quite in the studio.


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 19:36 GMT 
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mjmooney wrote:
Yes, you're quite right. That's what I meant, really - tongue-in-cheek was the wrong choice of words. But it sounded like a very young lad trying his best to sound like an authentic old testifying bluesman - there's an interview from the time where he very modestly says as much himself, and how he hoped to get there when he was considerably older. Personally, I think he was pretty much there by 1980 - on stage, if not quite in the studio.

Absolutely. There are a lot of awkward moments in that record, like the over-acted anger in See that my grave is kept clean, or House of the rising sun.
Reminds me of the Stones first ever song, As tears go by. some beardless lads writing a song about an old person reflecting back on her life? What the heck? Better start talking about chicks and cars and work your way up from there, kiddos. As they eventually did.
Except of course they never moved on from chicks and cars. Bless ´em


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PostPosted: Tue November 21st, 2017, 20:27 GMT 
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mjmooney wrote:
Oh, indeed, it's all just opinion at the end of the day. As I've said, I was dismayed (like you) by the original albums. STC was slightly er, saved, by the excellent band and production, but I thought Saved was execrable - both message and playing/production. Then I read Paul Williams saying that he too disliked Saved, because it was so inferior to the way those songs had come across in the live shows. That intrigued me, but I was still sceptical. Having heard TIM deluxe, I totally see what he meant. The band were ON FIRE - Fred Tackett particularly, but all of them, really. And Dylan (to these ears) sounded better than has has ever done since - putting all his previous singing styles into his delivery, so that it was obvious he meant it. Compare that to the 'Jesus' songs on his debut album - I used to like them BECAUSE they sounded like he was being tongue-in-cheek, but this 79-81 stuff was something else again. I still wince a bit at some of the lyrics, but actually there's still a lot of great Dylanesque lines in there as well - enough to make me enjoy the songs like I didn't before. It all sounds like a red hot blues band - unlike Saved which came across as stodgy 70s rock.


Great post mj. I really get where you're coming from. It is so subjective - I always preferred the music on Saved to the slick hot licks of Slow Train.. Agree about the great Dylanesque lines. Bob put all his skill and song craft into those songs and it's fascinating to see how he integrated the considerable literary eloquence of scripture into song lyrics.


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