Slow Train Coming Album

Highly Appreciated

Slow Train Coming  is the nineteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 20, 1979 by Columbia Records.  It was the artist’s first effort since becoming a born-again Christian, and all of the songs either express his strong personal faith, or stress the importance of Christian teachings and philosophy.  The evangelical nature of the record alienated many of Dylan’s existing fans; at the same time, many Christians were drawn into his fan base.  Slow Train Coming was listed at #16 in the 2001 book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.  The album was generally well-reviewed in the secular press, and the single “Gotta Serve Somebody” became his first hit in three years, winning Dylan the Grammy for best rock vocal performance by a male in 1980.  The album peaked at #2 on the charts in the UK and went platinum in the US, where it reached #3.  (More from Wikipedia)

In like manner, I don’t view the release of Another Side of Bob Dylan as a radical break from the past, but rather a natural evolution of his music.  For that matter, I feel the same way about Bob Dylan’s “going electric” on his next two albums, Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited; and also his Christian period in the trilogy of albums from 1979-1981:  Slow Train Coming, Savedand Shot of Love.  Bob Dylan is very much undervalued as an instrumentalist, in my judgment; his guitar playing – and his harmonica, and his work as a pianist – is so strong that I often don’t even notice whether a song is acoustic or electric.  As an example, until I saw it pointed out in Wikipedia while I was researching this month’s post, I had not realized that one of my Top Ten favorite Bob Dylan songs – the last and longest track on Highway 61 Revisited, “Desolation Row” – was the only non-electric song on the album. 


(May 2013)


Last edited: March 22, 2021