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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 01:03 GMT 
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I don't know if it's written anywhere, I know Dylan was/is religious and I was just wondering if Dylan ever or regularly went to Church during those Gospel years or still now. I have my reasons for asking, just wondering if anybody knows.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 01:12 GMT 
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In addition to "Chronicles" I've only read Howard Sounes's biography (poor choice, I know, but the selection is scarce here) and I think it states he did back when he first became a reborn Christian, but not on a regular basis. I think.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 01:19 GMT 
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Thanks Gunfighter. I liked to think he rarely went. First off I don't wanna offend anybody by saying this, so if you're deeply religious stop reading now...

The reason I asked is because I personally don't find the idea of Religion a bad thing, but I've always thought that Church people were hypocrites and gossipers for the most part. I know there are exceptions. It's just that in my experience most Church people are constantly saying things like "Did you hear about so and so's Son/Daughter. Oh His/Her parents must be so embarassed" or "Did you see what He/She was wearing? You'd think you'd dress up a little if you were coming to Church"...ya know that sort of thing. I've just always had the thought that if you were searching for God, that's not in itself a bad thing, but Church isn't the place you'll find him at I don't think.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 01:45 GMT 
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You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You'll find God in the church of your choice
You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion
I may be right or wrong
You'll find them both
In the Grand Canyon
At sundown


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 02:38 GMT 
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He attended a Bible study at the Vineyard Fellowship but I don't recall reading/hearing that he attended church.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 02:40 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
He attended a Bible study at the Vineyard Fellowship

Yes... actually this may be what I meant.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 02:57 GMT 
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TheGunfighter wrote:
Untrodden Path wrote:
He attended a Bible study at the Vineyard Fellowship

Yes... actually this may be what I meant.

Most of the details that I have ever read about this was from the man himself in an interview at the time.... but I don't think in all the reading I have ever read that he attended services anywhere else regularly..... He did have them pray together before the shows at that time....


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 05:21 GMT 
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Well I'm sittin' in church in an old wooden chair.
I knew nobody would look for me there.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 09:02 GMT 
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If he didn't go to church in 1979/80, there was surely some kind of Vineyard friends worship of some sort or another on Sunday morns.

Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 09:04 GMT 
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To clarify my point, above -- I think it's fine that he became an enthusiastic Christian, and I also think it's fine that he wrote nothing but Christian songs for two years. What staggers me is (a) that he joined a highly dubious (IMO) fadd-ish Californian group, and (b) that he felt the need to proselytize on stage every night.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 09:06 GMT 
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(Sorry to ramble, but...) I guess the contemporary equivalent would be if Eddie Vedder were to suddenly quit Pearl Jam to join the Jehovah's Witnesses, write nothing but religious songs, and then warn his audience every night that they were going to burn in hell.

Hard to imagine...


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 12:52 GMT 
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panther wrote:
If he didn't go to church in 1979/80, there was surely some kind of Vineyard friends worship of some sort or another on Sunday morns.

Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?

panther wrote:
To clarify my point, above -- I think it's fine that he became an enthusiastic Christian, and I also think it's fine that he wrote nothing but Christian songs for two years. What staggers me is (a) that he joined a highly dubious (IMO) fadd-ish Californian group, and (b) that he felt the need to proselytize on stage every night.
Good points...
panther wrote:
(Sorry to ramble, but...) I guess the contemporary equivalent would be if Eddie Vedder were to suddenly quit Pearl Jam to join the Jehovah's Witnesses, write nothing but religious songs, and then warn his audience every night that they were going to burn in hell.

Hard to imagine...
Another good point but not so hard to imagine... North American Protestant seminaries and schools of theology are filled with middle-aged men and women who are making significant career shifts mid-life. It happens for a variety of reasons. Burn out, tragedy, seeking new meaning and purpose... that which once satisfied no longer provides interest or the sense of fulfillment it once did.

Dylan had gone through a painful divorce. Drug and alcohol had fueled much of his life, he had sought the pleasures of a rock & roll life style and was rumored to have enocountered numerous women along the way, at some level felt the weight of being the spokesman for a generation (though reluctantly)... was greatly loved and heavily criticized for nearly everything he did... and in the end, all of these things had not brought him a sense of deep meaning or contentment. He was still restless and probably a bit disillusioned with it all.

His familiarity with the Bible is evident in his entire body of work but he turned and went deeper into it looking for something that would bring some sense of meaning and peace to it all and being Bob Dylan, he dived in headfirst.

I sense that at the time, some of this was highly rewarding for him personally. It allowed him to become someone new and shake the Bob Dylan persona of the '60s and 70s to a degree and allowed him a freedom to explore. You can even hear it in the concerts when he reminds those shouting out that he didn't play those songs anymore. I think it was very productive for him.

He eventually circled back and began playing the old material again but with a renewed vigor. He's been remaking himself, actually from about the beginning, but it was an important incarnation of his career.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 13:20 GMT 
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I feel like the Vineyard Fellowship wasn't a choice of worship style, more a choice of "This is where I'm going because it won't collapse from the weight of Bob Dylan"

I mean, wasn't it a 'celebrity' frequented place? While on the outside that seems awful and vain, its more a precaution for protection. Bob Dylan can't really walk into a normal church.

He is a smart enough man to distinguish between the radical BS and the truth, and I think he knew that.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 13:32 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
being Bob Dylan, he dived in headfirst.


Yeah, when he goes in a direction, he goes all the way. He's said as much somewhere.

At first glance it does look rather odd, and the more you look at it, the more all of the pieces fit. The 'Born Again' idea fits right in with everything. Funny, I'm listening to My Back Pages as I type, and it pretty much describes what's going on in 1979-80--a worldview denounced in 1964. Interesting that it served as the sort of prologue to all those 1978 shows.

(didn't Prince go through a Jehovah's Witness era btw)


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 13:50 GMT 

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Dylan attended some services, but from what I remember hearing, it was mutually decided that for Bob to attend regular services may not be wise considering media attention, etc. During the 1980 Gospel tours, and possibly the November '79 tour also, one of the Vineyard pastors travelled with Bob & the band at his request. Dylan apparently stopped taking one of the pastors along towards the end of '80 or at the start of the 1981 world tour.

About Vineyard. Vineyard CA was an evangelical group attended by quite a well-educated, high profile crowd. Certainly many pentecostals, televangelist type groups and 'Faith' churches would look upon Vineyard as very moderate and even wishy-washy. No hard-sell evangelism. It's not unfair to say that Bob took what he heard in Vineyard and pushed things a bit further on the urgency and conviction fronts. A lot of what we hear from Bob in 79/80 was Vineyard boosted by Dylan's own fervour and, many would say, immature zeal.

During 1979 Bob attended a 3 month Bible Study Course run by Vineyard. Included a bit of info in those days.

Bob Dylan: At first I said, 'There's no way I can devote three months to this. I've got to be back on the road soon.' But I was sleeping one day and I just sat up in bed at seven in the morning and I was compelled to get dressed and drive over to Bible school... I didn't know myself if I could go for three months. But I did begin telling people after a couple of months, and a lot of them got angry at me. [1980]

One suspects that it was Dylan's way of 'telling a few people' that got them angry, not necessarily the message that Christ is Lord. References to 'so-called friends' and 'companions' who'll 'someday account for all the deeds [they] done' abound on the songs he was writing contemporaneously, songs of praise and damnation like 'Slow Train,I Believe in You,Precious Angel,' and 'No Man Righteous (No Not One).' If the simple acceptance of Christ did not imbue him with righteous fervor, the adoption of the Vineyard brand of Christianity most certainly did. And, when it came to righteousness, the author of 'The Times They Are A-Changin was still up there with the best of them.

The three-month course at the Vineyard School of Discipleship demanded regular attendance- four days a week. The regime itself perhaps reminded Dylan of the breakthrough he'd achieved with Norman Raeban back in 1974. The classes were held in a back room, above a Realtor's office in Reseda, California, and lasted from 8:30 A.M. till noon. An anecdote recounted in Stairway to Heaven, a thorough survey of Christian rock music by Gavin Seay and Mary Neely, reveals a Dylan surprisingly eager to participate in the process:

During class breaks, Dylan would often walk into the parking lot in back of the prefab building, dressed against the brisk morning air in a leather jacket and stocking cap, to smoke Marlboro cigarettes and talk with his girlfriend ...One morning a student stood to report a dream he had the night before. In the dream, the members of the class were gathered in an upper room, a beautiful cedar-paneled loft lit golden by sun pouring through a skylight. One corner of the room, the student said, had been left unfinished, exposing insulation padding, ducts, and a tangle of dangerously frayed electric wiring. The hazardous wiring, it seemed, had to be pulled down before the room could be safe for habitation. It was a difficult, dangerous job, and the dreamer was frightened, until an unidentified man assured him that only boldness was required. Encouraged, the dreamer thrust his hands into the wiring and pulled. It fell away, and through the hole in the roof, fresh, clean water began to flow. From his seat in the corner of the room, Dylan's eyes were bright. He was nodding and smiling as a moment of unmistakable recognition passed between the student and the star... Bob Dylan's interpretation of his classmate's dream of the upper room was the simple one: 'Old things are passed away, and all things are made new.' Old circuits must be stripped for the cleansing water to flow.

The course pounded into Dylan a responsibility that devolved to all fellowship members- to evangelize. Pastor Gulliksen insists, 'It was an intensive course studying about the life of Jesus; principles of discipleship; the Sermon on the Mount; what it is to be a believer; how to grow; how to share... but at the same time a good solid Bible-study overview type of ministry.' The important phrases here are 'principles of discipleship' and 'how to share.' The later controversy surrounding Dylan's conversion might have been considerably more muted if it had not been for this evangelical codex. Even fans who could tolerate a Dylan for whom Jesus was the savior foretold in the Old Testament found out there was 'no neutral ground' when it came to the 'principles of discipleship.'


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 13:57 GMT 

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Some helpful excerpts from 'Down the Highway', from a wiki entry.

There were signs during the latter stages of the 1978 tour that Bob had become caught up in this enthusiasm for Jesus Christ. Bob met his old college friend Dave Whitaker after a concert in Oakland, California, in mid-November, and spoke to Dave's eleven-year-old son, Ubi. "Would you send me a guitar?" asked the kid. The next day a truck pulled up with a gift from Dylan- a brand-new Fender Stratocaster decorated with quotations from the Book of Paul. A few days later Bob played a show in San Diego. He picked up a cross that a fan had thrown on stage and started wearing it. Shortly after this incident Bob felt what he later described as "this vision and feeling," which he believed to be the presence of Jesus Christ in the room. Billy Cross was sitting next to Bob on the bus when he looked over and noticed that Bob seemed to be writing a spiritual song- "Slow Train Coming"- the lyrics of which were only partly formed at this time but which described a resurgence of faith of God. The band played the song at a sound check in Nashville on December 2.

The catalyst to Bob's extraordinary full-blown conversion to Christianity seems to have been his relationship with sometime girlfriend Mary Alice Artes, although his relationship with Carolyn Dennis also focused his mind on the subject. Artes was linked with the Vineyard Fellowship, a small but growing evangelical church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. The Fellowship was founded in 1974 by Kenn GUlliksen, a singing pastor with a Lutheran background. "I did an album of my own and had a number-one song in the Christian world," he says. "It sounded like The Carpenters, it was so boring." Popular music was used to enliven services at the Fellowship, with people encouraged to get up and play songs. Several well-known musicians were associated with the Vineyard Fellowship, including a member of The Eagles. Church meetings were informal and Pastor Kenn often dressed in shorts. Because the Fellowship did not have a dedicated church building, they would lease buildings or meet on the beach. Ideologically, the Vineyard Fellowship was Bible-based, taking a fairly strong line on drugs, excessive drinking, and adultery.

Pastor Kenn says Mary Alice Artes approached him one Sunday in January 1979 after a service in a rented church building in Reseda and said she wanted somebody to speak with her boyfriend at home. Two of Pastor Kenn's colleagues, Paul Edmond and Larry Myers, duly went with Artes to an apartment in the West Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood. It was here that they met Bob. According to Pastor Kenn, who received a report back, Bob told them his life was empty. The pastors replied that God was the "only ultimate success" and Bob indicated that he wanted what Pastor Kenn calls a "lifestyle relationship" with God. "He was apparently ready to ask for God's forgiveness for sin," says Pastor Kenn. Larry Myers spoke to Bob about Jesus Christ, and talked about the Bible, from Genesis through to the Revelation of St. John the Divine. "Sometime in the next few days, privately and on his own, Bob accepted Christ and believed that Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah," says Myers.

Bob later said that Mary Alice Artes was instrumental in his conversion. But she resists suggestions that any one person was responsible. "I cannot lead anyone to the Lord... I could only say that God did what he had to do," she says. "I think that too many people wanna be glorifying themselves in a situation that really should not have any glory at all."

Bob and Mary Alice enrolled in the Vineyard Fellowship's School of Discipleship, attending Bible class most weekday mornings for more than three months at the beginning of 1979. At first Bob thought there was no way that he could devote so much time to the project; he felt he had to get back on the road. Soon, though, he found himself awake at 7 A.M., compelled to get up and drive to the real estate office in Reseda where Bible classes were held. "I couldn't believe I was there," he said.

Assistant Pastor Bill Dwyer, who taught a class on the Sermon on the Mount, recalls Bob as being withdrawn in Bible class and also when he made rare appearances at church. "He probably needs to be," says Pastor Bill. "The few times he would [come] into church people would glom onto him: Oh, it's Bob Dylan!" Indeed, Pastor Bill, who had all Bob's albums, had to restrain himself from doing the same.

It was during this late winter/spring period of 1979 that Mary Alice Ares was baptized in a swimming pool at Pastor Bill's house.

"This was total immersion. Because baptism is a symbol of burial, burying guilt, and then pulling the new man out of the water," says Pastor Kenn. Bob attended the baptism and, not long afterward, Bob was himself baptized, probably in the ocean, which was where the fellowship normally conducted baptisms. By being immersed in water, Bob became, in common parlance, a born-again Christian, though he would later shrink from the term, claiming he had never used it. Yet he was clearly quoted in a 1980 interview with trusted Los Angeles Times journalist Robert Hilburn saying: "I truly has a born-again experience, if you want to call it that. It's an overused term, but it's something that people can relate to."

An element of religiosity had always existed in Bob's work, and it was particularly strong on the album John Wesley Harding. Religion had in fact been with him since childhood when his father instilled a strict moral code in his eldest son and sent him to study with a rabbi for his bar mitzvah. As a songwriter, Bob had always felt himself to be a channel for inspiration. At the start of his career, he told Sing Out! that words just came to him: "The songs are there. They exist all by themselves just waiting for someone to write them down." In this sense, he had a powerful everyday connection with a mysterious source of information and, over the years, he came to think that the songs arose from God. It was a small step, apparently, from this to flinging himself headfirst into orthodox religion. Yet Bob of course was born and raised in the Jewish faith, and it is fundamentally wrong to most Jews to think of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. "For a person to be a 'completed Jew' is very offensive to them," admits Pastor Kenn. "They think that is an oxymoron, where as I see it, Christians see it, and Jewish Christians see it at the [truth]." Indeed, Bob's embracing of Christianity caused consternation, and some offense, among his Jewish friends and family. "I think it was for publicity, that's what I think. Because he is Jewish-minded, plenty Jewish-minded. He was brought up that way. He was bar mitzvahed," says Bob's aunt, Ethel Crystal.

Bob's conversion to Christianity also caused considerable upset to his own children, who had been raised in the Jewish faith. Suddenly, packs of journalists were following their father to the Vineyard Fellowship in the hope of getting pictures of him going to a Christian church, and then staking out his home. The children saw this commotion when they visited their father. It was embarrassing and one of the few times when his celebrity was a problem in their lives.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 14:00 GMT 
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Still Go Barefoot wrote:
You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You'll find God in the church of your choice
You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion
I may be right or wrong
You'll find them both
In the Grand Canyon
At sundown


:)


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 15:07 GMT 
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Thank you very much gerard :)


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 16:23 GMT 
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didn't he go public saying that in those tours he even engaged a priest to administer Communion?

is my memory serving me wrong?


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 16:26 GMT 
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I posted before reading Gerard's posts.
Thanks, Gerard.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 16:38 GMT 
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panther wrote:
Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?


I still don't understand why he did it and find it a bit off-putting, to be honest.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 17:15 GMT 
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panther wrote:
If he didn't go to church in 1979/80, there was surely some kind of Vineyard friends worship of some sort or another on Sunday morns.

Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?


Of course everybody found it odd. Then again there's some lyrical evidence that he couldn't get his appetite under control. It's always very easy for non-addicts to pass judgment. He got help where he got help. I think the relish he took in the idea of judgment was the big surprise; ordinarily one would expect the chastened to show a little couth. The Slow Train songs come from a person who's been laughed out of the room and is still really pissed about it.

An even bigger surprise to me was how long the attitude stayed around: I hear it almost as much on Oh Mercy and it still pipes up from time to time on every record he makes.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 17:57 GMT 
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Thanks very much gerard for your intriguing and insightful posts, and panther the reason I asked the question is because I was thinking the same thing you were in your posts. This has been a very productive thread as far as answering questions I was wondering.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 18:19 GMT 
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henrypussycat wrote:
panther wrote:
If he didn't go to church in 1979/80, there was surely some kind of Vineyard friends worship of some sort or another on Sunday morns.

Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?


Of course everybody found it odd. Then again there's some lyrical evidence that he couldn't get his appetite under control. It's always very easy for non-addicts to pass judgment. He got help where he got help. I think the relish he took in the idea of judgment was the big surprise; ordinarily one would expect the chastened to show a little couth. The Slow Train songs come from a person who's been laughed out of the room and is still really pissed about it.

An even bigger surprise to me was how long the attitude stayed around: I hear it almost as much on Oh Mercy and it still pipes up from time to time on every record he makes.



Under many points of view, it's even deeper than it was at the NBC time.
Sugar Baby and Ain't Talking are to the 3 Xan records what an adult faith is to a teen creed.

Those who believe Dylan is too clever to believe in God must live with it: he still does.
:)
(he always has, since 67, at least)
Maybe more, as I said before, than in that juveniile childish rush of the last 70's.


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PostPosted: Sat December 10th, 2011, 18:24 GMT 
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Giada wrote:
panther wrote:
Does anyone find it odd that Bob Dylan in 1978/79 -- one of the most intelligent, independent-thinking, and successful artists in the world at that point (for 16 years) -- would overnight go whole-hog into fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity of the California cult-ish variety??? I mean, what was he thinking...?


I still don't understand why he did it and find it a bit off-putting, to be honest.

There was an interview, Rolling Stone, I think..... right after BOTT was out..... it turns out the interviewer knew the same fortune teller that Dylan knew.... don't remember the details..... but do remember Dylan's answer when asked why he would go to a fortune teller..... "when you have the house fall on you, you use whatever you can to help you climb out from under it".......I think that house falling was his divorce...... I think he has found himself under the whole house many times and reaches for whatever he can find to help get back on the road again.............


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