Street Date: January 19, 2018
Item Number (DPCI): 246-09-6379
Gotta Serve Somebody - The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan is all about redemption. That's apparent enough in the music, where the struggle between sin and salvation is inherent in the tunes that are interpreted here by a host of superb gospel artists. But in a larger sense, the very existence of this DVD (and the Grammy-nominated CD that preceded it in 2003) can be viewed as redemption for Dylan himself, who weathered another controversy and emerged, if not triumphant, then certainly vindicated. When he plugged in an electric guitar in 1965, he was labeled Judas by the folkie faithful; ironically, when he turned to Jesus some 15 years later, proclaiming himself born again and releasing Slow Train Coming and Saved, the outcry was even louder. But once again Dylan has the last laugh, as now, a quarter of a century after the fact, it's clear that the material on those recordings was his strongest not only since 1975's Blood on the Tracks but perhaps since his '60s heyday. The quality of the songs lies in what Jerry Wexler, co-producer of the two Dylan albums, describes as the immaculate funk of the music, and especially in the heartfelt simplicity (especially by Dylan standards) and emotional directness of the lyrics; clearly, that's what attracted great gospel singers like Shirley Caesar (singing Gotta Serve Somebody, the most recognized song on the two Dylan albums), Dottie Peoples (a powerful version of the beautiful I Believe in You), the Mighty Clouds of Joy (a rockin', sanctified Saved), the Fairfield Four (the stirring, a cappella Are You Ready), and the angel-voiced Aaron Neville (Saving Grace) to this project. We also get Dylan himself, performing When He Returns at a 1980 concert, along with an animated rendering of his original Gotta Serve Somebody. Hallelujah, y'all. --Sam Graham Amazon.com Bonus features include: Animated video to -Bob Dylan's original GRAMMY® -winning, 'Gotta Serve Somebody.'