If you folks remember just before the break we started a new Thursday serial just before the holidays. Now that the break and end of the year posts are out of the way we can get back to that for you. The segment will be called I got them higher calling blues . As I said earlier it's a pretty open format that aims to cover some of our favourite songs in the gospel/religious tradition. By no means is this going to be a sunday service folks. We're talking rock and roll music concerned with some of those big questions.
RecentlyI've been listening to Bob Dylan's so-called gospel albums. Most people have either heard or heard of Slow Train Coming. That's the album that finally netted Bobby his first Grammy. The two albums that directly followed and completed his "religious phase" were 1980's Saved and '81's Shot of Love. Criticized by many during this time for buying into organized religion, the criticisms are probably rooted in the old guard of Dylan fans uncomfortable with Bob praising the same God he once seemingly forsaked. Religious themes were clearly not a new thing for him. His lyrics prior to this have often called on religious theme and symbolism and have often alluded to a spirituality of the Judeo/Christian type.
The album begins with the Red Hayes/Jack Rhodes composition A Satisfied Mind. All sparse piano keys and slow drawl as Dylan hums, "it's so hard to find/one rich man in ten with a satisfied mind." The title track is a funky number that echoes the chorus of "I've been saved/by the blood of the lamb/..And I just wanna thank you lord/I Just wanna thank you Lord." The last number for today is Pressing On. Situated midway through the album, the track is a burning ember of resilience. He offers no apologies for the wrongs he committed in the past, "Because He sinned I got no choice, it run in my vein." Really the centrepiece of the album and what Kurt Loder called "the melodic descendant of the Band's 'The Weight.'"
A Satisfied Mind
On an unrelated note, for those London area readers. The Weather Underground are releasing their new (and first) album tonight at The Salt Lounge. No doubt you'll be able to pick up Ontario the Chemical while you're there. A great group of guys I'm really proud of and excited to see the finished product. You can stream some tracks on their myspace here. We'll have a writeup next week about the band and new cd so stay tuned.