Today’s song I Believe in You and Precious Angel are my favourite songs from Dylan’s conversion to Christianity record Slow Train Coming. I remember in my second year on Exped at Sea listening to this song ad nauseam. You would think I had grown tired of it over the years after the hundreds of listens. I even tried Dylanholics Anonymous. Nope, didn’t work. Each new listen sounds like it’s been reborn.
I think what impressed back then and still does now was how such an artist with the world at his feet and millions and millions of dollars has the humility, openness to express himself as vulnerably as he does here and with such conviction. That reminds me of the story of Office Buble picking Dylan up for vagrancy in her police car in New Jersey.
They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through
And they, they look at me and frown
They’d like to drive me from this town
They don’t want me around
Because I believe in you
Slow Train Coming is the 19th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 20, 1979. I too became a born-again Christian at about the same age as Dylan and I can resonate with a lot of the material here and the proximate Christian albums which were scorned by nearly all and sundry. The Christian albums are now seen in a more favourable light because of the context and sheer quality of some of the songs. I think today’s song will be one of Dylan’s crowning outputs from this period. The single from the record Gotta Serve Somebody became his first hit in three years, winning Dylan the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. I remember Nick Cave professing he got into music because of that song.
Someone wrote about ‘I Believe in You‘ in the YT comments below: I’ll never forget Bob on Saturday Night Live singing this song. That was perfect evangelism in the music world. I began writing songs because of that performance.
1. Slow Train Coming – wikipedia
I was just listening to Man Gave Names To All The Animals yesterday…I like what I’ve heard from these albums. I didn’t know much about him at that time but I remember signs up around Nashville that he was touring in the late seventies and early eighties.
Hey Max, I like his versions of that song when he toured with Tom Petty live in 86.
I never grow tired of ‘I Believe in You’. I love many parts, but the moment that always struck me is at 1:10 in the video when he sings ‘A thousand miles from home’. Just the delivery of that line and how the instrumentals round it off – really does it for me. He probably received more protests in that Christian tour than he did in 66. Lol.
Isn’t that crazy that he would recieve so much hate over that? It spilled over a little in Infidels also…I just wrote up “Sweetheart Like You” but it wasn’t heavy like it was in those three albums.
Delivery of lines…he is a master at that.
Great song ‘Sweetheart Like You’! I look forward to reading the article.
I think he preached a bit on that Christian tour and may have pissed people off. Yep, delivery total. The timbre and inflection of the voice. Masterly indeed.