T for Tom

Day 22 – Saved – 1980

Posted in A Dylan A Day, Uncategorized by johnsontoms on July 13, 2016



Original Cover.

In a word, magnanimous. Saved is the middle record of the Christian trilogy, and it comes off as a shot in the night. I said before that “Forever Young” was a tent revival, but in metaphor. This is actually that.

From the opening refrain of “Satisfied Mind” to the last pleas of “Are You Ready?,” Saved is Dylan’s richest attempt at converting the masses, a true collection of stadium-ready, evangelical rock’n’roll so big that it was rightly called “too big for the genre” upon its release. And man it’s a banger.

The inverse of what I said about Slow Train Coming is true of Saved – the music is so good that the words come off as seamless. I couldn’t hear this music and think of anything less than spirituality. By the time it crescendos with “Pressing On” I know that answer is in fact, yes, I’m ready.

I started listening to this record in college after seeing I’m Not There, the fragmented and slightly fictionalized retelling of Bob Dylan’s life directed by Todd Haynes. When I saw Christian Bale trying to evangelize a crowd of middle-somethings in a dark basement, I just knew I had to listen to this record. It became and remains a favorite, for its power and glory.

Throughout is the arena sounds of a plucked and banged Stratocaster, filling the space with screams and cries. The organ wails with the heaviest of burdens, and it all makes Dylan’s voice seem like the least important of the bargains. The dragging, train-like roller “Solid Rock” continues the revival started by the title-track’s frantic and frenetic pace, supplemented by the wiliest piano solo you’ve ever heard. Whoever these players are behind Dylan are surely some of the best he’s ever had.

And all the while I don’t mind the prayers and sermons. Somehow it would be less perfect if it weren’t so strange.


Re-release cover, after fears of it being too religious.

Song: “Solid Rock”

It’s supposed to mean that the lord is his solid rock, but really it’s cause this song is Solid Rock’n’Roll.


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