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  Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Legacy

This collection features new interpretations by several Gospel and R&B luminaries of songs from Bob Dylanís Gospel-themed albums, Slow Train Coming (1979) and Saved (1980).  Shirley Ceasar turns in a tent-shaking performance of Slow Train Comingís "Gotta Serve Somebody," fronting a soul band akin to Booker T and the MGs.  Gospel quartet The Fairfield Four visit Savedís pre-apocalyptic "Are You Ready" as a stirring acapella.  Organ luminary Billy Preston accompanies Helen Baylorís soulful turn on "What Can I Do For You?"  The rousing jump of Mighty Clouds of Joyís "Saved" is perfect accompaniment for cartwheeling down the aisles.  

Not all the tracks scale such peaks; Sounds of Blacknessí choral rendition of "Solid Rock" is a bit slick and sugar-coated to appeal to most Dylan aficionados. The choral format isnít the problem as the Chicago Mass Choir and soloist Regina McCrary raise goosebumps with their take at "Pressing On."  Dylan himself and his band join Mavis Staples for "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking," leading with some amusing and casual banter between the lauded songwriter and stellar Gospel singer.

Jeff Elbel 10/14/2003

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