Album cover of Slow train coming, by Bob Dylan. Snapshot from

Tonight I listen to the album Slow train coming, by Bob Dylan. It was produced 1979.

This album is from Bob Dylans outspoken new born Christian period. In the first track Gotta serve somebody, Bob tells in a straight forward black and white way: 

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

The maybe most well known track is Man gave name to all the animals. At least it is the song I mostly think of when I think of this album. Also this one has a clear Christian text about the creation of the world. It has lyrics that makes me smile, as example:

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal that liked to growl
Big furry paws and he liked to howl
Great big furry back and furry hair
“Ah, think I’ll call it a bear”

The last track is also on the Christian theme with a telling title; When he returns. I may not agree on all his theology on this album. But it feels as he is honest and want to tell the world what he has witnessed. The album is to me well worth listen to.

This was the first Dylan record I bought. Or to be more accurate, I bought it as a cassette tape. I listened and analyzed.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter had an article this weekend telling the music you listen to when you are around 14 that is most important for the rest of your life. Ref: Därför sätter musiken spår – när vi är 14 år

I was about 15-16 when Slow train coming was released. I do not recall exactly when I got my hands on this cassette, but it was when it still was relatively new. Vaguely I recall I maybe was so early in purchase that I even had to wait until it was available in the local music store. So even if I was somewhat older than 14, the album and the artist has definite been with me all years along. I cannot remember how many times I have listened to him live in Stockholm area (including at Lida in Botkyrka).

I will never always hear what he sings, nor will I understand all his lyrics even if I have the text in front of me. But I do understand some and I will keep on listen to him. Slow train coming was my first Dylan album but far from the last one.

Henrik Hemrin
9 February 2021

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