Artist: Bob Dylan
Songs: A Satisfied Mind [Jack Rhodes & Joe "Red" Hayes]/Saved [Bob Dylan & Tim Drummond]/Covenant Woman/What Can I Do For You?/Solid Rock/Pressing On/In the Garden/Saving Grace/Are You Ready
Written by: Bob Dylan, except where noted
Produced by: Jerry Wexler & Barry Beckett
Thoughts: I bought this album with the lowest expectations possible. I had heard nothing but awful things about it. When I first put it in and sat through it, I realized immediately that the critics had no idea what they were talking about. This album’s got some great material on it.
It starts with “A Satisfied Mind”, the only cover from the gospel era, which acts sort of as the tune-up before the album explodes with the amazing “Saved”, co-written with bassist Tim Drummond. Wow…this song just rolls onto the stereo and it’s probably the hardest rocking Dylan track since the material on Desire. “Covenant Woman” kind of kills the moment. As the longest song on the album, it is probably the weakest song here. “What Can I Do For You?” is also excruciatingly slow, making you wonder if “Saved” was truly a fluke. “Solid Rock” proves that it’s not the case. Bizarrely, this magnificent track has proved to be the only song here to get the distinction of being on a compilation. It made an appearance on Biograph, but since then, it hasn’t appeared anywhere else. I love this song and I did get to feature it in my Gospel Dylan podcast. “Pressing On” is just as good as “Solid Rock”, if not better. It is an amazing gospel song with all the power that anything from Dylan’s other albums has. The last third of the album is still pretty good, although they fail to reach the plateau of “Solid Rock” and “Pressing On”. “In The Garden” is good, although the problem with “Saving Grace” is Dylan’s vocals feel a little weak. “Are You Ready” proves to be a much better closer than “When He Returns”. It sounds perfect for the album and doesn’t completely shift gears like “When He Returns”.
Simply put, Saved is a wonderful album that is unfairly neglected. If an album like Street Legal can get the full remaster/remix treatment, what about this album? Yes, the lyrics are overtly religious, more so than on Slow Train Coming, but the music is so much more enjoyable. You can tell Dylan hangs on every word and means everything he says. Get Saved now, if you haven’t already.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008