The final studio album of significance to come out of Muscle Shoals Studio at the end of the 1970s was Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming”, featuring the classic hit single “Gotta Serve Somebody”. The album was co-produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett. This was the nineteenth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 20th 1979 by Columbia Records. It was the artist’s first effort since becoming a born-again Christian, and all of the songs expressed his strong personal faith in God. The album was the only studio project relating to the Christian and Gospel music sector in America to be certified platinum according to the RIAA.
The album became Bob Dylan’s highest-charting album since 1976 by going to number three on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in America. In England it went one position higher to number two on the UK Official Pop Albums Chart week-ending September 8th 1979. The album received a gold plaque from the BPI for over one hundred thousand copies sold across the UK. The album also received double-platinum status in Canada. On the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart the album went to number one week-ending October 8th 1979 for two weeks. The song “Gotta Serve Somebody” was awarded a Grammy Award for “Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male” in 1980.
In 1980 Dylan went to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to record his follow-up Gospel album, entitled “Saved”. It was co-produced by Jerry Wexler with additional support from Spooner Oldham on keyboards and Tim Drummond on bass guitar. Drummond is well-known for playing with Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, James Brown and Neil Young. The album “Saved” did not chart very well in the United States, but was more successful in England, receiving a silver disc from the BPI for sixty thousand copies sold and peaking at number three on the UK Official Pop Albums Chart week-ending June 28th 1980.
Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin 1980