Q - 7/01, p.45
"...The first of the born-again albums...both fascinating and accomplished..."
Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar); Mark Knopfler (guitar); Muscle Shoals Horns (horns); Barry Beckett (keyboards, percussion); Tim Drummond (bass); Pick Withers (drums); Mickey Buckins (percussion); Carolyn Dennis, Helena Springs, Regina Havis (background vocals).
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Of all the pitstops made by the nomadically creative Dylan, none was more unusual than his brief conversion to Christianity in the late '70s. SLOW TRAIN COMING was the first of two records (SAVED being the other) that found Zimmerman exploring his newfound faith. Recorded at Memphis' famed Muscle Shoals Studios and produced by soul vets Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett, SLOW TRAIN's supporting cast includes Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on guitar and Pick Withers on drums, along with a handful of studio musicians.
Knopfler's crisp guitar playing is surrounded by a punchy horn section and a phalanx of female background singers who are a perfect compliment to Dylan's revitalized vocals. Songs such as "When He Returns" and "Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking" reverberate with the conviction of Dylan's new faith whereas "When You Gonna Wake Up" simultaneously celebrates America's greatness as a country and warns of the need to seek a new set of values. Dylan eventually won a Best Rock Vocal Grammy for "Gotta Serve Somebody," but the enigmatic one renounced his conversion to Christianity by 1983.