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Liner notes interviewing Lou Adler, Merry Clayton and Edna Wright with archive photos
Remastered from the original stereo 1/4" tapes
Expanded gatefold tip-on jacket
Of all the great back catalogs in the history of rock, Bob Dylanâ€™s is among the most covered, his acolytes ranging from The Byrds to Adele via Manfred Mann and Guns Nâ€™ Roses. But something tells us you havenâ€™t heard anything quite like Dylanâ€™s Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers brought gloriously to the fore for a very special, one-off record.
Originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, this rare and sought-after album finds the California collective covering a clutch of Dylan classics in the eraâ€™s revolutionary gospel style. Produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole Kingâ€™s mega-successful Tapestry, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Merry Clayton, the powerhouse singer best known for sparring with Mick Jagger on Rolling Stonesâ€™ â€œGimme Shelterâ€ (and star of the recent documentary 20 Feet from Stardom), appears here, as does Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of â€œTainted Loveâ€ in 1965.
The cast of 27 singers also includes Ruby Johnson, Shirley Matthews, Clydie King, Patrice Holloway, Julia Tillman and more. The tracklist includes some of the best-loved Dylan songs from the singer songwriterâ€™s most productive decade, including â€œLay Lady Layâ€, â€œAll Along The Watchtowerâ€, â€œMy Back Pagesâ€ and â€œJust Like A Womanâ€.
The genesis of the project was Lou Adler, the music business visionary who staged the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. He imagined a project that combined the songs of Dylan with L.A.â€˜s most sought after session singers, most of which began their singing in the Baptist churches of South Los Angeles. â€œListening to Dylanâ€™s songs, I felt there was a gospel-like feel to them, both spiritually and lyrically,â€ Adler says in the liner notes. â€œSo those two ideas, to work with these singers and to explore that side of Dylan â€“ came together.â€
Recording sessions at Sound Recorders Studios in Hollywood were a four-day party, with food, drink and far more musicians than were ordered, many of the singers bringing along cousins, mothers, partners and more. Carole King came to hear, as did Peggy Lipton and Papa John Phillips. It was a rock â€˜nâ€™ roll version of a gospel church. â€œLou just put on a big, crazy party,â€ remembers Edna Wright. â€œHe had all these people together, all this raw talent. And we were there for nothing but the love of singing.â€
Presented in this long-overdue reissue is an often-overlooked album and a must for Dylan fans. The word of Dylan has rarely sounded so stirring.
1. The Times They Are A Changin'
2. I Shall Be Released
3. Lay Lady Lay
4. Hey Mr. Tambourine Man
5. All Along The Watchtower
6. The Mighty Quinn
7. Chimes Of Freedom
8. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
9. My Back Pages
10. Just Like A Woman