Happy 79th Birthday, Bob Dylan: Flashback to a Rare 1969 Gospel Album of Dylan Songs Featuring the Great Merry Clayton
It’s Bob Dylan’s 79th birthday. We’re celebrating, of course, but also anticipating his new album in a couple of weeks.
So for Bob’s birthday I thought we’d go back to 1969 to a little known album called “Dylan’s Gospel.” The great Lou Adler produced it for his then new Ode Records. Within two years, Ode would take off with Carole King, and Cheech and Chong, among others.
For “Dylan’s Gospel,” an album of Dylan covers, Adler brought in some stunning singers including Merry Clayton (the Rolling Stones, Carole King) and Gloria Jones– the very same Gloria Jones who had a soul hit in the UK with “Tainted Love,” a song Soft Cell would cover in 1979 and turn into a new whole new hit again.
The group called themselves “The Brothers and the Sisters.” There were so many terrific singers including Clydie King, Edna Wright, and so on. All the names are on Wikipedia.
I’m putting the Spotify embed below, and a promotional documentary. But first, Merry Clayton singing “The Mighty Quinn,” which had been a Dylan cover hit for Manfred Mann. Merry, a superstar, makes this a candidate for best track on the album. Merry, out on the West Coast, we salute you as always.
Dylan wasn’t into gospel in 1969. But ten years later he was, just think of “Tight Connection to My Heart.” Adler, as with everything, was ahead of his time. “Dylan’s Gospel” was a flop but it was re-released, I just learned, in 2014. Who knew?
Happy Birthday, Bob! Thanks, Lou and Merry and Gloria.