I fear I've been duped. Actually I'm a little annoyed because I was stupid enough to listen to others without checking it out myself - I should have known better than that. The word 'out there' was that Saved - one of only 3 Dylan albums I don't have (others are Knocked Out Loaded and Down in the Groove) - was a terrible album. I'd heard it wasn't worthy of the great man, it was far too full of evangelical zeal to bear listening to - simply it was as bad as Self Portrait and I already knew that was a disaster. So I never bothered with it. I even didn't consider any Saved track for my 'Dylanity'.
Well, let me tell you right now, having spent time with this album myself - this is a great album - it's better than New Morning, Street Legal, Planet Waves, Infidels, Nashville Skyline and Another Side without a shadow of a doubt. It's certainly as good as Desire, Oh Mercy and Slow Train. It's a fine piece of work and I know why it's so good - because it's great gospel.
For me, it's all about context with Dylan. The context for Saved is that Dylan is doing gospel and he does it like the genius he is - stunningly. It appears that most Dylan connoisseurs admit that his so called 'Christian phase' was a time when he was really on top of his game during live performances. YouTube clips like the one below would bear that out. This hit home again in the film 'I'm Not There' with 'Pressing On' proving to be a real high point.
So I ask myself why Saved has got such a bad reputation - why it's slandered and written off as a waste of time? I'd like to think it was more than narrow-mindedness on the part of so called 'liberal' atheists. That it actually had something to do with the songs! But now I've seen the light I'm just not sure what to think. Instead I'll slip Saved into the CD player and 'press on to the higher calling of my Lord.'