Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 – Bob Dylan (Box Set, Deluxe Edition)
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I had only been a Dylan fan for only a few years, and not yet a Christian, when Slow Training Coming was released in 1979. He would follow that album with Saved in 1979 and Shot of Love in 1981, in what has become known as his controversial “Gospel Period”. I saw two shows on his 1981 tour. By that time, he had started including some of his older songs in the setlist.
This new collection had been rumored to be the next Bootleg Series release for some time, and I was eagerly anticipating it. It was definitely worth the wait and is one of my favorite albums of the year.
The box set edition features 102 songs, includes 14 previously unreleased songs (including the outstanding “Making a Liar Out of Me”), unreleased live performances and rare studio outtakes. In fact, with the exception of “Ye Shall Be Changed,” which was included on the first in this series, 1991’s The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3), none of the tracks here have been previously released. The live versions include Dylan with a strong and animated voice, supported by an excellent backing band with female backing singers, bringing an energy to the new songs that the studio versions didn’t. In addition, I felt that the outtakes were often better than the officially released versions. Fans of Dylan know that he is always changing the arrangements of his songs in concert. This is demonstrated in the six versions of “Slow Train” included here, all of which have their own strengths.

The collection is organized as follows:
Discs 1 and 2 – live versions.
Discs 3 and 4 – rare and unreleased. These discs include soundcheck versions of “Slow Train” and “Do Right to Me Baby (Do Unto Others)” from near the end of his 1978 tour, showing the genesis of his gospel period. I saw one of his October shows in Chicago on that tour, when he was supporting the Street Legal album.
Discs 5 and 6 – recorded live in Toronto in 1980.
Discs 7 and 8 – recorded live in Earl’s Court, London, June 27, 1981. Only on these discs does he include some of his older songs such as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowing in the Wind”.

The physical edition of the box set includes a hardcover book featuring an introduction by Dylan scholar Ben Rollins with liner notes by Amanda Petrusich, Rob Bowman and Penn Jillette. It also includes a DVD which includes Trouble No More: A Musical Film, a new feature-length cinematic presentation directed by Jennifer Lebeau which combines unreleased footage from Dylan’s 1980 tours with new material written by Luc Sante and performed by Michael Shannon. Dylan fans may also be interested in the new book Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years – What Really Happened by Clinton Hevlin.
In a 2017 interview Bill Flanagan, when asked which songs from his extensive catalog the public overlooks, Dylan named just two, one of which was “In the Garden”, originally included on Saved. My hope is that this new collection will bring a new appreciation for the songs Dylan wrote during this period, and that perhaps a few will find themselves in his future setlists.

  • New Van Morrison Album. Van Morrison is back with Versatile on December 1, his second new album in just a few months. While Roll With The Punches, released on September 22, saw Van revisit many of the definitive rhythm and blues records that have stayed with him all his life, the new album sees him delve further back into recorded music’s archives to interpret some of the 20th century’s greatest vocal jazz standards.  Across Versatile’s sixteen tracks, Van Morrison interprets some of the very building blocks of modern music in his own utterly unique style.  As well as songs originally made famous by the likes of Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, the Righteous Brothers, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole, Versatile features six stunning new Van compositions, including Broken Record – a timeless piece of late-night swing.
  • Let You Down. There have been in excess of 3.5 million views already for NF’s new video for “Let You Down”.
  • Same Rebel, New Level: Lecrae’s Departure from Evangelicalism. Ameen Hudson writes “He would soon discover the majority of the white evangelicals who supported him didn’t really like him for him, but for representing and advancing their values through his music. He was a means to an emotional, intellectual, and political (usually conservative) end. It was in this realization that Lecrae began to “rebel.””
  • All My Hope. Watch this video for Crowder’s “All My Hope” featuring Tauren Wells.
  • New Social Club Misfits Song. Social Club Misfits recently released “Say Goodbye”. Watch the video here.
  • New Andrew Peterson Album. Andrew Peterson is planning to release Resurrection Letters, Volume 1in time for Easter, 2018.
  • 5 Leadership Questions with Keith Getty. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Eric Geiger and Daniel Im are joined by author, songwriter, and worship leader Keith Getty. During their conversation, they discuss the call in Scripture to sing, singing hymns with your kids, and creating a culture of encouragement.
  • Your Ways. Watch this acoustic performance of Matt Redman’s “Your Ways” from his excellent new album Glory Song.
  • KB – Truly Free. Check out this new CCM Magazine interview with KB.
  • Dunk Contest. Watch the new video of “Dunk Contest” from Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed. And while you’re at it, check out their video for “Dance”.
  • Charlie Peacock performing “Automatt”. Looking for some good jazz, check this out, featuring Jeff Coffn on tenor sax, Vincente Archer on bass and Derrek Phillips on drums.
  • How Great Thou Art by Chris Rice. Listen to this version of one of my favorite hymns, complete with lyrics.
  • Perfect Light Lyric Video. Watch the lyric video for “Perfect Light” by Chris Tomlin featuring Crowder, featured on the Deluxe edition of his Adore
  • Fortunate Son. Watch John Fogerty and Brad Paisley perform a blistering version of Fogerty’s class “Fortunate Son”.
  • Way Up. Check out “Way Up”, the new song from Tedashii, featuring KB.


  • Be who you were created to be, not who they want you to be. Lecrae

  • Add value to people’s lives. I promise It is more fulfilling than trying to derive your value from people. The way up is down. Andy Mineo

  • It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Bob Dylan

Making a Liar Out of Me – Bob Dylan

This week’s song is a previously unreleased Dylan gem contained on the recently released Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981. Listen to “Making a Liar Out of Me” here.

 I tell people, you just going through changes
And that you’re acquainted both with night and day
That your money’s good and you just being courageous
On them burning bridges knowing your feet are made of clay
Well I say you won’t be destroyed by your inventions
That you brought it all under captivity
And that you really do have all the best intentions
But you’re making a liar out of me

Well I say that you just young and self-tormented
But that deep down you understand
The hopes and fears and dreams of the discontented
That threaten now to overtake your promised land
Well I say you’d not sow discord among brothers
Nor drain a man of his integrity
That you remember the cries of orphans and their mothers
But you’re making a liar out of me
But you’re making a liar out of me

Well I say that, that ain’t flesh and blood you’re drinking
In the wounded empire of your fool’s paradise
With a light above your head forever blinking
Turning virgins into merchandise
That you must have been beautiful when you were living
You remind me of some old-time used-to-be
I say you can be trusted with the power you been given
But you’re making a liar out of me

So many things so hard to say as you stumble
To take refuge in your offices of shame
As the earth beneath my feet begins to rumble
And your young men die for nothin’, not even fame
I say that someday you’ll begin to trust us
And that your conscience not been slain by conformity
That you stand up unafraid to believe in justice
But you’re making a liar out of me
You’re making a liar out of me

Well I can hear the sound of distant thunder
From an open window at the end of every hall
Now that you’re gone I got to wonder
If you ever were here at all
I say you never sacrificed my children
To some false god of infidelity
And that it’s not the Tower of Babel that you’re building
But you’re making a liar out of me
You’re making a liar out of me
Well you’re making a liar out of me

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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