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Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born... Again! (2008)

At first called "Dylan's God-Awful Gospel" by his most loyal fans, Bob Dylan's Jesus Years is today regarded as among the best of his career. How did a Jewish folk singer from the mid-west come to Jesus?

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At first called "Dylan's God-Awful Gospel" by his most loyal fans, Bob Dylan's Jesus Years is today regarded as among the best of his career. How did a Jewish folk singer from the mid-west come to Jesus?

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28 October 2008 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Picks Up After a Slow Start
5 January 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years (2008)

*** (out of 4)

Here's another documentary from Bob Dylan die-hard Joel Gilbert who is making a little career out of producing these films on the legend. This time out we take a look at his infamous turn to Christian music, which resulted in three albums and a lot of angry fans and critics. Producer Jerry Wexler, back-up singer Regina McCrary, keyboardist Spooner Oldhad and preacher Bill Dwyer are among the people interviewed. Also on hand is A.J. Weberman, the infamous expert (or stalker depending on how you see him), Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Howard of Ice Magazine, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Scarlet Rivera and Rob Stoner. As I've said in other reviews of these Gilbert movies, these are certainly for die-hard fans only. It's doubtful that your casual viewers are going to be interested in all these small details and especially when you consider that this period isn't among Dylan's most popular stuff. With that said, I started to get a bit worried at the start of the film because the first thirty-minutes are rather boring as we hear all sorts of stories about religion and none of it really says anything about Dylan. We hear various stories from other people but we're here to learn something about Dylan so this early part of the film I found to be rather useless. Once we hit on Dylan going to the Vineyard Church, decided to do the Christian albums and then taking the show on the road is when things really pick up. It's interesting hearing from those who were at these first shows just how much hatred there was going on in the crowd. We get some news broadcasts showing fans storming out of the concert and we get to hear some audio clips from these shows where Dylan was preaching to the fans and really getting into it with them. The infamous Tempe, AZ show features some clips here but it's too bad no one involved with it talks about how bad it actually got. Weberman, as you'd expect, goes off on Dylan and throwing all sorts of allegations at him. As usual, it's interesting hearing his opinion even if you don't agree with it. The reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle who wrote "Dylan's God-Awful Gospel" is also here and it's interesting hearing his thoughts about his original review, his feelings and what he regrets today. Overall this documentary, running 123-minutes, goes into great detail but I wish it would have focused a tad bit more about the show on the road when it started to hit smaller cities across the country. With that said, die-hards such as myself are still going to be interested in the stories so Gilbert has made another film worth watching.


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