Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are You Ready?

Are you ready for
Jesus? Are you sure that he
Is ready for you?

This song comes from the second of Bob Dylan's albums to focus on themes of evangelical Christianity, with a heavy focus on American-style born-again Christianity, and all the themes that come with it: baptism, redemption of sins, personal relationships with Jesus, and because it's Dylan, lots of sour hectoring and lecturing of unbelievers, fair-weather friends and the realization that preaching the gospel as a missionary, no matter how famous you are, makes you less desirable to be around.

"Saved," which came out in 1980, turns up the missionary heat that he started generating on "Slow Train Coming" the year before. Whereas that album had a heavy bass and great horns courtesy of producers Barry Beckett and Jerry Wexler, Saved went more a mix of gospel and slow-burning hymns that take their time to climb. I like "Are You Ready" because it's a grinding blues number, or whatever people in pop news call this kind of music. It has a good beat, the backup singers are great, but the "you have to choose, it's either heaven or hell for you," lyrics along with the implication that the singer knows the right answer to his question, can make for tough going if you have a problem with religious music. I don't buy the message, but I still like the albums.

Here's the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir performing the song.




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