If you know the song, sing along:

And there’s a slow

Slow train comin’

Comin’ round the bend…

Bob Dylan’s so-called “Christian phase” has been a much-maligned chapter of his history. And I don’t understand it.

I’ve written about this before, defending his Gospel-focused albums as an important and impressive transformation of America’s most significant singer and songwriter. I’ve argued that it wasn’t a phase — that his work has evolved into a deeper and more nuanced expression of faith in poetry and imagination, one that doesn’t limit itself to narrow religious vocabularies or reassure American Christians by remaining familiar and safe and focused on reassurance.

So I am thrilled at the prospect of hearing more about that startling season in which he embraced Gospel music and sang like a zealous prophet in the world’s dying hour.

Lo and behold, here comes the bootleg series many of his fans have been dreaming about: Trouble No More – The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981.

Selections are currently streaming on NPR First Listen.

Listen now, while it’s free.