Bob Dylan's new album showcases singer's 'gospel years'

A new boxed set of Bob Dylan's music that was released last week contains Christian-themed songs that highlight the three "gospel years" in his career in which he was believed to have gone through a significant spiritual journey.

(REUTERS / Robert Galbraith RG)Rock musician Bob Dylan performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in this file photo from May 5, 2004.

"Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981," which was released by Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, highlighted the three years when Dylan's spiritual journey was translated into songs that hint of his Christian faith. Although there were many who thought that the music icon had turned his back on Christianity when his career took off, an author who followed his life said the singer remains a believer up to the present, World Net Daily detailed.

"Obviously this is something that Dylan is aware of and approved, because it's an official release," Scott Marshall told Frontpage Radio in an interview.

Aside from the latest collection, Marshall pointed to Dylan's 2003 release titled "Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan" as another piece of evidence of his continued faith. This album contained songs written during the gospel years and were sung by contemporary gospel artists. Marshall said there would have been no point of the singer taking part in those recordings if he had really renounced his Christian faith.

Just this year, Dylan spoke to Bill Flanagan in an interview and said his song "In the Garden" from the 1980 album "Saved" had been unable to achieve the level of popularity he thought it deserved. Marshall explained that its lyrics were taken from the New Testament, specifically from the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

In the biography "The Lives of Bob Dylan," author Ian Bell said the iconic artist "found God" in 1978 in a Tucson hotel room. Dylan said he felt a presence that "couldn't have been anybody but Jesus," The Independent reported.

After becoming a born-again Christian, Dylan reportedly finished a three-month Christian course and submitted himself to baptism, but there was little evidence to prove this story. Unfortunately, his fans and critics reportedly did not like his faith-inspired songs. He was also slammed by the San Francisco Chronicle for writing "uninspired and inventionless songs."

Nevertheless, Dylan has given his approval for the release of his bootleg album. This move apparently indicates that he still feels the lyrics of those songs and thinks that those records deserve a second chance to be appreciated by his fans.