Monday, November 21, 2011

Dylan Cover #31 Shirley Caesar "Gotta Serve Somebody"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Shirley Caesar of "Gotta Serve Somebody"

Next Week RtBE begins it's "Best Of" Season with a look at the Best of Dylan Covers

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
This powerful call of hellfire and brimstone rained down from the mountaintop as Dylan proclaimed his faith proudly, and this was the first song that most of the public heard confirming the fact that Bob did indeed "Go Jesus".  It is point and fact with its belief and message.  You gotta serve somebody...can't be simpler then that when it comes to faith can it?  The original has a driving beat and a propulsion to it that sounds urgent, but not as urgent as Bob sings, reenforcing the proclamation through his powerful lyrics and leaving no man or woman on the sidelines...he brings everyone into this spiritual battle, and whatever your beliefs it is impossible not to feel Bob is committed as he runs through the verses and chorus.  


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Shirley Caesar is the First Lady of Gospel Music having won so many awards in the field and touched so many lives it is impossible to list them all.  Through her ministry and her recordings she is in touch with her spirituality and expresses it like few others can.  She isn't branching out with her tunes to reach a wider audience, she is proclaiming her message through her medium and has been very successful doing it.  

Thoughts on Cover:
There haven't been very many tunes that set up more picture perfect by a particular performer in a particular genre then "Gotta Serve Somebody" for Shirley Caesar.  All of Dylan's Gospel period would fit her repertoire but the first, perhaps the strongest, song he offered from this time period fits the First Lady Of Gospel like a glove.  The difference is in the performance presented here.  Leaving out a few verses, like the "rock and roll singer/girls in a cage" or the "Bobby/Zimmy",  is not a big deal to me at all, but switching up the message in the chorus; from giving the listener a choice, to proclaim they must follow "Jesus" (not even "The Lord") takes a bit of the challenge out of it.

This proclamation to follow the righteous path of her Savior Jesus Christ can be expected from the Gospel great, but from a purely cover standpoint I do believe it dilutes the overall tune.      

Grade B+

Wilson's Take:
Janasie's Take:

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