Dylan Gets Gospel Treatment in L.A.

The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles are assembled for forthcoming 'Dylan Gospel' LP

Bob Dylan recording his album 'Self Portrait' on May 3rd, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
July 12, 1969

LOS ANGELES — Twenty-seven L.A. studio backup singers have been gathered together to give 10 Dylan songs a gospel treatment for album release later this month.

The LP is entitled Dylan Gospel, was conceived and produced by Lou Adler and will be released on Adler's Ode label. Adler is calling the chorus-choir The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles.

"Sometimes there were more than 27 voices," Adler said, "because on several occasions real brothers and sisters stopped by and grabbed a part. It sounds corny, but that was the spirit of the thing. The tape stopped, but they were still singing."

The voices include Edna Love of the Blossoms, Gloria Jones (who had a hit called "Heartbeat" three years ago and is currently featured in the local production of Hair), Mary Clayton and Don Hyatt.

Photos: Bob Dylan Hanging With Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg and More

In all, Adler said there were five lead voices used, but because of contractual obligations he said he could not name them. Most have recording contracts, he said, but all are permitted to sing background parts.

The songs on the LP are "Lay Lady Lay," "Chimes of Freedom," "I Shall Be Released," "The Times They Are A-Changing," "All Along the Watch-tower," "The Mighty Quinn," "Just Like a Woman," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" and "My Back Pages."

Adler said the album was recorded in two days and was "like a reunion for these people. They all know each other, but they don't often get together – and never all at one time. It was a party, it really was. We served champagne at the end of the second day. In fact, you can hear the party going on during the final cut."

This story is from the July 12th, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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