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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Monday, February 04, 2008


Barry Beckett, who co-produced Slow Train Coming and Saved with Jerry Wexler, is 65 today. Here's his entry from The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia:

Beckett, Barry [1943 - ]
Barry Beckett was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 4, 1943. He started his musical life as a pianist for a dancing school, but moved on to become a keyboards session player and eventually a record producer. He first became involved with Rick Hall’s Fame studio, on a session for James & Bobby Purify, and then replaced SPOONER OLDHAM in the Muscle Shoals band. He co-produced Mel & Tim and his later production credits include work with JOAN BAEZ, Joe Cocker, Etta James, JOHN PRINE, Delbert McClinton, Alabama, the Staples Singers and McGUINN-Hillman.

Beckett was co-producing with JERRY WEXLER when, in 1979, Dylan called on Wexler to produce the Slow Train Coming sessions in the Muscle Shoals studio in Sheffield, Alabama. Beckett not only co-produced the album but played piano and organ throughout.

He did not go on the road as a gospel tours musician behind Dylan, but he was back in the studio with him in February 1980 to co-produce, again with Wexler, the album Saved, on which he was replaced on keyboards by Spooner Oldham and TERRY YOUNG after the session of February 12, 1980 and so does not play on ‘Saving Grace’, ‘Pressing On’, ‘In The Garden’, ‘Are You Ready?’ or ‘Covenant Woman’, but does play on the album’s title track and on ‘Solid Rock’, ‘What Can I Do For You?’ and ‘Satisfied Mind’. On the album liner notes Beckett is billed as co-producer and as ‘special guest artist’.

In 1985 Beckett moved to Nashville, working with Warner Brothers’ A&R department before running an independent production company. He is also a partner in BTM Records. He has never worked with Dylan again since the Saved sessions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of "Slow Train Coming', have been listening to Woody Guthrie's version of "Little Black Train' on Volume Two of the Asch Recordings & it seems to me to have some marked similarities to the song 'Slow Train Coming' itself.

This especially the case with lines (apparently written by Woody himself) like:
'Your million dollar fortune, your mansion glittering white
You can't take it with you when the train rolls in tonight'

Don't know if anybody has mentioned this similarity before.

9:33 am  

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