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Bob Dylan’s ‘Trouble No More’ examines the gospel years, 1979-81

On one hand, it’s no great mystery that when Bob Dylan seemed to find new faith around 1979, a lot of fans and Dylanologists lost theirs — in him.

On the other, Dylan’s track record for musical revelation was so firmly established by that time that he could have put out an album of songs about his stamp collection and they would have been worthy at least of honest consideration.

But Dylan’s apparent conversion to what sounded a lot like fundamentalist Christianity struck many as a stark turnaround from tenets we had come to expect from him, and from rock music itself — first and foremost being a healthy skepticism toward institutional conventions of any kind.

Dylan, after all, was the man who (contrary to his own wishes) was widely considered “the spokesman of a generation,” the musician who made it a virtual prerequisite of young adulthood to challenge authority and dogma.

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