In my first blog entry (thank you, Mark Joseph, for allowing me to enter the fray), I alluded to a recent article in the New York Post that suggested former president Jimmy Carter wasn't thrilled with Dylan's gospel only material (its headline read "Why Prez Gave Up on Dylan"). The article was about a new book on Jimmy Carter entitled "What the Heck Are You Up to, Mr. President?" by Kevin Mattson.
I couldn't tell if it was the New York Post writer or the author of the new book that was making the conclusion about Carter and Dylan, but thanks to some nice sleuth work from a fellow journalist (Doug LeBlanc, take a bow), we have some evidence that Carter enjoyed the Slow Train Coming album itself.
Wesley G. Pippert was once a journalist for UPI who covered the White House. In his book, "An Ethics of News: A Reporter's Search for the Truth" (Georgetown University, 1989), he shared an anecdote about what happened after a Sunday lunch at the White House on November 4, 1979:
"Then Carter suggested we go into the den across the grand hallway, and he played Bob Dylan's new record, 'Slow Train Coming.' Carter had remarked during the meal that Dylan had become a Christian and he wanted him to perform at the White House (which never occurred). As the record played, Carter nuzzled the little boys (his grandchildren, Jason, and James Earl IV) and softly sang the words to 'Man Gave Names to All the Animals.' And whenever they got to the part, '...I think I'll call [it]--a pig!'..or "...I think I'll call [it] a [sheep]! they laughed with glee.'"