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Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8

Tell Tale Signs:
The Bootleg Series Vol. 8

Bob Dylan

Columbia Records

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic
(rnrcurmudgeon@yahoo.com)

Because of its immediate potential for dread, disaster, liberation and redemption, Tell Tale Signs is eerily similar in spectral tone and tenor to that other veiled trove of Dylanalia—the 100 or so extant recordings known in both reality and myth as The Basement Tapes.

If "this version of death called life" (Huck's Tune) is really the moments not realized; the love not made; the road less traveled; or, as Dylan recounts as a "Series of Dreams", this 2 CD set (also available as a wrong-headed and vastly overpriced—$100+ anyone?—deluxe 3 disc set) entwines dreaming with non-dreaming in language so bare and rife with mortality as to make one shutter in its honesty. And when of late, in this decaying culture, was the last time any of us could lay claim to that?

Full of earth tones and spiritual shadow given life by the waning light of empire and its toxic, corrosive chill, Tell Tale Signs is perfect October music. Reverberating in places deeper than bone, later-day masterworks (1989-2006) Most Of The Time, Mississippi, Born In Time, Ring Them Bells, Someday Baby, are presented here in demo or alternate forms making them startlingly new. Startlingly present. Consider that alongside the previously unreleased, live, or lesser known surrealist tales Marchin' To The City, Tell Ol' Bill, Dreamin' Of You, Red River Shore, a head stone take of Robert Johnson's 32-20 Blues and this highly anticipated set of bootlegs aren't bootlegs at all. On the contrary, they comprise a new warning from a man who has warned us all along that the final joke was on us. Tell Tale Signs becomes new music from a restless innovator too unquiet to stop, knowing, with a bluesman's wisdom, that each stop only allows the hellhounds to get closer.

Track List:

Disc 1Disc 2
  • Mississippi (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
  • Most of the Time (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
  • Dignity (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
  • Someday Baby (Alternate version, Modern Times)
  • Red River Shore (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
  • Tell Ol' Bill (Alternate version, North Country soundtrack)
  • Born in Time (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
  • Can't Wait (Alternate version, Time Out of Mind)
  • Everything is Broken (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
  • Dreamin' of You (Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind)
  • Huck's Tune (From Lucky You soundtrack)
  • Marchin' to the City (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
  • High Water (For Charley Patton) (Live, 8/23/03, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)
  • Mississippi (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
  • 32-20 Blues (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
  • Series of Dreams (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
  • God Knows (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
  • Can't Escape from You (Unreleased, December 2005)
  • Dignity (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
  • Ring Them Bells (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993,New York, NY
  • Cocaine Blues (Live, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA)
  • Ain't Talkin' (Alternate version, Modern Times)
  • The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore (Live, June 30, 1992,Dunkerque, France)
  • Lonesome Day Blues (Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL)
  • Miss the Mississippi (Unreleased, 1992)
  • The Lonesome River (With Ralph Stanley, from the album Clinch Mountain Country)
  • 'Cross the Green Mountain (From Gods and Generals Soundtrack)
Disc 3 (Deluxe Version Only)
  • Duncan & Brady (Unreleased, 1992)
  • Cold Irons Bound (Live at Bonnaroo, 2004)
  • Mississippi (Unreleased version #3, Time Out of Mind)
  • Most of the Time (Alternate version #2, Oh Mercy)
  • Ring Them Bells (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
  • Things Have Changed (Live, June 15, 2000, Portland, OR)
  • Red River Shore (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
  • Born in Time (Unreleased version #2, Oh Mercy)
  • Tryin' to Get to Heaven (Live, October 5, 2000, London, England)
  • Marchin' to the City (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
  • Can't Wait (Alternate version #2, Time Out of Mind)
  • Mary and the Soldier (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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