The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006

The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006

by Bob Dylan

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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Tell Tale Signs is perhaps the most appropriately titled of all the volumes in Bob Dylan's official Bootleg Series thus far. Containing 27 tracks, the material here dates from the albums Oh Mercy through to 2006's Modern Times. It presents a carefully prepared sonic treat of a genuine enigma's musical world-view. Dylan may be an icon, but if it wasn't already obvious, he seems to perceive the modern world as a strange place that he no longer understands, nor wishes to. The music here is startling in its depth and presentation. It begins with one of the two versions of "Mississippi" included; the song first appeared on Love and Theft, but was written for the Time Out of Mind sessions five years earlier. This one, with only Daniel Lanois' electric guitar as backing, shows Dylan in full voice, and performing it as a midtempo blues. It's jauntier in tempo, but harder, leaner, and wearier than the released version. Even more shocking is "Most of the Time," which has become a signature of Lanois' production style with its warm, thickly padded guitars and muffled drums. This one features Dylan solo with harmonica and guitar. It comes off as a statement of actuality about strengths and weaknesses rather than as a treatise of denial in the aftermath of lost love. It feels like a back-porch country song here, with different lyrics that underscore the singer's steely determination. There are some truly amazing stops along the way. The unreleased "Red River Shore" would have shifted some of the darkness on Time Out of Mind to some declaration of empathy and even tenderness had it been released. Likewise, "Marchin' to the City," one of the best slow blues Dylan has ever written, offers a respite from the desolation on that album. Soundtracks get represented, too: the alternate take of "Tell Ol' Bill," from North Country, is a semi-rag tune with rambling honky tonk piano, and "Huck's Tune," from Lucky You, creates a more complex look at the male lead in the film with a Celtic undertow in the melody. Disc one closes with a burning live reading of "High Water (For Charley Patton)," with overdriven electric guitars replacing the banjo. A real surprise on disc two is a dynamite reading of Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues" that was originally recorded for the covers-only World Gone Wrong, but left in the can. A completely unreleased tune, "Can't Escape from You" portrays Dylan the folksinger as a lover of early rock & roll ballads. In his own wrecked way, he pays homage (in waltz time) to the Platters, Doc Pomus, Leiber & Stoller, and Cisco Houston with a lonely B-3 and trebly guitars. There are two takes of "Dignity" here as well (one on each disc), the first a prophetic gospel solo piano version and the second a full-band roots rock rave-up. The version of "Ring Them Bells" recorded live at New York's Supper Club is so utterly moving that it raises goosebumps and leaves the studio version in the dust. The disc closes with the greatest moment on the whole set: "'Cross the Green Mountain," from the Gods and Generals soundtrack. Veteran Dylanologist Larry Sloman claims in his truly brilliant and incisive liner notes that this "might be his finest hour as a songwriter." The amazing thing? It's not just hyperbole. In all, even in some of its familiarities, Tell Tale Signs feels like a new Bob Dylan record, not only for the astonishing freshness of the material, but also for the incredible sound quality and organic feeling of everything here. It's a carefully presented set, but it's full of life and crackling energy and offers yet more proof -- as if any were needed -- that Dylan remains as cagey, unpredictable, and yes, profound and relevant as he ever was.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/07/2008
Label: Sony
UPC: 0886973579619
catalogNumber: 735796

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bob Dylan   Primary Artist,Organ,Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Harp,Vocals
John H. Jackson   Guitar
Mason Ruffner   Guitar
Ralph Stanley   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
David Bromberg   Guitar
Duke Robillard   Guitar
Charlie Sexton   Guitar
Denny Freeman   Guitar
Augie Meyers   Organ,Accordion
Jim Keltner   Drums
Robert Amiot   Bass,Bass Guitar
Bucky Baxter   Pedal Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar
Benmont Tench   Organ
Brian Blade   Drums
Bob Britt   Guitar
Malcolm Burn   Tambourine
Larry Campbell   Guitar,Violin
Cindy Cashdollar   Dobro,Slide Guitar
Jack Cooke   Upright Bass
Richard Crooks   Drums
James Luther Dickinson   Organ
Peter Ecklund   Trumpet
Dick Fegy   Fiddle,Mandolin
John Firmin   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Tony Garnier   Bass,Bass Guitar
Darryl Johnson   Percussion
David Kemper   Percussion,Drums
Stuart Kimball   Guitar
Freddy Koella   Guitar
Daniel Lanois   Organ,Dobro,Guitar
Tommy Morrongiello   Guitar
Cyril Neville   Percussion
George Recile   Drums
Winston Watson   Percussion,Drums
Jeff Wisor   Fiddle,Mandolin
Brian Stoltz   Guitar
Tony Mangurian   Percussion,Piano,Drums
Steve Sparkman   Banjo
James Alan Shelton   Guitar
Willie Green   Drums
James Price   Fiddle
John Rigsby   Mandolin
Ralph Stanley   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Elana Fremerman   Violin
Chris "Hambone" Cameron   Keyboards
Donnie Herron   Guitar,Steel Guitar
Tony Hall   Bass,Bass Guitar
Glen Lowe   Guitar
Winston Johnson   Percussion,Drums
Christopher Cameron   Keyboards
Curtis Linberg   Trombone

Technical Credits

David Bromberg   Producer,Audio Production
Mark Howard   Engineer
Daniel Lanois   Producer,Audio Production
Jeff Rosen   Producer,Audio Production
Micajah Ryan   Engineer
Bil VornDick   Producer,Engineer
Geoff Gans   Art Direction
William Claxton   Cover Portrait
Larry Sloman   Liner Notes
Greg Linn   Marketing
Jack Frost   Producer,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
bookjunkieWB More than 1 year ago
These performances are compelling and ironically the whole album feels more cohesive, if somewhat darker, than any of his recent non-bootleg albums. Aside from the scholarly interest of hearing the artist work through several different approaches to the same material, I found the music just mesmerizing. One of his best albums.
glauver More than 1 year ago
I would certainly agree with the last reviewer that this is a cohesive effort. When you consider that the songs were recorded over 17 years, the unity is surprising. In many cases these versions are as good or better than the released tracks. The final number, 'Cross the Green Mountain, may be one of the greatest songs Dylan has ever put on tape. It is Knockin' on Heaven's Door filtered through the Civil War and rivals the Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down for the title of best rock song about that conflict.
BDFF More than 1 year ago
If you've never listened to Bob Dylan before you should start with this album. The songs on this album run from 1997 to 2006 and include some of his most relevent or current music. Some of these songs were produced by Daniel Lanois who produces U2 among other groups. Give it a listen you'll be surprised. The band is exceptional and probably one of the best group of musicians you can find on any album. Dylan's voice is better than it has ever been except for his early years. You'll be able to understand what he is saying!
seafever More than 1 year ago
Bob Dylan is my favorite singer since 1965. I have an extensive Dylan music collection and have seen him in concert at least 4 times. This album was a great surprise-really enjoyed it on many levels. If you like Dylan, I think you will like this album!
Wicklowman More than 1 year ago
Tell-Tale Signs. My new favorite Dylan album. I keep putting it back on and listening and re-discovering Dylan. He is a giant. I've been a fan since the 60's.
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