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

( 16 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/7/2008
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 886973579527
  • Catalog Number: 735795
  • Sales rank: 13,693

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Mississippi (6:03)
  2. 2 Most of the Time (3:35)
  3. 3 Dignity (2:12)
  4. 4 Someday Baby (5:57)
  5. 5 Red River Shore (7:34)
  6. 6 Tel Ol' Bill (5:29)
  7. 7 Born in Time (4:13)
  8. 8 Can't Wait (5:43)
  9. 9 Everything Is Broken (3:11)
  10. 10 Dreamin' of You (5:49)
  11. 11 Huck's Tune (4:04)
  12. 12 Marchin' to the City (6:32)
  13. 13 High Water (For Charley Patton) (6:46)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Mississippi (6:21)
  2. 2 32-20 Blues (3:05)
  3. 3 Series of Dreams (6:26)
  4. 4 God Knows (3:07)
  5. 5 Can't Escape from You (5:12)
  6. 6 Dignity (5:23)
  7. 7 Ring Them Bells (4:58)
  8. 8 Cocaine Blues (4:40)
  9. 9 Ain't Talkin' (6:08)
  10. 10 The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore (2:24)
  11. 11 Lonesome Day Blues (7:35)
  12. 12 Miss the Mississippi (3:21)
  13. 13 The Lonesome River (3:04)
  14. 14 Cross the Green Mountain (8:14)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bob Dylan Primary Artist, Organ, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Harp, Vocals
John 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, 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 II 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
Greg Calbi Mastering
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
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Long time Dylan fan loves this album

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Surprisingly Unified

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Essential Dylan

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Essential Bob Dylan

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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