|Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8
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Bob Dylan's unpredictable nature has always kept his audience on their toes. Given his mood, a song performed on one day can seem like an entirely different composition on the next. On the two-CD Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8--certainly one of the most riveting of the Minnesota bard's collections of unreleased recordings, studio demos, alternate takes, and live tracks--two versions of "Mississippi," which Dylan originally wrote for Time Out of Mind, bear that out. The first, where he is backed only by producer Daniel Lanois' poignant electric guitar, finds him wistful in his memories of Rosie. But by disc two, where he reprises the song with a whole band, his reading of the same lyric is dispassionate, as if he were recounting the experience of "the stranger that nobody sees," as he puts it. While the second rendition disappoints, the 27-song album, which covers material from 1989's Oh Mercy through 2006's Modern Times, offers a king's riches. In replacing the banjo with cranked-up electric guitars on a blistering live performance of "High Water (For Charley Patton)," he makes the song nearly an angry manifesto. (Another live song, "Ring Them Bells," thrills with the stunning raw power of his early performances, and renders the studio original utterly bland.) Not everything seems up to Dylan's remarkable standards (conjuring a black R & B voice for "Can't Escape From You," an homage to early rock and roll, seems off kilter and silly). But the breadth and scope of the material (from sneering and tender folk originals, to covers of Jimmie Rodgers and Robert Johnson blues, to a collaboration with bluegrass king Ralph Stanley, and side excursions into ragtime and waltz) reinforce his position as the premier songwriter of his generation. -– Alanna Nash
2 CDs with 27 songs in a brilliant box with a 60 page booklet.
Two CD set of 2008 release of Bob Dylan Vol. 8 Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg series with rare and unleashed material from 1989 - 2006. A treasure-trove of 27 songs spanning two discs, Tell Tale Signs features previously unreleased recordings and alternate versions of tracks from sessions which generated some of Bob Dylan's most acclaimed and commercially successful albums from the last two decades, including Time Out Of Mind, 'Love And Theft', Modern Times and Oh Mercy.
- tell tale signs
My husband is a big Dylan fan and wanted me to add this purchase to an order, so I did. He's listened to it and said he really liked it. It has versions of songs he doesn't have, and one or two songs he didn't have at all (and he's got quite a collection)....more info
- Rocking and sizzling CDs
I was surprised at how much I liked the bootleg CDs. I probably like the mature Dylan with the deep gravelly voice as much as, or even more than the young revolutionary Dylan. The songs are varied, some rocking, some lyrical, some filled with longing, or love. There is always the Dylan beat, the Dylan signature. I don't know exactly what this signature is because I am not a music expert, but it is here. What is also amazing about Dylan is his ability to invent different melodies to the same song (i.e., Someday, Baby; Mississippi; Dignity) and all the versions are equally appealing and stirring. These two CDs present a rich Dylan tapestery of fine melodies and rhythms. Highly recommended. ...more info
- Pure Dylan!
Fabulous! Anyone who appreciates Dylan will enjoy the re-interpretations of these songs. He is one of the few artists who routinely re-explores a given work and produces anew something as vibrant, memorable, and thought provoking as the orginal. Through a sharp or nuanced alteration in tempo or vocal delivery, Dylan is able to create a new masterpiece, that is as always, thoroughly enjoyable....more info
- Volume Eight from the Eighth Wonder of sorts ...
Twenty two years back I bought the Biograph series which simply blew my mind; living in Calcutta, getting an LP was difficult - although there were these little stores on Free School Street that sold used records of everything we liked - Stones, Beatles, Floyd, Who, Young, Zep and other Gods of Rock & Roll. Crowning glory of ones listening repertoire were Dylan & Cohen - an easy way to be regarded an elite listener of sorts. The prices however were astronomical (250 rupees per record - which was a lot of money). So we shared records among friends - I had the Biograph series on tape without the regular inserts - I believe they were pirated. We took particular note that more than half of the songs on Biograph were not available elsewhere; Biograph was a testimony to Dylan's recording talent - without repetition of any kind.
Twenty years & six bootleg series later we all know there is probably another eight CD worth of quality recording that can be unearthed (including expansive Basement Tapes, live circa Before the Flood, Toronto live recordings circa the born again time, the classic electric era of the white hot noise and God knows what else.
This collection is spectacular and in some ways gives the feel of a more consistent studio record as opposed to a group of songs spanning some seventeen years. With Oh Mercy in 1989, and the resurrection that followed, it is perhaps not a surprise that there are many outtakes that are worthy of a regular official release for any lesser artist. Who knew growing old for Mr. Dylan could be so much fun for us?
I wonder if Columbia would release a record of just one song (Mississippi comes to mind) just to show that how each reading can sound so engrossing & can be so different from the other - and to prove a point that I have been saying for years - genius never repeats - a repeater of the same stuff day after day is a performer - not an artist.
With me getting no younger anymore, and the world the strange abode of tastelessness that it is today, I am ecstatic to own this collection - to be savoured, like good wine, in moderation and over many years. And I hope that there is more to come.
Thanks Bobby, this one's from Free School Street!
- A fascinating listen, hear a master at work.
I am not usually a completist wanting to hear everything an artist does, but these two CDs are just fascinating to hear completed alternative versions of songs released since 2000, what are presumably works in progress of songs later released with his full touring band, and unreleased new masterpieces.
Once again Dylan shows he is the master of modern Americana without ever losing a hold on the traditons that inform his music. Every style he has used recently is here from wonderful walking blues, to western swing and even some that almost go back to the folky of the 60s with just acoustic guitar or piano.
This is a magnificent work, by a master of modern music without parallel....more info
- Songs from the outskirts of Dylan's key late-period albums
Larry "Ratso" Sloman becomes a master of the obvious in his notes that accompany this CD's 60-page booklet. Any Dylan fan, whether casual or fanatic, will recognize 1983's Infidels as a career peak, a high water mark. 1989's Oh Mercy was also critically acclaimed, but the "in between" albums...1985's Empire Burlesque, 1986's Knocked Out Loaded, 1988's Down in the Groove, as well as 1990's post-"Mercy" Under the Red Sky...have never been considered "essential."
If you needed to hear that from me, or from Larry "Ratso" Sloman, you;re either not a Dylan fan or you haven't been paying attention to his career for the last 25 years.
Bob had a "comeback" of sorts with 1992's Good as I Been to You, which set the stage for the trilogy that Bob doesn't acknowledge as a trilogy:
1). Time Out of Mind
2). "Love and Theft"
3). Modern Times (Special Limited Edition)
So..."Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8" is an amalgam of unreleased and alternate tracks from Oh Mercy, Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times with a few live tracks thrown in.
I agree with the public at large regarding the price difference between the 2-CD version of this set and the "limited" 3-CD version. Buy the 2-CD version and let Bob ponder the meaning of "rip off."
There is also considerable debate about Dylan's voice in his post-2000 "renaissance." He's adopted a phlegmatic mumble-slash-low growl which some may find endearing and others may see as a reason to grab their copy of Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on Blonde.
But...to paraphrase a very recent quote from Ringo Starr...Bob gives you the version of Bob he decides to give you. There are unquestionably strong tracks here, and the live tracks are excellent.
An example of the "critical divide" over Modern Bob can be found in the track commentary for the unreleased Time Out of Mind track "Red River Shore," which quotes session musician Jim Dickinson's assertion that "in leaving (it) on the cutting room floor, they left the best song off the record." It's a matter of opinion. Does the song amble or does it ramble? Depends on your viewpoint, and this will hold true for the 27 tracks (on the 2-CD version) that Bob offers up.
On "Tell Tale Signs," your Glass 'o' Bob might be half full or half empty. As you can see, there's no shortage of five star reviews. I think it's a solid four star set. I personally prefer Dylan's Infidels period...and a lion's share of the music that preceded it...but the modern-era "trilogy," as well as the outtakes, provides plenty of quality Bob for the masses.
And the references in the booklet to "the power of Bob's modern touring band?" Here's a novel idea. Make "The Bootleg Series Vol. 9" a 2-CD live set featuring these performers...just concert tracks, not alternates or outtakes. The audience is waiting....more info
- Thank ya Bob
Tell Tale Signs, longevity, creativity, dignity just
can't explain, an artist's artist, how much I have appreciated
this mountian of talent, then this set comes along.
Just got to say, Thanks Bob it's been a great ride through the
years, if this is anything like the future put your seat belts
on, an outstanding work of art.
Jimmy Hawks...more info
- 27 songs spanning 18 years of Dylan's work
When you open up the jewel case, you get a bit of a start. The disk has a plain white label with what looks like handwriting in red magic marker. You really feel like you're getting something different, something maybe you shouldn't get.
On the other hand, the accompanying booklet is full-color and beautifully produced. It's one of the most attractive inserts I have even seen accompanying a disk.
The music--that's 27 songs (some different versions of the same song) from Dylan's vaults. To me, none of this is outtakes. They're good enough to go on other artist's mainstream albums. It's just Bob....
My only gripe--the sleeve is so tight, be careful not to rip it to get to the CDs and booklet! (What I did was carefully open the top side of the cardboard and push the booklet and jewel case through.
Rebecca Kyle, April 2009...more info
- Great Collection
I am amazed at the number of rich songs on this set. I thought listening to the alternate takes would be pretty boring, but it was like listening with fresh ears. I would recommend this set to people who are fans of Dylan's. It's a fascinating fly on the wall sensation of listening to an artist in the creative process. Need I say more....more info
i have all of bob dylans music including all the booleg series. everything he does is better than before. i was 17 the first time i heard him and he was 21. i've been hooked ever since. the last time i saw him was august 26 2008 at riverfest in little rock, ark and he was totaly awesome. he played two and a half hours in the southern heat and humidity and it blew me away. he is so talented you can't really put it into words. i will finish by saying BOB DYLAN RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
- There's No Success Like Failure
Anyone who has enjoyed Dylan's output over the period covered by "Tell Tale Signs" should enjoy this album which chronicles an amazing third act of an American icon. That being said, this holds together very well for a collection of unreleased, alt, live and soundtrack songs spanning a nearly two decade period--there are no jolting variations of style, and the songs seem to fit together here better perhaps than they would have on their respective albums. Some of the unreleased versions surpass the material of the released versions--"God Knows" and "Born In Time" are far superior in these versions from "Oh Mercy" than the previous (later) versions from "Under The Red Sky". Most of the alt versions complement previously released material, such as the classic Dylan guitar/harmonica take on "Most of the Time", or the more uptempo take on "Ain't Talkin'", including some alt lyrics. Even some of the "failures" such as "Mississippi", with two versions recorded during "Time Out Of Mind", show his process as a singer and artist as he tries to discover the true nature of a song. Other failures like "Red River Shore" or "Marchin' To The City", would be stand outs on any album, but didn't make the cut for "Time Out Of Mind". The live versions included here include two previously unreleased covers and a raucous version of "High Water". There are occasional weak moments-an inferior, relatively uninspired "Everything is Broken", but he ends strong with a great duet with Ralph Stanley, and the poignant "'Cross The Green Mountain". As with the best of the Bootleg series this stands out as a Dylan album equal to the standard releases....more info
- Time to hang it up
Dylan's voice is shot. Some of his songs remind me of a bad Leon Redbone imitation. Time to go....more info
- If you didn't like Bob's last 2 CD's, buy this!!!
I am a huge Dylan fan, but not so much of "Love & Theft" or "Modern Times". They are too traditional, too 1940's, too Leon Redbone. When his band rages on a blues or rock number, Dylan's voice sounds like he's gargling gravel while inhaling an eighteen-wheeler's exhaust-pipe. Totally shot. As great as the music & vibe was on "Time Out of Mind", Bob sounded like he was dying, his voice reduced to a sickly croak. So I expected very little from this "Bootleg Vol 8" set. Instead, I spent a weekend in amazement listening to half the 27 tracks over & over & over. This set collects unreleased gems, better versions & radically-diffferent versions of previously-released songs, and superb one-off songs he did for soundtracks to obscure movies you likely missed. Many of the songs have brushes on drums and subdued, atmospheric guitar, allowing Dylan to actually get expressive with his fermented voice. The first disc alone is his best CD release since "Oh Mercy" in 1989. It's that strong! The fact that more gems await on disc 2 is just a bonus. In summary: Dylan is still great, he just doesn't know which songs, or which versions of his songs to release....more info
- Excellent collection
What an amazing adition to the Bob Dylan catalogue. At first I just thought this was Columbia (and Jeff Rosen in particular)milking Dylan's name for every thing it's worth, like they did with last years greatest hits box set. But I happen to still be a big fan of The Bootleg Series, and give this one a try. And what a treasure it is, from beginning to end. From it beautiful soung quality to the senquencing. And just the liner notes alone would make this worth having. ...more info
The music is great but I found to my dismay that the package came with 2 familiar discs (disc 1), so I'm missing disc 2.
Is there any chance of getting another package?...more info
- Great CD
All the stuff I haven't heard before.....in other words "new Dylan" how could you go wrong. Sometimes the stuff that doesn't make it to the big time is the best!!!!!...more info
- 4.5 stars... Another outstanding addition to the "Bootleg" series
So now we are up to Volume 8 in the long running Bob Dylan "Bootleg" series, first started in 1991. The "Bootleg" series has focused on 1960s and 1970s recordings, but this release ventures in new territory, as it looks back on (broadly defined) the last 20 years of Bob Dylan.
When listening to "The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8. Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased 1989 - 2006" (2 CDs, 27 tracks, 138 min.), the first thing that immediately strikes your attention is that unreleased and alternate tracks from 1989's "Oh Mercy" and 1997's "Time Out of Mind" cover about half this release (13 tracks, to be precise), and simply confirm how much on the top of his game Dyland was at those times. The crowning moments for me are the 2 alternate takes of "Mississippi", which kick of both CDs. While you recognize the tune, both versions are vastly different from what we would finally hear in the released studio version, and both of them are equally compelling. The gems are all over, to be honest. Check out the different versions of "Dignity", for one. Or the gorgeous "Red River Shore", another unreleased gem from the "Time Out of Mind" sessions. How could this have been left out from the proper album? There are a number of great live tracks on here as well, such as "Ring Them Bells", from the 1993 shows at the Supper Club in New York (can we get more of those, please?), and the biting "Lonesome Day Blues" (from a 2002 show in Florida). And on and on...
In all, while this collection does not bring any of Bob Dylan's best known songs from the 60s and 70s, this is nevertheless an outstanding addition to the very rich "Bootleg" catalogue. The very fine liner notes from Rasko Sloman are a joy to read, including a tongue-in-cheek comment on each of the tracks. I've had the good fortune of catching Dylan a number of times in the last 10 years or so, mainly touring behind "Love and Theft" and "Modern Times" and his "never-ending tour" continues to confirm Dylan and his live band as one of the best touring acts around these days. Meanwhile, this "Bootleg Vol. 8" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED....more info
- Better With Time
Excellent mix of old and new, rock his new "easy" style. Honoring his roots and doing his own thing. He keeps breaking ground regardless of the critics just as in Newport & Nashville. Still the man - alias....more info
- This series is killing my disk space
I am quickly filling up my 30 GB MP3 player with Dylan's Bootleg Series CDs. Seriosuly, these are a gerat addition to any Dylan fan's collection. I only wish more artists would follow his lead (hear me Springsteen?) and break open their archives. The collections are priceless - more...more...more!!!...more info
- oh please
I'm sorry to have to say that bob is coasting and this is not worth buying . Outtakes can be great but these are not . This is the sort of cd you play one or twice and then leave on the shelf .Is he doing nothing new ?...more info
This is not only one of the best releases of the year, it is one of those releases that come around only so many years that single-handedly restores your faith in music, rock and otherwise. The first disk more than makes up for a few weak spots on side two. Awe inspiring...more info
- True to Life, True To Me...(and above all, his Muse)
"Some of us turn off the lights and we live
In the moonlight shooting by
Some of us scare ourselves to death in the dark
To be where the angels fly.."
There is only one person on this planet who could write prose so beautiful that they don't even require any music to be considered eternally lyrical.
And that, of course, is His Bobness.
For anyone who has recently seen him in concert, it would be all too easy to shrug off any musical output from Mr D--but don't be fooled by the 'croaking and cloaking' endless tour. THIS is the real Dylan--the mystical magician, the soulful song & dance man and the 'now you see it, now you don't' brilliant songwriter who almost single-handedly changed all the rules for all songwriters who came after him.
There are many great moments on this 2 CD set (ignore the other, more pricey offers--those are just marketing ploys by the money boyz at Sony) but only one song here makes this entire effort not only worth having, but a requirement for anyone who appreciates the beauty of words and images that transcend time and space: Red River Shore.
In less than 8 minutes, The Jokerman summarizes a century of Americana music, tearing down the lines between genres (country? bluegrass? folk? is there any difference in his world?) and makes it all look/sound so easy. A sad tale of a loner, a "stranger in a strange land" forever left to live without his true love, with only his memories to keep him company. "Wearing the cloak of misery" he wanders through each day, "living in the shadows of a faded past".
Five decades into his musical journey, the Hibbing Hobo still has revelations to reveal before Revelations arrives. And on this song, and this CD set, he proves yet again that no one walking on God's green earth can string a phrase, a series of dreams or create a visual and musical universe as unique and beautiful as our boy Bobby.
And after listening to the masterpiece of the same name, you too will wonder if "someone ever saw him here at all, except the girl, from the Red River Shore."...more info
- Rare Cuts Deep
What a great release! Standout tracks are almost too many to list; here are the best of the best: (1) Girl from the Red River Shore. This song alone is almost worth the price of the entire collection. Lyrically a very moving song (some of us turn off the lights and we live, in the moonlight shooting by; some of us scare ourselves to death in the dark, to be where the angels fly;). (2) Marching to the City. Blues the way they were mean to be played, driving, dripping with melancholy. (3) Acoustic Mississippi. This track, pared down, shows how great this song really is. (4) Dreamin of You. Infectious piano, performed in a style not typical of Dylan. (5) Cross the Green Mountains. From a movie few people saw, a song steeped in Americana, 1860s style.
Overall, these recordings in a strange way outpace the albums they were cut from. They are spare, less worked. Stripped down to basics, the songs themselves flourish. Generally the first disc has the real gems. Columbia could have released this all one CD and cut some of the weaker tracks, which tend to fill out disc Two.
- Holy crap, this set is just amazing
Bob Dylan proves once again that his throwaways are often better than the tracks that actually make his albums. Not only that, but the "alternate versions" (often stripped-down) of his songs bring out just what amazing songs they truly are. "Mississippi" is brilliant (here it is in two very different forms than the album version, but both are wonderful). There's some great live tracks on here, some swampy heartfelt blues (I love his cover of Cocaine Blues on here, soooooo good). If you buy this, I'm sure you know what you're getting into with his voice, right? Every year he loses a little bit more of his range and becomes a little more raspy, but as always, his intonation, phrasing, and emotion when he sings are unparalleled. These last 10-15 years have been extremely fruitful for Bob, and here's the 2-CD set to prove it once and for all. This set exceeded my expectations. ...more info
- "How About We Play It in B Flat..."
Before launching into a totally reworked, and great version of "Can't wait" from "Time out of mind", Dylan says "How About We Play It in B Flat...".
With those eight words, he reveals a lot about how he, and a precious few other musicians, keep reinventing their own songs.
For those of us who first began attending concerts during the age of psychedelics, a favorite musician or group's live show could be a real revelation, not to mention tremendously exciting, when the musician(s) would play rearranged versions of their songs. Many in the audience waited with eager anticipation and hope that something unexpected, unrehearsed, or spontaneous might occur on stage, and when it did, the concert would become a transformative experience instead of simply a live performance that mostly adhered to the album versions of the songs.
It seems as time has passed, even some of the musicians and bands who were once more willing to experiment and be spontaneous have become less inclined to do so, and in many instances, have lost all spontaneity.
Some musicians take less musical risks because it's easier for them not to, others do it, let's face it, because of money: Their (probably mostly accurate) perception that most of their fans prefer to hear the songs played note for note the way the studio (and radio) versions sound.
Thankfully, Bob Dylan, Jim White, Robyn Hitchcock, Beck, along with former members of the Grateful Dead (just to name a few of the ones who come to my mind) still have that spirit of experimentation and improvisation with their own and others' songs, whether played live, or as bootlegs and alternate releases. The alternate versions of Beatles songs that were released in the 90s are examples of the biggest rock band on the planet not being afraid to reinterpret their own songs. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Paul McCartney pretty much sticks to the studio versions of Beatles songs live.
Back to Dylan, the music on Vol. 8 spans from 1989's "Oh Mercy" through 2006's "Modern Times". Most of the records he released during that timeframe are every bit as strong as, and stronger in some instances, than any of the so called "classic" Dylan releases from the 60s and 70s.
Over the years, the album versions of these songs have become familiar, yet never tiring. Hearing radically revised versions of the songs is unsettling for many people (Dylan fans not likely included), but these new versions reawaken that spirit of reinvention and spontaneity.
Maybe it's analagous to the feeling you get when you step into that room in your house that you just remodeled and had it repainted just the way you wanted. You've always loved the house, and always will, but it's even more enjoyable to experience it in that new light.
Unquestionably, way high up on the Top 10 Best Of 2008 list....more info
- more dylan always welcome
Can we ever have too much Dylan? I suppose it's possible but the extra tracks that appear as the bootleg series are like a visit backstage after the "show" of the studio albums. I've only given one listen so far, and though I know these discs won't get the heavy rotation of a masterpiece like Modern Times, there are songs here that can't be heard elsewhere and that deserve real study. Especially fun are the very alternate versions of songs like "Most of the Time" from Oh Mercy. The bootleg version sounds like Dylan from Blood on the Tracks. Dylan fans will not be disappointed....more info
- better than the originals
only bob dylan could surpass his own established work from previous albums his versions of "everything's broken", not to mention a wonderful rendition of "dignity", just dylan and his piano, a five star pouring out of a old civil rights anthem "Ring them Bells" tops off "Tell Tale Signs".......more info
- Really Good
These songs are for the most part spellbinding performances. This is one of the best albums I've purchased (ahem) this year. REally excellent double CD -- if you like Dylan you'll like it, if you don't, you probably should give it a listen anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised....more info
- Tell tale signs
decent music if you`re a Bob Dylan fan.. lots of stuff i hadn`t heard before....more info
- Dylan's Bootleg Tell Tale Signs full of great music
I have always been a Bob Dylan fan, listening to his early 60's Folk anthems ("The Freewheelen' Bob Dylan album"). His recent music is fascinating. If you like what Johnny Cash did in his last recordings (American/Lost Highway), you'll most likely like what Bob Dylan is doing now. It's incredible that this double CD of music is taken from unreleased material. It makes me wonder what other gems that Dylan has recorded and is sitting on. Many of the songs are re-makes of his earlier versions on two great CD's - "Time out of Mind" and "Modern Times". It is hard to name just one favorite, but the one song that sold me on this bootleg CD was his re-make of "Someday Baby". On the original version released on "Modern Times", this song is a blues and great in itself. On the bootleg CD, Dylan gives "Someday Baby" a more up tempo beat with a nice drum march in the background. It is a nice thing to hear these different versions of songs and get a different feeling from them. They all stand on their own. I remember seeing an interview awhile back in which Dylan said he could never make the music he did in the 60's. He is a true artist that continues to produce art. Unlike many of the 60's-70's recording artists, Dylan will not end up as a lounge act playing in venues like Vegas. "Tell Tale Signs" only makes me wait for his next release. My iPod shuffle seems stuck on his music now. ...more info