March 7: Bob Dylan’s second recording session for Oh Mercy in 1989

bob dylan Oh-Mercy


“Bono had heard a few of those songs and suggested that Daniel [Lanois] could really record them right, Daniel came to see me when we were playing in New, Orleans last year and… we hit it off. He had an understanding of what my music was all about.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen Sept 1989)

On the first recording session for “Oh Mercy” he only tried “Born In Time”, and two versions from this session was released on “Tell Tale Signs”. The second sessions focused on “What Good Am I?” & Ring Them Bells.

The Studio
New Orleans, Louisiana
7 March 1989
Second Oh Mercy recording session, produced by Daniel Lanois

  1. What Good Am I?
  2. What Good Am I?
  3. What Good Am I?
  4. What Good Am I?
  5. What Good Am I?
  6. What Good Am I?
    Not released – bootleg version (Oh Mercy Outtakes)
  7. What Good Am I?
    It’s a powerful device – and a riveting performancc. Again, compare “Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?” to “What good am I if I’m like all the rest? If I just turn away when I see how you’re dressed [i.e. in poverty]? If I shut myself off, so I can’t hear you cry, what good am I?” It’s the sort of song, and performance, that may speak more resonantly for and to a mass audience a hundred years from now than at its time of release.
    ~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

    Overdub: Bob Dylan (new vocal) 7 April 1989

    Released on: Oh Mercy – 19 September 1989

  8. What Good Am I?
  9. Ring Them Bells
    “Ring Them Bells,” the fourth track on Oh. Mercy, is a superb performance, a terrific song..
    ~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

    Overdub: Bob Dylan (guitar) 6 April 1989

    Released on: Oh Mercy – 19 September 1989

  10. Ring Them Bells
    Released on: Tell Tale Signs: The bootleg series Vol. 8 Rare And Unreleased 1989-2006 – 6 October 2008

  11. Ring Them Bells

  • 1-8 Bob Dylan (piano and guitar), Malcolm Burns (keyboards), Daniel Lanois (electric and 12-string guitars, dobro and bass).
  • 9 Bob Dylan (piano), Malcolm Burns (keyboards and guitar), Daniel Lanois (guitar & dobro).

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