Onstage, Mr. Dylan — in a particularly smiling, playful mood — was able to meet Mr. Clapton on his level, playing a heated version of ”Crossroads.” But Mr. Clapton had trouble meeting Mr. Dylan on his. Mr. Clapton’s liquid blues lines couldn’t find an entry point into Mr. Dylan’s ”Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and when their iconic heads met at the microphone for ”Born in Time,” they seemed to be singing different words. As for the rest of Mr. Clapton’s band, at first the musicians had trouble doing much more than standing around slack-jawed as these two giants searched for common ground to stand on.
-Neil Strauss (New York Times)
Madison Square Garden New York City, New York 30 June 1999 Eric Clapton & Friends To Benefit Crossroads Centre Antigua
“It’s just another record,” [Dylan says of Red Sky] “You can only make the records as good as
you can and hope they sell.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, Aug 1990)
I made this record, Under the Red Sky, with Don Was, but at the same time I was also doing the Wilburys record. I don’t know how it happened that I got into both albums at the same time.
~Bob Dylan (to Jonathan Lethem, Aug 2006)
Anyway, Leadbelly did most of those kind of songs. He’d been out of prison for some time when he decided to do children’s songs and people said oh, why did Leadbelly change? Some people liked the old ones, some people liked the new ones. Some people liked both songs. But he didn’t change, he was the same man! Anyway, this is a song called …, It’s a new song I wrote a while back. I’m gonna try and do it as good as I can. there’s somebody important here tonight who wants to hear it, so we’ll give it our best …
– preface to ‘Caribbean Wind’, Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, November 12, 1980
If Dylan’s songs were once protests looking for rectification — if his language was once phantasmagoric and tricky to decipher — well, that was wonderful, but things have changed. Tell Tale Signs sets a new milestone for this American artist. Dylan has always written about morally centerless times, but this collection comes from a different perspective — not something born of the existential moment but of the existential long view and the courage of dread. Jack Fate, Dylan’s character in Masked and Anonymous, intones what might work as the pracis for this album: “Seen from a fair garden, everything looks cheerful. Climb to a higher plateau, and you’ll see plunder and murder. Truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. I tried to stop figuring everything out a long time ago.” For a long time, we’ve asked Dylan to deliver us truths. Now that he has, we need to ask ourselves if we can live with them.
~Mikal Gilmore (rollingstone.com)
About a year ago we ran a poll asking readers to vote for their favorite “Tell Tale Signs” songs.
I hereby challenge all readers to put out their personal list of the 10 best songs from Bob Dylan’s lovely “The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006”.
Top 5 is also appreciated.
Use the comments section in this post or check out our Facebook page.
The poll will be open till Tuesday’ish.
Top 5 on provided lists got 2 points each & 6-10 got 1 point
25 Bob Dylan experts voted
Red River Shore (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind)
Cross the Green Mountain (from the Gods and Generals soundtrack)
Born in Time (Unreleased #1, Oh Mercy)
Tell Ol’ Bill (Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack)
Huck’s Tune (From the Lucky You soundtrack)
Mississippi (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind)
Most Of The Time (Alternate version #1, Oh Mercy)
Can’t Wait (Alternate version #1, Time Out of Mind)
Dreamin’ of You (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind)
Ring Them Bells* (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993, New York, NY)
High Water (For Charley Patton) (Live, August 23, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)
Marchin’ to the City (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind)
Ain’t Talkin’ (Alternate version, Modern Times)
Dignity (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
Everything Is Broken (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
Series of Dreams (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
Tryin’ to Get to Heaven (Live, October 5, 2000, London, England)
Can’t Escape from You (Unreleased, December 2005 recording)
32-20 Blues (Robert Johnson) (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
Mary and the Soldier (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
Red River Shore (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
Someday Baby (Alternate version, Modern Times)
* there are 3 versions of this song included on TTS & it was not clear from the votes which versions were chosen. I will presume everyone voted for the best one.. the supper club version.
Spotify (without songs from the bonus disc)
“Red River Shore” – 7:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
“Huck’s Tune” – 4:09 (From the Lucky You soundtrack)
“Born in Time” – 4:10 (Unreleased version #1, Oh Mercy)
“‘Cross the Green Mountain” – 8:15 (from the Gods and Generals soundtrack)
“Tell Ol’ Bill” – 5:31 (Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack)
“Mississippi” – 6:04 (Unreleased version #1, Time Out of Mind)
“Most of the Time” – 3:46 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
“Dignity” – 2:09 (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
“God Knows” – 3:12 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
“Marchin’ to the City” – 6:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)