Tag Archives: Tell Tale Signs

March 23, 1989 Bob Dylan Recorded “Series of Dreams”

bob dylan series_of_dreams

Dreams can tell us a lot about ourselves, if we can remember them. We can see what’s coming around the corner sometimes without actually going to the corner..
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan in 2009)

“Series of Dreams” is a major Dylan song and an important statement.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

#62 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. First recorded on March 23, 1989 during the recording sessions for Oh Mercy. It was overdubbed and first released in 1991 as the final song on “The Bootleg Series 1-3”. It is a great haunting song.. with fascinating lyrics.

1991 version:

Continue reading March 23, 1989 Bob Dylan Recorded “Series of Dreams”

Bob Dylan’s best songs: Can’t Wait

bob dylan time out 1997

I can’t wait, wait for you to change your mind
It’s late, I’m trying to walk the line
Well, it’s way past midnight and there are people all around
Some on their way up, some on their way down
The air burns and I’m trying to think straight
And I don’t know how much longer I can wait

…the version [of Can’t Wait] he finally went with on Time Out of Mind makes a pig’s ear out of a prize-winning sow.
~Clinton Heylin (Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 2, . 1974-2008)

…one day Bob comes in, sits at the piano, and plays this song, ‘Can’t Wait’. And this is a gospel version. Tony starts playing this real sexy groove with him, and Bob is hammering out this gospel piano and really singing. The hair on my arms went up. It was stunning. Luckily, I was recording. We were thinking, ‘If this is going to be anything like this, this record is going to be unbelievable.’
~Mark Howard (Engineer on Time Out Of Mind) about the early version – “Oxnard version”

Time out of mind version:

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs: Can’t Wait

The 23 best songs from Bob Dylan’s “The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs”


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.

Original challenge:


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

The results

1 Red River Shore (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind) 36 points
2 Cross the Green Mountain (from the Gods and Generals soundtrack) 31 points
3 Born in Time (Unreleased #1, Oh Mercy) 29 points
4 Tell Ol’ Bill (Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack) 28 points
5 Huck’s Tune (From the Lucky You soundtrack) 27 points
6 Mississippi  (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind) 17 points
7 Most Of The Time (Alternate version #1, Oh Mercy) 16 points
8 Can’t Wait (Alternate version #1, Time Out of Mind) 14 points
9 Dreamin’ of You (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind) 13 points
10 Ring Them Bells* (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993, New York, NY) 9 points
11 High Water (For Charley Patton) (Live, August 23, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) 8 points
12 Marchin’ to the City (Unreleased #1, Time Out of Mind) 7 points
13 Ain’t Talkin’ (Alternate version, Modern Times) 6 points
13 Dignity (Piano demo, Oh Mercy) 6 points
13 Everything Is Broken (Alternate version, Oh Mercy) 6 points
13 Series of Dreams (Unreleased, Oh Mercy) 6 points
13 Tryin’ to Get to Heaven (Live, October 5, 2000, London, England) 6 points
13 Can’t Escape from You (Unreleased, December 2005 recording) 6 points
19 32-20 Blues (Robert Johnson) (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong) 5 points
20 Mary and the Soldier (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong) 3 points
20 Red River Shore (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind) 3 points
20 Someday Baby (Alternate version, Modern Times) 3 points

* 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)

My List:

  1. “Red River Shore” – 7:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
  2. “Huck’s Tune” – 4:09 (From the Lucky You soundtrack)
  3. “Born in Time” – 4:10 (Unreleased version #1, Oh Mercy)
  4. “‘Cross the Green Mountain” – 8:15 (from the Gods and Generals soundtrack)
  5. “Tell Ol’ Bill” – 5:31 (Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack)
  6. “Mississippi” – 6:04 (Unreleased version #1, Time Out of Mind)
  7. “Most of the Time” – 3:46 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
  8. “Dignity” – 2:09 (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
  9. “God Knows” – 3:12 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
  10. “Marchin’ to the City” – 6:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)


Check out:


Bob Dylan’s best songs: Dignity

bob dylan dignity

Of the virtues, I suppose I think integrity is the most essential. Not dignity – a thief can have dignity.
~Bob Dylan (to Barbara Kerr, Feb 1978)

‘Dignity’, which describes so resourcefully the yearning for a more dignified world, would have been the album’s [Oh Mercy] ideal opening track. It scorches along musically, declaring its allegiance to the timeless appeal of the blues, while sounding, above all things, fresh. Its lyric, meanwhile, though ‘Dylanesque’ in that it sounds like no-one else’s work and sounds like a restrained, mature revisit to a mode of writing you might otherwise call mid-1960s Dylan, is fully alert and freshly itself, admits of no leaning on laurels, and has the great virtue that while not every line can claim the workaday clarity of instructional prose, the song is accessible to anyone who cares to listen, and offers a clear theme, beautifully explored, with which anyone can readily identify.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

@ #43 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. It was originally recorded for “Oh Mercy” in 1989, but Dylan wasn’t satisfied with it… and left it. Michael Gray points out that it would have been a perfect opening track to the album… way better than “Political World”… only thing missing was an instrumental solo in the middle.

I will not mess with too many details around the songs recording history.. even Clinton Heylin calls Dignity’s recording history a bit… messy….

Officially we now have 5 different versions available:

# released Album
1 1994 Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3
Brendan O’Brien remixed version
2 1995 MTV Unplugged
Live version
3 2000 The Best of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2
Touched By An Angel version*
4 2008 The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Piano demo version
 5 2008 The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Tell Tale Signs version2

* First released on the album “Touched By An Angel: The Album” – TV Series soundtrack compilation (1998)

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs: Dignity

Bob Dylan’s best songs – Most Of The Time


Most of the time
I’m clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs
Stay right with it when the road unwinds
I can handle whatever I stumble upon
I don’t even notice she’s gone
Most of the time
~Bob Dylan (“Most Of The Time”)

“I don’t know who I am most of the time. It doesn’t even matter to me.”
~Bob Dylan (David Gates interview Sept 1997)

“Most of The Time” is a “big song,” a major work, the sort of listening experience that brings people back to an album again and again.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

“Most Of The Time” is the most atmospheric track on the best Bob Dylan album of the 1980s.
~Nigel Williamson (The Rough Guide To BD)

“Most Of The Time” is my fav song from “Oh Mercy”, and it’s the “Oh Mercy” version that’s @ 31 on my top 200 list. This is however not my fav studio version.. as you will see further down in this post.

I really love the lyrics & Bob’s vocal on this one…

Here is Andrew Mueller (The Guardian) from the documentary “Both Ends of The Rainbow”:

Most of the time
It’s well understood
Most of the time
I wouldn’t change it if I could
I can make it all match up, I can hold my own
I can deal with the situation right down to the bone
I can survive, I can endure
And I don’t even think about her
Most of the time
~Bob Dylan (“Most Of The Time”)

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs – Most Of The Time