Monday, August 18, 2008

The Ones That Got Away

As a general rule, outtakes are outtakes for a good reason. They're not as good as the tracks that make it to the officially released albums. But let's make an exception for the greatest songwriter of the past 50 years, shall we? As an obsessive collector of "rare" Dylan for more than 30 years now, I can assure you that Dylan has discarded more than his share of masterpieces in the studio, and that some (but far from all; the man is nothing if not maddeningly inconsistent) of his live performances are truly legendary. I have dozens and dozens of cassette tapes that were reverently compiled and assiduously traded among the faithful, and if some of this was overkill (do we really need to hear a 45-second intro to "Like a Rolling Stone" that was interrupted by Dylan's coughing?), some of the ones that got away are mind-bogglingly great.

Columbia started to redress this criminal negligence in the early '90s with the release of the Bootleg Series Vols. 1 - 3, mining the vaults to produce a 3-disc box set that compiled more than 50 outtakes and previously unreleased gems from throughout Dylan's career. Subsequent installments of the Bootleg Series have seen (finally, at long last) the release of the legendary Manchester/Royal Albert Hall concerts from 1966, great live tracks from the mid-'70s Rolling Thunder Revue, an intact concert from NYC on Halloween, 1964, which saw Dylan bidding a not-so-fond farewell to the folkie/social protest years, and a mishmash of assorted effluvium to accompany Martin Scorsese's great documentary No Direction Home.

Vol. 8 of the Bootleg Series, entitled Tell Tale Signs, will be released on Columbia on October 6th. It's a 2-disc series of outtakes, demos and live tracks from the latest phase of Dylan's career, encompassing the studio albums Oh, Mercy, Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, and Modern Times. For those of you who only know Dylan from his mid-'60s surrealistic peak, you may want to check out those albums (and the outtakes from those albums). They're a master class in how to age, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not, and how to integrate virtually every strand of American music into something utterly original, utterly Dylan.

Here's the tracklist:

DISC ONE

1. Mississippi 6:04 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
2. Most of the Time 3:46 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
3. Dignity 2:09 (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
4. Someday Baby 5:56 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
5. Red River Shore 7:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
6. Tell Ol' Bill 5:31 (Alternate version, North Country soundtrack)
7. Born in Time 4:10 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
8. Can't Wait 5:45 (Alternate version, Time Out of Mind)
9. Everything is Broken 3:27 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
10. Dreamin' of You 6:23 (Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind)
11. Huck's Tune 4:09 (From Lucky You soundtrack)
12. Marchin' to the City 6:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
13. High Water (For Charley Patton) 6:40(Live, August 23, 2003,Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

DISC TWO

1. Mississippi 6:24 (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
2. 32-20 Blues 4:22 (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
3. Series of Dreams 6:27 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
4. God Knows 3:12 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
5. Can't Escape from You 5:22 (Unreleased, December 2005)
6. Dignity 5:25 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
7. Ring Them Bells 4:59 (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993,New York, NY
8. Cocaine Blues 5:30 (Live, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA)
9. Ain't Talkin' 6:13 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
10. The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore 2:51 (Live, June 30, 1992,Dunkerque, France)
11. Lonesome Day Blues 7:37 (Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL)
12. Miss the Mississippi 3:20 (Unreleased, 1992)
13. The Lonesome River 3:04 (With Ralph Stanley, from the album ClinchMountain Country)
14. 'Cross the Green Mountain 8:15 (From Gods and Generals Soundtrack)

A deluxe set will include a third bonus disc featuring:

1. Duncan & Brady 3:47 (Unreleased, 1992)
2. Cold Irons Bound 5:57 (Live at Bonnaroo, 2004)
3. Mississippi 6:24 (Unreleased version #3, Time Out of Mind)
4. Most of the Time 5:10 (Alternate version #2, Oh Mercy)
5. Ring Them Bells 3:18 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
6. Things Have Changed 5:32 (Live, June 15, 2000, Portland, OR)
7. Red River Shore 7:08 (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
8. Born in Time 4:19 (Unreleased version #2, Oh Mercy)
9. Tryin' to Get to Heaven 5:10 (Live, October 5, 2000, London,England)
10. Marchin' to the City 3:39 (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
11. Can't Wait 7:24 (Alternate version #2, Time Out of Mind)
12. Mary and the Soldier 4:23 (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)

2 comments:

cnb said...

Thank you for that tracklist. Have you heard the songs yet? It's times like this I wish I were a record reviewer.

garglenuts said...

Damn I love "Dignity".