The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006

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The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006
A blue-tinted photograph of Dylan's face
Compilation album by
ReleasedOctober 6, 2008 (2008-10-06)
GenreRock, folk, folk rock, country rock, blues
ProducerBob Dylan, Daniel Lanois
Bob Dylan chronology
The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006
Together Through Life
Bob Dylan Bootleg Series chronology
The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006
The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964

The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006 is a compilation album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan released on Legacy Records in 2008. The sixth installment of the ongoing Bob Dylan Bootleg Series, it was originally released as a double-disc set, a limited edition triple vinyl album, as well as a three-disc expanded version. This latter edition of Tell Tale Signs includes a detailed 56 page book annotating the recordings by Larry Sloman, a book of photos The Collected Single Sleeves of Bob Dylan drawing on Dylan releases from around the world, plus a 7-inch vinyl single comprising two tracks from the set: "Dreamin' of You" and "Ring Them Bells".


The album spans the recording sessions for Oh Mercy, World Gone Wrong, Time Out of Mind, and Modern Times as well as a number of soundtrack contributions and previously unreleased live tracks from 1989 through 2006.[1] The collection also includes a track from an abandoned album Dylan had started to record with David Bromberg in 1992, and Dylan's duet with Ralph Stanley, "The Lonesome River".

Although Under the Red Sky, Good as I Been to You and Love and Theft were all recorded during this time period, no tracks from these sessions were included on Tell Tale Signs. An alternate version of "Series of Dreams" was included on Vol. 3 of the Bootleg Series. "Dreamin' of You", an outtake from the Time Out of Mind sessions, was offered for free download on Bob Dylan's site and was also sent to radio stations as a promotional single.

In the first week of October 2008, the entire album was made available in a free streaming format on National Public Radio's official website.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[3]
The Chicago TribuneFavorable[5]
Robert Christgau(3-star Honorable Mention)[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA[7]
The Guardian4/5 stars[8]
Pitchfork Media8.6/10[10]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[11]
Uncut5/5 stars[12]

The album entered the Billboard 200 at number 6, becoming Dylan's 17th album to open in the top 10. It went on to sell over 600,000 copies. Tell Tale Signs currently maintains an 86% positive ("Universal acclaim") rating at MetaCritic.[14] It was also named the second best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine.[15]

CBS's announcement that the two-CD set would sell for $18.99 and the three-CD version for $129.99 drew charges of "rip-off pricing" from Dylan biographer Michael Gray and other critics.[16][17][18]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bob Dylan except as indicated.

Disc one
1."Mississippi"Unreleased, Time Out of Mind6:04
2."Most of the Time"Alternate version, Oh Mercy3:46
3."Dignity"Piano demo, Oh Mercy2:09
4."Someday Baby"Alternate version, Modern Times5:56
5."Red River Shore"Unreleased, Time Out of Mind7:36
6."Tell Ol' Bill"Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack5:31
7."Born in Time"Unreleased, Oh Mercy4:10
8."Can't Wait"Alternate version, Time Out of Mind5:45
9."Everything Is Broken"Alternate version, Oh Mercy3:27
10."Dreamin' of You"Unreleased, Time Out of Mind5:54
11."Huck's Tune"From the Lucky You soundtrack4:09
12."Marchin' to the City"Unreleased, Time Out of Mind6:36
13."High Water (For Charley Patton)"Live, August 23, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada6:40
Disc two
1."Mississippi" Alternate version 2, Time Out of Mind6:24
2."32-20 Blues"Robert JohnsonUnreleased, World Gone Wrong4:22
3."Series of Dreams" Unreleased, Oh Mercy6:27
4."God Knows" Unreleased, Oh Mercy3:12
5."Can't Escape from You" Unreleased, December 2005 recording5:22
6."Dignity" Unreleased, Oh Mercy5:25
7."Ring Them Bells" Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993, New York, NY4:59
8."Cocaine Blues"T. J. "Red" ArnallLive, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA4:40
9."Ain't Talkin'" Alternate version, Modern Times6:13
10."The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore"A. P. CarterLive, June 30, 1992, Dunkerque, France2:51
11."Lonesome Day Blues" Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL7:37
12."Miss the Mississippi"Bill HalleyUnreleased, 19923:20
13."The Lonesome River"Ralph Stanley, Carter Stanley 3:04
14."Cross the Green Mountain" from the Gods and Generals soundtrack8:15
15."Love Sick" Live, iTunes Bonus track5:40

Deluxe Edition[edit]

The official Bob Dylan website offered a deluxe edition of the album, including a 150-page book and a bonus disc of tracks on top of the regular edition. Fans who pre-ordered the deluxe set directly from Bob Dylan's website also received an exclusive 7" vinyl. The first 5000 customers were also given a Theme Time Radio Hour poster.[19] The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 was also released on vinyl as 4 x 180g. LPs, plus a digital download and a 12" x 12" version of the book authored by Sloman.[20]

Bonus disc
1."Duncan & Brady" (traditional)Unreleased, 19923:47
2."Cold Irons Bound"Live at Bonnaroo, 20045:57
3."Mississippi"Alternate version #3, Time Out of Mind6:24
4."Most of the Time"Alternate version #2, Oh Mercy5:10
5."Ring Them Bells"Alternate version, Oh Mercy3:18
6."Things Have Changed"Live, June 15, 2000, Portland, OR5:32
7."Red River Shore"Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind7:08
8."Born in Time"Unreleased version #2, Oh Mercy4:19
9."Tryin' to Get to Heaven"Live, October 5, 2000, London, England5:10
10."Marchin' to the City"Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind3:39
11."Can't Wait"Alternate version #2, Time Out of Mind7:24
12."Mary and the Soldier" (traditional)Unreleased, World Gone Wrong4:23
7" vinyl
1."Dreamin' of You" (Single Edit)Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind3:34
2."Ring Them Bells"Alternate version, Oh Mercy3:18


  1. ^ "Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1986-2006 Album Review | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  2. ^ article: Exclusive Preview: Bob Dylan's 'Tell Tale Signs'.
  3. ^ Jurek, Thom. The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006 at AllMusic
  4. ^ BBC review
  5. ^ The Chicago Tribune review
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 169". Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  7. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  8. ^ The Guardian review
  9. ^ Paste Magazine review
  10. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  11. ^ Rolling Stone review
  12. ^ Uncut Magazine review
  13. ^ Variety Magazine review
  14. ^ MetaCritic page for Tell Tale Signs.
  15. ^ Best Albums of 08 [1].
  16. ^ Gray expressed his opinion in his Bob Dylan Encyclopedia blog "Tell Tale Signs Pt. 3, Money Doesn't Talk..." Bob Dylan Encyclopedia blog. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  17. ^ Cairns, Dan (2008-10-05). "Tell Tale Signs". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  18. ^ Beech, Mark (2008-10-06). "Dylan Opens Archive to Reveal Gems, Gaffes, Rockers: Mark Beech". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  19. ^ " Bob Dylan — The Bootleg Series No. 8 – Official SONY BMG Pre-Order Store". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  20. ^ Fremer, Michael (2009-03-01). "A Treasure Trove Deluxe Edition for Bob Fans". Michael Fremer's music angle. Retrieved 2010-10-01.

External links[edit]