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 Bob Dylan
Released October 6, 2008 (2008-10-06)
Recorded 1989–2006
Genre Rock, folk, folk rock, country rock, blues
Length 137:07
Label Columbia
Producer Bob 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 in his official "bootleg series" of rare and unissued recordings.[1] It was originally released as a double, and (limited edition) triple album. It was later released as a single album, consisting of disc one of the double set. The three-disc version of Tell Tale Signs includes a detailed 56 page book annotating the recordings by Larry Sloman, and a book of photos of "The Collected Single Sleeves of Bob Dylan" drawing on Dylan releases from around the world, plus a 7" vinyl single with 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.[2] 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 are 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 its first week it opened with #6 on the Billboard 200, selling over 600,000 copies to date and becoming Dylan's 17th album to open in the top 10.

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.[3] 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.[4][5][6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [7]
BBC Favorable[8]
The Chicago Tribune Favorable[9]
Robert Christgau (3-star Honorable Mention)[10]
Entertainment Weekly A [11]
The Guardian 4/5 stars [12]
Paste 88% [13]
Pitchfork Media 8.6/10 [14]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars [15]
Uncut 5/5 stars [16]
Variety Favorable [17]

Tell Tale Signs currently maintains an 86% positive ("Universal acclaim") rating at MetaCritic.[18] It was also named the second best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine.[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bob Dylan except as indicated.

Disc one
No. Title Source Length
1. "Mississippi" Unreleased, Time Out of Mind 6:04
2. "Most of the Time" Alternate version, Oh Mercy 3:46
3. "Dignity" Piano demo, Oh Mercy 2:09
4. "Someday Baby" Alternate version, Modern Times 5:56
5. "Red River Shore" Unreleased, Time Out of Mind 7:36
6. "Tell Ol' Bill" Alternate version of song released on the North Country soundtrack 5:31
7. "Born in Time" Unreleased, Oh Mercy 4:10
8. "Can't Wait" Alternate version, Time Out of Mind 5:45
9. "Everything Is Broken" Alternate version, Oh Mercy 3:27
10. "Dreamin' of You" Unreleased, Time Out of Mind 5:54
11. "Huck's Tune" From the Lucky You soundtrack 4:09
12. "Marchin' to the City" Unreleased, Time Out of Mind 6:36
13. "High Water (For Charley Patton)" Live, August 23, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 6:40
Disc two
No. Title Source Length
1. "Mississippi" Alternate version 2, Time Out of Mind 6:24
2. "32-20 Blues" (Robert Johnson) Unreleased, World Gone Wrong 4:22
3. "Series of Dreams" Unreleased, Oh Mercy 6:27
4. "God Knows" Unreleased, Oh Mercy 3:12
5. "Can't Escape from You" Unreleased, December 2005 recording 5:22
6. "Dignity" Unreleased, Oh Mercy 5:25
7. "Ring Them Bells" Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993, New York, NY 4:59
8. "Cocaine Blues" (T. J. "Red" Arnall) Live, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA 4:40
9. "Ain't Talkin'" Alternate version, Modern Times 6:13
10. "The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore" (A. P. Carter) Live, June 30, 1992, Dunkerque, France 2:51
11. "Lonesome Day Blues" Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL 7:37
12. "Miss the Mississippi" (Bill Halley) Unreleased, 1992 3:20
13. "The Lonesome River" (Ralph and Carter Stanley)   3:04
14. "Cross the Green Mountain" from the Gods and Generals soundtrack 8:15

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.[20] 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.[21]

Bonus disc
No. Title Source Length
1. "Duncan & Brady" (traditional) Unreleased, 1992 3:47
2. "Cold Irons Bound" Live at Bonnaroo, 2004 5:57
3. "Mississippi" Alternate version #3, Time Out of Mind 6:24
4. "Most of the Time" Alternate version #2, Oh Mercy 5:10
5. "Ring Them Bells" Alternate version, Oh Mercy 3:18
6. "Things Have Changed" Live, June 15, 2000, Portland, OR 5:32
7. "Red River Shore" Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind 7:08
8. "Born in Time" Unreleased version #2, Oh Mercy 4:19
9. "Tryin' to Get to Heaven" Live, October 5, 2000, London, England 5:10
10. "Marchin' to the City" Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind 3:39
11. "Can't Wait" Alternate version #2, Time Out of Mind 7:24
12. "Mary and the Soldier" (traditional) Unreleased, World Gone Wrong 4:23
7" vinyl
No. Title Source Length
1. "Dreamin' of You" (Single Edit) Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind 3:34
2. "Ring Them Bells" Alternate version, Oh Mercy 3:18


  1. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2008-07-29). "Bob Dylan Unveils Triple-Disc Rarities Set". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Bob Dylan to release 8th Bootleg Series in October_English_Xinhua". 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  3. ^ article: Exclusive Preview: Bob Dylan's 'Tell Tale Signs'.
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Cairns, Dan (2008-10-05). "Tell Tale Signs". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  6. ^ Beech, Mark (2008-10-06). "Dylan Opens Archive to Reveal Gems, Gaffes, Rockers: Mark Beech". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006 at AllMusic
  8. ^ BBC review
  9. ^ The Chicago Tribune review
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 169". Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  12. ^ The Guardian review
  13. ^ Paste Magazine review
  14. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  15. ^ Rolling Stone review
  16. ^ Uncut Magazine review
  17. ^ Variety Magazine review
  18. ^ MetaCritic page for Tell Tale Signs.
  19. ^ Best Albums of 08 [1].
  20. ^ " Bob Dylan — The Bootleg Series No. 8 – Official SONY BMG Pre-Order Store". Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  21. ^ 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]