Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tell Tale Signs: encore

Thanks to David Faulkner:

“I agree with Liam, a disappointing track list.

Not poor enough to stop me buying it of course, but I won't be investing in the 3-disc set which is priced absurdly high if you just want the music.

“Maybe it will all sound more like a coherent whole when I hear it, but my hopes are not high.

“My respect for Steve Berkowitz and his management of the Bootleg Series has taken a big knock. I am certain that, if they were guided by a consultation with fans (as Sony purportedly was for the Dylan hits collections), we would not being seeing a track listing like this one.

“Now that we are up to Volume 8 of the Bootleg Series, the only market Sony have for these collections is the relatively diehard fans - so why not give us more of what we want and sell more stuff as well as keeping our goodwill? And it can only be goodwill, or a lack of sanity, that has seen me buy, for example, six copies of "Blonde On Blonde" in various formats over the years.

“After the our hero's ‘renaissance’ over the last decade with three excellent albums, the Oscar win, the Chronicles autobiography, the Scorsese No Direction Home documentary, the wonderful Theme Time Radio Hour, the approval of the I'm Not There film idea, the Pulitzer Prize award and the praise for his series of paintings I guess it was about time us fans got brought down to earth by what appears to be a relatively ill-thought-through pasting together of miscellaneous tracks, with lots of ‘repeats’. Of course there will be a huge range of views about what the ‘next’ collection would be but I suspect this one will provide little satisfaction beyond the genuine rarities.

“As with Liam, I had also been kinda hoping for a complete Supper Club live set. I just love those stripped down acoustic performances that Bob and the band deliver with such energy and commitment. Until I saw the article in USA Today I hadn't realised these shows had also been filmed professionally; what a great DVD we may (or may not) get one day.

“Ho hum.

“I was going to suggest we fans put together a proposal for the next three Bootleg Series collections, but we'd never agree, would we?”

And to Cornelius Collins:

“Re: ‘I've already spent stupid prices for the Gods and Generals, North Country and the Lucky You soundtracks and the Ralph Stanley album. I don't particularly want to pay for them again.’

“Sorry to say, but I think it was fairly stupid of Liam M. to have spent so much on these albums for one track apiece. Major artists like Dylan always have their odds and ends compiled eventually.

“I would agree the Bromberg sessions are notable by their absence. And the price is another matter entirely. And probably the repeated versions of songs should all be on the bonus disc, though that's without hearing them--maybe they're quite different sounding.

“But I like how the selection focuses on Oh Mercy forward. There's an integrity to that.”


Thanks to Liam Mogan:

“Just read the track listing from the latest Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs. Don't know about everybody else, but I'm feeling kind of underwhelmed.

“It seems that there is a lot of repetition - 3 alternative versions of Mississippi! Now, whilst I think it's a good track (I even have a secret soft spot for the Sheryl Crow version), surely this is barrel scraping at its most brazen.

“Similarly, we get 2 alternative versions of Most of the Time, Born in Time and even the mediocre Can't Wait. Also, there's a few tracks the diehard Dylan fan will already have.

“I've already spent stupid prices for the Gods and Generals, North Country and the Lucky You soundtracks and the Ralph Stanley album. I don't particularly want to pay for them again.

“If it's a true 'bootleg' then give us something truly rare. Especially when you consider the $129.99 price for the Deluxe Edition on!

“Once it's released I'm sure I'll savour every track. I'm looking forward to hearing some pristine live tracks, the World Gone Wrong outtakes and the real rarities (Red River Shore, Miss the Mississippi etc).

“But where are the rest of the Bromberg outtakes, why no complete Supper Club set or DVD? It seems like a missed opportunity to me, and light years away from the majestic first instalment of the series and the historic Albert Hall set.

“Personally, I was hoping for a live album from the 'born again' era (some of the Toronto bootlegs are breathtaking), but, alas, it was not to be.

“I suppose all the people can't be all right all of the time.”

(Full details, inc full tracklist and stunning artwork, now online at

What do YOU think of the new release? Let me know. Gerry Smith, Ed)