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Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs (The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – 1989-2006)

Columbia Records, 10/07/08

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

On October 7, Bob Dylan released the eighth volume of his Bootleg Series, but even eight times on, this collection of rare, unreleased and alternatively recorded gems, just keeps getting better. Thought you had heard all of Dylan’s greatest? Think again -- because really there is no such thing. Dylan’s professional life is a work in progress and this album proves that there are plenty more tricks up the old dog’s sleeve.

Tell Tale Signs, a two-disk compilation from the last two decades, opens with the heartfelt "Mississippi" -- a previously unreleased blues track that with its twangy acoustic and rough-as-sandpaper vocals, is the perfect opening to an album that elevates your mood as you listen.

The second track "Most of the Time" (an alternative recording to the one that appears on Dylan’s Oh Mercy), begins with his trademark harmonica and takes you back to 60s Dylan, whilst "Someday Baby" is a newer, fresher, more upbeat Dylan - and really very different to the version from Modern Times.

Can’t Wait is another star. Previously recorded on Time Out Of Mind, this alternative version is bluesy, grunty and enhanced by Dylan on piano. In fact it sounds like Dylan is jamming in his garage with Ben Harper or B.B King on guitar.

The written introduction to this album suggests, as people find parody to their own lives within the stories that Dylan tells, Tell Tale Signs will be appreciated by old and new fans alike.

“From a young kid in a bedroom in Queens, NY, to a Beatle in his mansion in the countryside of England, all of Bob’s fans would not only listen to the music, but also study the new albums as soon as they were released.”