Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Ralph Stanley (vocals, guitar, banjo); Glen Lowe, Tommy Morrongiello, Daniel Lanois , David Bromberg, Denny Freeman, Duke Robillard, Freddy Koella, James Alan Shelton, John Jackson, Larry Campbell, Mason Ruffner, Stuart Kimball, Donnie Herron, Bob Britt, Brian Stoltz, Charlie Sexton (guitar); Bucky Baxter (steel guitar); Cindy Cashdollar (dobro); Steve Sparkman (banjo); Jeff Wisor, Dick Fegy (mandolin, fiddle); John Rigsby (mandolin); James Price (fiddle); Augie Meyers (accordion, organ); John Firmin (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Peter Ecklund (trumpet); Curtis Linberg (trombone); Jim Dickinson, Benmont Tench (organ); Christopher Cameron (keyboards); Jack Cooke (upright bass); Robert Amiot, Tony Hall, Tony Garnier (bass guitar); Winston Johnson (drums, percussion); David Kemper, Jim Keltner, Willie Green , Richard Crooks , George Recile, Brian Blade (drums); Cyril Neville, Darryl Johnson , Tony Mangurian (percussion).
This eighth chapter in Dylan's epic Bootleg Series covers the era bookended by 1989's OH MERCY and 2006's MODERN TIMES. As the only installment with its own unique title, TELL TALE SIGNS acts in some ways as its own original record and the fourth salvo in the renaissance kicked off by 1997's TIME OUT OF MIND. A deeply satisfying two-disc set, TELL TALE SIGNS argues emphatically that these albums were no fluke, but rooted in a significantly broader, deeper wellspring of creativity. Unconcerned with the contemporary zeitgeist, Dylan synthesizes old forms--from rockabilly to jump blues; from Jimmie Rodgers-esque parlor balladry to country gospel--into his millieu with extraordinary ease, and rides various ace line-ups (which feature such stalwarts as guitarist/fiddler Larry Campbell, guitarist Charlie Sexton, and organist Augie Meyers) into an isolated dreamland soaked with spring reverb and pulsating tremolo. The stranger in these songs may be familiar, but now his visions thrum with nostalgia and regret.
The highlights are many. A devastating acoustic demo of the OH MERCY stand-out "Most of the Time" rescues the song from Daniel Lanois's overweaning production on the original. "Red River Shore" and "Marchin' to the City"--cut from the final sequence of TIME OUT OF MIND--smolder. Two vastly different alternate versions of both the OH MERCY-era single "Dignity" and LOVE AND THEFT's "Mississippi" reveal the degree to which Dylan plumbs a song's performative possibilities. Still restless, still aching, still remarkable, TELL TALE SIGNS is yet another revelation in a career already crowded with them.
- Genre: Pop
- Format: CD
- Released: 11/04/2008