Since 1997’s Grammy-winning Time Out of Mind, Bob Dylan has benefited from increased exposure. 2001’s Love and Theft and 2006’s Modern Times both sold big, there’s a new installment of his groundbreaking Bootleg Series every couple years, and Dylan has contributed new recordings to a number of tribute albums and film soundtracks (“Things Have Changed”, from 2000’s Wonder Boys, won an Academy Award). The sales figures and consistently high quality of his work over the past decade have led critics to rightly declare that Dylan is undergoing a late-career renaissance. All the while, he’s been touring and occasionally shining onstage. And yet The Bootleg Series, other than the original box set, hasn’t acknowledged the fact that, yes, the man’s career has extended past 1975. Until now. Dylan (or his people, or Columbia) decided now would be a good time to dip into the more recent vaults and right that wrong, and Tell Tale Signs is what they came up with. It’s a 27-track collection of studio and live material dating back to 1989, with the bulk of the studio numbers coming from the Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind sessions. The two-disc set comes with a 64-page booklet and liner notes by Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of On the Road with Bob Dylan, a chronicle of the first Rolling Thunder Revue. As in past Bootleg Series sets, the notes put the contents of the package in the context of Dylan’s career while also discussing the music, and the circumstances of its creation, in detail. This is the collection to complete the Dylan fan’s Dylan collection.
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