‘Mississippi’ is one of Bob Dylan’s greatest achievements, and thanks to the wonder of his Bootleg Series, fans now have no fewer than four versions from which to choose (not counting Sheryl Crow’s cover).
Just last week, frequent commenter Amy delighted in the selection by the “iPod fairy” of several country tunes during Random Weekends and predicted “I don’t think Bob Dylan is showing up anytime soon!”
I guess the iPod fairy showed her.
Time Out of Mind is without question one of Dylan’s finest albums of the last few decades, but the tracks on Telltale Signs that were left off the album could have combined to make it the best by a mile.
One of those is ‘Red River Shore,’ which I mentioned yesterday. Another is ‘Marchin’ to the City,’ a passionate blues number.
And Dylan’s classic ‘Mississippi,’ which eventually found a home on Love and Theft, was originally recorded in a much different form for Time Out of Mind.
It’s hard to pick a favorite among the volumes of the Bootleg Series, but I might cast a vote for Volume 8, Telltale Signs, a collection of rare and unreleased material recorded between 1989 and 2006.
During that span, Dylan released Oh Mercy and Under the Red Sky, followed by his folk music cover albums and then the celebrated trilogy of Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times.
He was at a creative peak, especially from the late 90s on, and Telltale Signs makes it clear that, as usual, many special songs never made it onto those albums. Among those is ‘Red River Shore’ (covered on the blog in early 2009) that maybe ties ‘Blind Willie McTell‘ as the best song ever left off of a Dylan album.