The mysteries of Bob: Performances and recordings since 1989. Part III

by mr tambourine

This is the final article in the series continuing from

Fifteen songs were recorded for Time Out of Mind, of which eleven made the final cut. (Some people over the years have even said that there were 13 songs recorded and 11 made the cut.)

On past albums, some fans have criticized Dylan for some of the creative decisions made with his albums, particularly with song selection. Time Out of Mind was no different except this time the criticism came from colleagues who were disappointed to see their personal favorites left on the shelf. When Dylan accepted the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, he mentioned Columbia Records chairman Don Ienner, who “convinced me to put [the album] out, although his favorite songs aren’t on it”

Searching For A Gem has this to say about the album:

Daniel Lanois said of the Time Out Of Mind sessions that Bob left his (Daniel’s) favourite tracks off the album – these out-takes have been rumoured for a long time: some out-takes from the album were finally released in Oct 2008.

The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs (2008): Mississippi (three unreleased takes of original versions – released in 2001 on “Love And Theft” in a new recording), Red River Shore (two takes of the rumoured unreleased song); Can’t Wait (alternate take); Dreamin’ Of You (unreleased song not previously known to collectors plus a radio edit R-0354, see 2008); Marchin’ To The City (two takes of unreleased songs not previously known to collectors).

Other out-takes rumoured but not yet released are Not Dark Yet – a reputedly stunning alternate version, better than the released take, and Highlands – a version reputed to last for 27 minutes!

This is something I found out about sometime ago:

Cold Irons Bound nailed in two takes only. The second take was the released version. Reportedly, Bob wrote the lyrics of the song on the spot, in the studio, while Jim Keltner was playing drums. Bob encouraged him to keep playing until he wrote the song. The song was written in only a few minutes, according to Keltner.

Lanois despised the song, saying that the world doesn’t another Bob Dylan blues song.  Cold Irons Bound then won a Grammy in 1998 for Best male rock vocal performance.

There’s an unknown song from Time Out Of Mind, mentioned by Searching For A Gem by the name of “All I Ever Loved Is You”. This is the info:

Out-take from “Time Out Of Mind” recorded at Real Music Studios, Oxnard, CA, 26 Sep 1996. Reported by Clinton Heylin in “Still On The Road – The Songs Of Bob Dylan Vol. 2: 1974-2008” (Constable, 2010)

In my former article covering Time Out Of Mind and the Oxnard Demos, I mentioned one Dylan researcher assuming that Things Have Changed might’ve been performed during the Time Out Of Mind sessions.

Here’s some Wikipedia info about Things Have Changed.

The song was inspired by a meeting with country musician Marty Stuart and Stuart’s song “The Observations of a Crow” from the concept album The Pilgrim.[8] Dylan critics disagree about when this song was recorded. According to Olof Björner, “Things Have Changed” was recorded in May 1999 at Sterling Sound studios in New York.[9] Clinton Heylin, in his account of Dylan’s songs between 1974 and 2008, believes the song was recorded at Sony Studios, New York, probably on July 25 and 26, 1999. On these latter dates, Dylan was touring the US with Paul Simon.[10]

Sources agree the musicians who accompanied Dylan in the studio were his touring band at the time: Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell on guitar, Tony Garnier on bass and David Kemper on drums and percussion.[9] Kemper has said, “We were touring and had a day off in New York. Bob said, “Tomorrow let’s go into the studio. I got a song I want to record. We went in and played “Things Have Changed” with only an engineer. We did two takes. The first was a New Orleans thing. The second was what you hear. So in about five hours we learned it, recorded it, mixed it”.[10]

Engineer Chris Shaw has confirmed there was another version, which “was really great, which had a kind of New Orleans shuffle to it”. Shaw hoped to include this unreleased version on Volume 8 of Dylan’s Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs. But when the studio recording could not be located, it was replaced by a live version recorded in Portland, Oregon, on June 15, 2000, which Heylin describes as “mediocre”.[10] The song was recorded in the sounding key of G minor.[11]

Chris Shaw did a rough mix of the song the same day it was recorded, which became the final mix. As he explained to Uncut, “We did ‘Things Have Changed’ in one afternoon, and when we were done we did a very quick mix of it, and I thought it was just going to be a rough mix to give to Bob who’d maybe give it to someone else, like Daniel Lanois, who’d wind up engineering and mixing the final thing. But it turned out that that rough mix ended up being the final mix. And that was pretty funny, because the very last thing Bob did was raise the shaker up like 10db, making it ridiculously loud, and that was the mix he wanted to go with”.[12]

When we’re talking about Love And Theft, there’s not much information to rely on.

One of the interesting stories is that Po’ Boy might’ve been soundchecked before one of the 2000 shows, one year before the album recording sessions and release. It could’ve been Bob solo acoustic and on vocals. Although, I can’t prove this. It’s just a rumour I’ve heard that might be true.

As for the Love And Theft sessions, Bjorner suggests that the sessions lasted between May 8 and May 19 2001 and also had a brief continuation on May 21 2001. Seems like just a few days before Bob’s 60th birthday if rumours are true.

This is what Bjorner suggests as far as session info:

May 8, 2001

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
Number of takes - 9
Released take: take #9
Summer Days
Number of takes - unknown ?
Released take: take #5

May 9, 2001

Honest With Me
Number of takes - 6
Released take: take #6

May 11, 2001

Lonesome Day Blues
Number of takes - unknown ?
Released take: take #3

May 12, 2001

Floater (Too Much To Ask)
Number of takes - 5
Released take: take #4
Bye & Bye
Number of takes - ?
Released take : take #5

May 16, 2001

Number of takes: 3
Released take: take #1
Po' Boy
Number of takes: 3
Released take: take #1

May 17, 2001

High Water (For Charley Patton)
Number of takes: 2
Released take: take #1

May 18, 2001

Cry A While
Number of takes: 2
Released take: take #2

May 19, 2001

Sugar Baby
Number of takes: 7
Released take: take #7

May 21, 2001

Number of takes: 4
Released take: take #4

Not much is known about Modern Times.

Bjorner says it was recorded February-March 2006.

Although, I have heard some rumours from one of my subscribers who said that he had a friend who was close to the recording and said that Bob was doing piano demos for certain songs from Modern Times.

I’m pretty sure one of the songs was Beyond The Horizon, while the other could’ve been When The Deal Goes Down. Maybe even Workingman’s Blues or Nettie Moore.

It would be nice to hear some of these one day.

Together Through Life is nothing different. All we can really talk about is: what’s with the song Chicago After Dark? Does it exist?

We know that there used to be an interview when the album was about to be released and the interviewer asked Dylan about the song under that same name. Dylan responded something at least, which might mean that the song exists. Maybe it was cut at the last moment?

Who knows…

It also could be a hoax, as many people have said over the years.

Maybe one day we’ll find out.

Tempest, we have info from Bob directly. Bob said there were the Tempest songs and there were also “Christian songs”, whatever those are. He said he needed to choose between those two. He ended up choosing the Tempest songs as we know.

He also said that he has soundchecked Tempest songs before concerts a few years before Tempest release.

That’s why there exists a rumour of Pay In Blood being soundchecked in 2009 or 2010, or maybe even both.

Tempest was recorded January-March 2012 according to Wikipedia, which could be Bob’s longest sessions to date?

It would be interesting to one day find out about those Christian songs he was talking about.

And finally, when it comes to Rough And Rowdy Ways, people close to the album have said that there were multiple takes of all the songs, including Murder Most Foul. I think Matt Chamberlain said that in numerous interviews, mostly for podcasts.

Other interesting studio activities from around this time include the infamous Ardmore Sessions in 2017, and also the Shadow Kingdom sessions.

As for Shadow Kingdom, I recently learned that there were at least 40 songs recorded for the project, but most outtakes, if not all of them, are instrumentals of songs such as Simple Twist Of Fate, Saving Grace, Shooting Star, If Not For You and Oh Sister. Can’t say how true this is, but it’s something at least.

The Ardmore Sessions on the other hand, are a very interesting project.

I can’t remember the name of the young musician in the business, but he was a guest on a podcast where they talked about the Ardmore Sessions, and he was there. Not in the room though, but he was in the rooms right next to it. He sneaked his way into hearing some stuff they were playing.

He even said he spotted Bob and passed right by him one time and Bob was in disguise completely, with the hoody and everything.

He said he heard that Bob and his band did a lot of acoustic arrangements of songs, and the young musician remembers them playing Girl From The North Country (which wasn’t played live between 2014 and 2019 by the way) and a lot of Time Out Of Mind songs. Could be, since Time Out Of Mind had its 20th anniversary at the time.

This is the only info we have of the Ardmore Sessions so far. Some people have speculated that Bob was maybe recording some video footage of him and the band recording. Some people also speculate that Bob might’ve been interested in recording something for the Nobel prize committee at the time… Who knows…

Interesting stories really.

As a bonus before I close, I’d like to mention some pre-1989 stuff you might not have heard about along with some post 1989 stuff you also might not have heard about.

A song by the name of Ain’t It Funny:

Lyrics of this song are reported by Clinton Heylin to have been found in a notebook containing lyrics of the “Blood On The Tracks” songs, but no studio or live version is known

Thanks to Searching For A Gem for this as well. Apparently, there’s more songs like this out there, which Untold Dylan writers can cover in a separate article. If they need my assistance, they can let me know.


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  1. Wonderful and fascinating labour of love, mr. tambourine man, thanks.
    A small, not too important correction: that’s drummer David Kemper, in that Cold Irons Bound story, not veteran Jim Keltner. With a bit more detail, we tell that story in part 1 of the Cold Irons Bound series on this site:

  2. From the Untold Archives:

    Well, I going to Chicago, going to Chicago after dark
    Now, I’m gonna go to Chicago after dark
    Might take a plane, might take a train, and I might walk
    But I aim to make it to Chicago after dark

    Gonna stand on the corner of State Street and Madison
    Gonna stand on the corner of State Street and Madison
    Gonna feel them cold winds blow off Lake Michigan
    But I doubt I’ll ever pass this way again

  3. Mark Howard: Listen up! : recording music with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, U2, R.E.M., the Tragically Hip, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Waits, ECW Press, 2019
    Not sure why this is overlooked as a source of considerable detail about the recording of both Lanois collabs.

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