….I wanted to call my next album, whenever I made it, Surviving In A Ruthless World. I wanted to call it that. Before we even went into the studio, “The next album I do I’m gonna call Surviving in a Ruthless World”. But something was holding me back from it, because for some reason… somebody pointed out to me that the last bunch of albums that I made all started with the letter S. And I’d say, “Is that right?” There must be a story or something. I didn’t want to do another one beginning with S just f for superstitious reasons. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the letter S whatever the letter S stands for. And this Infidels came out, just came into my head one day, I guess. This was after we had that album done that it just came in my head that this is the right title for this album. I mean, I don’t know any more about it than anybody else really. I did it. I did the album, and I call it that, but what it means is for other people to interpret, you know, if it means something to them. Infidels is a word that’s in the dictionary and whoever it applies to… to everybody on the album, every character. Maybe it’s all about infidels.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder in March 1984)
“Dylan’s second attempt to revive the folk music revival while laying down a new record without writing any new songs is eerie and enticing”
– Robert Christgau (A-)
“it’s the liner notes that offer the most interesting aspect of the album…[With] the songs steeped in deceit, treachery, venality and despair—not to mention his sometimes slightly berserk annotations—the picture builds up of the Blues as Bible Study, a series of lessons to be interpreted.”
– Andy Gill (The Independent)
World Gone Wrong is the twenty-ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on October 26, 1993 by Columbia Records.
It was Dylan’s second consecutive collection of only traditional folk songs, performed acoustically with guitar and harmonica. The songs tend to deal with darker and more tragic themes than the previous outing, Good as I Been to You.
The album received a warm reception from critics. Despite earning a Grammy award for Best Traditional Folk Album, it peaked at a modest #70 in the US, and at #35 in the UK.
I really like this album, the power of Dylan’s performance here cannot be overstated. The guitar playing has a feel to it that is very appealing, I can picture Dylan sitting alone, having the time of his life (you can hear him tapping his feet on Ragged & Dirty). When the world has gone wrong, of course, one thing you can do is sing the blues. Bob Dylan brought things back to the roots on these two albums (Good as I been to you and World Gone Wrong).
Altars are burning, the flames far and wide The foe has crossed over from the other side They tip their caps from the top of the hill You can feel them come, more brave blood to spill
– ‘Cross the Green Mountain
The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006 is a compilation album the official “bootleg series” of rare and unissued recordings. It was originally released as a double, and (limited edition) triple album. It was later released as a single album, consisting of disc one of the double set. The three-disc version of Tell Tale Signs includes a detailed 56 page book annotating the recordings by Larry Sloman, and a book of photos of “The Collected Single Sleeves of Bob Dylan” drawing on Dylan releases from around the world, plus a 7″ vinyl single with two tracks from the set: “Dreamin’ Of You” and “Ring Them Bells”.
The bootleg series—the commentary to the canon—did finally catch up to the latter phases of his recorded output. Again it was a revelation and a fantastic collection of alternative versions and outtakes. It is a strong confirmation of the sky-high quality of Dylan’s latter-day production.
I don’t know… It’s certainly not an album of felicity… I try to live within that line between despondency and hope. I’m suited to walk that line, right between the fire … I see [the album] right straight down the middle of the line, really.
~Bob Dylan to Robert Hilburn in 1997
“My recollection of that record is that it was a struggle. A struggle every inch of the way. Ask Daniel Lanois, who was trying to produce the songs. Ask anyone involved in it. They all would say the same. I didn’t trust the touring band I had at the time to do a good job in the studio, and so I hired these outside guys. But with me not knowing them, and them not knowing the music, things kept on taking unexpected turns. Repeatedly, I’d find myself compromising on this to get to mat. As a result, though it held together as a collection of songs, that album sounds to me a little off.
~Bob Dylan (Press conference 2001)
“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, 21 September 1989)
While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)