Bob Dylan began writing gospel songs at such a furious rate in late 1978 that there was no way his record company could put them all out, even if they let him release two albums of Christian music just 10 months apart. Many of the songs that never made it on record were played live on the gospel tours of 1979 to 1981 and soon circulated within the fan community via bootleg, but others never surfaced outside of the rehearsal room. One of those songs is “Making a Liar Out of Me.” It was mentioned as a known song title in Clinton Heylin’s book Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1974–2006, but absolutely nothing was known about it.
The song (along with eight CDs and one DVD of other material from the gospel era) is finally coming out November 3rd on Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979–1981, but you can exclusively hear it right now. “When I first heard it I was struck by the fact it not just a proper song, but that it was six and a half minutes long,” says Heylin. “It absolutely hits you in the solar plexus. There are some extraordinary lines in there and they just seem to pouring out. What’s truly strange is that both that song and ‘Yonder Comes Sin’ [another unreleased gospel-era song] is they didn’t even make it into the live set. They’re both incredible and they were dropped within a week of rehearsal.”
“Making a Liar Out of Me” is just one of many revelations from Trouble No More. The set conclusively proves that despite the public outcry over Dylan refusing to play his older songs, the shows were some of the best live moments of his career. The box set is packed with live selections, each one making the studio version seem stiff by comparison. “Once you strip away all the time and all the uproar it caused at the time,” a source close to the Dylan camp told Rolling Stone, “you can appreciate all this as wonderful, impassioned music.”
Bob Dylan resumes his Never Ending Tour on October 13th at Harrah’s Resort SoCal in Funner, California. He’s unlikely to play even a single song from the gospel period, instead building his set around tracks from his recent albums and a smattering of selections from the 1960s like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Highway 61 Revisited.” But considering Dylan loves to subvert fan expectations, nothing is even close to definite.