An album heralded as a return from Bob Dylan's born-again proselytizing, the Mark Knopfler-produced Infidels began Bob Dylan's journey back toward mainstream music making — and it may have been even better except for some last-minute tinkering.

Luckily, the final track listing included the stand-out song "Jokerman," which found Dylan using themes both Biblical and secular to tear down political charlatans. Or was it a dark reflection on Judaism? A rumination on false messiahs? A cutting indictment of his own career missteps?

Such are the enduring mysteries of classic Dylan, the singer-songwriter’s wild card. In a way, that makes Infidels, released on Oct. 27, 1983, the earliest indication of long-hoped-for bounce-back moment that would finally coalesce into the '90s.

Two key moments, however, were left on the cutting room floor as Dylan continued editing and re-recording Infidels, long after Knopfler had left to pursue his own separate musical interests. The outtake "Blind Willie McTell," for instance, later gained a talismanic import among fans before finally appearing on 1991's The Bootleg Series Vol 1-3.

Watch Bob Dylan Perform 'Jokerman'

The sessions also included "Foot of Pride," a perfectly executed Dylan put-down about those trapped in ego. ("Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart" was subsequently re-drafted for 1985's Empire Burlesque.) In their place went "Union Sundown," a much lesser effort – though still one that exhibited a tougher political bent than had a previous trio of faith-focused recordings dating back to 1979's Slow Train Coming.

Elsewhere, Infidels made room for "Sweetheart Like You," which was talking down to either a woman or else the wayward church; "License to Kill," which seemed to question the wisdom of space travel with so many unsolved issues down below; and the now-expected album-closing paean to a lover, "Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight."

Each of them had a sleek approach that updated his sound without dismantling its foundational wit. Credit there goes to Knopfler, and an all-star cast that included Mick Taylor, Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar — the latter of whom give "Jokerman" in particular a bouncy island feel.

In manner and tone, that track connected back to the promise of Dylan's mid-'70s work, and gave us the first concrete hint at the third-act successes to come beginning with 1989's Oh Mercy.

Bob Dylan 'Bootleg Series' Albums

His many studio and live albums tell only part of his story.

Why Don't More People Like This Bob Dylan Album?