Ranking Bob Dylan’s 39 Studio Albums- #32 – Good As I Been To You- 1992.- 3 stars out of 5 stars. Released on November 3, 1992. Dylan’s 28th album.
The early 90’s found Bob Dylan at the lowest point of his career. Since 1985’s Empire Burlesque- a decent but not great album- he had released four albums- three of which Knocked Out Loaded, Down In The Groove and Under The Red Sky- are among the worst in his career. Only 1989’s Oh Mercy- stands out as a gem. A big part of the problem was the songs- he was suffering from bouts of writers block and after 1990’s Under The Red Sky he wouldn’t release an album of songs that he had written until 1997’s big comeback album Time Out Of Mind. In between 1990-1997 he released two solo acoustic albums-covering old folk songs. While this would appear to be Bob in a holding pattern- these albums are viewed today as being ones which helped get Bob back on track with his writing.
The album was recorded in a Malibu garage where Dylan stored motorcycles and touring cases. He wanted it to sound like an old blues record- like a Son House record. The album cover goes along with that them. Bob was 51 at the time and looked every bit of 51.
One thing you notice on this album is his voice has aged also- not that anyone listened to Dylan just to hear his voice- but the years on the road had taken their toll. Dylan was full of self-doubt at this point- had he written himself out- after 30 years? The idea go back- record traditional songs- and he is having fun doing it. It’s just Bob and his guitar and harmonica. No other musicians. This is is first acoustic album since Another Side Of Bob Dylan in 1964 and the first album with no Dylan compositions since Dylan in 1973. While it might not have been the original thought in doing the album- by doing this album- and the follow up World Gone Wrong he ended up finding his way into the future by going into the past. The album did get favorable reviews- although it didn’t sell well #51 in US album chart and #18 in the UK. I enjoy this album- a solid 3 star effort. My favorite songs on the album- the cover of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times”, “Arthur McBride”, “Jim Jones” and “Tomorrow Night.”