Given the acclaim of The Bootleg Series and the perceived disappointment of Under the Red Sky, it seemed like it was time for Dylan to bounce back with a convincing album of original material. Instead, he delivered a record of folk songs, his first straight covers album ever, not to mention his first guitar, harmonica, and voice record since the early ’60s. That alone would make it an anomaly, but Good as I Been to You is more than that, because it’s a really good traditional folk album, having just enough familiar tunes — “Frankie and Albert,” “Blackjack Davey,” “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Froggie Went A-Courtin'” — to provide an entryway to the less familiar numbers, which are delivered equally well. Yes, this could be seen as a rather unassuming record, but that’s what’s special about it. In 1992, not even folksingers were working with this material, but Dylan did, reviving folk’s (and rock’s) ties to the past at an unexpected time and with unexpectedly strong results. A minor high point in his catalog.
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