“John Prine” by John Prine - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1971Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

A product of Chicago’s country-folk revival of the late 60s, Prine was offered a recording contract by Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records after the record executive saw the singer perform several of his own songs at a Kris Kristofferson show at the Bitter End. Prine would later remark: “I was terrified. I went straight from playing by myself, still learning how to sing, to playing with Elvis Presley's rhythm section.” Kristofferson had championed the hobbyist, recognising his ability to write powerful, affecting songs with down-home earthly mannerisms, and it was he who sat in the producers’ chair. In his liner notes, Kristofferson quipped: “Twenty-four years old and writes like he's two-hundred and twenty.” Bob Dylan was also a big fan of this newly emerging talent, later writing: “Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about “Sam Stone”, the soldier junkie daddy, and “Donald and Lydia” where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that.”

Existentialism is a hoot in John’s world – straight from the off on “Illegal Smile” he ruminates: “Total silence is my only friend, ‘A bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down’.” His one-liners are incredible. In “Sam Stone”, a song about a drug-addicted war veteran and his death by overdose, the line “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm, where all the money goes” continues to reverberate long after the album is over. “Pretty Good” is a classic – a most Dylan-esque attack on phony patriotism, especially in the context of the exhibitionistic chauvinism of the meat-heads. Best on side 2 is “Far From Me”, which Prine later said was his favourite self-written song. It’s a lonely waltz about lost love for a waitress: “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle, looks just like a diamond ring, but it's far, far from me.” He’s got a way with words that boy…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:10] 7.1.png John Prine - Illegal Smile (John Prine) Country
A2 [02:37] 6.4.png John Prine - Spanish Pipedream (John Prine) Country
A3 [04:29] 6.7.png John Prine - Hello In There [original album version] (John Prine) Country
A4 [04:14] 8.0.png John Prine - Sam Stone [original album version] (John Prine) Folk
A5 [03:10] 6.9.png John Prine - Paradise (John Prine) Folk
A6 [03:36] 9.1.png John Prine - Pretty Good (John Prine) Folk Rock / Americana
B1 [02:51] 7.2.png John Prine - Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore (John Prine) Country
B2 [03:38] 7.8.png John Prine - Far From Me [original abum version] (John Prine) Country
B3 [03:43] 6.7.png John Prine - Angel From Montgomery [original album version] (John Prine) Folk Rock / Americana
B4 [02:50] 6.5.png John Prine - Quiet Man (John Prine) Folk Rock / Americana
B5 [04:27] 6.9.png John Prine - Donald And Lydia [original album version] (John Prine) Country
B6 [02:49] 7.5.png John Prine - Six O’Clock News [original album version] (John Prine) Folk

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved