Monday, March 12, 2007

237. John Prine - John Prine (1971)

Track Listing

1. Illegal Smile
2. Spanish Pipedream
3. Hello in There
4. Sam Stone
5. Paradise
6. Pretty Good
7. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore
8. Far from Me
9. Angel from Montgomery
10. Quiet Man
11. Donald and Lydia
12. Six O'Clock News
13. Flashback Blues


Yesterday when I said that the next three albums were unremarkable I was lying. I really was, well I didn't know I was lying then but I do now. John Prine really improves with repeated listenings and it has won me over now. Try to imagine Dylan, now try to imagine he had a much funnier sense of humour and that he was playing straight country, or at least countrier music. Then you get Prine.

Prine's music isn't as good as Dylan's, a lot of it sounds like formulaic Country, but the lyrics are some of the best I've ever heard, at times funny and at other times heart-wrenching. While Illegal Smile and Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore are two of the funniest tracks here, Hello In There and Sam Stone are of an almost unbearable saddness.

What is particularly remarkable about Prine is how he uses a very conservative music style to sing the most un-conservative lyrics. OF course his music has been apropriated by the country status-quo, misinterpreted and murdered but if you are smart you'll get him, and he's brilliant. Get him from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore
2. Hello In There
3. Sam Stone
4. Illegal Smile

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

He and friend Steve Goodman had each been stars in the Chicago folk scene before being "discovered" by Kris Kristofferson. The album included his signature songs "Illegal Smile", "Sam Stone", and the environmentalist newgrass standard "Paradise". The album also included "Hello In There," a song about aging that was later covered by numerous artists. The album received many positive reviews, and some hailed Prine as "the next Dylan." Bob Dylan himself appeared unannounced at one of Prine's first New York City club appearances, anonymously backing him on harmonica.

Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore, it's still so relevant:


Clay Eals said...


Good to see your post about John Prine's first LP and your generous mention of Steve Goodman, who often doesn't get his due. Thought you might be interested in an eight-year project of mine that is coming to fruition -- a biography of Goodman that will be published this spring. Of course, Prine is a huge part of the book as well. Please e-mail me at if you would like me to e-mail you a background sheet on the book. Or check my Internet site below.

Clay Eals
1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
Seattle, WA 98116-1958

(206) 935-7515

Francisco Silva said...

Hi, I just checked your website and it seems like a very interesting project.

What a fine collection of interviewees!!

Thanks so much for reading, I'll send you an e-mail for the background sheet. Thanks.