ARTIST: John Prine
TITLE: Diamonds in the Rough
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #148
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Souvenirs, Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You, The Great Compromise
LINEUP: John Prine, Steve Goodman, David Bromberg, Dave Prine, Steve Burgh
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album from this troubadour mines the same territory of his excellent debut, but this time the song depth isn’t quite there. That’s kind of a quibble.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Instead of front to back classics, the second album from John Prine merely has some classics interspersed through the record. Oh, darn.
“Souvenirs” and “The Great Compromise” are on most people’s list of Prine favorites. Not everyone can get allusions to the compromised history of the US and Vietnam into the same song.
But a few tracks are too much like each other or like those from his first album. Variety is a little short here. The songs are mostly fine, but for that, the album suffers a bit.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The album took three days and focused on bluegrass and other country idioms.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A-: Not as rich as his debut, but it’s still a fine album.
ARTIST: John Prine
TITLE: John Prine
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #154
SINGLES: Sam Stone and Illegal Smile were promo singles
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Paradise and Angel from Montgomery were covered by many artists.
LINEUP: John Prine with a crack session band at American Recording Studios in Memphis
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A record full of classic country/folk songs, some poignant, others humorous, that have become standards, covered by many artists.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Prine’s first record is a classic that everyone should have in their collection. The collection of 13 songs range from humorous and poignant (Spanish Pipedream, Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore), to poignant without being cliché ridden (Hello in There, Paradise, Donald and Lydia, Angel from Montgomery).
The highlight is Sam Stone, a chilling tale of a Vietnam vet who came back with a junk problem. On first listen, it’s harrowing, and the listener is both revulsed and empathetic at the same time.
Prine’s career after this would have ups and downs, but this is the record to have if you can only have one Prine record. And everyone should have one John Prine record.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Kris Kristofferson had Prine open for him in the early 70’s and at one gig Atlantic Records execs saw him and signed him.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A+ : There are 13 songs on this album, and 13 songs that are just terrific.