Prine started veering rock 'n' roll on this 1973 album, and the result was one of the toughest "folk" albums ever recorded.
For his third album, John Prine returned to the fuller sound of his landmark debut while venturing into increasingly cryptic lyrical terrain. Songs such as "Mexican Home," "Accident (Things Could Be Worse)," and "Blue Umbrella" are open-to-interpretation explorations that reveal the songsmith's intrepid reflections; they're also among the 12-song set's best numbers. "Dear Abby" is a comical novelty number while "Christmas in Prison" is a doleful in-the-clink carol. The openhearted "A Good Time" slipped into the shadows after Sweet Revenge
(like Prine's other Atlantic albums) failed to hit commercial paydirt, but it's as touching as anything Prine has penned. This outing isn't as musically distinctive as Prine's other albums from his early period, but as collections of songs go, it's first-rate. --Steven Stolder