- Audio CD (21 Feb. 1994)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Warner Jazz
- ASIN: B000003329
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,868 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
The John Prine Anthology:: GREAT DAYS
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If you buy Great Days: The John Prine Anthology, you may live to regret it. He's probably the best American folk-song lyricist of his generation, mixing low-key poignancy and deadpan humour in perfect proportions. His musical limitations serve to reinforce the understated nature of his art, and his short, plain-spoken lines (written in the offhand conversational style of his Midwestern and Appalachian characters) sneak through the back door of your imagination and won't leave. So where does the regret come in? Well, as you listen to the 41 songs arranged chronologically on these two CDs, you're going to ask yourself, "If someone can write 41 songs as good as these, isn't there a good chance he wrote more than 41?" After hearing the anthology's six songs from Prine's 1971 debut album, for example, you may decide to go out and buy that album itself. After you hear songs as delightful as "Pretty Good" and "Your Flag Decal", which didn't find their way into the collection, you may soon find yourself hunting down all 10 of Prine's original studio albums. Then you may regret having bought Great Days. --Geoffrey Himes
Top customer reviews
John Prine was originally "discovered" by Kris Kristofferson, and burst onto the scene in the early 70's only to disappear again, as he preferred musical experiment to commercial success. This collection from 1994 captures all the stages of his musical journey. It starts with songs from his first collection of modern (but timeless) folk music that ranged from quirky humour (Illegal Smile) to controlled anger at the damage done to Viet Nam vets (Sam Stone) and hymns to his family's birth-place (Paradaise). it continues with classic songs of love and bewilderment and loss from his "wilderness years" and beyond. Reminiscent of Dylan and Kristofferson, with plenty of goofy (his favourite word) humour thrown in, treat yourself to this off-beat, mainly country and western collection. A humble, but lasting pleasure. Buy!
I grew up listening to my parents country albums in the 60's and 70's but it was the more mainstream "Nashville" sound which was popular.The more "honest" if you like ,and grittier fare of the likes of Prine and his contemparies such as Guy Clark,Rodney Crowell and the man credited with his discovery,Kristofferson had to wait for me to discover them years later.As such i've come to such performers through various routes,Kristofferson via the obvious Johnny Cash connection Clark through John Prine himself and Prine largely through the covers mentioned above.
In the last few years i've explored various so called singer/songwriter's work and John Prine stands up alongside the best of them.Always one for a funny ,humourous lyric he strikes just the right chord for me with his infectiously off-centre wordplay as illustrated in song like The Sins Of Mephisto.In the sleevenotes he says he wrote the song to accomodate the phrase "exactly odo Quasimod". You just have to hear a song that has come from such an off-kilter genesis to see if it works,which it joyfully does.This collection is littered with highlights but some of the stand outs for me are Sam Stone which shows his darker side with such heartbreaking lyrics as "theres a hole in daddys arm where all the money goes" proving he can be profound as well as entertaining.For all the merits of songs such as Sam Stone though for me its the more comical side of his work that appeals as its good to have someone to listen to who always puts a smile on your face.Some personal favourites are Illegal Smile,It's A Big Old Goofy World and the seriously funny Dear Abbey.
One more reason for buying this album if this and the other reviews havn't already convinced you.You have to hear how anyone can make a song title like "Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard" actually work!