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John Prine

John Prine

1971

Buy At Rough Trade
John Prine
Album Summary

John Prine is the debut album by American country/folk singer-songwriter John Prine, issued by Atlantic Records in 1971. In 2012, the album was ranked number 452 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was later ranked number 149 in a revised version of the list published in 2020.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.17

Votes

11582

Genres

  • Country
  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

Well, country really isn't my genre. Not by a long shot. So I wasn't thrilled to get this album. But I hit play with as open a mind as I could and, wouldn't you know it, it didn't suck. It's still SUPER not my genre, don't get me wrong. But Prine's lyrics are clever and funny and so sharp they cut. It's amazing to me that this album came out in '71 and still feels so daggum relevant. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore is painful in its relevance. COVID-19 took Prine from us this past year and that also feels too close for comfort. What a debut album.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

John Prime’s lyrics are so beyond what I might have assumed from the young man pictured on the album cover. “Illegal Smile” reminds me of a simple way to escape troubles in life. The clever lyrics can in one moment make you laugh and cry. ‘Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down and won’. By the first chorus of “Spanish Pipedream” I'd added the album to my library. “Hello In There “ is so beautiful… left me in tears. Then “Sam Stone” followed that up with a devastating song about the impact of veteran's addiction. Every song overflows truth with an emotional heft that can change you as a listener. John Prine tackles war, government, jingoism, aging, drugs, depression, relationships, the environment and a host of other topics with perceptive and unflinching observations of humans and humanity. The organ warms itself against the stark lyrics. The guitars wander from folk to country with occasional touches of rock to elevate the stories. Every song on this album is a gem. Experiencing them together as an album is a powerful and emotional experience. This is an album that will connect you more deeply to your humanity if you are willing to listen. An amazing work of art that I will listen to again and again. RIP John Prine

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

Man I love this album. I'm a bit biased as I was raised on John Prine, but even so, what a story teller. The humor he brings along with the poignancy of his lyrics about the human experience. This album is his least polished, but also feels like the most honest.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

While the music is unremarkable, it is simply the backdrop to a masterpiece collection of folk poetry. Folk music is at its purest in protest, and on this record, Prine protests war, nationalistic jingoism, and the misapplication of Christian values. Reading the lyrics, one can't help but notice the more things change, the more they stay the same. Consider politicians with their little flag lapel pins as you listen to "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. Prine, of course, throws a few apolitical and melancholy songs about lost love and heartache for good measure. He does it all with clever flourishes and a sense of humor, too. It is beautiful. I laughed, I cried, I clicked the little heart icon.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

What a lyricist and storyteller. I was glued to hearing each line. The music is classic country, with a Dylanesque timbre, but his words are what sold me.

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Sat Feb 20 2021
2

Generally, I do not like country at all. Im not saying I like this, but I did make it all the way through the album for one reason alone - some of these lyrics are hysterical! I didn't love the music, or the voice, or anything really. But the lyrics contain little gems of comedy that made me laugh enough that I could endure the rest.

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Thu May 18 2023
1

Fucking country music. I just can’t. It’s fucking shit. The same snivelling, whining nasally banal tone. The same shitty, zingy, steely guitars. The same overcooked lyrics. Yee fuckin’ haw. More like yee fuckin’ fuck off you fuck.

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Tue Aug 24 2021
3

It's pretty country but more on the folk side of country. Having said that, there are some strong anti-war songs on here. It's not your modern red-state fishin'/drinkin'/Merica! country music. Though there is some religion-stuff in here. The songs do all kind of sound the same after a while and he's not the best singer. But in folk music like this the words/message are a bit more important than the music. And he's got some clever, enjoyable, and thought-provoking lyrics. TLDR: Interesting listen. Probably won't revisit much but I can appreciate it.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
3

Man. He’s not happy about war.

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Sat Sep 25 2021
3

This guy's got jokes, but if you listen closely he also has a point or two. I guess Vietnam was pretty bad.

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Fri Mar 19 2021
5

Amazing album from front to back. He's basically a country Bob Dylan. This is what country music sounds like when it's good.

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Sat Feb 13 2021
5

John Pine is a legend and this album is a treasure.

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Sun Oct 17 2021
5

I really liked this. I mean it was folk country, but God damn if you don't hear some punk underpinnings in this you aren't listening. This is the kind of music that makes me proud of being an American, without me having to have pride in my government, and be able to criticize the nation without losing my love for it.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Really dig this album. Illegal Smile is a gem of a song.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
3

very good record. powerful storytelling and so much emotion Sam Stone - wow, this one hits so hard. I was listening to the album in the background not really noticing anything when THAT lyric caught me right in the head: "There's a hole in daddy's arm, where all the money goes". holy fuck what a song. Paradise tells a heartbreaking story as well. great song.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
3

cheeky hippie folk music unmistakably from the early 70's. there are definitely some clever smiles generated, but it's hard to love it given that it is for a distant time and place.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
3

Really nice guitar melodies, but vocal twang a bit much for me. Angel from Montgomery is a beautiful song - Into the Wild

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Mon Oct 04 2021
3

3.5 | Muy agradable country-blues con toques que a rato me recordaban a Rodriguez y a otros a Willie Nelson. Como dijo Casper, letras mucho mejores de lo esperadas, pero además muy buena instrumentación: desde Paradise, súper tradicional, con ese fiddle que es excelente, hasta algo como Quiet Man casi casi se sale del Country para darle con todo a la música como de protesta. Y sí me da curiosidad de escuchar más material de él. Como curiosidad extra, creo que es el primero que escuchamos que murió víctima del COVID.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
2

I'm really disappointed. Adrianne Lenker is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. John Prine is one of her largest inspirations, and while I can see the clear link on Big Thief's previous album, Prine's music is just not what I was wanting to hear. The lyrics are wonderful, and he's a great storyteller, but the music is unbearably boring. I'm just not a country gal, but I wish there was better music to go with the stories.

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Mon May 15 2023
2

Well, I never used to like country.. Still don't, but I never used to as well. Not for me thanks.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
2

Country is not terrible, it is just not for me. Prine's voice is nice, but the lyrics do not come across as humorous but rather corny. Favorites: None

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Thu Mar 14 2024
2

One of the albums to scratch a wash board to of all time

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Wed Oct 07 2020
5

One of Prine's best albums, this is the country side of Dylan, but on the side that has inspired so many great alternative country and indie-folk bands. This is simple music with an attitude, a huge sense of humor and sarcasm, this is the way it should be done. Prine was an ignored artist most of his life, but at least his music became appreciated before we lost him to Covid-19. Prine will be sorely missed.

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Mon May 24 2021
5

What a solid slice of Americana. I could get behind this country music

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

Surprisingly really good. And I noticed that after I found out it's not technically country I liked it better, which is something I need to work on.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
5

An album I've been very fond of for a while now. Prine for me is a songwriter that transcends his genre, and connects with something primal and human. Lovely stuff. If country music is the music of the people, then there's none more country than this.

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Sat Apr 17 2021
5

Soprendendente. Maravilloso... Make me an angel...

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Sun Feb 14 2021
5

Stands up af. Major flashbacks to Vassar howdowns.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

Country / Folk Wow, this is hilarious. Solid songwriting - made me laugh out loud multiple times. Every song is golden.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
5

It took me a couple of listens to warm up to this album, but it's impossible not to feel its considerable charms if you stop and listen. The fact that this a debut album from a man who was 24 years old when he recorded it makes it even more remarkable. Singers can work for decades without reaching Prine's depth as a songwriter and natural talent for delivering a line. These are songs that have become standards in the 50 years since they came out, and you can hear Prine in practically every singer-songwriter who came after him. He exudes warmth, wry wit, and sensitivity with such ease in these songs. You know, I first caught "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" before I had really heard of Prine and I assumed it was some sort of post 9/11 song. No, it's just a sad testament to the fact that this nation perennially fails to learn from its mistakes. It's also a pretty brutal takedown of false patriotism, all the more cutting for how he delivers it with humor. "Sam Stone" and "Paradise" also highlight how the problems of 50 years ago are still somehow the problems of today and remain fresh all these years later. Favorite songs: Quiet Man, Angel from Montgomery, Far from Me.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

nossa, audição muito facilitada, incrível o album

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

Incredible song writer. Even better storyteller. Josh Ritter, Dylan, Prine. He's in high cotton here.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

Great lyricist. Sam stone is a great song

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

The first two songs I learned to play on the guitar are "Paradise" and "Angel From Montgomery". Prine is one of the great songwriters. For a debut album, you can see that he already had an old soul. I need to add "Hello in There" to my list of songs that I can play. (Brandi Carlile did a great version of that track on Colbert - check it out). I've heard this album all the way through more than once, and so many of the songs dozens of times. I was lucky enough to see Prine in concert once, and so many performances on TV. RIP John.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

This record broke my heart and made me laugh out loud. He's a genuine poet and a heck of a story-teller. I loved pretty much every track (even Pretty Good with its glib mention of dog rape (WTH???)). This kind of album is the reason I'm here.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Embarrassingly, this was an introduction to me. I only knew the song "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore." I did realize that I'd heard a few of the other songs, whether performed by John Prine or other artists, but I was so delighted to spend my time with this one. Another walking into work smiling kind of day after listening on my commute. I'm having trouble thinking he was 25 when he recorded this. His voice sounds like he's been around and seen a lot more. There's something special about a song that's so clever or poignant you want to listen to it again and again, and by as many artists as you can find performing it. These songs all feel that way. (And I did.) I've missed out. I wish there were a voice like his in modern day music. We need it.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

I never thought I consider giving a country album 5 stars. Maybe it’s the content I usually dislike as much as the delivery? This unpatriotic antiwar album works for me.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

I'd never even heard of this guy before this morning! Lol. I understand he's big in the States... I love the album. Added to my portable music player before I'd even finished listening to it, and will definitely check out more of his stuff.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Beautiful. Just absolutely immersive listening. This is storytelling and songwriting. This is not folk. This isn't bluegrass. This isn't country. It's John Prine and this is music I can get behind. Highlight Tracks: ALL

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

A fantastic reminder of how good country music can be.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

Ahhh, the eponymous debut of a terrific song writer. The themes here may diverge from one another, but on the whole it plays like a greatest hits record. Prine swings for the fences here and connects on nearly every song. I suppose it makes sense - he had his whole life to write the songs that appeared here, and it shows in everything from the musical arrangements to the turns of lyrical phrase. I must admit that I've never cared for his voice, but he delivers the songs earnestly and with feeling. Top notch for the genre.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
5

Excellent guitar, good balance of songs equally witty, powerful, emotional. I love John Prime. RIP

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

How have I never heard this album? Great from beginning to end. Albums like tis is why I'm here.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
5

lovely album, phoebe bridgers must be inspired by this

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Tue Mar 08 2022
5

Just as relevant now as then. Excellent

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Thu Mar 17 2022
5

This is a stellar album. Prine can tell a visual story with just his words and is one of the strongest songwriters of the era. Really excellent album, and glad I got to listen to it again.

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Wed Mar 16 2022
5

John Prine is an American treasure. While he always praised for his witty humor, it's his almost gut punch emotional songs on this album that get, Hello in There and especially Sam Stone, wow just powerful stuff. Yeah this deserves to on the list.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Most underrated singer songwriter of all time!

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Such a talented lyricist. I listened to each song as if I was watching a movie, waiting to see what. Happens next. The story telling, he makes it so visual and through it all, even in the saddest tracks, he places humor just right. Amazing

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Wed May 18 2022
5

I really enjoyed this more than I thought I might. The Americana that just drips off this album is so great and Anti Redneck its perfect.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
5

I'm not the biggest country fan, but this is the type of country music I enjoy. It's also cool to hear all these songs that I've heard other singers cover in later years. Really appreciate how influential John prine was

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

The singing mailman is one of my faves.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

Haven’t listened to much folk but this was some of the best folk music I’ve ever heard. Loved the general vibe and the lyrics.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Only heard of him recently after his passing. RIP Excellent album

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

One of my personal favorites, I know every word to every song on this album. My dad played John Prine records all through my childhood. Prine was an American treasure, one of the greatest song writers ever. This album is perfect. Favorite track: Paradise

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

And this is his FIRST album. Jesus Christ, what a talent.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Bit of a surprise, worth revisiting

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

Wow. Just… wow. Gorgeous music that paints a painful picture of a very real and imperfect world.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

I'm quite baffled that I didn't know this before.. that's just right for me, really nothing to object to Perfection

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Sat Nov 26 2022
5

Wild that I can enjoy country when it's a little more anti-capitalist, talks about drugs, and is genuinely clever and witty.

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Mon Dec 19 2022
5

man i love vintage country so much

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Mon Dec 19 2022
5

I will always love John Prine. His lyrics are so balanced in profundity and unpretention. So wonderful. And oh boy is “your flag decal won’t get you into heaven” still relevant today

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Sun Jan 01 2023
5

John Prine was quite simply, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. He had the ability to tell the stories of others with striking empathy and humor. Whether it was from the perspective of the lonely old in 'Hello in There,' the story of a Vietnam War veteran who came home with a heroin habit in 'Sam Stone', or from the perspective of an older woman who never got to live the life she dreamed of in 'Angel From Montgomery', John Prine could be trusted to tell that story faithfully. His songs became instant classics and his loss will be felt for a long time.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

This album is well done! Hot dog bun! My sisters a nun!

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

Looking forward to hearing more.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

Powerful country-folk, I was especially moved by "Sam Stone" and "Angel From Montgomery" :'( They're all so sad.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
5

Way better than Dylan. Clever songs, great simple melodies. Super fun album.

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Sat Feb 04 2023
5

Exceptional songwriting; funny and thoughtful. 5*

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Mon Feb 06 2023
5

Before today, the only John Prine album I'd listened to was 'Tree of Forgiveness,' which I'm pretty sure I listened to in the year of its release. I remember thinking it was really good, but it also wasn't exactly my cup of tea, so I never listened to any more of his work, even after his passing a few years ago. That was a mistake. This album is insanely good. I don't think I've ever heard lyrics like this before. I love that Prine doesn't sugarcoat anything, and there's no room to guess as to what message he's trying to convey. While his messages are straightforward, the imagery and language he uses are a little more "elevated," (that's the best way I could think to phrase it) and it completely works here. The instrumentation isn't anything extravagant, and it doesn't need to be. The main attraction here is the message, and the music is the conduit that Prine uses to convey his message. This is an amazing album, and I look forward to listening to more of Prine's work.

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Wed Feb 22 2023
5

I had a boss who was really upset when John Prine died at the beginning of the pandemic, and now I know why. "Subversive" isn't really strong enough a word. To be playing songs like these in a country circle must've gotten him hell. Whip-smart, funny lyrics; great, catchy melodies. Favorite tracks: "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven", "Illegal Smile", "Flashback Blues"

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Thu Feb 23 2023
5

“Twenty-four years old and writes like he's two-hundred and twenty” A shame I can't find the person who said this, but this sentence sums up John Prine's self titled very fittingly! This record leaves me speechless. Wow, just wow, the lyrics are so livid, intense, real and from the heart. John Prine is an ACE songwriter, right up there besides Dylan and other great songwriters. These songs are orchestrated beautifully and the stories channeled through the lyrics accompany the songs very well! Very powerful record! This is an album I doubt I'll ever forget. Favorite lyrics: - Ah, but fortunately I have the key to escape reality. - Chased a rainbow down a one-way street, dead end. And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen. - For I knew that topless lady. Had something up her sleeve. - There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes. Jesus Christ died for nothin',I suppose. Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years. Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios. - Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken. Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man. - Moonlight makes me dizzy. Sunlight makes me clean. Your light is the sweetest thing. That this boy has ever seen. - Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle. Looks just like a diamond ring? - If dreams were lightning, and thunder were desire. This old house would have burnt down a long time ago. - But that was a long time and no matter how I try. The years just flow by like a broken-down dam. - Just give me one thing that I can hold on to. To believe in this living is just a hard way to go. - Oodles of light, what a beautiful sight. Both of God's eyes are shining tonight. Rays and beams of incredible dreams. And I am a quiet man. Key tracks: Illegal Smile, Spanish Pipedream, Hello In There, Sam Stone, Paradise, Pretty Good, Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore, Angel From Montgomery, Six O'Clock News 9,5 out of 10

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Mon Feb 27 2023
5

9/10 emotional rollercoaster of an album, simple arrangements but stellar songwriting

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

I really liked it. It's old country but the lyrics don't take themselves seriously and the instrument work is excellent. John's voice is very nice also.

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

John Prine is one of my favourite country/folk artists. He has a way to spin song lyrics that can make you laugh or make you cry, or both. This man was a poet. One of the best lyricists in the genre. This album deals heavily with the Vietnam war, and the troubles faced by the veterans when they came home (Sam Stone is an absolutely heartbreaking song. Prine's lyrics spin such a vibrant story. You almost feel like you knew Sam Stone personally). My all time favourite Prine song is on this record, Spanish Pipedream. It is such a hilarious and poignant song! "Blow up your TV Throw away your paper Go to the country Build you a home Plant a little garden Eat a lot of peaches Try an' find Jesus on your own" Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore is an amazing anti-war song that is still so relevant today. Angel From Montgomery is an absolutely amazing song. I absolutely love Prine's music. I am not much of a country fan, but I always had a soft spot for this man's ability to tell a story. The man passed away a few years ago, but wrote music right up until the end. He wrote a song on his last album to be released before his death (the Tree of Forgiveness) called When I Get to Heaven which has the most beautiful lyrics: "And then I'm gonna get a cocktail Vodka and ginger ale Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl 'Cause this old man is goin' to town" Amen Mr. Prine, Amen. I believe you did do all of those things. Thanks for the amazing music. RIP. Favourite songs: Spanish Pipedream, Angel From Montgomery, Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore, Sam Stone, Donald and Lydia, Illegal Smile, Hello in There, Paradise, Six O'Clock News, Quiet Man, Flashback Blues, Far From Me Least favourite songs: None.... It's all gold 5/5: perfection on record.

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Thu Mar 09 2023
5

Lyrically this album is excellent and is a way to dive into folk music

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Tue May 02 2023
5

Some of the best country songs I've ever heard. Loved Prine's lyrics, especially on Flag Decal and Angel from Montgomery.

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Tue May 02 2023
5

This is my ideal form of folk/country music. Sweet without being sappy, simple without being condescending, with a biting wit and the catchiest choruses you could ask for. I’m gonna listen to this all the time.

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