13 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Because John Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut spawned several songs that became folk or country standards, that first album tends to overshadow its follow-up. The truth is that Diamonds in the Rough contains as many sterling songs as John Prine, and it also boasts a slightly ragged edge befitting a young artist still uncovering his immense powers. The band here includes Prine’s longtime Chicago compatriots (Steve Goodman on guitar and older brother Dave Prine on mandolin) alongside master session men (guitarist Dave Bromberg and bassist/drummer Steve Burgh). The music likewise finds a balance between Prine’s often-mysterious visions of everyday life and the larger folk/country tradition. Prine can turn out a few comic hootenannies like “The Frying Pan” and “Yes, I Guess, They Oughta Name a Drink After You,” then turn around slay you with “Souvenirs.” Perhaps he wanted to use his second album to remind the world that he was still a raffish acoustic stumblebum at heart. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the raw feeling of “Sour Grapes” or the beautifully terrifying snapshots within “The Late John Garfield Blues.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Because John Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut spawned several songs that became folk or country standards, that first album tends to overshadow its follow-up. The truth is that Diamonds in the Rough contains as many sterling songs as John Prine, and it also boasts a slightly ragged edge befitting a young artist still uncovering his immense powers. The band here includes Prine’s longtime Chicago compatriots (Steve Goodman on guitar and older brother Dave Prine on mandolin) alongside master session men (guitarist Dave Bromberg and bassist/drummer Steve Burgh). The music likewise finds a balance between Prine’s often-mysterious visions of everyday life and the larger folk/country tradition. Prine can turn out a few comic hootenannies like “The Frying Pan” and “Yes, I Guess, They Oughta Name a Drink After You,” then turn around slay you with “Souvenirs.” Perhaps he wanted to use his second album to remind the world that he was still a raffish acoustic stumblebum at heart. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the raw feeling of “Sour Grapes” or the beautifully terrifying snapshots within “The Late John Garfield Blues.”

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