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John Prine Live

John Prine

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Since releasing his first album in 1971, John Prine had recorded with various sets of musicians in Los Angeles, Chicago, Memphis, and Nashville. He'd played rock and blues and country. And yet there was still something spectacular about hearing him play the way he started out: alone onstage with a guitar. That’s how he's captured on John Prine Live, which documents the singer/songwriter’s March 1988 appearance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. It’s impossible to say that Prine sounds older here than he did on his canonical early recordings; Kris Kristofferson once said "he writes like he’s about 220” of the 24-year-old Prine. But here you're rewarded with the wizened affection that an older songwriter shows for his life’s work. Even when the crowd decides to sing along to “Illegal Smile,” the effect is not of intrusion but communion—an old story shared among friends. Prine loved to get rambunctious on his early albums, in part to dispel folk-singer stereotypes. But when he's alone with his guitar, it's impossible for him to hide his tenderness or his wit or his wonderfully worn-in voice.

Customer Reviews

A+ Live Album

This is a lovely live album, probably one of the all-time best. I usually dislike live records as the screaming fans are annoying, but this seems like a more intimate setting with a mature audience familiar with Prine. In-between each song he tells the story of it's origin, which most of the time is hilarious. Performance-wise it's perfect, Prine's style really shines in this. His duet with Bonnie Raitt on "Angel from Montgomery" makes this a must listen!

GREAT MUSIC

In the absence of "Bruised Orange" this live album is a good stand in. This is one of the artist I grew up with and to hear both the music from my youth and the funny backstories is so great. Prines voice is like a good old friend and the audience is an asset to the experience. BUY THIS. You will not regret it.

if you only buy one John Prine album...

...then this is the one. I have been a fan of John Prine's songs for many years, and I believe this album serves them the best. He is without a doubt one of the great songwriters of our time, but he has had two things working against him: the cloying production that plagued many singer-songwriter albums from the 70s and his rather limited vocal talents. This album rectifies the first fault by placing him in a warm intimate concert setting which complement his songs very well. As for his voice, I have never heard it sound better. By this time (mid-1980s), it has become just weathered enough but not too raspy as it would later become. The live setting of course also affords this rather personable singer to spin tales between songs about how each of them was written, and I can tell you that after hundreds of listens I still find those stories charming, particularly the one about the girl who wanted to hear a song about a "happy enchilada". The music of course is the best that Prine had written to date. It serves as a de facto greatest hits package with better production. My favorites include "Donald and Lydia" and his duet with Bonnie Raitt, "Angel from Montgomery". This is definitely the album to start with, and if you're a John Prine fan without this album then you definitely need to buy it. You won't be sorry.

Biography

Born: October 10, 1946 in Maywood, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An acclaimed singer/songwriter whose literate work flirted with everything from acoustic folk to rockabilly to straight-ahead country, John Prine was born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, IL. Raised by parents firmly rooted in their rural Kentucky background, at age 14 Prine began learning to play the guitar from his older brother while taking inspiration from his grandfather, who had played with Merle Travis. After a two-year tenure in...
Full Bio