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In Spite of Ourselves

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Editors’ Notes

"I really like duets,” wrote John Prine in the liner notes to In Spite of Ourselves. “There's something about two people singing to each other and finally with each other that sounds really good to me.” A deceptively simple album on the surface, this album is actually one of Prine’s innermost works. Its spare country production echoes his canonized early albums, but more crucially, it represents the root of Prine’s craft. Like the greatest country singers, he can tell his personalized story through the words of songs that have been passed through generations, while at the same time honoring the original architecture of Roger Miller, Hank Williams, Jack Clement, and Bobby Braddock (to name a few of the writers represented here). The female singers are great complements to Prine. They put soft cotton against the straw of Prine’s voice—except for Lucinda Williams, who shows an almost genealogical vocal similarity to Prine on “Wedding Bells/Let’s Turn Back the Years.” While Iris Dement proves a natural match for Prine on her three songs, special mention must be made of “’Til a Tear Becomes a Rose,” a graceful pairing with Prine’s Irish-born wife, Fiona.

Customer Reviews

Love songs and Loose Tongues

I got to see John and Iris in Seattle a few years back on the heels of this album. What a treat. This album was cut right around the time he had throat surgery. His voice is sometimes bold, sometimes just above a whisper. Great balance to the sassy and sweet partners he paired with to accomplish this remarkable piece of work. This is the real deal. Enjoy.

Great American Music...

...Just discovered Mr. Prine this year and must say, I don't know how I ever thought I had a serious music collection when he wasn't part of it. His story telling, and witty, maybe even considered risque lyrics are dynamite. If you like country, Americana of Folk at all, then check this album of duets out.

In spite of ourselves

Purchase was easy, John Prine is always easy to listen to. The women on these duets are great artists on their own, and perform great with John.


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 the U.S. Army, Prine became a fixture on the Chicago folk music...
Full Bio