Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#508 in the Series) is the debut from John Prine
It’s hard to believe it’s now been over 40 years since we first met Donald, Lydia, Sam Stone, the Angel and the Quite Man and all the great characters and interesting people that John told us about on his wonderful debut album.
Yet again, the stories are so fresh that when we hear them again it’s almost like hearing them for the first time.
Thirteen songs can be found here. I challenge you to find a debut album that has as strong a track listing as this album. It still amazes me that a songwriter could have this many pure and powerful numbers at such a young age.
I think many people know the John Prine story. He was of course the Maywood, Illinois mailman who played the clubs at night. His friendship with Steve Goodman was legendary.
Steve and John’s success goes all the way back to them being “discovered” by none other than Paul Anka and Kris Kristofferson. They were the two that first approached Steve about recording professionally. How did Steve take the news, by dragging them the same evening to another club to see his dear friend John? “You like me, well then you have to see my friend,” a true selfless moment in music.
I would never be able to pick a favorite track in this lot. I’ve heard John say “Hello in There” was his favorite song that he has ever written. I think it was the first song that first attracted me to his writings. I know it made me look at elderly people when I was younger. It taught me something.
“Sam Stone” was the most powerful track. It’s one of the most powerful of songs that I’ve ever heard. This song taught me how lucky I was to have the Vietnam War end right before I was draft eligible. Well, I knew I was lucky but this really pounded it home. It fleshed it out even more.
“Donald and Lydia” told the story about how anyone can find love, for every Donald there’s a Lydia, for every Lydia, a Donald.
“Illegal Smile” helped us get through the hard times; “Angel From Montgomery” is still being covered.
If you haven’t listen to this is awhile then do yourself a favor and bring it back out. If you never heard it, you’re in for a real treat.
– Larry Carta
All songs written by John Prine.
- “Illegal Smile” – 3:10
- “Spanish Pipedream” – 2:37
- “Hello In There” – 4:29
- “Sam Stone” – 4:14
- “Paradise” – 3:10
- “Pretty Good” – 3:36
- “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” – 2:51
- “Far From Me” – 3:38
- “Angel From Montgomery” – 3:43
- “Quiet Man” – 2:50
- “Donald and Lydia” – 4:27
- “Six O’Clock News” – 2:49
- “Flashback Blues” – 2:33
- John Prine – vocals and acoustic guitar
- Reggie Young – lead guitar
- Leo LeBlanc – pedal steel guitar
- John Christopher – rhythm guitar
- Bobby Emmons – organ
- Bobby Wood – pianos
- Mike Leach – bass
- Gene Chrisman – drums
- Bishop Heywood – percussion
- John Prine – lead vocal and acoustic guitar
- Steve Goodman – harmony vocal and acoustic guitar
- Dave Prine – fiddle
- Neal Rosengarden – bass
On “Flashback Blues”
- John Prine – vocal and acoustic guitar
- Steve Goodman – acoustic guitar
- Noel Gilbert – fiddle
- Mike Leach – bass
- Bishop Heywood – drums
- Gene Chrisman – tamb