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The Singing Mailman Delivers


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Audio CD, October 25, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Specially priced double CD set of John Prine's earliest recordings, one year before his debut, with classic hits & one unreleased song. Both discs consist of recently unearthed tapes--the first disc is a August 1970 recording for John recording songs that would make up his first album at the WFMT studios in Chicago. These songs were recorded immediately after John's interview with the legendary Studs Terkel. Disc 2 is a live set from November 1970--featuring versions of many of the same songs--recorded during John's residency at Chicago's Fifth Peg. Both discs are amazing finds and a perfect for celebrating the 40th Anniversary of John Prine's recorded debut.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Hello In There 4:05$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Souvenirs 3:20$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues 3:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Paradise 3:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Blue Umbrella 2:31$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Aw Heck 1:37$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Illegal Smile 2:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Flashback Blues 1:47$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Frying Pan 1:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Sour Grapes 1:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. A Star, A Jewel, And A Hoax 1:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. Flashback Blues (Live) 2:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. Hello In There (Live) 4:42$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen14. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore (Live) 3:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen15. The Great Compromise (Live) 6:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen16. Blue Umbrella (Live) 3:49$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen17. Illegal Smile (Live) 3:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen18. Angel From Montgomery (Live) 3:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen19. A Good Time (Live) 3:48$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen20. Hey Good Lookin' / Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (Live) 1:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen21. Quiet Man (Live) 3:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen22. Paradise (Live) 3:37$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen23. Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues (Live) 4:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen24. Spanish Pipedream (Live) 2:58$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Oh Boy Records
  • ASIN: B005LZW822
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Why Not Dream on October 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Prine is well known now, but in 1970 and 1971, he was a young guy working at the Post Office in un-fancy Maywood, IL. He's walking his route everyday just outside of Chicago, making up rhymes and songs to break up the boredom. Nothing so special in that, right? Just a singing mailman, another guy singing on the job.

He's delivering mail and writing down the words on his lunch break. A few of them show promise. A few more seem pretty good. Suddenly these amazing songs begin to blossom from his insights into peoples' lives -- the old people in Hello In There, young peoples' search for happiness and fun, the desire for fulfillment of the angel from Montgomery, the emptiness of Sam Stone and the hole in his arm, the devastation of a community by a giant coal company. He's both poignant and funny in exposing the irony of situations.

When I was young, I thought they were great songs filled with emotion. Forty years later, I listen to them and I'm amazed by their insights and wisdom, especially from someone in his early twenties.

The beauty of these two performances is in realizing their historical context. They are not a trove of recently discovered "new" songs, and you might be disappointed if that's what you're expecting. The two performances (one in a radio studio as a favor after an interview with the legendary Studs Terkel, the other at a small club in Chicago) are much more valuable for the way they peel back history.

Prine's humorous comments between songs in the 1971 live show are sharp and fresh enough to still make you laugh. These two discs are a valuable look at the act of creation of an incredible body of songs as they are being born.

It is a rare glimpse into what came before the beginning.

Thanks John.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By F. Hawkins on October 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The prior reviews covered it. I'm a long time fan too, and very much enjoy these albums. Go see John in person if you get a chance, and get on his fan club's email list (free) and buy better tickets thru them at the same price.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DIRTBAG on October 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Forty years ago I was introduced to John Prine's music, and he hasn't disappointed me yet. These tracks show an exceptional artist at the beginning of his career, and he's lived up to every promise. He observes all of our flaws, and allows us to laugh at ourselves along the way.

Forty years on, and some 22 albums (including compilations and live material) later, I'm still hooked.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Elmore on April 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I dropped what I was doing and ordered this CD the minute I heard about it because John Prine is one of the people whose work I support, always, no matter what.

I have loved John for more years than I can remember and have seen him perform more times than I can count. Having watched him evolve as a songwriter and performer over four plus decades, it's wonderful to have this CD. It's a trip in the Way Back Machine to visit 1970 John, who was an endearingly original guy. (Actually, he still is.) Listening to him back then, you just knew you would be listening to him for a long, long time to come. There's no exciting new material here; rather, it's the musical equivalent of your mom's home cooking. You've had it before, but it nourishes your soul and you never tire of it.

If you're not familiar, please do give him a listen. And give the songs a close listen, too. They are little masterpieces of story telling. Although not represented here, two of my favorite John Prine songs (It's hard to pick just 10 or 20!) are good examples; in a few short lines, one ("Far From Me") tells the story of a whole romance and the other ("Six O'Clock News") tells the story of two whole lives. My favorite line from "Far From Me," and maybe from any song ever, is "A question's not really a question, if you know the answer, too."

John is a national treasure, beloved by legions of fans and admired by other songwriters and performers. May there be many, many more years and many, many more recordings to come!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jhh on November 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a jewel this album is!!! Any John Prine fan will be delighted to have it for their collection. My entire family, including my young nephews who are also fans thanks to my influence, will be getting this one as a Christmas present. The music makes me smile and that is a good thing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Webb on January 11, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Prine is the man with the songwriting talent, and this two disc set showcases the true inside look of this great artist, acoustic with vocal and guitar only... the first disc is in the studio, the second disc is live, both recorded 1970 before Prine's 1971 landmark debut. The songs cover his early works, "Souvenirs", "Blue Umbrella", "Angel From Montgomery", "Hello In There", "Illegal Smile", "Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues", (better known as Sam Stone), including the previously unreleased "A Star, Jewel, And A Hoax", not a great song, but definite Prine signature style lyrics are evident. Two songs also included, "A Good Time", and "Aw Heck" are lesser known but still both are Prine standards. The audio on the studio cut is off and on, the audio for the live disc is excellent and the best part of this set... golden sounds from John Prine.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martski on August 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful flashback to the beginning of John's career that highlights his amazing lyric-writing, tunefulness, and delightful live-show-banter. I love in his banter when, knowing his show is being taped, he says that people will look back and say that "kid" sure took a long time to tune his guitar! The songs on this album, both the studio and live discs, include some of the most honest, stark, and insightful ever produced (e.g., Sam Stone, aka The Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues with powerful and haunting tagline "there's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes", and Hello In There and Angel From Montgomery which show his thoughtful ability to place himself in another's shoes), as well as very witty lyrics (e.g., Spanish Pipedream: "I knew that topless dancer had something up her sleeve"), and creative metaphors (e.g., The Great Compromise that he describes in his banter on the Live Disc as "a hate song for a woman I love" the he "wrote with" Francis Scott Key). Well, in his 60s now, he's still writing some of the most poignant songs using beautiful metaphors and incorporating his super-clever turn-of-a-word style (e.g., Takin' a Walk from Fair & Square, 2005, which is in some sense a sequel to The Great Compromise, and has lines like "I felt about as welcome as a Walmart Superstore" and "It upset my Constitution down to it's mortal frame")

Bottom line: The Singing Mailman ALWAYS Delivers!
If you like John Prine, you'll LOVE this album.
If you don't know John Prine, then this is a great place to start learning to appreciate him...it is his very start!

(p.s., don't miss his other great albums, including Fair & Square, Great Days, In Spite of Ourselves, and Souvenirs!!)
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