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Great Days: The John Prine Anthology

4.8 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 17, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From \Hello in There" and ""Sam Stone"" to ""Angel from Montgomery"

If you buy Great Days: The John Prine Anthology, you may live to regret it. He's probably the best American folk-song lyricist of his generation, mixing low-key poignancy and deadpan humor in perfect proportions. His musical limitations serve to reinforce the understated nature of his art, and his short, plain-spoken lines (written in the offhand conversational style of his Midwestern and Appalachian characters) sneak through the back door of your imagination and won't leave. So where does the regret come in? Well, as you listen to the 41 songs arranged chronologically on these two CDs, you're going to ask yourself, "If someone can write 41 songs as good as these, isn't there a good chance he wrote more than 41?" After hearing the anthology's six songs from Prine's 1971 debut album, for example, you may decide to go out and buy that album itself. After you hear songs as delightful as "Pretty Good" and "Your Flag Decal," which didn't find their way into the collection, you may soon find yourself hunting down all 10 of Prine's original studio albums. Then you may regret having bought Great Days. --Geoffrey Himes

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Illegal Smile
  2. Spanish Pipedream
  3. Hello In There
  4. Sam Stone
  5. Paradise
  6. Donald And Lydia
  7. The Late John Garfield Blues
  8. Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You
  9. The Great Compromise
  10. Sweet Revenge
  11. Please Don't Bury Me
  12. Christmas In Prison
  13. Dear Abby (Live)
  14. Blue Umbrella
  15. Common Sense
  16. Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard
  17. Saddle In The Rain
  18. He Was In Heaven Before He Died
  19. Fish And Whistle
  20. That's The Way That The World Goes 'Round
  21. Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow)

Disc: 2

  1. Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone
  2. Automobile
  3. Killing The Blues
  4. Down By The Side Of The Road
  5. Living In The Future
  6. It's Happening To You
  7. Storm Windows
  8. One Red Rose
  9. Souvenirs - Steve Goodman
  10. Aimless Love
  11. The Oldest Baby In The World
  12. People Puttin' People Down
  13. Unwed Fathers
  14. Angel From Montgomery (Live)
  15. Linda Goes To Mars
  16. Bad Boy
  17. Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (Live)
  18. It's A Big Old Goofy World (Live)
  19. The Sins Of Memphisto
  20. All The Best

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 17, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • ASIN: B000003329
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,540 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I wasn't introduced to the music of John Prine until 1978, but I became an instant fan upon hearing his self-titled debut. I can't think of another more fully developed debut and at six tracks it is (of the 14 albums on this anthology) the one most represented. [Too bad they didn't also include "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore," the funniest song about patriotism you'll ever hear.]
But don't mistake Prine's humor as an attempt to merely go for a laugh; it usually is there to help mask pain or anger or to make his message more palatable. Mark Twain made this observation in "The Mysterious Stranger": "For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon--laughter. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
Prine uses this weapon effectively. Whether he's urging us to blow up our TVs in "Spanish Pipedream" or looking at the lighter side of death in "Please Don't Bury Me," his songs are full of charm and wit. And then there's the serious side of Prine's songwriting like the pathos of "Hello In There" and its look at aging, or the plight of the Viet Nam war vet in "Sam Stone."
Many of these songs, like "Paradise" and "Angel From Montgomery," have become standards. Quite simply, Prine is one of the best songwriters of the past thirty years (he wrote or co-wrote all but one of these songs) and for longtime fans even this generous 41-track collection will be incomplete. It's a great introduction, but I'll bet you'll want to buy the individual albums after giving this a few listens. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Format: Audio CD
I love John Prine. I love nearly every song on this compilation. But I would NOT recommend that anyone buy this. Why? Because while this album selects out many of the wonderful songs on John Prine's first 10 studio albums, it leaves out almost as many great songs from those same albums, including "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven", "Diamond in the Rough", "Mexican Home", "Often Is A Word I Seldom Use", "Accident (Things Could Have Been Worse)", "Way Down", "Hobo Song", "Chinatown", "Ubangi Stomp", "Bottomless Lake", "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian", and "Jesus the Missing Years". An album with just those songs might be my favorite John Prine album. My point: buy the original studio albums--they're so strong throughout that it's pointless to try and pick the best songs. Any attempt to do so is highly subjective. If you like John Prine you'll see that virtually every one of his songs has something to recommend it.
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By A Customer on August 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
....One for each track. For thirty years, Prine has shown the uncanny ability to serve up equal doses of wit, wisdom, pain and pathos in his singing and writing. Heavy representation here from his incredible self - titled debut album prove that, even at age 24, he wrote (as Kris Kristofferson said in the liner notes) as if he were in actuality, 220 years old. In the three decades since that auspicious start, this genius has done nothing but prove that it was no fluke.
Immensely respected by the greatest artists of our time (Who HASN'T covered at least one John Prine song?) - the guy with the twangy voice and the wonderfully simple, sometimes twisted, often times downright crazy view of life - has gotten even better with age. According to Kristofferson, I guess he would be pushing 250 about now. "Great Days" is a wonderful chronology of Prine's continued brilliance, with ALL the songs on this anthology proving that point.
Sure, there are some songs that are conspicuous by their absence, such as "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore," as mentioned by previous reviewers. So, big deal - buy the first album also. Then go buy the rest of the Prine catalog - you'll find, unless you already know, that there's a tremendous wealth of great music to be heard. Amazingly enough, even this two disc set with 41 tracks, only scratches the surface.
I can't pick a favorite from this recording. Everything is good. Great Days, indeed. The only mystery is this - Why hasn't John Prine sold about 100 million records?
This set would be a steal at twice the price. Buy it.
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Format: Audio CD
John Prine's songs first got my attention way back in 1971 when I first heard "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" on KSAN-FM radio in San Francisco. I had to buy the record. Since then, John has written and performed many clever, humorous, insightful, and heart-wrenching songs that are every bit as good as "Your Flag Decal ..." This anthology displays most of the best of these songs. As most John Prine devotees will understand, it is frustrating that more people haven't seen in Prine's music the special talent that we have seen. Oh well, sometimes it takes special people to recognize unique talent.
This anthology is getting dated now that John has released "The Missing Years," "Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings," and "In Spite of Ourselves." Still, a must buy for Prine fans, especially if you prefer his early stuff.
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