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Sweet Revenge

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 24, 1990
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Product Description

Prine started veering rock 'n' roll on this 1973 album, and the result was one of the toughest "folk" albums ever recorded.

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For his third album, John Prine returned to the fuller sound of his landmark debut while venturing into increasingly cryptic lyrical terrain. Songs such as "Mexican Home," "Accident (Things Could Be Worse)," and "Blue Umbrella" are open-to-interpretation explorations that reveal the songsmith's intrepid reflections; they're also among the 12-song set's best numbers. "Dear Abby" is a comical novelty number while "Christmas in Prison" is a doleful in-the-clink carol. The openhearted "A Good Time" slipped into the shadows after Sweet Revenge (like Prine's other Atlantic albums) failed to hit commercial paydirt, but it's as touching as anything Prine has penned. This outing isn't as musically distinctive as Prine's other albums from his early period, but as collections of songs go, it's first-rate. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002I79
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,589 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have loved John Prine ever since being introduced to him by way of "Sweet Revenge" back in 1973 when I was a college senior. I haven't heard this album in a while but dug it out and played it again tonight. I still love it.
First and foremost, John Prine is a poet. The words to many of his songs could stand very well on their own, without music; in fact, I'd love to see a book published of just the lyrics he has written over the years. Many of his songs are about the lives of everyday people, in some cases people forgotten by society, but he manages to find deep social truths in their lives. Therefore, John Prine's songs certainly do repay close attention to the words. And such humor! Lines such as "All of my friends are not dead or in jail" from the title track are even funnier to me now than they were back when I first heard the song.
However, even though the words to many of his songs are sufficient unto themselves as poetry, his unique voice certainly adds an extra welcome dimension to them. And don't be fooled; he may sound as though he is just tossing these songs off, but behind that facade (and that craggy voice) is a fantastic musician who knows exactly what he wants from each song in terms of shading, dynamics and the rest.
Certainly the funniest number on the album is "Dear Abby," which also gives us a glimpse of John's throwaway spoken humor. My first reaction to this song, many years ago, was "She's giving the same advice to each person," but when I finally stopped to think about it, I realized that John, through the imaginary words of Dear Abby, is saying that many of us are the cause of our own problems, and often for the very same reasons. For John Prine, even humor has its serious side.
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Format: Audio CD
John Prine's clever lyrics and pretty melodies made an impact on my life. I own six of his recordings, but the best is Sweet Revenge. There are very few albums that have four outrageously memorable songs, but Sweet Revenge does. They are Blue Umbrella, A Good Time, Mexican Home and Dear Abby.
Blue Umbrella is a guy deciding whether to break it off with his girl, and he's doing the deciding while walking in the rain under a blue umbrella. It has great lines, typically great "Prine Lines." This song touches my heart.
A Good Time is also fine. The chorus is "But, I never understood what a good time could cost... Til last night, when I sat and talked with you." Talking with her made him understand.
Mexican home is a mood song. Its unusual rhythms and mellow delivery almost make you think of the influence of alcohol.
Dear Abby is Prine's humor at its most wry. If you can listen without smiling, I wouldn't want to spend time with you.
! This album is an absolute must for any Prine Fan.
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Format: Audio CD
I have every John Prine original studio album. Most I originally bought on vinyl and replaced with CDs. With quality songs from start to finish, Sweet Revenge is my favorite of his albums. Songs approximately about revenge, death, prison, advice, loneliness, exasperation, stardom, grandparents, four way stop signs, Mexican weather (?), intimacy and hauling coal are served up with Prine's usual mix of wit, humility, humor, poignancy, insight and compassion. Much of it is folk music, some of it rocks, all of it has a pinch of country. An absolute treasure trove.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sweet Revenge is another fantastic album from John Prine. While his self-titled debut is a bonafide classic of the folk genre, this album mixes a country feel and harder sound with the folk. The songs are all top notch with strong melodies and memorable lyrics that paint a picture of real life. The most enduring tracks here are the melancholy "Christmas In Prison", the comical "Dear Abby", and the excellent story song "Grandpa Was A Carpenter". "Please Don't Bury Me" and "The Accident (Things Could Happen)" play like old school country with their lyrics, delivery, and female backing vocals while the excellent "Mexican Home", "Onomatopeia", and "Often Is A World I Seldom Use", have more of a country-rock feel with the latter even having horn lines thrown in for good measure. "Blue Umbrella" and " A Good Time" are straight up folk tunes that would have fit in perfectly on his debut. The closing "Nine Pound Hammer" kicks like a mule and ends this great album very nicely. Sweet Revenge is a killer through and through and has a few John Prine classics to boot.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Prine's music. I own more of his albums than I can count. If I had to pick 10 desert island disks, 7 of them would be by Prine. Out of all of them, this one is my favorite - it's the one I find myself listening to over and over again. Great songs, lively music with an edge, and some great guitar playing by Steve Goodman and others. A masterpiece.
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By A Customer on July 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I grew up listening to this album and Diamonds in the Rough. I was born in '72 and can remember knowing the words to "Grandpa was a Carpenter" and "Christmas in Prison" by the time I was 5. Perhaps it is the nostalgia value but this is one of the best albums I've ever heard. Prine combines dry wit with poetic phrasing and the results are some of the best music this side of Lyle Lovett. These songs are gold.
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