The man who now says he would be a good president because of his ability to make good deals made bad deals; 1988 was the year in which the candidate whose pitch is success sowed the seeds of many of his signature failures.
Sweet Revenge [Atlantic, 1973]Prine is described as surrealistic and/or political even though the passion of his literalness is matched only by that of his detachment: inferential leaps and tall songs do not a dreamscape make, and Prine offers neither program nor protest. It's the odd actions of everyday detail--as in the "four way stop dilemma" of "The Accident"--that heighten the reality of his songs, and his elementary insight that social circumstances do actually affect individual American lives that distinguishes him politically from his fellow workers. That's why when he finally writes his music-biz takeoff it's a beaut; that's why "Christmas in Prison" deserves to be carved on a wooden turkey. A
Great Days: The John Prine Anthology [Rhino, 1993]There aren't 41 best Prine songs. There are 50, 60, maybe more; the only way to resolve quibbles would be a bigger box than commerce or decorum permits. And his catalogue's out there, with John Prine, Sweet Revenge, and Storm Windows durable favorites. But this is just the place to access his kind, comic, unassumingly surreal humanism. Prine's a lot friendlier than your average thriving old singer-songwriter (Young, Thompson, Cohen), and his disinclination to downplay his natural warmth or his folk-rock retro may make him impenetrable to victims of irony proficiency amnesia. But no one writing has a better feel for the American colloquial--its language, its culture, its life. Except maybe Bobbie Ann Mason. A 781b155fdc