John Prine - John Prine (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
John Prine - John Prine (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
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John Prine - John Prine (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
John Prine - John Prine (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic

John Prine - John Prine (2LP, 45RPM)

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Acoustic Guitar, Vocals - John Prine

Lead Guitar – Reggie Young (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Pedal Steel Guitar – Leo LeBlanc (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Rhythm Guitar – John Christopher (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Bass – Mike Leach (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Drums – Gene Chrisman (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Organ – Bobby Emmons (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Piano – Bobby Wood (A1-4, A6 to B7)

Bass – Neal Rosengarden (B2)

Acoustic Guitar – Steve Goodman (A5, B7)

Drums – Bishop Heywood (D4)

Fiddle – Noel Gilbert (D4)

Tambourine – Gene Chrisman (D4)

Written by John Prine


2LPs, gatefold jacket printed by Stoughton Printing

Limited numbered edition

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : Black

Speed : 45 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : Quality Record Pressings

Label : Analogue Productions - Atlantic 75 series

Original Label : Atlantic

Recorded at American Sound Studio, Memphis (all tracks except B2) and A & R Studios, New York City (B2)

Engineered by Stan Kesler

Remixed by Arif Mardin

Produced by Arif Mardin

Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound

Liner Notes by Kris Kristofferson

Photography by Camouflage Productions, Barry Feinstein, Tom Wilkes

Design by Barry Feinstein, Tom Wilkes

Originally released in October 1971

Reissued in October 2023



Side A:

  1. Illegal Smile
  2. Spanish Pipedream
  3. Hello in There

Side B:

  1. Sam Stone
  2. Paradise
  3. Pretty Good

Side C:

  1. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore
  2. Far from Me
  3. Angel from Montogomery

Side D:

  1. Quiet Man
  2. Donald and Lydia
  3. Six O' Clock News
  4. Flashback Blues


    Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Ranked 149/500



    “We are all products of the times in which we live, to one degree or another, though some people transcend time. Listening to John Prine's 1971 debut album makes clear that he was at that time a product of it. If you want to understand the "zeitgeist of that time using music as your guide, this album is a good a place to start.

    Prine opens with an obvious song about weed but younger listeners might not get the Hoffman reference. "Spanish Pipedream" is the quintessential "get back to the country" sentiment so popular at that time but sung by a draft dodger. "Hello In There" is the albums first outright classic—one of at least four on the record—that points to midwestern disaffectedness that drives much of today's politics. It was then and remains now a very sad song.

    "Sam Stone", the one about the PTSD afflicted Vietnam vet who commits suicide with the memorable refrain " (there's a) hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes", digs into the futility of war with mordant humor. "Paradise", a song about coal miner displacement is another song of that time and of this time.

    "Pretty Good" is a Dylanesque fantasy dream that's yet another look at the futility of "it all". As for "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", it's of that time too, and sadly of this time too, but again because Prine did pound it with a heavy hammer, it still works.

    If you had to pick one song as the album's classic it would of course be "Angel From Montgomery", owned by Bonnie Raitt until Susan Tedeschi grabbed a big piece of it. Fortunately there's enough there for both of them and of course John Prine too.

    1971 was a year of disaffection and ennui. The Beatles had broken up, the hippie dream was over, four kids were shot in Ohio by National Guardsmen and you had CSN&Y singing a protest song that was powerful at the time but who wants to listen now? Prine's eyeglass was focused on all of the same things but his was an ironic, detached P.O.V. that remains vital and relevant.

    The record is of that time but it is somehow of this time too, though Prine's delivery and from where in his throat he's singing obviously owes a great deal to Dylan. But that's really all he owed to Dylan; just a launching pad to his own destiny.

    Some artists are one hit wonders and one album wonders. Not Prine. He kept doing it and gathering up new fans right until the end even when sickness made a physical mess of him. His final album Tree of Forgiveness on his own Oh Boy Records released in 2018 debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200. His highest charted record. He died of complications of "the Covid hoax" at age 73.

    Almost all of this simply but tastefully arranged production was recorded at Chip Moman's original American Recording Studios, Memphis Tennessee out of which came so many hits and great sounding recordings. One track was put to tape at Phil Ramone's A&R Studios, but somehow until this reissue the recording's true sonic excellence was well hidden. This reissue cut by Ryan Smith using the original master tapes puts you in the studio with Prine and much Southern instrumental talent, or Prine in your room, or however you wish your head to arrange it.

    Definitely a fitting title for the Atlantic 75th Anniversary celebration, musically and sonically. Like the label, it's a record that stands the test of time.” Michael Fremer, Tracking Angle

    “This is a very good first album by a very good songwriter. Good songwriters are on the rise, but John Prine is differently good. His work demands some time and thought from the listener — he’s not out to write pleasant tunes, he wants to arrest the cursory listener and get attention for some important things he has to say and, thankfully, he says them without fallinginto the common trap of writing with overtones of self-importance or smugness. His melodies are excellent.

    If Prine had less talent, this would have been a much easier review to write. Because of the fact that the highs show brilliance, the lows are more noticeable; he’s a good songwriter but there are indications that he can be a great one. In his liner notes Kris Kristofferson writes of Prine: “Twenty-four years old and writes like he’s two-hundred and twenty.” I readily agreed with that, but after repeated listenings, the conviction rose in my mind that he doesn’t really write like he’s old — the bitterness in his songs might make it seem that way. Hopefully, age brings some mellowness, too. The stories he tells have a negative kinkiness; if pain isn’t apparent, it’s just below the surface.

    “Spanish Pipedream” is a happy song, but it is a pipedream. “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” is another rollicking song, but it does deal with death. This is not to say that Prine’s view of the grimness of life is inaccurate. (“Six O’Clock News” might be overdone, ending with the suicide of a boy who learns he’s illegitimate.) This is not even meant to declare this quality of Prine’s work as a fault, for his bitter eye reflects that he really has strong ideals, that he’s a compassionate person who has seen sharp disillusionment growing from people’s uncaring behavior toward other people. He’s certainly aware of the lonely traps people construct for themselves. It’s just that bitterness corrodes after a time — it’s a dead-end street for songwriters.

    “Donald and Lydia” must be the definitive song of the lovemaking fantasy (people buzz about how it’s about masturbation, but that’s really not the point of the song), To select more important lines is impossible: the song is a complete gem, verses and chorus. “Far From Me,” recounting the terrible intimation that the one you love is going to leave you, is so painfully accurate of the feeling of the situation you can taste it. “Hello in There” is moving, written about a lonely old couple, a theme relatively unexplored by songwriters (with the notable exception of Jacques Brel).

    “Pretty Good” is a pretty good song and pretty funny (but with that kinky streak again) in which the singer fucks a girl from Venus, another girl gets raped by a dog, and various gods hang out, all interspersed with an unlikely chorus which is one of the few touches of sweetness on the record: “Moonlight makes me dizzy/Sunlight makes me clean/Your light is the sweetest thing/That this boy has ever seen.”

    All of Prine’s songs have a strong country feel, but “Paradise” is pure, classic country, downright bluegrass in both lyric and melody, with a tale of how the coal company ruined the beautiful land in Western Kentucky. “Flashback Blues” is an uptempo farewell lament that’s a poetic tumble of keen nostalgia, insights to loneliness and isolation, the pain of seeing one’s self in emotional nakedness and the running ahead of that pain — but it sometimes catches up.

    Prine’s G.I. junkie song. “Sam Stone,” is already known by some and is favored in other singers’ repertoires. I find it too heavily contrived, not up to Prine’s standard. Then there’s “Angel from Montgomery.” where again the narrator is old. “Quiet Man” has the thoughtful line, “Steady losing means you ain’t using/What you really think is right.” “Illegal Smile” is again about a bad case of the blues (saved by a sense of humor) — John Prine must know what bad times are.

    The album is well-produced, with a small back-up band used throughout. Though after seeing John perform solo at Paul Colby’s Bitter End, accompanying himself on guitar, it’s obvious that he can do well with or without. It’s good to have such a fine new talent around who is both interesting and provocative. If he’s this good this young, time should be on his side.” Rolling Stone Review by Karin Berg

    “A revelation upon its release, this album is now a collection of standards: "Illegal Smile," "Hello in There," "Sam Stone," "Donald and Lydia," and, of course, "Angel from Montgomery." Prine's music, a mixture of folk, rock, and country, is deceptively simple, like his pointed lyrics, and his easy vocal style adds a humorous edge that makes otherwise funny jokes downright hilarious.” AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann



    AllMusic : 5 / 5 ; Discogs : 4.56 / 5 ; Michael Fremer (Tracking Angle) : Music 9/11, Sound 9/11

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