13 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Because John Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut spawned several songs that became folk or country standards, that first album tends to overshadow its follow-up. The truth is that Diamonds in the Rough contains as many sterling songs as John Prine, and it also boasts a slightly ragged edge befitting a young artist still uncovering his immense powers. The band here includes Prine’s longtime Chicago compatriots (Steve Goodman on guitar and older brother Dave Prine on mandolin) alongside master session men (guitarist Dave Bromberg and bassist/drummer Steve Burgh). The music likewise finds a balance between Prine’s often-mysterious visions of everyday life and the larger folk/country tradition. Prine can turn out a few comic hootenannies like “The Frying Pan” and “Yes, I Guess, They Oughta Name a Drink After You,” then turn around slay you with “Souvenirs.” Perhaps he wanted to use his second album to remind the world that he was still a raffish acoustic stumblebum at heart. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the raw feeling of “Sour Grapes” or the beautifully terrifying snapshots within “The Late John Garfield Blues.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Because John Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut spawned several songs that became folk or country standards, that first album tends to overshadow its follow-up. The truth is that Diamonds in the Rough contains as many sterling songs as John Prine, and it also boasts a slightly ragged edge befitting a young artist still uncovering his immense powers. The band here includes Prine’s longtime Chicago compatriots (Steve Goodman on guitar and older brother Dave Prine on mandolin) alongside master session men (guitarist Dave Bromberg and bassist/drummer Steve Burgh). The music likewise finds a balance between Prine’s often-mysterious visions of everyday life and the larger folk/country tradition. Prine can turn out a few comic hootenannies like “The Frying Pan” and “Yes, I Guess, They Oughta Name a Drink After You,” then turn around slay you with “Souvenirs.” Perhaps he wanted to use his second album to remind the world that he was still a raffish acoustic stumblebum at heart. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the raw feeling of “Sour Grapes” or the beautifully terrifying snapshots within “The Late John Garfield Blues.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

ross cashiola ,

despite the itunes review

As an avid John Prine listener, I was a little blown away by the album review here. Diamonds in the Rough, though it may be a sophmore follow up the his debut classic, is every bit as good, if not a step above the previous record. Songs like Clocks and Spoons, ..John Garfield Blues, Sour Grapes, and The Torch Singer, stand up as some of the greatest exmples of american songwriting. Maybe these songs aren't known as much because of reviews that put so much importance on Prine's first record, but rest assured this is one of Prine's best collections of songs on one album, and one of the best written albums he's ever put out. The themes and lyrics on Diamonds in the Rough exude a raw gentleness of vision and thought, and help shape this album into one of Prine's most profound and stirring releases.

daddy frank ,

The Best Way To Hear John Prine

Unobtrusive arrangements allow you to concentrate on some incredible lyrics and feel the warmth and intelligence of the man. In many of the songs we encounter people who've been left out of the American dream and even feel alienated from themselves. Prine's images are so clear and gripping you'd swear you're looking through photographs of an American landscape now gone and almost forgotten.

jsw wiles ,

The Great Compromise

Possibly one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

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