I only recently got excited about Prine's music after I bought Fair and Square which was released in 2005. That great album made me curious about his earlier work, which led me to his debut album.
Prine was living in Chicago and was part of the folk scene there with friend Steve Goodman in the late 60's. He was discovered at that time by Kris Kristofferson (I guess he returned the call), who helped him get a recording contract. Produced by Arif Mardin, the album was recorded in Memphis with the great studio musicians at the American Recording Studio. Although it wasn't a commercial success, the album contains some amazing songs for a deput effort.
Prine was one of the few "Next Bob Dylans" who actually lived up to the hype when it came to songwriting. It is mind bending that these songs were written by a 24 year old. What an old soul he was at the time. These songs represent 70's songwriting at it's best.
My favorite track is Angel From Montgomery. It is a beautiful song that was a hit for Bonnie Raitt off her 1974 album Streetlights and has been covered by many other artists. It begins with one of the great images in any song:
I am an old woman named after my mother
My old man is another child that's grown old
If dreams were lightning thunder desire
This old house would have burnt down a long time ago
The album also contains Paradise, which is a touching song about the horrors of strip mining and the distruction of our land. I first heard it sung by the great Larry Redmon, who is the country poet of the Blue Grass. This is the chorus:
And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away
These are only a few of the great songs on the album. If it isn't on your playlist, you need to add it today. Available from Amazon and on iTunes.