It’s a rather light workout day with only a 45 minute pool run to contend with before I’m on “Dad Duty” for the rest of the evening which, I assure you, will contain some LOUD! vinyl later on while mommy is still at work. Also, I have this Day 31 of my new “100 Day Core Challenge” (click HERE) to accomplish over lunch and for that, I’m indulging in some quieter, more introspective okie-folkie before we unleash all holy terror on the stereo later on, the ‘Diamonds In the Rough‘ album by John Prine.
This is Prine’s 2nd second album (1972), which some may see as a cut below his first, only because the debut was a classic and this followup was merely “terrific”. Critics can be so fickle and unforgiving, can’t they?
Of course, I could be a little biased because the album also largely features David Bromberg on guitars, mandolin and dobro and I sure hearts me some David Bromberg.
The album’s sound homed in on the Appalachian “high lonesome” influences evident on Prine’s eponymous debut LP and its bluegrass instrumentation reflects Prine’s fascination with early American folk and country music. It was intended to strike a musical balance between infectious up-tempo hootenannies and stark, allegorical compositions with recitations that recall Hank Williams’ recordings as Luke the Drifter (for example, ‘Billy the Bum‘).
‘Sour Grapes‘ showed Prine’s cracked sense of humor while ‘Souvenirs‘ his sentiment. And even though it’s only 1 minute and 47 seconds, ‘The Frying Pan‘ is definitely not to be overlooked. Even if it was deemed a “second rank” effort of his writing, this album demonstrated that Prine had an enduring talent that wasn’t exhausted simply by one great album alone, regardless of what anyone might say.