Though vanity begs that we not openly proclaim it, any long standing member of America's ever increasingly vapid punditocracy will, after a few free drinks or organic appetizers, tell you that we love it when a story writes itself. Conservative politician rooming with a Rentboy; Cheney chokes on glass of water says waterboarding bad; Glenn Beck calls 1969 the summer of love…the list goes on and on.
So how much easier can this review get with the title John Prine—In Person & Onstage? The only real answer to that is if Prine, or his PR folk over at Oh Boy, wrote the review and let me byline it.
This third of Prine's official live documents (1988's Live and '97's On Tour) is arguably his most personable and entertaining to date. Recorded with a clarity and immediacy few live recordings capture, all of these fourteen gems find Prine takin' his place around your table, tellin' tales that bring a smile to your face and an ease to your soul.
Along with his road tested compatriots—guitarist Jason Wilbur and bassist Dave Jacques—Prine courts some very special lady friends to the stage—Iris Dement, absolutely brilliant on In Spite of Ourselves, Sara Watkins on a captivating The Late John Garfield Blues, Emmylou Harris on Angel From Montgomery—to compliment a set list any fan would have fantasized to have written up.
If there is a drawback, it's that there is no new music here. For whatever reason, 2005's irreplaceable Fair and Square, remains Prine's only new material of the past decade, something that even his most swooning fans (myself included) hope deep in their hearts gets rectified soon.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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