Jun 30, 2010 Album Reviews
Posted by Adam
After a thirty second guitar and mandolin intro, an aging male voice sings, “I am an old woman..”, the opening line from a song he wrote as a young man some 40 years ago to an overwhelming response from the crowd.
I think that really says all you need to know about John Prine’s latest live album, In Person & On Stage. The man still has it, and the songs still ring true to the listeners on all accounts.
This release gives all we can ask for in a live album from a legend. Newer songs, different arrangements of classic tunes, a cover tune, great back up musicians, and a few well placed guest appearances.
I love when older artists release these live records, we get to hear old songs with a new voice. On this record we get a greatest hits live of sorts with “Late John Garfield Blues”, “Spanish Pipedream”, “Paradise”, and the aforementioned “Angel From Montgomery”.
In addition he put three tunes off of his latest solo effort, Fair and Square, including a dedicated to his wife version of “She is my Everything”.
Interspersed throughout the album are entertaining stories that help explain the songs and give the live versions even more meaning. My favorite on the record is his story prior to “Bottomless Lake” about his father planning weekend trips and his mother complaining about his driving. When an artist has been doing this as long as Prine, they have some really good stories to tell.
As for the guests on the album, Iris Dement, Emmylou Harris, Josh Ritter, Sara Watkins, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, and Fats Kaplin show up on this one. The standouts for me are Harris who helps Prine deliver what I think may be my favorite version of “Angel from Montgomery” ever and Ritter sitting in on “Mexican Home” which he contributed to the just released Prine tribute, Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows both add something wonderful to this release.
A final thing that needs to be mentioned about this recording is the excellent backing band of Jason Wilber (guitars and mandolins) and Dave Jacques (bass guitars). They give an understated and tasteful performances adding to the songs without taking away from them.
Overall this is an absolute must have for Prine fans casual and fanatic. I am glad to have gotten a copy and it will certainly find a regular place in my rotation. I love all the performances on this record and really how can you go wrong with 14 live Prine songs?
You can get a copy of this album lots of places but I suggest you go right to Prine’s label, Oh Boy Records and get it there and take a look around at the other stuff they have to offer. Later today or tomorrow I will finally get around to reviewing that tribute album as well.