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Review: John Prine, The Singing Mailman Delivers

Driftwood’s been nominated for a Mobbie again! You can vote for us once a day right here. Remember, you don’t have to be in Baltimore to vote. Thanks for your support!

John Prine
The Singing Mailman Delivers
[Oh Boy 2-cd (2011)]

We’ll have to thank John Prine’s wife Fiona for this new 2-CD set, the tapes of which were discovered when she sent him out to clean the garage.

Disc one is his earliest studio recordings, done after a Studs Terkel interview on August 1st, 1970 at WFMT in Chicago. Its eleven original songs were recorded so they could be copyrighted, a year before his first album was released. It’s amazing, now 40+ years on, how many of these he still performs: “Hello In There,” “Souvenirs,” “Paradise,” “Illegal Smile,” and more.

Disc two is a live recording done at The Fifth Peg in Chicago in November of 1970. It’s a snapshot of his live performance at the time, thirteen songs, most of what would comprise his first recording (with many duplicates of the songs found on disc one). Its shows that his unassuming charm and slightly off kilter delivery was with him from the beginning. Outside of a cover of “Hey Good Lookin’/Jambalya,” it’s all original material. Sound quality is good, and  his all his in-between chat is included as well. The CD booklet comes with old faded photos of Prine from the 1970s.

Although disc one is only 27 minutes and the second is only 47, the short playing time is offset by the low single disc price: ten bucks direct from Oh Boy. A must have for John Prine fans. [www.johnprine.net]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

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