John Prine – Bruised OrangeAsylum, 1978
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2012
For some reason I’m finding every other John Prine album. Once I stumble upon Diamonds in the Rough and Common Sense, I’ll have his first five albums. Still, every time I find one I do a minor freak out. Bruised Orange showed up in a buy I was absolutely reluctant to do. There was a sack of ugly books and a mystery box that, upon further inspection, held some grungy records. But as I disgustedly dug through the records, I saw some good shit. Some nicer shit. Some Bob Dylan resissues in great shape, a couple of obscure Moondog records, and then at the bottom, this one. When pitching the offer, I was extra encouraging to the lady to bring in any more records she might have. The Year of John Prine continues. I am obsessed. I often sit and wonder, fist on chin, what the next band I fall in love with is gonna sound like. And this time around it’s a dude from Chicago who utilizes and absolutely genius blend of wit and sadness and joy. Though Prine’s eponymous debut is my absolute favorite, both Bruised Orange and Sweet Revenge have at least five songs that are real knock-outs. The real killers here though are “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone,” which is maybe the saddest touring song ever and “Bruised Orange,” which you can just imagine a young Justin Vernon listening to and being inspired by (Vernon covered the song on the Prine tribute album he put together, after all). “Fish and Whistle” is pretty great too, encapsulating the civilized brand of shit-kicking Prine brings to his erudite country/folk.