John Prine – Common SenseAtlantic, 1975
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Though Common Sense was John Prine’s highest charting album in his heyday, it’s probably the least outstanding of his first five records. Nevertheless, it’s still a great one. Gone are the political elements of his eponymous debut, the bluegrassy elements of Diamonds in the Rough, and the sassy bite from Sweet Revenge in favor of smoother corners. The fun is still there though. There’s something so joyful about Prine’s music that makes him so damn listenable. The smoothed out rough edges lead to some really fantastic arrangements (the title track just sounds so damn good) and though most of the record is enjoyable without being overly memorable, tracks like “Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krisna Beauregard,” “Wedding Day in Funeralville” (which was fantastically covered by Conor Oberst on the Prine tribute Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows), and the huge-sounding and plain fucking awesome standout “Saddle in the Rain.” The horns on that one make me all “Aww hell yeah” every time it comes on the John Prine greatest hits mix I have on my iPod (which is just the Great Days compilation whittled down to one disc’s worth of gems).