John Prine – Prime PrineAtlantic, 1976
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
It’s not like I needed this best of—which highlights the choicest cuts from Prine’s first four records—it’s just that I wanted it. And because seriously who doesn’t love a fucking stellar greatest hits collection? When I’m milling about and want to hear something from a particular artist I’ll almost always reach for a greatest hits (or personally thrown-together “best of” iTunes playlist) to just bask in and enjoy the hits. Because goddamnit sometimes you just want the HITS. Maybe that’s a taboo thing, to recommend someone start with a best-of before undertaking a prolific artist’s discography. That’s what I’d recommend with Prine. If it were Guided by Voices or something I’d say “Whoa there, don’t just reach for the Greatest Hits collection, even though it’s pretty good, you need Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes back to back, for like a week. Come and see me when you’re done with that.” Prine’s albums all kind of feel like collections so maybe that’s why it’s so easy to just put this one and say “yup.” Because every song is a goddamn winner.