Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

John Prine: Great Days: The John Prine Anthology [Rhino, 1993]
There aren't 41 best Prine songs. There are 50, 60, maybe more; the only way to resolve quibbles would be a bigger box than commerce or decorum permits. And his catalogue's out there, with John Prine, Sweet Revenge, and Storm Windows durable favorites. But this is just the place to access his kind, comic, unassumingly surreal humanism. Prine's a lot friendlier than your average thriving old singer-songwriter (Young, Thompson, Cohen), and his disinclination to downplay his natural warmth or his folk-rock retro may make him impenetrable to victims of irony proficiency amnesia. But no one writing has a better feel for the American colloquial--its language, its culture, its life. Except maybe Bobbie Ann Mason. A