JOHN PRINE 'NEW YORK 1978' 2 CD Set (2020)
Broadcast live by King Biscuit on July 11th 1978, this superb performance from the now tragically late John Prine recorded at the Bottom Line Club in New York's Greenwich Village, several years into the man's career, is among his finest ever shows. His debut album had been released to huge critical acclaim, albeit somewhat modest sales (reaching only 153 on Billboard), in 1971 on the Atlantic label. Featuring such legendary numbers as Hello in There and Angel From Montgomery (versions of both are featured) it was voted into Rolling Stone s All Time Greatest 500 Albums list in 2003. The tour, of which this gig was part, was performed in support of Bruised Orange (1978), Prine's 5th studio album, and the lengthy 30-song set list features no fewer than 6 of the album s 10 cuts, although strangely John omits to perform the stunning title track. The remainder of the songs played are a mix from 3 out of 4 previous albums (he doesn t play anything from his sophomore record, 1972s Diamonds In The Rough) plus a smattering of cuts yet to be released at show-time, but made available on 1979s Pink Cadillac and post-1980 releases. A few well-chosen covers are additionally played, including a rocking version of Treat Me Nice (from the pens of messrs. Leiber and Stoller) and a nice Ballad Of A Teenage Queen - made famous by Johnny Cash but composed by Prine's friend Jack Clement. The line up for the evenings proceedings includes some fine backing by the group he had already assembled for Pink Cadillac, (John Burns - acoustic and electric guitars, Howard Levy - piano, harmonica, mandolin, Tom Piekarske - bass, Angelo Varias - drums) and it s interesting to hear some of his oldies performed with full band, although he does go back to just acoustic guitar for the likes of Hello In There . A wonderful ambience prevails across the whole 130 minutes that the gig extends, and some of the usual JP between-song-patter is well placed and timely, charting a seamless show that remains among the finest that this maverick songwriter ever performed.