Deep Dive: John Prine, STORM WINDOWS
Today we celebrate the birthday of singer-songwriter John Prine. How do we do so? By taking a look back at his last album for Asylum Records, an LP which was a creative comeback of sorts, particularly when its reviews are placed against those for the album that preceded it.
Yes, it’s true: Prine’s 1979 album PINK CADILLAC wasn’t exactly beloved by music critics, and while it’s kind of a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel situation when it comes to getting Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau to offer snarky remarks, let’s just say that there’s no need to repeat any of them here and simply say that they liked STORM WINDOWS better.
Produced by Barry Beckett, the album featured ten tracks, six of which were written by Prine, with two more songs that Prine co-wrote with guitarist John Burns. This was considerably more Prine-penned material than he’d offered up on PINK CADILLAC, and when you’re talking about a guy whose own compositions are beloved by millions, that factor alone might have had something to do with why STORM WINDOWS was better received. Beckett’s presence might also have helped, given that his credits at that point included albums by Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Then again, perhaps it was the location of the sessions: the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. Who’s to say? But songs like “Living in the Future,” “One Red Rose,” and the title track certainly showed a fella who was, if not fully back on track, definitely on the right musical path again.
Unfortunately, that path also led Prine off of Asylum Records, leaving him label-less for the next four years. Thankfully, however, 1984 found him on a new label (Oh Boy) and with a new album (AIMLESS), which just goes to show that you can’t keep a good Prine down.
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