January 29, 2017

John Prine - German Afternoons (1986)


German Afternoons is an undersold John Prine album. When people in my age group look back on John Prine, they probably won't look any further than his first three albums and that's kind of sad to think about because the guy was a fountain of brilliant songwriting and musicianship. I sure wouldn't have peeped this album, or anything after Sweet Revenge for that matter, if I wasn't perplexed by his legendary duo version of Speed of the Sound of Loneliness with Nancy Griffifth. The rest of the album follows suit, making for a soft listening experience that's probably great to hear while drinking alone (that album cover though). The music is no doubt americana and folky, but there are some flairs of 80s reverbing production thrown in there at points; sort of like a British counterpart to Richard & Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights in that regard. A lot of people won't like that, but I enjoy the easiness of the style, especially when it's mixed with some dope slide guitar. Prine is older so he sings with a bit of softer voice than he does on his first three albums from the early 1970s. He also minimizes his sarcastic wit and sense of humor for this album (not sure if that was common for his other 80s material too), so he doesn't put as much of a point on some of his lyrics as he once did. I don't have much of a problem with this because I prefer the melancholy John Prine songs (Far From Me, Sam Stone, Hello In There) to the humorous stuff, even though I appreciate both styles. If you're a fan of country-folk and need an alternate to Here Comes a Regular to listen to while staring at the bottom of a bottle of bourbon, then this is a good choice.

Sample

German Afternoons