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Various Artists
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine - Oh Boy
FILTER Grade: 90%

By Paul Zollo on August 24, 2010

 

Various Artists

A wonderful compilation album of individualist artists interpreting the songs of John Prine, Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows shows—as did Alabama 3’s hip rendition of Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”—the vast, amazing versatility of Prine’s work. Long one of America’s greatest songwriters, Prine created a catalog that contains many of the funniest, saddest and heartrending songs ever written. Hinting at the life these songs will have long beyond that of their creator, the album gives us some of Prine’s most famous songs as well as some lesser-known classics, such as “Daddy’s Little Pumpkin,” delivered with rockabilly verve by Drive-By Truckers, and Conor Oberst’s ebullient “Wedding Day in Funeralville.” Josh Ritter’s gentle acoustic “Mexican Home,” which Prine recorded himself as a rock rave-up, is revelatory, while Lambchop’s haunting swirl of emotion sweetly gift wraps “Six O’clock News.” An album like this can never feel complete, as 12 cuts can’t do justice to the immensity of Prine’s multi-variegated gifts, but even just one song with the shining purity of Sara Watkin’s “The Late John Garfield Blues” would make this well worth the price of admission. There’s a lot of respect for a great songwriter here, each track casting Prine in the shimmering light which he deserves.

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