This album came out two decades ago. Here’s what I had to say about it back then (with some minor editing):
Here’s a novel twist on the predictable greatest-hits set: Instead of just remastering his old hits, veteran singer-songwriter John Prine has re-recorded them.
LIke a lot of artists these days, he did it so he could own master versions of these classic songs — but his practical motive also pays some creative dividends. After years of living with tunes like Angel From Montgomery, Storm Windows, Sam Stone, Hello in There and Donald and Lydia, Prine is obviously comfortable with this material, and it shows: These 15 numbers are relaxed, loose versions, with John’s woodsy rasp and gentle guitar subtly guiding the flow without ever seeming to dictate. Some might quibble with the whole notion of redoing these numbers, but it’s hard to quibble with the natural, easy honesty of these tracks. Too bad he left off so many classics — there’s no Illegal Smile, no Dear Abby, no Bruised Orange, no Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone. Fingers crossed that Prine is just saving them for a sequel.