John Prine Sessions at West 54th (full concert)
This is a great concert and a rare treat as there are very few Prine concerts on the web. The only problem is that it is too short! John Prine is the type of singer that makes you listen to his lyrics. He infuses humour in his, sad but entertaining lyrics. Each time you hear him, you hear something different. Bob Dylan had this mix of humour and seriousness on his first album and Townes Van Zandt and Warren Zevon made a real art out of it. John Prine fits fine in their company.
The crowning moments for me are the duets with singer Iris Dement, who with great pride joins him in some “questionable lyrics” as he puts it. And the wonderful song , Lake Marie, I never get tired of that song. Prine tells the story wonderfully on this concert.
“Sessions at West 54th gave Prine a chance to work his charm on a television audience (and in 2002, a VHS and DVD audience). The appearance coincided with the successful release of In Spite of Ourselves, and a number of that album’s songs appear on this set. Prine begins his performance by reaching back to the very beginning of his career for “Blow Up Your T.V.” and “Six O’Clock News.” He’s accompanied by guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist David Jacques, players who provide a simple and warm setting for these songs. Iris Dement joins Prine in the middle of the session for a number of duets, including fine versions of “In Spite of Ourselves” and “Let’s Invite Them Over Again.” Other classics, including “Sam Stone” and “Hello in There,” fill out the disc. Watching Live from Sessions at West 54th is a lot like getting a good seat to a Prine show in a small venue.”
– Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. (allmusic)