Personnel: John Prine (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); Howie Epstein (acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, background vocals); Mike Campbell (electric guitar, bass); Jay Dee Manness (pedal steel guitar); Steve Fishell (dobro); Phil Parlapiano (mandolin, accordion, harmonium); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Benmont Tench (piano, organ, harmonium, bass); John Ciambotti, Bob Glaub (bass); Joe Romersa (drums, percussion); Richard Hardwick, Al Bunetta (percussion); Christina Amphlett, Liz Byrnes (background vocals).
Recorded at Huh Sound Theater, Los Angeles, California and The Money Pit, Nashville, Tennessee.
Folk singer and songwriter extrordinaire John Prine had to wait 20 years before the music industry acknowledged him with the coveted Grammy. The golden prize was awarded for THE MISSING YEARS and it's a just reward, although any number of his prior records could have been named Best Folk Album. Which is not to say that THE MISSING YEARS is not a tour-de-force. Quite simply, it is Prine's most rewarding post-'70s release.
With Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Howie Epstein at the producer's helm and a host of notable guests (Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Phil Everly), Prine unveils a winning set of country-rock tinged folk songs. The rolling "Picture Show" kicks things off with the familiar bang of Prine's trademark laconic delivery and stunning wordplay laced with playful and bittersweet irony. From there Prine goes from strength to strength, ranging from the silly ("It's A Big Ol' Goofy World,") to heartwarming ("Unlonely,") to the simply stunning ("Jesus the Missing Years"). The latter is an absurdist recollection of the 18 unaccounted for years in Christ's life. As the Lord hitchikes through Europe and jams with the Rolling Stones, one is reminded again of Prine's freewheeling and masterful storytelling ability.
ReviewsRolling Stone (1/23/92, p.46) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...filled with idiosyncratic delights..."