The Missing Years (album)

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The Missing Years
Studio album by John Prine
Released 1991
Recorded Huh Sound Theater, Los Angeles, CA and The Money Pit, Nashville, TN
Genre Folk, alt-country, Americana
Length 54:32
Label Oh Boy
Producer Howie Epstein
John Prine chronology
John Prine Live
The Missing Years
Great Days: The John Prine Anthology

The Missing Years is the tenth studio album by American folk musician John Prine, released in 1991.

At the Grammy Awards of 1992, The Missing Years won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.[1]

Guests include Tom Petty, Phil Everly, Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau (A-) [2]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars [3]
Entertainment Weekly (A-)[4]

The Missing Years was well received by critics and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. It was often referred to as Prine's comeback album.[5]

Writing for Allmusic, critic William Ruhlman wrote of the album "Prine took five years between his ninth studio album and this, his tenth—enough time to gather his strongest body of material in more than a decade... Prine's gifts for emotional revelation and off-the-wall humor are on display in abundance."[1] Music critic Robert Christgau wrote "Occasionally too fantastic but never too bitter, the sagest and funniest of the new Dylans writes like he's resigned to an unconsummated life and sounds like he's enjoying one... I attribute its undeviating quality, gratifying variety, and amazing grace to talent, leisure time, and just enough all-star input. I wouldn't swear there's a stone classic here—just nothing I wouldn't be happy to hear again."[2]

Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A+ rating, writing "John Prine's best work has always been slightly cinematic and hallucinogenic, full of images that transport as well as provoke. There's plenty of that on this new album The Missing Years... While little here is stunning — except for the Dylanesque Take a Look at My Heart, a dear sucker letter to Prine's ex-old lady's boyfriend, with a subdued cameo vocal by Bruce Springsteen — all the songs are keepers, perfectly relaxed and wry."[4] Critic Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune wrote "One of the singer-songwriter's strongest and most wittily observant efforts, the album finds Prine at the top of his form in a mix of evocative folk-country ballads and more rocking fare... Goofily surreal and straightforwardly sentimental by turns, this one's a don't-miss for longtime Prine fans and anyone else with a taste for idiosyncratic singer-songwriters."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by John Prine unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Picture Show" – 3:22
  2. "All the Best" – 3:28
  3. "The Sins of Memphisto" – 4:13
  4. "Everybody Wants to Feel Like You" (Prine, Keith Sykes) – 3:09
  5. "It's a Big Old Goofy World" – 5:10
  6. "I Want to Be With You Always" (Jimmy Beck, Lefty Frizzell) – 3:01
  7. "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" (Prine, Pat McLaughlin) – 2:41
  8. "Take a Look at My Heart" (John Mellencamp, Prine) – 3:38
  9. "Great Rain" (Prine, Mike Campbell) – 4:08
  10. "Way Back Then" – 3:39
  11. "Unlonely" (Prine, Roger Cook) – 4:35
  12. "You Got Gold" (Prine, Sykes) – 4:38
  13. "Everything Is Cool" – 2:46
  14. "Jesus the Missing Years" – 5:55


Production notes[edit]

  • Howie Epstein – producer
  • Al Bunetta – executive producer
  • Dan Einstein – executive producer
  • Joe Romersa – engineer
  • Ed Seay – engineer, mixing
  • Joe Chiccarelli – mixing
  • Denny Purcell – mastering
  • Mike Poole – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Dave Bossie – production assistant
  • Susanne Smolka – design


  1. ^ a b c Ruhlman, William. "The Missing Years > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "The Missing Years > Review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Van Matre, Lynn (October 1991). "Review: The Missing Years". Chicago Tribune. 
  4. ^ a b Nash, Alanna (November 1991). "Review: The Missing Years". Entertainment Weekly. 
  5. ^ Ruhlman, William. "Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 9, 2011.