Not a rock & roll album like his three early-'80s releases with the Jim Carroll Band, 1991's Praying Mantis is a spoken word disc recorded live at St. Marks Church in the Bowery. Taking poems and monologues from his collections Living at the Movies (1973), The Book of Nods (1986), and Forced Entries (1987), as well as some new material and a 14-minute improvised monologue/prose poem/rant called "The Loss of American Innocence," Praying Mantis is like a greatest poetry hits collection. Those who aren't fans of Carroll's Rimbaud/Verlaine-derived poetry will not have their minds changed (indeed, his harsh Noo Yawk accent sometimes obscures the language's power), but it's pretty essential for fans.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason