John Prine

This section is for all other music-related topics
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

John Prine

Post by Steven » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:42 am

Saw John Prine in concert last night and enjoyed the concert. Prine tackles difficult life material well in some
of his songs. Leonard does too. Would think that Leonard fans who are familiar with Prine would likely
find a crossover appeal to Prine (or to some of his songs). Comments?
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: John Prine

Post by sturgess66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:52 am

Oh no, no, no Steven. I had seen a while ago that he was coming to Philadelphia - at the Kimmel Center no less - and then I forgot. I guess he was here last night - and it slipped my mind and I missed him!!!

Eons ago I saw John Prine - at a coffee house in Ottawa. And - can you believe it - he was opening for Kris Kristofferson!! And it was just a few years after that, that Kris came back to Ottawa - but now sort of famous - but this time to perform at the National Arts Centre (where Leonard played in May). I got to speak to him and he was sort of shaking his head about the wonder being given the conductor's dressing room!

In any event - I'm sorry I missed John Prine. I used to have "LPs" - and loved his songs.
jazz4111
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:36 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: John Prine

Post by jazz4111 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:30 am

I first saw (and became a fan of) John Prine in 1972 when he opened for Jackie DeShannon (I'm not kidding!) at the Troubador in Los Angeles. Saw him twice more at the Cambridge Folk Festival (1973 & 1975) along with his good friend (and dearly departed) Steve Goodman. Bert Jansch (sp.?) was there too as was Stephene Grapelli - it was magic!
Jazz
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:14 am

Hi Sturgess66,

I wish I'd have known you were interested; I'd certainly have reminded you. It was at the Merriam (just down
Broad St. from the Kimmel Center). I should have posted in advance of the concert. Sorry.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: John Prine

Post by sturgess66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:33 am

Steven - it was at Christmas time that I saw he was going to be here - and I should have noted on a calendar. Oh well.

BUT - mnkyface/Esther started a thread here earlier this week (Roger Ebert Inspired by Leonard) and posted a wonderful article in Esquire about Roger Ebert wherein he mentions listening to Leonard Cohen's music and how that saved his life - and then he did a follow-up article about how Leonard Cohen saved his life.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20910

And why, you may ask, am I mentioning this - here in this thread about John Prine? :lol: :lol:

Because - Roger Ebert just sent out a tweet -
Larry Kolb reminded me John Prine's lyric: "Convict movies make her horny." That's Prine. A character created in 4 words.
http://twitter.com/ebertchicago
Last edited by sturgess66 on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:37 am

Hi jazz4111 and Sturgess66,

Most of the artists you've mentioned in this thread are referenced in the very excellent bio "Steve
Goodman Facing the Music," by Clay Eals. No doubt you've got lifelong wonderful memories of those
concerts. Glad you had those experiences. :)
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: John Prine

Post by sturgess66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:20 am

And Roger Ebert has just sent another tweet - with a link to an article he has just done about John Prine! I think he must be reading your mail Steven. (See link at the bottom to article about Steve Goodman).
ebertchicago John Prine: An American Legend. Three duets with Iris DeMent. My new TwitterPage: http://j.mp/9aZoEG
In Chicago Sun-Times -
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/pages-f ... egend.html
Roger Ebert's Journal
John Prine: American Legend
Image

Through no wisdom of my own but out of sheer blind luck, I walked into the Fifth Peg, a folk club on West Armitage, one night in 1970 and heard a mailman from Westchester singing. This was John Prine.

He sang his own songs. That night I heard "Sam Stone," one of the great songs of the century. And "Angel from Mongtgomery." And others. I wasn't the music critic for the Chiccago Sun-Times, but I went to the office and wrote an article. [ below ]And that, as fate decreed, was the first review Prime ever received.

He has dozens of videos on the internet, but I chose these three duets with Joan DeMent because, well, I like them, and because they show Prine as a poet and droll jester. These aren't country songs. They're about country songs. He leaves an opening for life and truth to slip in. He doesn't pound you on the head and say this is funny! Or satire! Or irony! Or happy and sad all at once! Or truthful! All his songs say is, "This is."

In Spite of Ourselves (w/Irish Dement)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5axlwCBXC8

Let's Invite Them Over
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vws3JhPNYd8

We're Not The Jet Set
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsyHo8iUsjE

From the Chicago Sun-Times, Friday, Oct. 9, 1970:

SINGING MAILMAN WHO DELIVERS
A POWERFUL MESSAGE
IN A FEW WORDS

By Roger Ebert


While "digesting Reader's Digest" in a dirty book store, John Prine tells us in one of his songs, a patriotic citizen came across one of those little American flag decals.

He stuck it on his windshield and liked it so much he added flags from the gas station, the bank and the supermarket, until one day he blindly drove off the road and killed himself. St. Peter broke the news:

"Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore; It's already overcrowded from your dirty little war."

Lyrics like this are earning John Prine one of the hottest underground reputations in Chicago these days. He's only been performing professionally since July, he sings at the out-of-the-way Fifth Peg, 858 W. Armitage, and country-folk singers aren't exactly putting rock out of business. But Prine is good.

He appears on stage with such modesty he almost seems to be backing into the spotlight. He sings rather quietly, and his guitar work is good, but he doesn't show off. He starts slow. But after a song or two, even the drunks in the room begin to listen to his lyrics. And then he has you.

He does a song called "The Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues," for example, that says more about the last 20 years in America than any dozen adolescent acid-rock peace dirges. It's about a guy named Sam Stone who fought in Korea and got some shrapnel in his knee.

But the morphine eased the pain, and Sam Stone came home "with a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back." That's Sam Stone's story, but the tragedy doesn't end there. In the chorus, Prine reverses the point of view with an image of stunning power:

"There's a hole in Daddy's arm
Where all the money goes..."

You hear lyrics like these, perfectly fitted to Priine's quietly confident style and his ghost of a Kentucky accent, and you wonder how anyone could have so much empathy and still be looking forward to his 24th birthday on Saturday.

So you talk to him, and you find out that Prine has been carryng mail in Westchester since he got out of the Army three years ago. That he was born in Maywood, and that his parents come from Paradise, Ky. That his grandfather was a miner, a part-time preacher, and used to play guitar with Merle Travis and Ike Everly (the Everly brothers' father). And that his brother Dave plays banjo, guitar and fiddle, and got John started on the guitar about 10 years. ago.

Prine has been writing songs just as long, and these days he works on new ones while delivering mail. His wife, Ann Carole, says she finds scraps of paper around the house with maybe a word or a sentence on them and a month later the phrase will turn up in a new song.

Prine's songs are all original, and he only sings his own. They're nothing like the work of most young composers these days, who seem to specialize in narcissistic tributes to themselves. He's closer to Hank Willilams than to Roger Williams, closer to Dylan than to Ochs. "In my songs," he says, "I try to look through someone else's eyes, and I want to give the audience a feeling more than a message."

That's what hapens in Prine's "Old folks," one of the most moving songs I've heard. It's about an elderly retired couple sitting at home alone all day, looking out the screen door on the back proch, marking time until death. They lost a son in Korea: "Don't know what for; guess it doesn't matter anymore." The chorus asks you, the next time you see a pair of "ancient empty eyes," to say "hello in there...hello."

Prine's lyrics work with poetic economy to sketch a character in just a few words. In "Angel from Montgomery," for example, he tells of a few minutes in the thoughts of a woman who is doing the housework and thinking of her husband: "How the hell can a person go to work in the morning, come back in the evening, and have nothing to say?"

Prine can be funny, too, and about half his songs are. He does one about getting up in the morning. A bowl of oatmeal tried to stare him down, and won. But "if you see me tonight with an illegal smile - It don't cost very much, and it lasts a long while. - Wont' you please tell the Man I didn't kill anyone - Just trying to ave me some fun."

Prine's first public appearance was at the 1969 Maywood Folk Music Festival: "It's a hell of a festival, but nobody cares about folk music." He turned up at the Old Town School of Folk Music in early 1970 after hearing Ray Tate on TV. He did a lot of hootenannys at the Fifth Peg and at the Saddle Club on North Av., and the Fifth Peg booked him for Sunday nights in July and August.

In those two months, the word got around somehow that here was an extraordinary new composer and performer. His crowds grew so large that the Fifth Peg is now presenting him on Friday and Saturday nights; his opening last weekend was a full house by work-of-mouth. He had a lot of new material, written while he was on reserve duty with the Army in September.

There's one, for example, called "The Great Compromise," about a girl he once dated who was named America. One night at the drive-in movie, while he was going for popcorn, she jumped into a foreign sports car and he began to suspect his girl was no lady "I could of beat up that fellow," he reflects in his song, "but it was her that hopped into his car."


A concert with John's friend Steve Goodman.
Link to Ebert's article about Steve Goodman
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/pages-f ... ibute.html
User avatar
Kush
Posts: 3015
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2002 1:21 am
Location: USA

Re: John Prine

Post by Kush » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:26 pm

Never seen him in concert but his album Souvenirs was on constant play for about a year about 6-7 years back. He re-recorded some of his best known songs on that album. A+.
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:48 pm

Hi Sturgess66,

I thank Roger Ebert for his continuing to connect with the public in so many meaningful and
authentic ways. We're connected to him and he's connected to us. May he be blanketed with
comfort and the joy of continuing to write freely. He is deeply valued. May love flow into every
cell of his being.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: John Prine

Post by sturgess66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:10 pm

Another tweet just now from Roger Ebert about John Prine. Click on the link to read the blog he references -
Burl's blog about John Prine strikes me as getting to the heart of why the songs are so good. http://j.mp/bUKsBV 4 minutes ago from web
Image
jazz4111
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:36 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: John Prine

Post by jazz4111 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:36 pm

Thanks for the info and links Steven/Sturgesse et al - kind of ironic isn't it that both Ebert and Prine have suffered disfiguring cancers? Fortunate for both of them and for all of us neither lost their "voice" though Ebert's remains only in print now but luckily Prine is able to keep on singing.
Jazz
John Etherington
Posts: 2586
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:17 pm

Re: John Prine

Post by John Etherington » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:38 am

I bought his first album when it came out, and played it quite a lot at the time ("Hello in There" and "Sam Stone" are classic). I also liked "Souvenirs" ("The Great Compromise" etc), but lost track of his career after that.
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:07 am

Hi Jazz4111,

You're welcome. Maybe more ironic than this being experienced by both Prine and Ebert is this:
Prine's friend and touring partner, Steve Goodman, had leukemia and kept the news of his condition from
the general public for many years. I think that Prine's cancer was also kept from the general public's
knowledge.
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:13 am

Hi John,

I was late in being introduced to Prine's music. You were way ahead of me. I like the classic
songs of Prine's that you mentioned.
Last edited by Steven on Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: John Prine

Post by Steven » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:19 am

Hi Kush,

I bought "Souvenirs" a couple of years after you did. It was my first CD of John Prine music. There was a
guy at a bluegrass festival, of all places, that performed a Prine song or two, not as bluegrass (it was an open
mic portion of the festival), that prompted me to make the purchase. I agree with your high rating of it.
Post Reply

Return to “Other music”