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rollinrocker

Audioholic
RIP...
"please don't bury me down in the cold cold ground, I'd rather have 'em cut me up and pass me all around..."
 
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rollinrocker

Audioholic
yeah he was one of my favorites...relevant right to the end. His duet with Iris Dement "In Spite of Ourselves" is an all-time ball-buster.
He was a true wordsmith
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
A friend of mine posted this story on FB, don't think Berry would mind if I posted it here:

This John Prine story goes back about 50 years; my mother related it to me at the time. My memory may get some of the details incorrectly.
My step dad Tyler Wilson was close friends and musical partners with John’s older brother, Dave.
Kris Kristofferson and Paul Anka were out together sampling the musical talents in Old Town Chicago including Steve Goodman. After Stevie’s set Kris & Paul went backstage to chat and congratulate Steve. Steve said to them if you think I’m good you should see my friend John Prine. So the three of them went down the street and caught John’s last set.
Anka signed Steve to a contract and Kris helped John get one as well.
I’m sure John and Steve are glad to be reunited and are making some outstanding music together
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
I saw a good article on John Prine in today's Washington Post. I thought others might like it, so I posted it in full below.

John Prine’s lyrical one-liners could take your breath away – by Steve Kolowich

John Prine once had a job dusting pews and shoveling snow at an Episcopal church. Walking to work early one Sunday to clear the steps after a snowfall, he heard sirens near the train tracks. An altar boy, heading to serve Mass at a different church, had been lost in a reverie and was struck from behind by a slow-moving commuter train.

Anxious confusion colored the scene. “There was a bunch of mothers that didn’t know where their kids were, and they didn’t know – they hadn’t identified the kid yet,” Prine recalled a few years ago. “And that’s stuck in my mind.”

He eventually wrote that memory into a song called “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow).” It’s about maintaining your center of gravity while moving through a world that bombards you with senseless tragedies: “You can gaze out the window, get mad and get madder, throw your hands in the air and say what does it matter, but it don’t do no good to get angry — so help me, I know.”

Those words stick in our minds today as we gaze out at the wreckage of the coronavirus pandemic: thousands dead, thousands more hospitalized. An economy in the icehouse. Millions huddled in debt and in doubt. The train crept up while we were in a daydream, and now a new victim has been identified: John Prine died on Tuesday of complications from covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. He was 73.

Before he was an American songwriting legend, Prine was a mailman with a hobby. He gigged around Chicago and one night, at a saloon in Old Town, he managed to impress Kris Kristofferson. Later, when Prine was in New York, Kristofferson invited him to play to a star-making crowd at a Greenwich Village club. Prine sang three songs, including “Sam Stone,” a song about a heroin-addicted Vietnam War veteran that has maybe the most brutal couplet in the American songbook: “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes; Jesus Christ died for nothin’, I suppose.”

Prine mastered the art of shrinking tragedy and comedy down to where he could balance both on his tongue at the same time. His most iconic songs were bar-napkin sketches of uncanny depth, featuring at least one casually brilliant phrase that would jump out at you from the blind corner of a rhyme.

“Father, forgive us for what we must do; you forgive us, we’ll forgive you.”

“My head shouted down to my heart, ‘You’d better look out below!’ ”

“Ain’t it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring.”

Ain’t it funny. It’s less a question than a riddle that runs down the spine of human experience, and through Prine’s body of work. He wrote silly lines into sad songs and vice versa. “The airlines lost the elephant’s trunk,” he laments on “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone,” a bleak and bizarre song about the child actor from “The Elephant Boy” being sent on a publicity tour to the Midwest in winter. Does Prine take the opportunity to rhyme “child actor” with “wind chill factor”? You bet. But the smirk in his voice is imperceptible.

He didn’t shrink from darkness but seemed at home in the light. “Life, to me, in general, is humorous,” he told Peter Cooper in a 2014 interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “The world is humorous.”

Death, too — the idea of it, anyway. On “Please Don’t Bury Me,” Prine imagines arriving in heaven unexpectedly. A receiving party (angels, presumably) informs him of what happened: He slipped on the kitchen floor and hit his head. Just like that. The rest of the song is an ode to organ donation via wordplay: He bequeaths his knees to the needy, his feet to the footloose, his ears to the deaf — that is, “if they don’t mind the size.”

All the funnier: a death wish. On “That’s the Way the World Goes ’Round,” the radiator fails while Prine is having a bath; freezing and in despair, he hopes for death to deliver him from the tub where he sits, “naked as the eyes of a clown.” Just as suddenly, sunlight breaks through the window and corrects the temperature — oops, cancel that death! And cue the chorus: “That’s the way that the world goes ’round: you’re up one day, the next you’re down, it’s a half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown.”

And now? The coronavirus has collapsed the distance between panic and actual danger: Covid-19 might amount to a half an inch of water for some, but if it’s in your lungs then you might really drown. The world has stopped on its axis, and we’re left to gaze out the window and wonder how Prine would have spun it.

Maybe he would be drawn to the light, if only for balance. “If I can make myself laugh about something that I should be crying about, that’s pretty good,” Prine told NPR two years ago. The hospitals are overflowing with stories as maddening as the altar boy’s train-track trauma, as numbing Sam Stone’s lonely overdose. Elsewhere, the social distancing protocols — God bless their lifesaving, curve-flattening effects — have produced a positively absurd state of affairs. We’re dodging each other like lepers on a sunny spring day, prospecting for toilet paper in the grocery aisles, washing our hands until they become wounds unto themselves. We’re tormented by facial itches we dare not scratch, driven insane by constant proximity to the loved ones we fear to lose. Ain’t it funny.

Felled by the bat flu, that’s rich. Prine had beaten cancer twice. Once in the late ’90s, although it cost him a chunk of his neck and some nerves in his tongue; then again nearly two decades later when it showed up in a lung. His enunciations lost some detail and his vision of the afterlife gained some. On “When I Get to Heaven,” from his 2018 album, “The Tree of Forgiveness,” he laid out a whole plan: He’d wear out God with gratitude, pour a vodka and ginger ale, smoke a gigantic cigarette, kiss a girl on a carnival ride, start a band, spend time with family. Funny, the afterlife seemed to resemble the one he’d enjoyed here on Earth. Maybe that’s the idea.

He departed a world that, like Prine with his cigs, has temporarily given up certain pleasures for health reasons. The clubs are quiet. The pews are gathering dust. We wait for the morning when we can rise with our shovels and start digging out. For now, we cultivate our memories.

Here’s one: In 2017, Prine played DAR Constitution Hall, in Washington, and it was hard not to wonder about how much life he had left. Though a warm presence onstage, he appeared to have become his own statue — body calcified by age, voice creaky, chin drooping to his chest. Then, as the band was jamming on its last song before the encore, the old man slipped off his guitar, placed it on the stage and started to dance. He was light on his feet, wiggling his hips and flirtatiously circling his instrument. Caught by surprise, the audience whooped and cheered him on. Prine sashayed out of view. The joke was on us.
 
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rollinrocker

Audioholic
That's a great read Swerd...thanks brother.

One of my favorite songs is "Good Time" where he delivers the following gem...

You know I'd survive if I never spoke again
and all I'd have to lose is my vanity
But I had no idea what a good time would cost
Till last night when you sat and talked with me
 

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