"I mean, somebody’s gotta stick up for Pluto."
April 21, 2018 8:22 AM   Subscribe

 
Oh man, a new album! I had no idea! I can’t wait to listen to it all.
posted by Grandysaur at 8:27 AM on April 21, 2018


When the Pitchfork review characterized "Hello In There" as "the saddest song in the universe" I felt compelled to check it out. Surely I was a bad enough dude to handle it!

I was not. Man, I was not.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


The new album is great, particularly the songs (I think there are two?) that he wrote alone.

Prine is amazing in general but that first album is one of the best ever in American music.
posted by selfnoise at 9:20 AM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I think Sam Stone beats Hello in There just for the line "There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes"
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:23 AM on April 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure he wrote "Hello in There" when he was in his early 20s, which is amazing. I saw him live a few years ago, got free tickets from a friend. A great show! I didn't really have any expectations one way or another, but I was surprised how many of his songs I recognized as having heard years ago. He played for a long time, too, and considering it's pretty much him all the time with minimal backup... I hope I have that kind of energy at his age.

Thanks for the new album tip.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:25 AM on April 21, 2018


I dunno, I think Sam Stone beats Hello in There just for the line "There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes"

For the record, Pitchfork considered "Sam Stone" to merely be "the saddest song in the world". I am not certain if I am a bad enough dude for it, either.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:28 AM on April 21, 2018


I read the review right after writing that comment. I'd flip the order. Also, kinda underselling Sam Stone by quoting "Jesus Christ died for nothing I suppose" which is the followup line to what I quoted.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:32 AM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


John Prine was sitting in a boat in the middle of a river when he realized he had an idea for a song.

The idea came the way ideas usually come for Prine: by listening. This time, he was listening to his fishing buddy, John Earl, a former guitar tech for the Everly Brothers, tell him a story about growing up in Norfolk, Nebraska, in the 40s and 50s.

“He told me that on Thursday nights, him and his buddies used to go to the roller rink and the egg farmers would come in from the country and they’d drop their daughters off, go sell their eggs, and then these big city guys would make time with the farmer’s daughters,” says Prine, 71. The weekly event, Prine says, was formerly known as Egg and Daughter Night: “I just thought the title of it was so good.”


"Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)" is such....maximum John Prine, title-wise.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:01 AM on April 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I fucking love Prine, and I'm pumped that we'll be able to see him this summer.

And "Sam Stone" is in fact the saddest song in the universe.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was a latecomer to Prine but have been trying to make up for it ever since I was introduced via “All The Best.” I had been a casual Bonnie Raitt fan but never heard her take on “Angel From Montgomery” either, which is like even more time wasted. I love Egg and Daughter Night and the fact that I now live in Lincoln makes it extra great.
posted by PussKillian at 10:24 AM on April 21, 2018


What’s amazing is that Hello in There is in the fact the saddest song in the universe and that the two runners-up, San Stone and Paradise are also John Prine songs.

At the same time, the three happiest songs in the universe are also John Prine songs. In Spite of Ourselves, Fish and Whistle, and Illegal Smile.

With all due respect to Guthrie, Dylan, Willie, Hank, Roy, and Prince, John Prine is really the greatest song writer this country has ever produced and I’m really glad to see people using those words for him while he’s still alive.

I’ll end with one of my favorite casual lines he tosses out in his completely non-political song Some Humans Ain’t Human:

Have you ever noticed
When you're feeling really good
There's always a pigeon
That'll come shit on your hood
Or you're feeling your freedom
And the world's off your back
Some cowboy from Texas
Starts his own war in Iraq
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:38 AM on April 21, 2018 [12 favorites]


I had never heard of John Prine until he popped up on NPR's Tiny Desk series recently (the one linked in the post above). Country music seldom appeals to me, but as a policy I give all unfamiliar music a chance. And in this case I'm glad I did. I haven't yet explored Prine's back catalog, but that Tiny Desk set was great stuff. He also recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (and apparently Prine and Colbert sang a duet in 2016).
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 10:50 AM on April 21, 2018


Country music seldom appeals to me

If you like Prine's sad stories you might also try Townes van Zandt
posted by atoxyl at 10:55 AM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I learned about John Prine about 45 years ago (sheesh) while hiking for a few days in North Carolina. A companion loved him and taught us a bunch of his 1st album songs. I'll never forget the 4 of us walking those beautiful mountains belting out those tunes.

Many years later I would sing my infant daughters to sleep while singing Paradise to them. 10 years later I popped the album into the car CD player while I was carting them somewhere. When Paradise came on both of them sat up and said they they were sure they had heard that song before. As a divorced dad by that time, the car got a bit dusty.

And my vote is for "Hello In There" as being the saddest song. Hopefully, we all grow old.

He is on my short list of artists that I see every time they come around.
posted by jeporter99 at 11:25 AM on April 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I highly recommend the Sessions at West 54th DVD.

"Sam Stone" | "In Spite Of Ourselves"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:10 PM on April 21, 2018




For the record, Pitchfork considered "Sam Stone" to merely be "the saddest song in the world".
Sam Stone is so hardcore than The Man in Black Johnny Cash isn't brave enough to sing the "Jesus Christ died for nothing I suppose" line when he covers the song.

Also, it's not as sad and more funny, but "Fish and Whistle" has "If you forgive us then we'll forgive you" in a reference to God. The man writes a great song. I'll have to check out the new album.
posted by The_Vegetables at 4:09 PM on April 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I absolutely love John Prine (my username is from one of my favorite songs of his), and his new album delivers. "When I Get To Heaven" is especially great, and had me tearing up and laughing out loud in the span of three minutes in that way only John Prine can. Can't wait to see him on tour this year!
posted by lakemarie at 4:43 PM on April 21, 2018


i bought a promo copy of John Prine's first album in 1972 for ten cents at a community college radio station's used record sale. It was the greatest bargain of my life. Especially since "Not for resale" was stamped on the cover. My piano-playing friend learned "Angel from Montgomery" from that album and still plays it at every gig, 46 years later.
posted by tommyD at 6:16 PM on April 21, 2018


I will now buy the new album for full price. It will be the second greatest bargain of my life.
posted by tommyD at 6:18 PM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have vividly strong memories of my dad playing the John Prine compilation album Great Days in the car on road trips. Can't wait to check out this new album.

My favorite of his is "Saddle in the Rain," which actually doesn't sound much like a John Prine song at all, but also does. It's rollicking. In a laundromat not too far from the Alamo, sits a girl who stole my records very long ago...
posted by cpatterson at 6:45 PM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Souvenirs" is pretty close to the top of the saddest songs list too:

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That's why last night and this morning
Always look the same to me
I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
I can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my sweetheart souvenirs
posted by HillbillyInBC at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I first heard John Prine when he opened for the Cowboy Junkies. It was a wonderful surprise that I truly enjoyed. He appeared with them in this rendition of 'If you were the woman (and I was the man), which I would highly recommend to fans (of either).
posted by el io at 8:54 PM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


The actual saddest thing in the universe is that I get the sense from this parade of glowing coverage (which he didn't get for his last 2 new albums) that everyone else is thinking the same dark thought I am: Prine may not be much longer for this world. I hope I'm wrong and we get 20+ more years of him. Either way, when it does happen, I am not going to be OK. His music means so, so much to me, and is such a daily part of my life and the way I refer to the world.

In the meantime, I'm loving the hell out of all of this coverage and discussion, because I grew up listening to him but in that weird period of life before I got a computer and started talking to strangers on the Internet, I'd never met anyone outside of my family who knew who he was. I love that there are people I'm not related to I can share the joy and melancholy of his music with now, and that he's getting the mainstream attention he deserves.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:18 PM on April 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


My childhood was filled with John Denver and Jimmy Buffett and Cat Stevens. For some reason, I never found John Prine and Steve Goodman (who should be mentioned in the same breath) until I got to college and one of my fraternity brothers, who played upright bass in his family's folk band, introduce me to them. I mean, seriously, no one should have as perfect a debut as John Prine. Each of his next albums were pretty good as well and then you hit Bruised Orange and that's just unfair.

When I was in college, same brother who introduced me to Prine was going to see Johnny Cash in concert and I was too poor and broke and joking said "Hey tell me if he plays any John Prine songs"... sure enough, he played Paradise, which, no disrespect to JC, is still better as the original. (So mad at the number of experiences I missed by living in Boston and being shit kicking poor)
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:07 PM on April 21, 2018


John Prine is the one person I've never met that I always wanted to. He's touched by life in more ways than I can count.

I first saw him play at the Ryman, when I was in high school (with his son, as it were, but we didn't really know one another). I was with a family member, and that was about the last time I saw them... Laughing as somebody or bodies lit up during Illegal Smile.

Later in college I was seriously crushing on a girl who liked me but was leaving the country for a while, so "sorry, man." I was with her looking through a book of her CDs and spotted The Missing Years. I borrowed it and later realized I had a great reason to see her again to give it back once she returned, which I certainly pursued to great results.

A few years later I took her to Whitewater, Wisconsin to see Prine play. I paid a hefty sum to get my car fixed for the trip from Minneapolis. Then as we marched through a miserably cold blizzard to go see the show, I knelt down in the snow and asked her to marry me. I don't remember much about that show. I think he was with Iris Dement again--same as he had been in Nashville. I think his brother played a verse for Paradise, too (to great effect). But we enjoyed it thoroughly. We got back to Minneapolis and found he'd booked another show there... We went to that one too. And then probably another five or six since moving to the west coast. We'll go again in September.

Sam Stone (yes) and Killing the Blues (plus twenty other songs of his) make great lullabies. They were staples for getting both of our babies to sleep from birth. I really don't if we would have survived without them.

I, too, am very happy to see him getting proper attention. And I'm really looking forward to giving this album a proper listen.
posted by dsword at 10:20 PM on April 21, 2018 [1 favorite]




I thought I first encountered Prine with Susan Tedeschi's cover of Angel from Montgomery, but I learned from this thread that Spiritualized's Cop Shoot Cop borrows its best lines from Sam Stone, so now I need to seek that out...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 4:19 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was very lucky to be at the Radio City Music Hall show last Friday. I did a bit of quiet singing along to one song. I did a bit of crying.

Belinda Carlyle was great as a guest, which was fun. However, she’s not Iris Dement.
posted by bilabial at 8:38 AM on April 22, 2018


Oh god, I hope you mean Brandi Carlile.
posted by Occula at 8:40 AM on April 23, 2018


I was fresh out of the army the first time I heard John Prine. I've seen him live twice. I no longer have an illegal smile (I live in Oregon), but I married a 40-year old waitress, and I still eat a lot of peaches.
posted by mule98J at 10:14 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I kinda wished you really did mean Belinda Carlisle. That would be one heck of a show.

Speaking of peaches, when POTUS' song "Peaches" came out when I was 15 I was so frustrated that no one knew they were referring to the John Prine song I'd grown up with as practically a lullaby.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:17 PM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Speaking of peaches, when POTUS' song "Peaches" came out when I was 15 I was so frustrated that no one knew they were referring to the John Prine song I'd grown up with as practically a lullaby.

*slaps forehead*

That...never occurred to me.

TBH, I John Prine wasn't in my consciousness when the POTUS song came out (above and beyond knowing "Paradise" via John Denver.

Mind. Blown.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:10 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


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