Sunday, 3 January 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee with John Prine

For my third “Sunday Morning Coffee with….” I move across the Atlantic to find one of my favourite singer/songwriters.  I first came across John Prine in the early 1970s: a flatmate had his first two LPs, “John Prine” and “Diamonds in the Rough”.  I was hooked.  There are so many memorable Prine songs that today can only be the tiniest taster.

His first album must surely rank as one of the strongest debut albums ever and I choose a few songs from this LP.

Hello in There

Here Prine tells the story of the loneliness of old age.

John’s voice changed slightly after his treatment for cancer in 1999.

Sam Stone

Another early Prine song “Sam Stone” tells the tragic story of a soldier  returned from Vietnam and the problems which followed.  I’m sure soldiers returning from more recent conflicts will suffer in similar ways.

A tragedy indeed!  The foot soldiers continue to suffer while the generals glory.

In Spite of Ourselves

This song, in which Prine duets with Iris DeMent, is laced with humour but still it manages to show a more realistic view of love than many songs.


Spanish Pipedream

We go back to the Vietnam war and soldiers who were crossing to Canada to avoid the draft.  This is the story of one such soldier for whom life turned out well.

If only life were as easy as this!  If only the Canadian government was as understanding today as it was back then.


Dear Abby

“Dear Abby” was the name of an agony aunt advice column which was syndicated across the USA.  This is Prine’s take.

This video starts with a micro-documentary



“Paradise” is about the town of Paradise in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky ruined by the coalmining of what is now the world’s largest private sector coal company

When I was  looking for videos of the song I came across this article about the song and Peabody.  Typical bloody greed company over-riding the wishes of the locals!


Lake Marie

I finish this little taster and you your coffee with “Lake Marie” an unusual song in which Prine describes some of the background and recent history of Lake Marie.



Well, that’s it for another week.  Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.


  1. I discovered John Prine late in life, perhaps six years ago. I'm sixty-five now, and I finally got to see him live. What a high spot that was in my life!

  2. Ah I love In spite of ourselves.. I love the immortal line "Caught him once he was sniffing my undies"

  3. Over 50s have much thinking to do.

  4. I have not come across him before.