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.
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.
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” 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!
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.