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John Prine was an unlikely country singer. He was a mailman who showed up at Open Mic night. But Prine was not your typical walk up: he could write. His dry sense of humor shows up in songs like Dear Abby, a hilarious lampooning of advice column letters. But it was his ability to spin yarns about regular people that led to the attention of Dylan.
He's written with others, like David Allan Coe, and won a Grammy for The Missing Years, his collaboration with Howie Epstein. Oh, and stared along side Billy Bob Thornton in Daddy & Them.
But it's really about the writing. Dylan says that Prine is one of his favorite writers. The Man In Black himself said he didn't listen to a lot of music, maybe just some John Prine. Roger Waters compared Prine's writing to Neil Young and John Lennon.
And quite frankly, I think that's damning with faint praise. I like Prine's songs a lot more than Young's. Or even Lennon's. Yeah, he's that good.
Grandpa was a Carpenter (Songwriter: John Prine)
Oh, grandpa wore his suit to dinner nearly every day No particular reason, he just dressed that way Brown necktie with a matching vest and both his wingtip shoes He built a closet on our back porch and put a penny in a burned-out fuse Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks Chain-smoked Camel cigarettes and hammered nails in planks He would level on the level, he shaved even every door And voted for Eisenhower, 'cause Lincoln won the war Well, he used to sing me "Blood on the Saddle" and rock me on his knee And let me listen to the radio before we got TV Well, he'd drive to church on Sunday and he'd take me with him too Stained glass in every window, hearing aids in every pew Well, my Grandma was a teacher, she went to school in Bowling Green Traded in a milking cow for a Singer sewing machine Well, she called her husband "Mister," and she walked real tall in pride She used to buy me comic books after grandpa died