Saturday, July 21, 2012

John Prine - Grandpa was a Carpenter

Image via Wikipedia
How do you know that you're "the new Dylan"?  When Bob Dylan shows up at your nightclub gig and plays harmonica backup for you.

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


Chris said...

I love early Prine. My aunt gave me one of his more recent efforts, and unfortunately, it was written by a bitter leftist.

Brandoch Daha said...

"I knew that topless lady
Had something up her sleeve

He did some great stuff. What a shame if he's turned into an angry jerk.

Old NFO said...

Concur with both the earlier comments... He's gone down the rat hole... dammit

Anonymous said...

Don't forget "Let's talk dirty in Hawaiian".

kx59 said...

I love that song. Thanks for reminding me.
Now off to find an MP3 for my ipud.