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John Prine: “Angel From Montgomery” and “In Spite of Ourselves”

Last.fm has an interesting profile of John Prine:

The son of William Prine and Verna Hamm, his grandfather had played guitar with Merle Travis and he started playing guitar himself at 14 years old. He was a postman for 5 years and spent a couple of years in the army before starting his musical career in the Chicago area. He emerged in 1971 with a highly acclaimed debut album titled John Prine. He and friend Steve Goodman (another folk ) had been minor stars in the Chicago folk scene before being “discovered” by Kris Kristofferson. The album John Prine included his signature songs “Illegal Smile”, “Sam Stone”, and the environmentalist newgrass standard “Paradise”. The album also included “Hello In There”, a song about aging that was later covered by Joan BaezBette Midler, and Eddi Reader, and “Angel From Montgomery”, a song now also associated with Bonnie Raitt, who occasionally brings Prine on-stage with her for live performances of the song. The album received many positive reviews, and some hailed Prine as “the next Dylan”. Bob Dylan himself appeared unannounced at one of Prine’s first New York City club appearances, anonymously backing him on harmonica. (Continue Reading…)

Martin Chilton of The Telegraph interviewed Prine last month. Chilton related an earlier piece at Huffington Post: 

Dylan told the Huffington Post in 2009 that Prine remains one of his favourite writers, saying: “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about Sam Stone the soldier junky daddy and Donald And Lydia, where people make love from 10 miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that.”

Above is Angel from Montgomery and below is In Spite of Ourselves.

(Homepage photo: Eric Fromer)

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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