Home > Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songbooks > Any Major John Prine Songbook

Any Major John Prine Songbook

April 16th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments


Just days after we learned of the passing of Bill Withers, John Prine left us, a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. I made a Bill Withers Songbook mix , and here’s one for Prine.

Within their respective genres, Withers and Prine shared similarities. Where Withers never was quite the insider in soul music, so was Prine very much not an insider in country music. Both infused their songs with folk influences. Both had an acute sense of and empathy for the human condition, born of kind hearts, and this found expression in their often poetic lyrics.

Prine knew how to write a good tune and deliver it convincingly, but his genius resided in his lyrics. Like a good country singer, he knew how to tell a story. Sometimes he named his protagonists, and you got to know them in the space of three minutes. From just a few lines, you can picture the drug-addicted Vietnam vet Sam Stone, or the lonely outsiders Lydia and Donald.

He wrote Angel From Montgomery from the perspective of a prematurely aged middle-aged woman, and persuasively so. Extraordinarily, Prine was 24 and from Chicago when he wrote the song. Prine never was a jailbird, but he could imagine himself in prison at Christmas (in a song which really should have been covered by The Pogues).

Hello In There, is another great example of Pine’s empathy, perhaps his best. And that empathy is not just in the lyrics but also in their delivery and the song’s arrangement. Take those matter-of-fact clipped lines about the dispersal of the kids and losing Davy in the Korean War, juxtaposed with the drawn out lines of longing, about old trees growing stronger and old rivers growing wilder every day.

Of course, the song about lonely older people has particular relevance during the health crisis that killed Prine. Fittingly, Brandi Carlile sung that song as a tribute on Stephen Colbert’s show. Prefacing Hello In There, Carlile puts it eloquently: “It reminds us that old people aren’t expendable, that they made us who were are and they’ve given us every single thing that we have. Even though John never got to get old, and we all would’ve liked for him to…at the age of 24, when he wrote this song, he understood this.” Colbert’s heartfelt tribute, preceding Carlile’s performance, is also worth listening to.

Prine had an extraordinary warmth, and a wonderfully wry sense of humour. Happily, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the Grammys just a few weeks before his death. It was overdue, for his exquisite body of work and for the great love and respect he inspired from his fans and his fellow musicians.

Here is a mix of covers of Prine songs. Fans will know the originals, but I hope that people who are not familiar with John Prine’s songbook will give this collection a listen, enjoy it, and then seek out the original recordings.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-pipedreamed covers. PW in comments.

1. Manfred Mann’s Earthband – Pretty Good (1973)
2. Al Kooper – Sam Stone (1972)
3. Bonnie Raitt – Angel From Montgomery (1974)
4. Loretta Lynn – Somewhere Someone’s Falling In Love (2000)
5. 10,000 Maniacs – Hello In There (1989)
6. The Avett Brothers – Spanish Pipedream (2010)
7. Johnny Cash – The Hobo Song (1982)
8. Kris Kristofferson – Late John Garfield Blues (1972)
9. Steve Goodman – Donald And Lydia (1971)
10. Reilly & Maloney – That’s The Way That The World Goes ‘Round (1980)
11. Nanci Griffith – Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (1993)
12. Justin Townes Earle – Far From Me (2010)
13. The Flying Burrito Brothers – Quiet Man (1976)
14. After The First Gallon – Illegal Smile (1978)
15. The Everly Brothers – Paradise (1972)
16. Priscilla Coolidge-Jones – If You Don’t Want My Love (1979)
17. George Strait – I Just Want To Dance With You (2011)
18. Josh Ritter – Mexican Home (2010)
19. Weeping Willows – Christmas In Prison (2005)


More Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

More Mixes
More Songbooks
More Covers Mixes


Categories: Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songbooks Tags:
  1. halfhearteddude
    April 16th, 2020 at 09:51 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. April 16th, 2020 at 15:53 | #2

    This long time Prine fan thanks you for this. I wonder if you’ve ever considered a Steve Goodman tribute.

  3. J. Loslo
    April 16th, 2020 at 16:32 | #3

    Thanks. Been playing Prine & Prine covers all week.

    I’ve always been partial to Swamp Dogg’s cover of Sam Stone:


  4. halfhearteddude
    April 16th, 2020 at 16:45 | #4

    The Al Kooper version sounds like the Counting Crows. The Swamp Dogg version is great. It has a flute in it, so for me, a winner already.

  5. Texmarc
    April 16th, 2020 at 21:41 | #5

    Thanks for paying tribute to a great song writer/ performer.

  6. Berni
    April 17th, 2020 at 05:52 | #6

    Thank you very much!

  7. Randy T.
    April 17th, 2020 at 16:45 | #7

    I too would love a Steve Goodman tribute.

  8. Brian
    April 17th, 2020 at 17:58 | #8

    Listen to Steve Goodman’s cover of Blue Umbrella…beautiful.

  9. Rhodb
    April 18th, 2020 at 04:47 | #9

    Thanks for the John Prine tribute

    A fine selection



  10. Rhodb
    February 11th, 2021 at 02:23 | #10

    Thanks for the wonderful John Prine Tribute

    Great work


  11. mark sutherland
    April 5th, 2022 at 15:08 | #11

    Thanks for this. I loved JP. Still hurts to listen to him because I felt like I knew him from his songs. Again Thank You for all your work on this Site.

  1. No trackbacks yet.