Someone You Should Know: John Prine


Ago 27 2008, 4h40

I'm regularly surprised by how many music fans are not familiar with John Prine. He is probably the king of singer-songwriters blending humor and melancholy. If you are a fan of people like Todd Snider, Fred Eaglesmith, or Hayes Carll, it's pretty much a requirement that you know Prine. Otherwise it would be like being a fan of Oasis or The Redwalls and not knowing The Beatles, a fan of The Whigs or The Deadstring Brothers and not knowing The Rolling Stones, or a fan of Grand Champeen or The Goo Goo Dolls and not knowing The Replacements. His fellow musicians have realized his greatness and he's been widely covered. Next to many of the songs I've indicated some of the people who have released a cover of the song so you can see what an extensive list it is.

To assist anyone who is lacking Prine in their life, I've put together a mix. But with his vast catalog, there are still so many great songs, which you should hear, that are not included. If you choose to buy just one Prine album -- that isn't a compilation album -- the only real choice is his self-titled one. John Prine is among the finest debut albums by anyone, maybe even the finest.

If you want to know more about John, one of the best fan sites out there (for any artist) is the John Prine Shrine

You can download my mix here
01. Ain't Hurtin' Nobody [from Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings]
02. Angel From Montgomery [from John Prine] (possibly Prine's most famous song, due to it being covered by Bonnie Raitt; though it’s since been covered by others)
03. Maureen, Maureen [from Aimless Love]
04. Please Don’t Bury Me [from Sweet Revenge]
05. Daddy's Little Pumpkin [from The Missing Years; cowritten with Pat McLaughlin] (covered by Josh Ritter)
06. Speed of the Sound of Loneliness [from German Afternoons] (most famously covered by Nanci Griffith)
07. Sam Stone [from John Prine] (covered by Evan Dando and Al Kooper, among others)
08. Souvenirs [from Diamonds in the Rough; cowritten with Steve Goodman] (covered by Paul Westerberg and Bettye Lavette)
09. Christmas In Prison [from Sweet Revenge and A John Prine Christmas] (covered by Petty Booka, who also did a more expected cover of Prine's Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian)
10. In Spite of Ourselves [from In Spite of Ourselves] (a duet with Iris DeMent; covered by Geoff Berner)
11. Fish & Whistle [from Bruised Orange] (covered by Joe Brown, among others)
12. Common Sense [from Common Sense]
13. Crooked Piece of Time [from Bruised Orange] (covered by Todd Snider)
14. Unwed Fathers (with Rachel Peer-Prine) [from Aimless Love; cowritten with Bobby Braddock] (possibly my favorite Prine cover is this song by Tim & Mollie O'Brien, though others covering it include Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette)
15. Paradise [from John Prine] (covered by Johnny Cash on one of his last albums; also covered by John Denver, Everly Brothers, Dwight Yoakam, and many others)
16. All The Best [from The Missing Years]


  • heatherc

    I had to put one of the novelty songs on as it wouldn't be an accurate representation without any. But I do like Please Don't Bury Me a lot; while I'm not a big fan of most of the others: Dear Abby, Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian. But those songs are a very tiny portion of his catalogue. Like LWIII in that regard. Though he's released even more albums than Prine so, though I own 9 Wainwright albums, that's such a tiny portion that I don't know if I could make a respectable comp. I'll look into that or whether he has a good comp out there.

    Ago 27 2008, 14h51
  • gildedpalace

    Thought you might like to hear this... In tribute to The Master, our regular weekly broadcast is this week dedicated to celebrating John Prine's birthday. We have covers by everyone from Conor Oberst to Johnny Cash, and obtusely decided that Prine would be featured singing other people's songs. I invite you to listen to the show and help us blow out the candles: one hour broadcast available until October 17th, online at Thanks for listening!

    Out 10 2008, 21h07
  • audreybenten

    Thank you for mentioning about Petty Booka. I hope John Prine like them. Yeah, he has huge fans in Japan.

    Jan 31 2009, 3h25
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