Since Bob Dylan bows down to John's wordsmith ability, that's good enough for me!
btw, John had squamous cell cancer (one of the most violent forms, btw - I've had experience watching my ex-wife slowly die from this), treated in 1998 as well as removal of 1/2 lung in 2013 due to cancer, so died because of "complications due to Wuhan Virus" is more likely passed away due to horrible underlying health conditions, with the latest bout of sickness being a form of the flu.
(Editorial - Don't like "due to Wuhan" pronouncements without mentioning everything else going on in these folks' bodies...) ---------- The Iceman
Calling it the Wuhan virus is absolutely racist, Larry. It has nothing to do with political affiliation, it has to do with being a decent human being, and being able to reflect on how one’s comments affect others.
I am very sad by the passing of John Prine, a wordsmith who sublimely managed the hardest of all lyricist obligations, managing to be plain-spoken, colloquial, unafraid to be understand, and yet be absolutely poetic with the images, insights, directions his stories would take. His best songs of someone talking to about some odd thing that happened them, recent or in the past, ably setting a scene, establishing an attitude, a personality at the beginning of the story, giving you an idea of where he was going with it all, an idea of what the moral of the tale would be, but then he concludes or at least stops his story at some point you didn't expect.
Prine was less a poet, capital "P" than were some of his contemporaries, than he was story teller, but with the sense of structure of a great short story writer like John Cheever or Raymond Carver. John Prine struck me as a romantic with good sense of the hard , real ground even the dreamers have to walk, I believe he was a fatalist who could accept either a good or band hand that's been dealt him by a world that paid his expectations no mind and yet would not dive into a murky, sticky self-pity, a critical flaw in many a singer/songwriter's work. Jackson Browne, for example. His music was such that it revealed a well balanced ambivalence to circumstances and outcomes. He kept a sense of humor, allowed the events of his life to mature into a genuine wisdom, and he continued on, to pursue his calling. And, as I said, he had a sense of humor. He has a song called "When I Get to Heaven" from his 2018 record THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS:
When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band Check into a swell hotel, ain't the afterlife grand?
And then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl 'Cause this old man is goin' to town
Then as God as my witness, I'm gettin' back into show business I'm gonna open up a nightclub called "The Tree of Forgiveness" And forgive everybody ever done me any harm Well, I might even invite a few choice critics, those syph'litic parasitics Buy 'em a pint of Smithwick's and smother 'em with my charm
'Cause then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale Yeah I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl Yeah this old man is goin' to town
Yeah when I get to heaven, I'm gonna take that wristwatch off my arm What are you gonna do with time after you've bought the farm? And then I'm gonna go find my mom and dad, and good old brother Doug Well I bet him and cousin Jackie are still cuttin' up a rug I wanna see all my mama's sisters, 'cause that's where all the love starts I miss 'em all like crazy, bless their little hearts And I always will remember these words my daddy said He said, "Buddy, when you're dead, you're a dead pecker-head" I hope to prove him wrong... that is, when I get to heaven
'Cause I'm gonna have a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale Yeah I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl Yeah this old man is goin' to town Yeah this old man is goin' to town
This is the greatest of all American literary peronas, the knowing hick, the bucolic philosopher, the country ironist, a figure that is from Mark Twain straight up to Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut, an unlettered man, apparently, with an indefatigable self-confidence and Panglossian who, aware that he is dead and in the clouds with his Creator, shakes His hand and sets out to do what a heaven of his imagining would be, to have his favorite cocktail, smoke copious amounts of cigarettes , stick to his nettlesome critcis by compelling them to sit through his nightclub act, reunite with this family not for tears and regrets but for good times and real love...
You can go through his catalog of songs and parse his lyrics any number of ways and marvel at the sweet subtleties he created with such clear, unmanned and un-fussy language. He was an Everyman who was appealing because he wasn't trying to impress anyone or blow them away with Big Stories with Big Message, messages that were rather hackneyed, ala Harry Chapin. Prine's ambition seemed not much more than to be the best songwriter he could be , someone who was nearly surprised that a great many others over the years admired his rich body of work.
That said, it's a tragedy of a sort that thread meant to commemorate the life and work of a fine American musicians gets sidelined with the use of what are conspicuously "dog whistle" phrases. Freedom of speech is one thing, an absolute in my view, but appropriateness of place goes hand in hand with that right. ---------- www.ted-burke.com
Last Edited by ted burke on Apr 08, 2020 2:55 PM
Ted, If you find my use of the word racist to be a dog whistle word, I apologize. Maybe I should have said, “Please let’s not use language like China Flu or Wuhan virus because it has real life consequences for the Asian Americans in our country”. Language is important and A lot of Asian people are suffering hate crimes. I get that the thread is not about.that. I’m not really knowledgeable when it comes to Prine, but certainly Angel from Montgomery is a masterpiece.
Thank you the thoughtful response, but in fact I agree with you with the use of the phase "Wuhan virus", which I think is a blatant dog-whistle term intended to create fear and distraction. Calling it "racist" is not a word I would use (at first, anyway), but it's not a dogwhistle word , it's just identifying an odious usage.
I am saddened that a thread started as a tribute and rembrance of a wonderful songwriter gets side tracked with loaded terms that high jack the discussion. Prine deserves better ,much better, and so do his real fans who want to remember him as a topic of discussion which brings them together, not an excuse to bicker. But I believe you're a good person. peace ted ---------- www.ted-burke.com
Dear Abby, dear Abby, Now what will I do. John Prine has Passed, and it gives me the Blues. we'll miss all his stories, all the poems he knew, I'm sure he's in heaven, a singin to you. Si---igned..... With Sympathy... ---------- And I Thank You !! KC Bluz Givin the devil the Bluz
Timeistight, thank you mentioning John Prine. Ted Burke, thank you for that wonderful tribute and assessment of what makes John Prine's music so wonderful. Much more astute and better written than 99% of the obituaries and essays I have read from major publications during this sad time. Harp content: Howard Levy played harmonica on some John Prine songs. Look it up!
Iceman: Pretty lame, dude.
Last Edited by tomaxe on Apr 08, 2020 8:49 PM
"In Spite of Ourselves" is an absolute freaking masterpiece! On another note, I hate people calling covid-19 the "chinese" or the "Wuhan" virus. Do you remember the "American" virus from 2009 that killed 150 to 500,000 people worldwide? No, that's because it was called H1N1, or the Swine Flu. Just because it originated in the states, the rest of the world didn't feel the need to label it as "American".
Geographic eponyms have commonly been used in medical terminology, with diseases and medical entities being named after the place where the condition was discovered (e.g. Bombay Blood group) or invented (Jaipur Foot) or where the disease was first detected (Rocky Mountain Spotted fever) or where a consensus meeting has been held (Banff) or for other reasons (Argentina flag, Congo red stain). West Nile Virus Named after the West Nile District of Uganda discovered in 1937.
Guinea Worm Named by European explorers for the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 1600s.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Named after the mountain range spreading across western North America first recognized first in 1896 in Idaho.
Lyme Disease Named after a large outbreak of the disease occurred in Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s.
Ross River Fever Named after a mosquito found to cause the disease in the Ross River of Queensland, Australia by the 1960s. The first major outbreak occurred in 1928.
Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever Named after its 1940s discovery in Omsk, Russia.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Named in 1976 for the Ebola River in Zaire located in central Africa.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Also known as “camel flu,” MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and all cases are linked to those who traveled to the Middle Eastern peninsula.
Valley Fever Valley Fever earned its nickname from a 1930s outbreak San Joaquin Valley of California, though its first case came from Argentina.
Marburg Virus Disease Named after Marburg, Germany in 1967.
Norovirus Named after Norwalk, Ohio after an outbreak in 1968.
Zika Fever First discovered in 1947 and named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.
Japanese Encephalitis Named after its first case in Japan in 1871.
German Measles Named after the German doctors who first described it in the 18th century. The disease is also sometimes referred to as “Rubella.”
Spanish Flu While the true origins of the Spanish Flu remain unknown, the disease earned its name after Spain began to report deaths from the flu in its newspapers.
Lassa Fever Named after the being found in Lassa, Nigeria in 1969.
Legionnaire’s Disease Named in 1976 following an outbreak of people contracting the lung infection after attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
Freedom of speech and expression is still valid, last I checked. Sorry if it hurts a few folks' feelings, but facts don't care about your feelings. Respectfully disagree with a position,, but no name calling, please. No one is going to change anyone's mind here. ---------- The Iceman
Last Edited by The Iceman on Apr 09, 2020 5:22 AM
Usually I would just send this in response to your comment Larry, but in this case I'm posting it here too. You have crossed a line.
Iceman, it boggles my mind that you don't see how harmful what you are posting is. People are being savagely attacked for being Asian because of the president's deliberate crossing out of coronavirus and writing in China. The fact that diseases have been named for places in the past does not mean that practice wasn't racist. Read more history. It was often a deliberate act to shift the blame and inflame fear in order to consolidate power with the 'in' group. It is why WHO spends time figuring out what to call a virus- they know racist terms will lead to people being attacked.
You are on thinner ice than you have ever been before. I suggest you go do some reading on why it's racist because how you respond to this is going to determine whether you are a member of this forum. Racist language is especially dangerous right now.
I'm sorry Larry got it trouble over this, I am sure he wasn't trying to get thrown out of here. But his stance reminds me of something I read recently online, "Bill O'Reilly: Many of those dying from coronavirus 'were on their last legs anyway'" Prine survived two kinds of cancer but this one snuck up on him. I am glad to have his music in my head.
May we all cool just things out and remain on-topic?
Iceman actually made a reasonable point, in his initial post, about how underlying conditions often play a role--and seem to have played a role in Prine's case--in death by this particular virus. (Comorbidity is the technical term.) He also shared some personal pain, in passing, that seems to have been missed by all here. At the same time, he used a particular appellation for the novel coronavirus that is, I'll just say, old-fashioned: at odds with the current naming practices of the WHO and, because of its continued use by our current president and by conservative websites such as RealClearPolitics, something of an ideological tinderbox. But he's not the only bad boy here. (And I mean that in the nicest way, Ice.)
Calling another forum member racist, as has happened here, is at odds with the forum creed. So, for that matter, and in a different paragraph of the creed, is stigmatizing any particular nation or nation's residents. Wuhan is a city, not a nation, of course.
But it would be fair to say that several people here are pushing rather hard at the place where free speech on this forum crosses the line into stuff we don't allow. I'm not accusing, I'm just saying. I value this community, spiky and distempered as it sometimes becomes.
I appreciate the peacekeepers among us. I'm chiming in here because I'm hoping that the pleasant, mellifluous, lambent, even soporific sound of my voice will enable a reset. May we recommence?
Happy Good Friday. Please avoid crucifixions whenever possible.
I’ve been a part of this forum since I think the beginning or close to it. You will see by my number of posts that I only post if I can add something or if I feel a point really needs to be made. Larry really needed to be called out for his inappropriate behavior and this is only one example of many times when he’s crossed the line. The fact that our leader, sort of gave him a pass with a wink and a nod, and gave me a mild scolding for using the word racist, leads me to believe that this forum has lost its balance. Just for clarity, I was stating his comment was racist, I was not calling him a racist person. I’ll be stepping aside mostly because if Larry continues to be the bully he is, I know I won’t stand for it, and I know I will end of saying something in the moment. I expect that like Buddha before him, I won’t be the first person Larry has driven from this forum. Adam I appreciate you. You were the guy who pushed me from being a Butterfield clone into getting my own sound. Peace.
Back to John Prine..., @ Superbee - IMO, the days to catch JP in a venue where you could be close enough to really appreciate his art have been gone for 25 or 30 years. But, his recordings and performances were prolific and we are very fortunate that so much is out on YouTube. There are several songs where it seems he was actually preparing us for the day he's gone.
@ Iceman - You are correct. For some, the young & healthy, Covid 19 may pass just like another case of the flu. It also has the capacity to turn our health institutions into factories of death where people die in isolation from their families and as you surely must be aware, you really need to have a family member at your bedside when you're in a hospital. The prospects of this virus are particularly hellish.
Post a Message
blues harmonica riffs - harmonica tabs - learn harmonica - play harmonica
play harmonica easily - harp tabs for beginners - blues harmonica lessons
ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS