John Prine caught us by surprise in the late-night morning let-down after
our last show in Chicago. Steve Goodman (whod shared the bill with us that week)
asked us to go to Old Town to listen to a friend he said we had to hear, and since Steve
had knocked us out all week with his own songs, we obliged.
It was too damned late, and we had an early wake-up ahead of us, and by
the time we got there Old town was nothing but empty streets and dark windows. And the
club was closing. But the owner let us come in, pulled some chairs off a couple of tables,
and John unpacked his guitar and got back up to sing.
There are few things as depressing to look at as a bunch of chairs upside
down on the table of an empty old tavern, and there was that awkward moment, us sitting
there like, "Okay, kid, show us what you got," and him standing up there alone,
looking down at his guitar like, "What the hell are we doing here, buddy?" Then
he started singing, and by the end of the first line we knew we were hearing something
else. It mustve been like stumbling onto Dylan when he first busted onto the Village
scene (in fact Al Aronowitz said the same thing a few weeks later after hearing John do a
guest set at the Bitter End). One of those rare, great times when it all seems worth it,,
like when the Vision would rise upon Blakes "weary eyes, Even in this Dungeon,
& this Iron Mill."
He sang about a dozen songs, and had to do a dozen more before it was
over. Unlike anything Id heard before.
Sam Stone, Donald & Lydia. The one about
the Old Folks. Twenty-four years old and writes like hes about two-hundred and
twenty. I dont know where he comes from, but Ive got a good idea where
hes going. We went away believers, reminded how goddamned good it feels to be turned
on by a real Creative Imagination.
P.S. Thanks to the people at Atlantic for making good things happen fast
to someone who deserves it.
The personnel on all the selections except Paradise & Flashback Blues
John Prine, vocals & acoustic guitar
Reggie Young, lead guitar
Leo LeBlanc, pedal steel guitar
John Christopher, rhythm guitar
Bobby Emmons, organ
Mike Leach, bass
Gene Chrisman, drums
Bishop Heywood, percussion.
The personnel on Paradise is:
John Prine, lead vocal & acoustic
Steve Goodman, harmony vocal & acoustic guitar
Dave Prine, fiddle;
Neal Rosengarden, Bass
The personnel on Flashback Blues is:
John Prine, vocal and acoustic guitar
Steve Goodman, acoustic guitar
Noel Gilbert, fiddle
Mike Leach, bass
Gene Chrisman, tambourine.
All the selections were recorded at American Recording Studios, Memphis
Tennessee, with the exception of Paradise which was recorded at A&R Studios, New York,
Recording engineer; Stan Kesler
Assistant engineer; Dale Smith
Remix engineer; Arif Mardin
Photography & album design; Barry Feinstein & Tom Wilkes for Camouflage
PRODUCED BY ARIF MARDIN
Steve Goodman appears on this album through the courtesy of Buddha Records, Inc.
Special thanks to Kris Kristofferson & Paul Anka
*liner notes typed by jp1 fan 1998 - thanks Nancy!