Tag Archives: John Prine

Aerie

The Humane Society Thrift Store has become a huge problem for me recently. Last time I went in there, it was like they had a direct link to my taste banks, or at the very least, to music I was exposed to when I was very young.

Every record I flipped through was one I had to take home. Amazing Rhythm Aces, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot, Leo Kottke…each record was either a songwriter I admired or a guitarist I admired. This week’s record was in the middle of all this greatness.

I had been thinking about this particular album for a few weeks, and I wanted to get it for a particular song that is on it that is entirely too funky and cool to be on a John Denver record. That song is called “She Won’t Let Me Fly Away,” and was written by Bill Danoff, who also wrote “Afternoon Delight,” of all things.

John Denver Aerie Album cover
John Denver: Falconer

I remember this record because it has a really weird rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” a version of John Prine’s “Spanish Pipedream,” a version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” (which is kind of terrible, because he deigns to mess with Goodman’s perfection by adding a completely unneeded bridge, therefore, adding himself as a co-writer on it), and a pretty good version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Casey’s Last Ride.”

Not much, if any of this record made it onto Papa B’s John Denver Mixtape, maybe only “Spanish Pipedream” (referred to on this record as “Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream)” and I think “The Eagle and the Hawk.” There’s also a song called “Tools” that I loved when I was about 4, about a baby rabbit. I can’t remember whether or not it made the mixtape, but I do remember requesting it whenever I heard a live musician playing John Denver songs.

So, I implore you, find Aerie and listen to the cool funkiness of “She Won’t Let Me Fly Away,” and swim in it.

Vinyl Collecting

I started buying vinyl before I even owned a turntable. I would go to record stores and browse through the stacks and find the odd Amazing Rhythm Aces or Rodney Crowell record and buy it, because it was cool and old, and at a price of one dollar, it beat having to spend ten dollars on an MP3 that didn’t even sound good.

I bought things at thrift stores that I thought were cool, flipping through sleeve after sleeve of Englebert Humperdink and Mitch Mitchell and Andy Williams and Tennessee Ernie Ford and Guy Lombardo. It can be a little hard to take most of the time. Every once in a while, though, a sleeve that you recognize pierces through the dark, mildew scented shelves, and you find something that you remember and relate to.

I found a decent modern turntable about a month ago, replaced its broken needle with one I ordered from an eBay supplier, got a cheap mixer from another eBay auction, and after rummaging through my garbage bag full of cables and finding the right connectors, I was able to hear my vinyl for the first time. I was in business.

Last week, I found this one, among a few others sitting on the bottom shelf of a thrift store shelf, just waiting for me to find it:

John Prine - Sweet Revenge Album Art
John Prine – Sweet Revenge

I have a theory that all music worth listening to was created in 1972 and 1973. This is one of those records. It was produced by Arif Mardin, it has Reggie Young, Steve Goodman and Kenny Malone playing on most of it, and it has 4 songs on it that made my father’s “John Prine” mixtape that he would play as we made the long, hot and mostly uncomfortable drive from Breckenridge, CO to Wichita Falls, TX every summer to visit my Grandparents. This record has the Papa Burrows seal of approval.