John Prine: YouTube version of Grandpa Was A Carpenter
John Prine: [download it @ Amazon]
A few weeks back, we were looking at Leonard Cohen, and most of our posts noted how dismal we felt when we listened to his music. In addition to Tom Waits, the third musician I would categorize as representative of “bleak” would be John Prine, but for reasons I cannot explain, I much prefer Prine’s negative outlook to that of the other two. Several of his songs deal with political issues of the day: the Vietnam war comes to mind.
It must be Prine's way with his lyrics that attracts me. In "Grandpa Was A Carpenter", Prine gets me thinking about the pendulum effect: over time, parties, individuals and corporation find themselves faced with the need to adjust their stance, and end up swinging away from their extreme positions. This need for realignment is what the Republican party seems to be debating in the wake of their defeat this week.
Grandpa Was A Carpenter includes in the lyrics, references to Presidents Eisenhower and Lincoln as candidates of the Republican party: “… [grandpa] voted for Eisenhower ‘cause Lincoln won the war…”
Now, it is hard to picture fully the mentality of the populace in either of these times: just what did the Republican party represent to voters then? Could it be that even with 100 years separating these two candidates, the GOP stood for the exact same set of values?
There are several versions of John Prine playing the song at YouTube, but I chose this one because of the treble: I like my music crisp, and even if the sound quality of this version fades in places, you’ll have to admit that the guitars are “sharp”.