Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gender Benders: Angel From Montgomery

John Prine: Angel From Montgomery


I am an old woman..., Prine begins, in that weary, gravelly voice, and you accept it, and move on, granting the songwriter the innate privilege of the narrative voice. Or not: perhaps you have heard Bonnie Raitt's 1974 cover first, and the dissonance is jarring.

No matter. Prine wrote it, and dared make it the centerpiece of the second side of his 1971 debut; his is the quintessential gender bender. That the version here is from Souvenirs, his late-career remake of his own canon, only gives it the gravitas of age it richly deserves, even as it acknowledges our mutual familiarity with Raitt's classic take.

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