LP of the week

The first review of songwriter John Prine’s work was penned by a then young Chicago critic, Roger Ebert.
The first review of songwriter John Prine’s work was penned by a then young Chicago critic, Roger Ebert.
Credit: 
Supplied
Lipsin owns Brian’s Record Option at 381 Princess St.
Lipsin owns Brian’s Record Option at 381 Princess St.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Brian Lipsin, resident vinyl virtuoso and owner of Brian’s Record Option on Princess St., treats the Journal to an anecdote in light of his pick this week, John Prine’s self-titled album, as told to Ally Hall.

“This album came out in 1971 and I remember when I first heard it … even though he was in his early twenties, a postman, he was very good with lyrics. I thought there was so much experience coming out of his lyrics. It was not like a man of 21 but a man in his eighties with all this past experience. When I found out he was in his early twenties it just blew me away. Some of the songs on it, ‘Donald of Lydia,’ ‘Paradise,’ ‘Hello in There,’ they’re standards now.

“I took a year off of University and I was in Europe for $5 a day, I was in Southern Spain in a place called Algeciras. I was in a urinal. Now, I don’t usually talk to the person next to me in a urinal. But this guy happened to be whistling a tune from this album which was ‘Hello in There.’ I sort of looked at this guy and said, ‘You know who John Prine is?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘I thought I was the only one who was into John Prine.’ This guy was from Puerto Rico and we ended up having a beer together and going down to Morocco because of this song.

“Years later, I went to Colorado for a vacation and a musician from Kingston named Spencer Evans was playing with Cowboy Junkies at the time … I thought I heard my name being called and then thought that’s impossible, no one knows me here, but it was Spencer yelling at me, ‘are you coming to the gig?’ and I said, ‘what gig?’ and he said ‘were playing with John Prine!’ and I said ‘No way!’ He left a ticket at the gate.

“Anyway, to make a long story short, the kid sitting next to me, he was in the Cowboy Junkies and he was going to leave after the Cowboy Junkies and I said ‘wait a minute why are you leaving?’ so I started telling him different stories about Prine … after the concert Spencer said why don’t you come backstage? So I went backstage. It was pretty awkward … he grabs John Prine from upstairs and brings him down. I was very shy and John Prine was very shy. So we have these two bumbling fools trying to have a conversation, which was impossible.

“This kid that was next to me, he must have known people backstage so he sees the two idiots having the conversation and says, ‘is that all you can say to your hero?’ and proceeds to tell John Prine the story about Algeciras. He grinned ear to ear.”

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