Song of the night: “All The Best” by John Prine

When staying at St. Ann’s Motel in Cape Breton, I discussed lots of kinds of music with my hosts Doug and Christine Coolen. Turns out all three of us are huge fans of John Prine. Both Doug and Christine lamented that their local radio stations never play Prine. Heck, I said, we need to find a way for you to hear my show on KBEK!

John Prine was a significant part of my college years’ soundtrack. Many years after that and after a five-year hiatus, in 1991 he released “The Missing Years,” which some call his comeback album. Not sure if that’s the case, but it’s an amazingly strong album from a man who’s given us many, many amazingly strong albums.

“The Missing Years” will undoubtedly be the subject of a Desert Island Disc column at some point. But “All The Best” epitomizes Prine’s gift for expressing complex and convoluted emotions, better than the vast majority of songwriters. “Sappy with a wink,” wrote one reviewer, and compared Prine with Randy Newman. I think that fits.

“Then you change your mind, for something else to do/And your heart gets bored with your mind, and it changes you” is one of the most wonderfully descriptive lines ever sung.

Yeah, stay tuned. “The Missing Years” will get a Desert Island Discs writeup soon.

I wish you love and happiness
I guess I wish you all the best
I wish you don’t do like I do
And ever fall in love with someone like you
‘Cause if you fell just like I did
You’d probably walk around the block like a little kid
But kids don’t know, they can only guess
How hard it is to wish you happiness

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