I should note that shortly after John Prine went into a Nashville Intensive Care Unit, the stomach-churning holier-than-thou Tim Bousquet (a Halifax blogger for those of you keeping score at home) was quick to implicitly smear Prine with the equally stomach-churning so-called “progressive” label.
In his predictable, um, progressive encyclical under the bold header, What John Prine teaches us about living through these difficult times, blogger Bousquet takes brazen liberty with the story behind the singer-songwriter’s lyrics.
Bousquet does so through the lens of his persistent (and tiring! -ed.) virtue signalling as he outright fabricates background to a number of Prine tunes.
In making every effort to graft onto Prine the same nauseating conspicuous self-righteousness afflicting himself and his equally nauseating hired hand El Jones, the High Priestess of Progressives, the blogger achieves nothing more than distortion of the songwriter’s legacy.
For example, Tim Bousquet writes:
“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” is a Prine song that asks us to do something difficult – have empathy for a domestic abuser, who “crossed the evil line today,” while at the same time feeling the emotional collapse of his victim.”
How does he get away with such crap?
Off his 1986 studio album, his ninth album, German Afternoon, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness is a very personal song for John Prine, most likely about sleeping in the wrong bed at an opportune time. Or at least somebody was doing just that.
In the songwriter’s own words:
“I wrote that song to explain something to myself. I was going through a relationship that was breaking up. I had a picture from the cover of ‘Life’ magazine of the guys who broke the speed of sound on the ground and they had the G-forces pulling the guy’s face back and I felt that was my heart.”
The Tim Bousquet Bullshit Ball continues.
Of the Prine classic “Hello in There” blogger Tim writes:
“I imagine it was inspired by the elderly people with “some hollow ancient eyes” that Prine must have met during his days as a letter carrier; they’d try to grab his attention and draw out the quick exchange of envelopes into a just barely longer moment of connectedness before he continued on his rounds.”
(What the hell is this mumbo-jumbo clown trying to say, anyway?)
Listen to me, people: Prine, who was very close to his grandparents (‘Grandpa was a Carpenter’), actually, amazingly discovered “elderly people” long before he graduated from high school or joined the post office.
When he was “about 12” he shared a newspaper route with a buddy “and one of the places on the route was a Baptist’s old peoples’ home…”
In the songwriter’s own words:
“I heard the John Lennon song Across the Universe, and he had a lot of reverb on his voice. I was thinking about hollering into a hollow log or something going, “Hellooo, hellooo, is anybody in there. That was the beginning then it went to old people.”
So much for that.
Further, what Tim Bousquet should know is that as much as he might admire Prine, like many of the characters JP writes about, real or imagined, Prine is also imperfect. (Unlike members of this new club head boy Bousquet has arbitrarily forced onto the ailing singer-songwriter.)
Fact is, Prine just about lost me with his album, the lyrical abomination, Pink Cadillac.
Decades later I still don’t know just what Prine was trying to prove or achieve with this electric rockabilly thingy Pink Cadillac. Absolutely dreadful tracks with the singular exception of the How Lucky cut.
Progressive Tim Bousquet & trusty progressive sidekicks might want to take note of the first cut on that misguided album. That cut is called Chinatown, and the lyrics include these two gems:
I got a sideways hickey from a slant-eyed chickie/Down in Chinatown
I got a sugar rush that would make a ni%#*^ blush/Down in Chinatown
Excuse me as I patiently await the Official Tim Bousquet Blog Interpretation of Inspiration for these two progressive nuggets.