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The Singing Mailman Delivers

by John Prine

supported by
Jennifer Ruse
Jennifer Ruse thumbnail
Jennifer Ruse My inspiration, that's what John Prine means to me. If John even listened to one of my songs I would be so honored. See you in Milwaukee WI in Nov. Favorite track: Hey Good Lookin' / Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (Live).
Matthew Woodman
Matthew Woodman thumbnail
Matthew Woodman Prine is one of the great 20th Century singer-songwriters, and hopefully he'll continue long into the 21st century as well. His songs can make a body simultaneously laugh and cry. Favorite track: Illegal Smile (Live).
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released October 25, 2011

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John Prine Nashville

A two-time Grammy-winner, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Almost 50 years into a remarkable career that has drawn praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen & others. He is a 2019 Rock & Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and a PEN New England Lyrics Award. ... more

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Track Name: Hello In There
We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Chorus:
Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do."

Repeat Chorus:

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."
Track Name: Souvenirs
All the snow has turned to water
Christmas days have come and gone
Broken toys and faded colors
Are all that's left to linger on
I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
For they always bring me tears
I can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my childhood souvenirs

Chorus:
Memories they can't be boughten
They can't be won at carnivals for free
Well it took me years
To get those souvenirs
And I don't know how they slipped away from me

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That's why last night and this mornin'
Always look the same to me

I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
I can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my sweetheart's souvenirs

(Repeat chorus)
Track Name: Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues
Sam Stone came home to his wife and family
After servin' in the conflict overseas
And the time that he served had shattered all his nerves
And left a little shrapnel in his knee
But the morphine eased the pain
And the grass grew 'round his brain
And gave him all the confidence he lacked
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mmm
Sam Stone's welcome home didn't last too long
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And Sammy took to stealin' when he got that empty feelin'
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime
And the gold rolled through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mm
Sam Stone was alone when he popped his last balloon
Climbin' walls while sitting in a chair
Well, he played his last request
While the room smelled just like death
With an overdose hovering in the air
But life had lost its fun and there was nothin' to be done
But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill
For a flag draped casket on a local heroes' hill
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mmm
Track Name: Blue Umbrella
Feelings are strange
especially when they come true
and I had a feeling
you'd be leaving soon
so I tried to rearrange
all my emotions
but it seems the same
no matter what I do.

Chorus:
Blue umbrella
rest upon my shoulder
hide the pain
while the rain
makes up my mind
well, my feet are wet
from thinking this thing over
and it's been so long
since I felt the warm sunshine
just give me one good reason
and I promise I won't ask you any more
just give me one extra season
so I can figure out the other four.

Day time
makes me wonder why you left me
night time
makes me wonder what I said
next time
are the words I'd like to plan on
but, last time
was the only thing you said.

Chorus:
Track Name: Aw Heck
I could be as happy as a sardine in a can
Long as I got my woman
I could run stark naked and live in and old oak tree
Just as long as she's with me
My woman.

The cannibals can catch me and fry me in a pan
Long as I got my woman
I could get the electric chair for a phony rap
Long as she's sittin' in my lap
My woman.

I'd run a mile, just to see her smile
And put her lovin arms, around my neck
Aw heck
My spine starts a tingling, and bells start a ringling
When she's with me, can't you see.

They could torture me and stretch me like a rubber band
Long as I got my woman
I could jump off a cliff and never have no fear
Just as long as she is near
My woman.
Track Name: Illegal Smile
When I woke up this morning, things were lookin' bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down... and won
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized
That I was havin' ... no fun

Chorus:
But fortunately I have the key to escape reality
And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun

Last time I checked my bankroll,
It was gettin' thin
Sometimes it seems like the bottom
Is the only place I've been
I Chased a rainbow down a one-way street... dead end
And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen

Repeat Chorus:

Well, I sat down in my closet with all my overalls
Tryin' to get away
From all the ears inside my walls
I dreamed the police heard
Everything I thought... what then?
Well I went to court
And the judge's name was Hoffman

Ah but fortunately I have the key to escape reality
And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun
Well done, hot dog bun, my sister's a nun
Track Name: Flashback Blues
While window shopping through the past
I ran across a looking glass
Reflecting moments remaining in a burned out light
Tragic magic prayers of passion
Stay the same through changing fashions
They freeze my mind like water on a winter's night

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.

Photographs show the laughs
Recorded in between the bad times
Happy sailors dancing on a sinking ship
Cloudy skies and dead fruit flies
Waving goodbye with tears in my eyes
Well, sure I made it but ya know it was as hell of a trip.

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
And ten times what it grieves you
That's how much more I hate to leave you now
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.
Track Name: The Frying Pan
I come home from work this evening
There was a note in the frying pan
It said fix your own supper babe
I run off with the Fuller brush man

Chorus:
And I miss the way she used to yell at me
The way she used to cuss and moan
And if I ever go out and get married again
I'll never leave my wife at home

Sat down at the table
Screamed, and I hollered and cried
And I commenced a carryin' on
Till I almost lost my mind

Repeat Chorus

If I ever see another salesman
Come a knockin' at my door
I'm gonna pick up a rock and hit him on the head
And knock him down on the floor

Repeat Chorus
Track Name: Sour Grapes
I don't care if the sun don't shine
But it better or people will wonder
And I couldn't care less if it never stopped rainin'
'Cept the kids are afraid of the thunder

Chorus:
Say sour grapes
You can laugh and stare
Say sour grapes
But I don't care

I couldn't care less if I didn't have a friend
'Cept people would say I was crazy
And I wouldn't work 'cause I don't need money
But the same folks would say I was lazy

repeat chorus

I couldn't care less if she never come back
I was gonna leave her anyway
And all the good times that we shared
Don't mean a thing to day

repeat chorus
Track Name: A Star, A Jewel, And A Hoax
He’s a star
But he didn’t get as far
As those who idolized his ways and means
To prepare themselves
To be better human beings
Well they understood more than he had meant to say
In his day
But that’s O.K.

She’s a jewel
But her tactics are so cruel
And her past affairs smelled cheap
Like the perfume in her hair
She lives
Another life but not her own
On an imaginary throne
In the sky
She’s afraid to die

Great thoughts don’t come
To those who try to hard
To interpretate what’s going on
In the minds back yard
So I’ll leave
Lest you think that I’m a hoax
Like these other folks
In my song

Good-bye so long
Track Name: Flashback Blues (Live)
While window shopping through the past
I ran across a looking glass
Reflecting moments remaining in a burned out light
Tragic magic prayers of passion
Stay the same through changing fashions
They freeze my mind like water on a winter's night

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.

Photographs show the laughs
Recorded in between the bad times
Happy sailors dancing on a sinking ship
Cloudy skies and dead fruit flies
Waving goodbye with tears in my eyes
Well, sure I made it but ya know it was as hell of a trip.

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
And ten times what it grieves you
That's how much more I hate to leave you now
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.
Track Name: Hello In There (Live)
We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Chorus:
Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do."

Repeat Chorus:

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."
Track Name: Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore (Live)
While digesting Reader's Digest
In the back of a dirty book store,
A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
Fell out on the floor.
Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
Slapped it on my window shield,
And if I could see old Betsy Ross
I'd tell her how good I feel.

Chorus:
But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.

Well, I went to the bank this morning
And the cashier he said to me,
"If you join the Christmas club
We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
Well, I didn't mess around a bit
I took him up on what he said.
And I stuck them stickers all over my car
And one on my wife's forehead.

Repeat Chorus:

Well, I got my window shield so filled
With flags I couldn't see.
So, I ran the car upside a curb
And right into a tree.
By the time they got a doctor down
I was already dead.
And I'll never understand why the man
Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
We're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."
Track Name: The Great Compromise (Live)
I knew a girl who was almost a lady
She had a way with all the men in her life
Every inch of her blossomed in beauty
And she was born on the fourth of July
Well she lived in an aluminum house trailer
And she worked in a juke box saloon
And she spent all the money I give her
Just to see the old man in the moon

Chorus:
I used to sleep at the foot of Old Glory
And awake in the dawn's early light
But much to my surprise
When I opened my eyes
I was a victim of the great compromise

Well we'd go out on Saturday evenings
To the drive-in on Route 41
And it was there that I first suspected
That she was doin' what she'd already done
She said "Johnny won't you get me some popcorn"
And she knew I had to walk pretty far
And as soon as I passed through the moonlight
She hopped into a foreign sports car

(Repeat chorus)

Well you know I could have beat up that fellow
But it was her that had hopped into his car
Many times I'd fought to protect her
But this time she was goin' too far
Now some folks they call me a coward
'Cause I left her at the drive-in that night
But I'd druther have names thrown at me
Than to fight for a thing that ain't right

(Repeat chorus)

Now she writes all the fellows love letters
Saying "Greetings, come and see me real soon"
And they go and line up in the barroom
And spend the night in that sick woman's room
But sometimes I get awful lonesome
And I wish she was my girl instead
But she won't let me live with her
And she makes me live in my head

(Repeat chorus)
Track Name: Blue Umbrella (Live)
Feelings are strange
especially when they come true
and I had a feeling
you'd be leaving soon
so I tried to rearrange
all my emotions
but it seems the same
no matter what I do.

Chorus:
Blue umbrella
rest upon my shoulder
hide the pain
while the rain
makes up my mind
well, my feet are wet
from thinking this thing over
and it's been so long
since I felt the warm sunshine
just give me one good reason
and I promise I won't ask you any more
just give me one extra season
so I can figure out the other four.

Day time
makes me wonder why you left me
night time
makes me wonder what I said
next time
are the words I'd like to plan on
but, last time
was the only thing you said.

Chorus:
Track Name: Illegal Smile (Live)
When I woke up this morning, things were lookin' bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down... and won
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized
That I was havin' ... no fun

Chorus:
But fortunately I have the key to escape reality
And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun

Last time I checked my bankroll,
It was gettin' thin
Sometimes it seems like the bottom
Is the only place I've been
I Chased a rainbow down a one-way street... dead end
And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen

Repeat Chorus:

Well, I sat down in my closet with all my overalls
Tryin' to get away
From all the ears inside my walls
I dreamed the police heard
Everything I thought... what then?
Well I went to court
And the judge's name was Hoffman

Ah but fortunately I have the key to escape reality
And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun
Well done, hot dog bun, my sister's a nun
Track Name: Angel From Montgomery (Live)
I am an old woman named after my mother
My old man is another child that's grown old
If dreams were lightning thunder was desire
This old house would have burnt down a long time ago

Chorus:
Make me an angel that flies from Montgom'ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy
He weren't much to look at, just free rambling man
But that was a long time and no matter how I try
The years just flow by like a broken down dam.

Repeat Chorus:

There's flies in the kitchen I can hear 'em there buzzing
And I ain't done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.

Repeat Chorus:
Track Name: A Good Time (Live)
Time was once just a clock to me
and life was just a book a biography
Success was something you just had to be
and I would spend myself unknowingly

And you know that I could have me a million more friends
and all I'd have to lose is my point of view
But I had no idea what a good time would cost
till last night when I sat and talked with you.

An apple will spoil if it's been abused
A candle disappears when its been used
A rainbow may follow up a hurricane
And I can't leave forever on a train

And you know that I'd survive if I never spoke again
and all I'd have to lose is my vanity
But I had no idea what a good time would cost
till last night when you sat and talked with me.

You can smile for the lack of something else to do
and no one will laugh and point a finger at you
If your tears didn't always make me feel so bad
would you still cry every time that you felt sad?
I thought I'd heard and seen enough to get along
till you said something neither of us knew
And I had no idea what a good time would cost
till last night when I sat and talked with you.
Track Name: Hey Good Lookin' / Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (Live)
Say hey, good lookin'. What ya got cookin'?
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?
Hey, sweet baby. Don't you think maybe
We can find us a brand new recipe?
I got a hot rod Ford, and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill
There's soda pop and the dancin's free
So, if you wanna have fun, come along with me
Hey, good lookin'. What ya got cookin'?
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?
I'm free and ready, so we can go steady
Hows about savin' all your time for me?
No more lookin'. I know I been tookin'
Hows about keepin' steady company?
I'm gonna throw my date book over the fence
And buy me one for five or ten cents
I'll keep it till its covered with age
Cause I'm writin' your name down on every page
Say hey, good lookin', what ya got cookin'?
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?
Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin'
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I'll catch all the fish in the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I'll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Track Name: Quiet Man (Live)
Strolling down the highway with my shoes in my hand
I don't talk much I'm a quiet man
Beauty and silence both run deep
And running like crazy while you are asleep

Chorus:
You got news for me, I got nothing for you
Don't pin your blues on me
Just go ahead and do whatever you wish to

Last Monday night I saw a fight
Between Wednesday and Thursday over Saturday night
Tuesday asked me what was going on I said,
"Sunday's in the meadow and Friday's in the corn."

Repeat Chorus:

Hocus-pocus, Maladjusted
Don't you think my tears get rusted
Steady losing means you ain't using
What you really think is right

Repeat Chorus:

Oodles of light what a beautiful sight
Both of God's eyes are shining tonight
Rays and beams of incredible dreams
And I am a quiet man.

Oodles of light what a beautiful sight
Both of God's eyes are shining tonight
Rays and beams of incredible dreams
And I am a quiet man.

Oodles of light what a beautiful sight
Both of God's eyes are shining tonight
Rays and beams of incredible dreams
And I am a quiet man.
Track Name: Paradise (Live)
When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

Chorus:
And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

Repeat Chorus:

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

Repeat Chorus:

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin'
Just five miles away from wherever I am.

Repeat Chorus:
Track Name: Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues (Live)
Sam Stone came home to his wife and family
After servin' in the conflict overseas
And the time that he served had shattered all his nerves
And left a little shrapnel in his knee
But the morphine eased the pain
And the grass grew 'round his brain
And gave him all the confidence he lacked
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mmm
Sam Stone's welcome home didn't last too long
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And Sammy took to stealin' when he got that empty feelin'
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime
And the gold rolled through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mm
Sam Stone was alone when he popped his last balloon
Climbin' walls while sitting in a chair
Well, he played his last request
While the room smelled just like death
With an overdose hovering in the air
But life had lost its fun and there was nothin' to be done
But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill
For a flag draped casket on a local heroes' hill
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios, mmm
Track Name: Spanish Pipedream (Live)
She was a level-headed dancer on the road to alcohol
And I was just a soldier on my way to Montreal
Well she pressed her chest against me
About the time the juke box broke
Yeah, she gave me a peck on the back of the neck
And these are the words she spoke

Chorus:
Blow up your TV throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own

Well, I sat there at the table and I acted real naive
For I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve
Well, she danced around the bar room and she did the hoochy-coo
Yeah she sang her song all night long, tellin' me what to do

Repeat chorus:

Well, I was young and hungry and about to leave that place
When just as I was leavin', well she looked me in the face
I said "You must know the answer."
"She said, "No but I'll give it a try."
And to this very day we've been livin' our way
And here is the reason why

We blew up our TV threw away our paper
Went to the country, built us a home
Had a lot of children, fed 'em on peaches
They all found Jesus on their own

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