Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine

Whenever I’m at Tunes in Hoboken, getting my fingers all dirty on the vinyl LPs, I stop and stare at this one album, John Prine’s Sweet Revenge, and I wonder what it’s all about. Prine looks pretty bad-ass there in his convertible, decked out in so much blue denim, dark aviators over his eyes, a cigarette at his lips, the wind in his hair, legs crossed and flung out over the passenger side window like he’s seriously satisfied, like he really doesn’t care.

Don’t ask me why, but, despite all of that, my interest is never so high that I take the chance and spend the five dollars.

As I write this, though, I’m listening to Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, My Morning Jacket, Josh Ritter, Lambchop, and Deer Tick, among others, offering their interpretations of some Prine classics. And I’m thinking I should’ve bought that album, Sweet Revenge, a long time ago, thinking that I’ll do just that next time I’m in Tunes, that, although I’ve told myself I shouldn’t buy any more records until I’ve paid off this sudden disturbing debt, music like this is an investment that’ll last longer than me or my evil credit cards, thinking that, furthermore, the girl behind the counter at Tunes is really hot, and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing her again, her dark, curly hair, her impossible curves. I might even tell her about Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows, and how it brought me back for Sweet Revenge.

Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine will be released by Prine’s Oh Boy Records on June 22. You can preorder the album, available only on CD (as far as I can tell), here. The track list:

1. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver: “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)”
2. Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band: “Wedding Day In Funeralville”
3. My Morning Jacket: “All The Best”
4. Josh Ritter: “Mexican Home”
5. Lambchop: “Six O’Clock News”
6. Justin Townes Earle: “Far From Me”
7. The Avett Brothers: “Spanish Pipedream”
8. Old Crow Medicine Show: “Angel From Montgomery”
9. Sara Watkins: “The Late John Garfield Blues”
10. Drive-By Truckers: “Daddy’s Little Pumpkin”
11. Deer Tick featuring Liz Isenberg: “Unwed Fathers”
12. Those Darlins: “Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian”

All on it's own, Lambchop's sassy, laidback call to love, "Six O'Clock News," just about makes the album a must-buy. "Unwed Fathers" by Deer Tick, with Liz Isenberg, is another moving, lovely surprise.

buddha's picture

Sweet Revenge is one of the great all time LP's. One thing you have to do...when you buy Sweet revenge, you are required to also buy Diamonds in the Rough.

Then, you put them each on one side of a cassette and put it on auto-reverse indefinitely.

I had that tape get stuck in my Clarion auto-reverse car deck (with Jensen triaxial 6X9 speakers) when I was 20 and roaming the country. It was the only tape I played for a year, and I'm still not sick of those albums.

If need be, I'll send you the funds to get both!

I ain't too proud to beg. I beg you to get both.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Screw it. I'll do it. My favorite tracks on Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows -- "Six O' Clock News" and "Far From Me" -- are from the first album, so I guess I'll have to get that one, too.

RankStranger's picture

Some of my best musical discoveries have been on tribute albums, either the tributers (tributors?) or the tributee. Two of my favourites are 'If I were a Carpenter' which is a tribute to the carpenters and 'Return of the Grievous Angel' which is Gram Parsons songs. Both highly recommended. I'll definitely get this John Prine one. If just for the Old Crow track.

rvance's picture

Used to cruise the LA/OC freeways listening to a Craig 8-track and 6 X 9 Pioneers. Higher than a kite on life and...I am an old woman named after my motherMy old man is another child that's grown oldIf dreams were lightning thunder was desireThis old house would have burnt down a long time agoChorus:Make me an angel that flies from Montgom'ryMake me a poster of an old rodeoJust give me one thing that I can hold on toTo believe in this living is just a hard way to goWhen I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy He weren't much to look at, just free rambling manBut that was a long time and no matter how I tryThe years just flow by like a broken down dam.Repeat Chorus:There's flies in the kitchen I can hear 'em there buzzingAnd I ain't done nothing since I woke up today.How the hell can a person go to work in the morningAnd come home in the evening and have nothing to say.Repeat Chorus:

GTRandI's picture

Prine is an excellent songwriter who unfortunately damaged his voice by smoking ( see also Leonard Cohen). Worth exploring are also "Lost dogs and mixed blessings" and "In spite of ourselves".

Rob Davies's picture

John Prine Live gets my vote...