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German Afternoons

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Editors’ Notes

For 1986's German Afternoons, John Prine hooked up with the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, which returned him to the traditional folk feeling of his early career while also coloring Prine’s exquisitely bleak mid-career songs. Most of the tunes here address a love that won’t resolve itself. “If She Were You,” “Lulu Walls," and “Out of Love” are what Prine once called “classic ‘she left me’ songs,” though Prine gives them twists that separate them from hundreds of earlier tracks in that tradition. “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” imagines depression as a G-force from outer space, as New Grass conjures up a gorgeously understated track reminiscent of J.J. Cale. Few people can skirt the line between tradition and subversion like Prine. He can pull off the completely goofy “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian” and then cut a clear-eyed version of Leon Payne’s classic country weeper “They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me.” The album ends with a reprise of “Paradise,” which first appeared on Prine’s 1971 debut and became one of his signatures. Back then it was a nostalgic song of home. Now he sings it as an old man’s benediction.

Customer Reviews

John Prine is awesome

John Prine is one of country music's most gifted songwriters and performers, and this is yet another classic album of his. The songs are witty, memorable, and thought provoking, which should be the goal of all quality music.

not racist music... listeners biased

A thing isn't necessarily racist because someone is insulted. If I say "hello" and you are insulted, it is your problem, not mine. The reviewer below didn't listen to the song. Listen to the words and what he is actually saying. I've played this song for several coworkers from Hawaii and they all love it. Want to see racism? Try to buy land in Hawaii.

A meloncholy little classic

Like a lot of his mid-80s work, Prine works through a lot of sadness here. And like all classic Prine, this record leavens all that sadness with good laughs. Mopey, sexy, funny.


Born: October 10, 1946 in Maywood, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An acclaimed singer/songwriter whose literate work flirted with everything from acoustic folk to rockabilly to straight-ahead country, John Prine was born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, IL. Raised by parents firmly rooted in their rural Kentucky background, at age 14 Prine began learning to play the guitar from his older brother while taking inspiration from his grandfather, who had played with Merle Travis. After a two-year tenure in the U.S. Army, Prine became a fixture on the Chicago folk music...
Full Bio