05 9 / 2012
05 9 / 2012
05 9 / 2012
#1 – Todd Snider
#2 – John Prine
This should come as no surprise. I think I’ve made it very clear that Todd Snider is my all time favorite, and that John Prine is a close second. I am posting them together because it would be hard for me to write about Prine without talking about Todd. I had heard of Prine before, but I never made an effort to listen to him until I fell in love with Todd. And yes, in the most heterosexual way possible, I am in love with Todd Snider.
It all started back in 1994. I was in college. Driving somewhere. When on the radio I heard a song called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”, although I didn’t know the name of the song at that time. I liked the song. I thought it was clever. So when the song ended I paid close attention to see if the DJ would tell me who it was. But he didn’t. And I never found out what the song was called or who sang it until a few weeks later.
Fast forward to a few weeks later. Once again I was in my car. And a song called “Alright Guy” came on. At this point I didn’t realize it was the same guy who sang the other song. But this time I was lucky enough to hear the DJ tell me who it was. A guy I had never heard of named Todd Snider. But I really liked “Alright Guy” and new that I was going to buy the album. Within a day or two I found myself at a record store with his album, called “Songs From The Daily Planet” in my hands. I saw the song “Alright Guy” listed so I bought it. Little did I know that “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” was a hidden track at the end, unlisted on the back cover. And boy oh boy was I pleasantly surprised. Not only was I happy to find out that Todd Snider sang the other song as well, and that it was on the album, but the rest of the album was just as good, if not better, than the two songs I had already heard. “Songs From The Daily Planet” quickly became my favorite album and Todd Snider quickly became my favorite singer. Unfortunately, it would be a few years later before I would be able to see him live.
Fast forward to a few years later. I saw that Todd was coming to town and playing for free at a BBQ Festival downtown. When I got to the festival Cowboy Mouth was just finishing up and the place was pretty crowded. When they finished most of them cleared out and I was able to get right up front. A little while later Todd Snider came out by himself in bare feet, carrying an acoustic guitar, and proceeded to blow me away. Yes, his live shows are that powerful. He sang songs and told stories and told stories and sang songs. That was the day I fell in love with him. And right before he played his last song he said, “I want to end with a song originally done by my idol – John Prine.” And he played “Illegal Smile”. And it was then that I knew I’d be buying a John Prine album.
As I mentioned earlier, I had heard of John Prine, but I had never heard him. And shame on me for that. I ended up buying his two disc anthology called “Great Days”, and it was a great day indeed. If these were considered the hits, I couldn’t wait to hear the stuff buried deeper in his studio albums. Over 25 years worth of albums. You see, when I discovered Todd Snider he only had one album out. Prine had an entire career behind him when I first heard him. And it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with him too.
I always say that Prine is a close second behind Todd. And that’s true. But it’s close. One of the things that separates Todd is that he is closer to my age so his songs are more relevant to me. Prine’s songs have staying power (Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore could have been written in 2001 instead of 1971), but pound for pound, song for song, Todd’s music has been more pertinent in my life. And Todd tours a lot more so I have been able to see him dozens of times. I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing Prine a few times.
So there you have it, me and the little dark monkey’s top 100 musical acts of all time. I can’t remember when we compiled the list but I already know a few newer bands who would crack the top 100 if we did it again right now. But that’s the way life goes, always in constant change.
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