John Prine + The Best Of
  1. Sam Stone

    Sam Stone came home,
    To his wife and family
    After serving 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.
    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 stealing
    When he got that empty feeling
    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...

    (Repeat Chorus)
    Sam Stone was alone
    When he popped his last balloon
    Climbing 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 nothing 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.
    (Repeat Chorus)
  2. Saddle in the Rain

    I wish, I hope, I wonder
    Where you're at sometimes
    Is your back against the wall?
    Or just across the line
    Have you been standing in the rain
    Reciting nursery rhymes?
    Trying to recall
    Some long lost kind of peace of mind
    Peace of mind
    Try spending the night sometime
    All alone in a frozen room
    Afterneath you've lain
    Your Saddle in the rain
    I dreamed they locked God up
    Down in my basement
    And he waited there for me
    To have this accident
    So he could drink my wine
    And eat me like a sacrament
    And I just stood there like I do
    Then I came and went
    I came and went
    Like a bird in a foreign sky
    Couldn't even say good bye
    Or come and share the pain
    My Saddle's in the rain
    I saw a friend who doesn't know
    If I'm his friend just yet
    His eyes and mouth were widely open
    And his jaw was set
    Like he'd fell off a cliff
    And hadn't hit the bottom yet
    I wish he wouldn't pull those things on me
    Without a net
    Without a net
    I had him up to the house one time
    And we was having a real good time
    Then he went and lain
    His Saddle in the rain
    In a laundromat not too far
    From the Alamo
    Sits a girl who stole my records
    Very long ago
    And she wishes, wants and washes
    Out those dirty clothes
    As she shuts her eyes and dreams
    About her one eyed Joe
    One eyed Joe
    Car parked on a dirty road
    Heaven knows the load she pulled
    Couldn't take the strain
    A Saddle in the rain
  3. Please Don't Bury Me

    Woke up this morning
    Put on my slippers
    Walked in the kitchen and died
    And oh what a feeling!
    When my soul
    Went thru the ceiling
    And on up into heaven I did ride
    When I got there they did say
    John, it happened this way
    You slipped upon the floor
    And hit your head
    And all the angels say
    Just before you passed away
    These were the very last words
    That you said:
    Please don't bury me
    Down in that cold cold ground
    No, I'd druther have "em" cut me up
    And pass me all around
    Throw my brain in a hurricane
    And the blind can have my eyes
    And the deaf can take both of my ears
    If they don't mind the size
    Give my stomach to Milwaukee
    If they run out of beer
    Put my socks in a cedar box
    Just get "em" out of here
    Venus de Milo can have my arms
    Look out! I've got your nose
    Sell my heart to the junkman
    And give my love to Rose
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Give my feet to the footloose
    Careless, fancy free
    Give my knees to the needy
    Don't pull that stuff on me
    Hand me down my walking cane
    It's a sin to tell a lie
    Send my mouth way down south
    And kiss my ass goodbye
    (Repeat Chorus)
  4. The Great Compromise

    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
    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)
  5. Grandpa Was a Carpenter

    Grandpa wore his suit to dinner
    Nearly every day
    No particular reason
    He just dressed that way
    Brown necktie and a matching vest
    And both his wingtip shoes
    He built a closet on our back porch
    And put a penny in a burned out fuse.

    Grandpa was a carpenter
    He built houses stores and banks
    Chain smoked Camel cigarettes
    And hammered nails in planks
    He was level on the level
    And shaved even every door
    And voted for Eisenhower
    'Cause Lincoln won the war.
    Well, he used to sing me
    "Blood on the Saddle"
    And rock me on his knee
    And let me listen to radio
    Before we got TV
    Well, he'd drive to church on Sunday
    And take me with him too!
    Stained glass in every window
    Hearing aids in every pew.
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Now my grandma was a teacher
    Went to school in Bowling Green
    Traded in a milking cow
    For a Singer sewing machine
    She called her husband "Mister"
    And walked real tall and pride
    And used to buy me comic books
    After grandpa died.
    (Repeat Chorus)
  6. Donald and Lydia

    Small town, bright lights, Saturday night,
    Pinballs and pool halls flashing their lights.
    Making change behind the counter in a penny arcade
    Sat the fat girl daughter of Virginia and Ray
    Lydia hid her thoughts like a cat
    Behind her small eyes sunk deep in her fat.
    She read romance magazines up in her room
    And felt just like Sunday on Saturday afternoon.
    But dreaming just comes natural
    Like the first breath from a baby,
    Like sunshine feeding daisies,
    Like the love hidden deep in your heart.
    Bunk beds, shaved heads, Saturday night,
    A warehouse of strangers with sixty watt lights.
    Staring through the ceiling, just wanting to be
    Lay one of too many, a young PFC:
    There were spaces between Donald and whatever he said.
    Strangers had forced him to live in his head.
    He envisioned the details of romantic scenes
    After midnight in the stillness of the barracks latrine.
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Hot love, cold love, no love at all.
    A portrait of guilt is hung on the wall.
    Nothing is wrong, nothing is right.
    Donald and Lydia made love that night.
    The made love in the mountains, they made love in the streams,
    They made love in the valleys, they made love in their dreams.
    But when they were finished there was nothing to say,
    'Cause mostly they made love from ten miles away.
    (Repeat Chorus)
  7. 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

    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

    Last Chorus:
    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
  8. Sweet Revenge

    I got kicked off Noah's Ark
    I turn my cheek to unkind remarks
    There was two of everything
    But one of me
    And when the rains came tumbling down
    I held my breath and I stood my ground
    And I watched that ship go sailing
    Out to sea.
    Take it back
    Take it back
    Oh no, you can't say that
    All of my friends
    Are not dead or in jail
    Through rock and through stone
    The black wind still moans
    Sweet revenge
    Sweet revenge
    Without fail.
    I caught an aisle seat on a plane
    And drove an English teacher half insane
    Making up jokes about bicycle spokes
    And red balloons
    So I called up my local deejay
    And he didn't have a lot to say
    But the radio
    Has learned all of my favorite tunes.
    (Repeat Chorus)
    The white meat is on the run
    And the dark meat is far too done
    And the milkman left me a note yesterday
    Get out of this town by noon
    You're coming on way too soon
    And besides that
    We never liked you any way.
    (Repeat Chorus)
  9. Dear Abby

    Dear Abby, Dear Abby ...
    My feet are too long
    My hair's falling out and my rights are all wrong
    My friends they all tell me that I've no friends at all
    Won't you write me a letter, Won't you give me a call
         Signed Bewildered
    Bewildered, Bewildered...
    You have no complaint
    You are what your are and you ain't what you ain't
    So listen up Buster, and listen up good
    Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood
    Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
    My fountain pen leaks
    My wife hollers at me and my kids are all freaks
    Every side I get up on is the wrong side of bed
    If it weren't so expensive I'd wish I were dead
      Signed Unhappy
    Unhappy, Unhappy...
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
    You won't believe this
    But my stomach makes noises whenever I kiss
    My girlfriend tells me It's all in my head
    But my stomach tells me to write you instead
      Signed Noise-maker
    Noise-maker, Noise-maker
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
    Well I never thought
    That me and my girlfriend would ever get caught
    We were sitting in the back seat just shooting the breeze
    With her hair up in curlers and her pants to her knees
       Signed Just Married
    Just Married, Just Married...
    (Repeat Chorus)
  10. 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
    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)
  11. Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard

    The last time that I saw her
    She was standing in the rain
    With her overcoat under her arm
    Leaning on a horsehead cane
    She said "Carl, take all the money"
    She called everybody Carl
    "My spirit's broke"
    "My mind's a joke,"
    "And getting up's real hard"
    Don't you know her
    When you see her?
    She grew up
    In your back yard
    Come back to us
    Barbara Lewis
    Hare Krishna
    Selling bibles at the airports
    Buying Quaaludes on the phone
    Hey, you talk about
    A paper route
    She's a shut in without a home
    God save her, please
    She's nailed her knees
    To some drugstore parking lot
    Hey, Mr. Brown
    Turn the volume down
    I believe this evening's shot
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Can't you picture her next Thursday?
    Can you picture her at all?
    In the Hotel Boulderado
    At the dark end of the hall
    I gotta shake myself and wonder
    Why she even bothers me
    For if heartaches were commercials
    We'd all be on T.V.
    (Repeat Chorus)
  12. 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.

    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."