I first heard this piece on John Denver’s 1971 album, Aerie. It was not until much later that I discovered it was written by country folk singer John Prine. Prine’s music, especially his lyrics, are much like those of Kris Kristofferson’s – full of human emotion and empathy for the common man and woman with great musical tunes. Prine became the first singer/songwriter to read and perform at the Library of Congress.
His metaphorical lyrics in this song are not only clever but humorous as well, such as his reference to the bar room dancer trying to get the traveling soldier to take her with him – “I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve”. The song relates to a time when many draft-eligible men were fleeing to Canada and when living off of the land was more than just a pipe dream for the some in the hippie culture. It even references the “Jesus” movement that was growing amongst many disenchanted youth in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.
So click onto the video here and listen to this toe-tapping song that’ll take you back and make you smile.
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
Blow up your T.V. 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
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 T.V. 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
For those people who live in Baltimore, Saratoga and San Francisco California, here’s a list of play dates and venues there for the remainder of September that John will be singing at. I highly recommend you take in one of his concerts.