|Studio album by John Prine|
|Recorded||Jack Clement’s Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa, and Jack’s Tracks, Nashville, TN|
|Genre||Folk, Alt-country, Americana|
|Producer||John Prine, Jim Rooney|
|John Prine chronology|
German Afternoons was Prine's second release on Oh Boy Records, the independent label he formed with his manager Al Bunetta, and delves further into the country-flavored sound established on his 1984 release Aimless Love. Like Aimless Love, German Afternoons was co-produced by Nashville veteran Jim Rooney but also features contributions from the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival as well as Marty Stuart, and this accounts for Prine's return to the folk-sound of his early albums on songs like "Lulu Walls" and "Paradise", the latter a rerecording of the self-penned classic which appeared on the singer's debut John Prine in 1971. The album was recorded in Nashville.
Perhaps the most significant song that appears on German Afternoons is "The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness", which became a concert staple and an instant classic for many Prine devotees. Writing in Great Days: The John Prine Anthology, critic David Fricke describes the song as "a hypnotic song of lovesick melancholia set to a simple, mid-tempo rhythm that sounded like the desolate ticking of a hall way clock." "Yeah, that came out all at once," Prine revealed to Paul Zollo of Bluerailroad. "From a broken relationship I was in. I could not understand what went wrong and I had to explain to myself, and I did it through this song. The next day I thought, Jesus, that’s beautiful. I didn’t recognize it at the time, it was just pouring out of me."
In the Great Days anthology, Prine revealed that "Bad Boy" had been inspired by Merle Haggard and that it was "a really proud song about guilt. 'I'm proud to be guilty, I've been a bad boy again.' Around that time, I fell under the spell of Merle Haggard's songwriting. There was a period there when he just seemed to be churning out some really great stuff. He was bringing out great albums every six or eight months, and I considered "Bad Boy" sort of in the vein of what he was doing." Prine added that Willie Nelson had told him he wanted to cut "Linda Goes To Mars" ("I just can't imagine him doing it, although I bet it would be good," Prine wrote).
"I Just Want To Dance with You", co-written by Prine and Roger Cook, was released in April 1998 by American country singer George Strait as the first single to his album One Step At A Time and became his 34th Number One single on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart. It was also a hit for Daniel O'Donnell in 1992, reaching 20 in the UK charts.
The novelty song "Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian" was rerecorded and released as a single in 1987.
|Robert Christgau||(B+) |
German Afternoons received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Writing for Allmusic, critic Jim Smith says of the album, "...this is a sleepy-town stroll, featuring snappy accompaniment by the New Grass Revival." Music critic Robert Christgau wrote, "...this relaxed, confident album is where Prine comes out and admits he's a folkie...The songs are straightforward and homemade..."
- "Lulu Walls" – 2:37
- "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" – 3:29
- "Out of Love" – 3:17
- "Sailin' Around" – 3:25
- "If She Were You" – 3:35
- "Linda Goes to Mars" – 3:06
- "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian" (CD version only) – 3:13
- "I Just Want to Dance with You" – 3:28
- "Love, Love, Love" – 3:00
- "Bad Boy" – 3:28
- "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me" – 3:07
- "Paradise" – 3:28
- John Prine – vocals, guitar
- Sam Bush – mandolin
- Philip Donnelly – guitar
- Stuart Duncan – fiddle
- Roy Huskey, Jr. – bass
- Alan O'Bryant – vocals
- Jim Rooney – guitar