Kris Kristofferson

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Kris Kristofferson

Postby Jon » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:09 am

I'd like to hear folks' thoughts and recommendations on this fellow. Somehow I seem to be running across him a fair bit lately, whereas usually he's just out there, and I've know he was there, but I've never really taken a look.

Such a fascinating man in so many respects...this guy has been there and done that, and then some.

30+ years late, I heard his Sunday Morning Comin' Down on the latest KGSR cd and now I'm sort of interested. There's a couple others I certainly recognize, namely Me and Bobby McGee and Help Me Make it Through the Night

Lotsa things this guy has done...he's been a Golden Gloves boxer and a Rhodes Scholar, an army Captain, an actor...what a guy, eh?
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Postby Jon » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:19 am

Oop, I was also going to say...

Although I can't find anything online to substantiate that he was there, I know I saw him in 1986 at Farm Aid 2 in Austin, and I'm pretty sure he played a song called Aguila del Norte. I remember the word Nicaraqua being repeated in the lyrics.

I thought it was interesting because when I did a search for him here, I found the song Sandinista and looking around there's at least one more so it turns out he wrote at least a few songs about Nicaragua back then.

Well, blah blah...that's just my vantage point, I do wonder what other folks think about him.
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Postby ScottG » Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:55 am

Patty covered Sandinista with Charanga Cakewalk. It's very good.
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Re: Kris Kristofferson

Postby Rob » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:27 pm

Jon wrote:Lotsa things this guy has done...he's been a Golden Gloves boxer and a Rhodes Scholar, an army Captain, an actor...what a guy, eh?

Expanding on that, Jon, Kristofferson was an Army helicopter pilot who actually gave up a teaching position at West Point to move to Nashville and pursue a music career. When he got there, he swept floors at Columbia Studios on the night shift and was around when Dylan recorded Blonde on Blonde.

To get Johnny Cash's attention, he landed a helicopter on Cash's lawn to hand him some tapes. It worked.

His new album, This Old Road, which of I've heard some of, is supposed to be great. I've liked what I've heard.
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Postby TontoBronto » Tue May 12, 2009 4:34 am

I don't have much experience of Kris Kristofferson, but have recently wondered about his intellectual credentials after viewing the "Legends and Lyrics" show (with Patty in the middle).
KK sang "Best of All Possible Worlds", an allusion to Voltaire's satirical "Candide", and you'd kinda expect such references from a Rhodes Scholar (I think KK was a Yeats specialist in school).
But I don't think of Kris as particularly intellectual in his songwriting (not that there's anything wrong with that), but maybe it's my ignorance of his songs??
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Postby Arlene » Tue May 12, 2009 9:52 am

Tonto Yoder wrote:I don't have much experience of Kris Kristofferson, but have recently wondered about his intellectual credentials after viewing the "Legends and Lyrics" show (with Patty in the middle).
KK sang "Best of All Possible Worlds", an allusion to Voltaire's satirical "Candide", and you'd kinda expect such references from a Rhodes Scholar (I think KK was a Yeats specialist in school).
But I don't think of Kris as particularly intellectual in his songwriting (not that there's anything wrong with that), but maybe it's my ignorance of his songs??


Well, one of my favorite songs by him, Here Comes That Rainbow Again, is based on a scene from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath:

The scene was a small roadside cafe,
The waitress was sweeping the floor.
Two truck drivers drinking their coffee.
And two Okie kids by the door.
"How much are them candies?" they asked her.
"How much have you got?" she replied.
"We've only a penny between us."
"Them's two for a penny," she lied.

And the daylight grew heavy with thunder,
With the smell of the rain on the wind.
Ain't it just like a human.
Here comes that rainbow again.

One truck driver called to the waitress,
After the kids went outside.
"Them candies ain't two for a penny."
"So what's it to you?" she replied.
In silence they finished their coffee,
And got up and nodded goodbye.
She called: "Hey, you left too much money!"
"So what's it to you?" they replied.

And the daylight was heavy with thunder,
With the smell of the rain on the wind.
Ain't it just like a human.
Here comes that rainbow again.

To see and hear him perform this song, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YleF5tJuQ64
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Postby TontoBronto » Wed May 13, 2009 4:47 am

Arlene wrote:Well, one of my favorite songs by him, Here Comes That Rainbow Again, is based on a scene from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath:

The scene was a small roadside cafe,
The waitress was sweeping the floor.......

To see and hear him perform this song, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YleF5tJuQ64

I like that song too (it was included in the "Legends & Lyrics" show), but I don't think it's particularly literate or artistically creative lyrically (not that there's anything wrong with that).
As I recall, Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" shifted between chapters of pure narrative and of near poetic descriptions. It's those poetic descriptions that impress me the most.

Kristofferson's song seems inspired by the narrative aspect of Steinbeck, but it doesn't really take a Rhodes Scholar to turn narrative into a song???
Heck, even Springsteen turned Steinbeck's narrative into the "Ghost of Tom Jones".
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Postby Arlene » Wed May 13, 2009 7:48 am

Tonto Yoder wrote:
Arlene wrote:Well, one of my favorite songs by him, Here Comes That Rainbow Again, is based on a scene from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath:

The scene was a small roadside cafe,
The waitress was sweeping the floor.......

To see and hear him perform this song, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YleF5tJuQ64

I like that song too (it was included in the "Legends & Lyrics" show), but I don't think it's particularly literate.

Webster's definition of "literate":

1 a: educated, cultured b: able to read and write
2 a: versed in literature or creative writing : literary b: lucid, polished <a literate essay

John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Writing a song based on his greatest book which captures the essence of his narrative qualifies in my view as an example of "literate" songwriting. (And since when is narrative writing, by definition, a lesser form of literature than "poetry?") :wink: 8)
"You've got to sing like you don't need the money, love like you'll never get hurt. You've got to dance like no one is watching. It's gotta come from the heart, if you want it to work."
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"Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels." ~Molly Ivins

"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
~Tallulah Bankhead

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Postby TontoBronto » Wed May 13, 2009 4:20 pm

Arlene wrote:..... Writing a song based on his greatest book which captures the essence of his narrative qualifies in my view as an example of "literate" songwriting.....

Kristofferson only captures Steinbeck's essence if you see the latter as being simplistic.
It's true that much of "Grapes of Wrath" is simply stated, but not simplistic.
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Postby Arlene » Wed May 13, 2009 4:29 pm

Tonto Yoder wrote:
Arlene wrote:..... Writing a song based on his greatest book which captures the essence of his narrative qualifies in my view as an example of "literate" songwriting.....

Kristofferson only captures Steinbeck's essence if you see the latter as being simplistic.
It's true that much of "Grapes of Wrath" is simply stated, but not simplistic.

I would never confuse "simple" with "simplistic" and I would never label Kristofferson's work as "simplistic." :evil: :shock: (And don't make me bring in my big brother and sister-in-law, the literature/humanities professors )
"You've got to sing like you don't need the money, love like you'll never get hurt. You've got to dance like no one is watching. It's gotta come from the heart, if you want it to work."
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"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
~Tallulah Bankhead

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My Kris

Postby outta » Fri May 15, 2009 11:37 pm

That's how I have affectionately referred to him for years. Kris is my absolute favorite artist. The man is a genius and perhaps his greatest gift if his very own humility that trancends to his songwriting.

I've been way behind on catching up on threads, but this caught my eye (as did the Cat Stevens thread. I have more reading to do on that thread!).

Kris is a masterful writer whose lyrics are a combination of complex and clarity ... in a paradoxical kinda way. Until recent years, I think he's been one of the most underrated songwriters of our time. He didn't demand the spotlight -- intentionally or unintentionally -- and that spotlight took years to find him...one small dose at a time. What kills me is so many people don't know Kris for his songwriting, rather his acting, which is not his greater gift of the two.

I love the guy. In my book, he's the leader of the pack ... and then there's Todd and Patty. Not a bad book to be in. 8)
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Postby outta » Fri May 15, 2009 11:41 pm

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Re: My Kris

Postby Rob » Sun May 17, 2009 1:45 pm

outta wrote:Until recent years, I think he's been one of the most underrated songwriters of our time. He didn't demand the spotlight -- intentionally or unintentionally -- and that spotlight took years to find him...one small dose at a time. What kills me is so many people don't know Kris for his songwriting, rather his acting, which is not his greater gift of the two.

Definitely. I remember him in the rather dull (after all the hype) mini-series, Amerika. And MY GOD THEY KILLED HIM. :wink:

The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave Kris its Johnny Mercer Award in 2006. It's the one given to "giants among giants" in the songwriting world.
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Postby PCStuff » Wed May 20, 2009 10:37 am

My first introduction was seeing Kris in a live Vegas performance with The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson). Their CD's remain some of my favorites, but I consider Kristofferson's body of work as worthy of any awards he is given. He is the real deal.
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