From The Vault Part 6: John Denver’s Greatest Hits 1969-1973

johndenverI’m gonna try something different here with this one. I don’t have a long winded story for this one, but I really want to write something about it. This is one that my hilarious father sent me for my birthday a few years ago amongst a a great collection of other albums and books he knew I would love, and I did. But, this one was actually a bit confusing. I can definitely say I have never been a big fan of the guy, but I honestly haven’t really listened to the guy. I still have only heard of 3 of the songs on this album. But, as a testament to my awesome Dad, I thought I would throw this one in the Vault series.

So this is how this will work, I am going to listen to this album straight through, and share my thoughts, in real time. I actually pride myself in the ability to type pretty damn fast, which is probably a weird thing to get cocky about, right? Anyway, we’re gonna try it out. The goal here is not to cram as many words into 3 1/2 minutes or so, but to just express what the song means to be at this very moment. I will probably write less for the songs I haven’t ever heard, as I want to give a legitimate listened to them. And shit, you will have no way to verify that I actually did this, but I will know, and hopefully you will all believe me, and even want to read the work of somebody speed writing about the songs of John Denver. And if you really want to get into it, pay the album along while you read it! You know you have it! And if you don’t, head to your local record shop and spend the 34 cents to play along!

P.S. Wasn’t I just writing about gangster rap the other day? This shit is going off the rails. But, I digress. Here we go……


Track 1 – “Take Me Home Country Roads”

So this is one of the one’s I definitely know. And I have to say, I find nothing wrong with this. It’s that sort of old school country and western music that I can get down with. I love the group ¬†Alabama, and this seems right out of their songbooks. Is he saying “stranger to blue waters”, and does this and and is everything he says after saying that this chick doesn’t know how to bathe herself properly? That’s a memorable thing I guess. I like when he belts out Yesterday once again, just to clarify when he should have been there. Oh snap, it’s about West Virginia, this changes everything. But in the end, John Denver has to be the most sane thing to ever come out of that crazy ass state. I wonder what Jesco White has been doing?


Track 2 – “Follow Me”

I do know this one, I thought it was an Eagles song. That’s not a compliment, but let’s have a listen. This sounds like a Shel Silverstein poem. I feel like this would be a great karaoke song for people who can’t quite remember lyrics and their little boombox thing is broken because they are definitely singing it alone in their one bedroom apartment. It’s about as simple as it gets. That violin is kicking, though. Who is doing that? Is this from a children’s album? Alright, I’m gonna say it, I’m about 1 1/2 minutes in and I dreading the next 1 1/2 minutes to follow. Next….


Track 3 – “Starwood In Aspen”

Oh we got some yodeling going on! I’m sort of digging this one. Seems like the scaled down version of “Rocky Mountain High”. I would also dare say that Colorado is better than L.A. in it’s own right. I’m three songs in and I am still getting confused about whether he is talking about mountains or actual women. Is that the point? Is the earth like a beautiful woman? I have a feeling John might have been hitting the bottle a bit when this was recorded. No real justification for that. But, I can’t deny, this isn’t a bad one. I’ve never been to Aspen.


Track 4 – “For Baby (For Bobbie)”

Reminiscent of Peter Paul & Mary or something. Who is Bobbie? This is definitely happy as fuck sounding. Jesus, it is so HAPPY. It’s actually pretty hard to hate. He really loves this Bobbie guy/girl. John Denver could definitely compliment the hell out of a person! Okay, I think I got it, it’s a child, right? Is it his kid? Bob Denver? REALLY? Please tell me he named his kid Bob Denver! That would be amazing!


Track 5 – “Rhymes & Reasons”

Oh shit, wait a minute. This is different. Did he write this one? There is a bit of intelligence to this one that I haven’t heard yet. Of course there are mountains and rainbows and shit, but I’m still okay with it. I bet this is about as Emo as John Denver ever got in his life. I feel like there is a real message here, but then comes the children & flowers. Was John Denver considered a hippy? I really should have researched this better.


Track 6 – “Leaving On A Jet Plane”

I know this argument has been brought up before somewhere, but why the hell didn’t they teach the astronauts how to drill and send them to space, instead of what they actually did. It definitely seems more logical, right? I mean, I sort of get it. I’m not going to complain too much, I mean, animal crackers are now super sexy. Definitely one of the Top 2 films about meteors to be released in 1998. Steve Buscemi was always hilarious as usual. Bruce made a huge sacrifice for Steven Tyler’s kid. Wait, what just happened?


Track 7 – “The Eagle And The Hawk”

Finally some animals in here! We’ve had the mountains and trees and stuff. Wait he’s not jumping into it. That’s some angry guitar there John. Why are you yelling? What is happening! I feel like that Spongebob meme right now. Were they doing peyote when they recorded this? It sort of sounds like that crazy song John C. Reilly made in Walk Hard during his drug crazed Beatles phase. Jesus!


Track 8 – “Sunshine On My Shoulders”

Where the hell have I heard the line “Mr. Sunshine On My God Damned Shoulds John Denver”! Was it Denis Leary? Anyway, this song should be the catalyst for calling anything “Denver-esque”, if that term has ever been used. I wonder if he wrote this song in his head wile he was flying a plane. Damn this is a long one, too

Note: It was Farva from Super Troopers who said it. But, Denis Leary said mean things too.

Track 9 – “Goodbye Again”

Oh now, this may actually be the most Emo John Denver we’ve heard. Why do I instantly envision him wearing a polo shirt while he is writing this? It just has to be. Lacoste. I met he wrote this angry as fuck, too. But, not that angry, most likely. I bet he had clean socks on though. Who is this song about? This is like the white guy version of 2pac’s “Run Tha Streets”, haha. Seriously, listen to both of them back to back, and I think you’ll get it.


Track 10 – “Poems, Prayers And Promises”

This seems pretty personal. Pretty chill track actually. I love how the term “old lady” was an actual endearing thing to call your wife back in the day. This song was definitely written next to a crackling fire in a lodge. With several pauses for self reflection happening in the process. Oh shit! There’s some pot smoking lyrics in there! Or was it peyote? And then they recorded that other song.


Track 11 – “Rocky Mountain High”

Alright, alright. All jokes aside, this isn’t a bad song. It’s probably the most notable John Denver song there is, so it’s pretty easy to make fun of it. But, honestly, this is a good bit of story telling. Van Morrison could have written this exact same song, and you hipster fucks would have said it was “amazeballs” or whatever kids are saying these days. I like the double layered lyrics. Dammit, I like this song a lot. Definitely the best on this collection. John loved his motherfucking mountains, and there was nothing you could do about it! Rain fire on that sky, John!



Track 12 – “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado”

Alright, might as well start out with the exact title in the lyrics. This sounds like he is singing about himself living in New York rolling blunts with Simon and/or Garfunkel, right? Or maybe it is about Neil Cassidy? I don’t know, but this is a pretty sweet tune. Very simple, cute little track. I can dig it. Terrible ending though. We already got that John.


Track 13 – “Daydream”

Oh Jesus, really? No, this just won’t do. I’m glad they didn’t close with this one. I can only imagine him screaming these words at a frightened young hippy chick. She would also probably be in Colorado instead of getting screamed at by raspy John Denver.


Track 14 – “Friends With You”

Okay, not so bad. This could be a good closer. Yeah, not too bad. Little guitar breakdown there, nice. Oh shit, it just became an anthem! And brought back down abruptly, okay, I can do this. Alright, bringing back the anthem sound to bring it on home, and the let it fizzle on out with some harmonica. Yeah, I like this one. This sounds like a happy go lucky song to play at a funeral.


Well there you have it folks! 49 minutes of speed writing about the songs of John Denver. You can all go home now, we’ve thought of everything!



About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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