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One Red Rose

#86 / Video Extra
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The late John Prine’s “One Red Rose” is all about remembering.

Imagery in this beautiful song, Prine once said, came from a childhood memory of a time when he was nine years old and he and his family were visiting his cousin Charlie Bill back in Muhlenberg County, KY. “It was the back of a general store,” John said.

“There was a tin roof and a wonderful thunderstorm going on above and around us,” he recalled. “We were telling ghost stories and staying up late, and there was a curtain separating the bedroom from the mature adults' kitchen. Our light was off. Thus, the 'kitchen light fell asleep on the bedroom floor.’ ”

Ah, only Prine would write that line. We miss you, John.

Memories of Rog Samples Come in a Dream

Well, the song has a special memory for us too.

It’s interesting how sometimes a song can sleep in your psyche for years, all but forgotten, and then suddenly something brings it back into your thought, maybe something you see or something someone says or maybe even just a dream.

It was several decades ago that our old bandmate, the late Roger Samples, got enamored of “One Red Rose,” which he had just learned from Prine’s then-new 1980 “Storm Windows” album. The Eighties were a time of change for us. Rog was ending his time with The Flood, the band he had helped form nearly a decade earlier. That’s because he and his new wife Tammy and their young family would soon be moving from their native West Virginia to the green hills of Mount Sterling, Ky.

Consequently, The Flood never really worked out a full arrangement of the tune, and honestly the rest of us soon forgot it. Or we thought we had. But then a year or so ago, Charlie woke up grinning from a sound sleep because in a dream he thought he heard Roger singing that old song again. Here’s brief audio of Charlie relating that very story at a gig soon after that:

For Roger

Nowadays we do “One Red Rose” as a little three-minute reunion with our dear old friend.

Postscript: More Prine Tunes?

Want to hear more Flood renditions of John Prine songs? Gotcha covered! We recently released our special John Prine Memorial Show. Click the button below to check it out.

More John Prine, Please!

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The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch
Authors
Charles Bowen