Revisiting John Prine's Last Moment on Record

When Swamp Dogg released his album Sorry You Couldn’t Make It last month, no one could have predicted that the record — which features John Prine on several songs — would be the last Prine recording to ever be released during the singer’s lifetime. The cult soul singer Swamp Dogg famously covered Prine’s “Sam Stone” in the early Seventies, introducing the song to a new audience, and the two had reconnected in recent years.

“Please Let Me Go Round Again,” the album’s final track, is a loving, oddball duet between the two old friends. It serves as a fitting farewell to the country-folk legend, who died Tuesday at the age of 73.  After the structure breaks down a few minutes in, the song finds its emotional core, with the duo trading off jokes and vamping over an organ riff as they laugh and mumble warm memories to each other. They enact the song’s pious plea of a refrain on record, stretching out the moment as long as possible. It’s as if they’ve embodied the first-person narration of a record on a turntable, begging to be spun around just one more time.

“Please let me go round again,” Prine sings in a near-whisper toward the end of the song. “Just one more chance,” he says. 

“You think that’s all you need, is one more?” Swamp Dogg asks his old friend. “I think so,” John replies. 

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