Music

Hear John Prine’s Surprising Johnny Cash Cover

Johnny Cash’s upbeat “The Ways of a Woman in Love” takes on a completely different feel when re-imagined to suit the cracked voice of John Prine.

Recorded by Cash 60 years ago, the song ended up being his final Sun Records single. Its lyrics, co-written by Charlie Rich, tell the sort of tear-jerking story that’s long fueled great country songs. The original arrangement finds Cash and his band basking in the rockabilly bravado that marked his pre-Columbia Records years.

Under Prine’s watch, a story of teenage heartbreak grows up fast. Like Cash during his latter-day American Recordings period, the veteran folk singer sounds like someone who’s weathered the storms of life whenever he reshapes an established song.

Although the song lacks dark humor, its music video adds a surreal feel to Prine’s version. It shows director Joshua Britt’s 6-year-old son Colter wander a deary-looking Nashville with a box on his head. His headgear bears what young peers might call a sad emoji, establishing that there’s a love interest somewhere too occupied with a new flame to go out dancing with her friends. Perhaps it’s saying that the song’s protagonist feels like his never-ending sorrow might as well be a permanent facial feature.

READ MORE: The 10 Best John Prine Songs, Ranked

The song is part of Amazon’s multi-genre “Love Me” playlist. Other country artists cutting covers for the project include Marty Stuart, revisiting his take on Jimmy Martin’s “Homesick”, and Nikki Lane, tackling her singing and style inspiration Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love.”

“The Ways of a Woman in Love” Lyrics

You’ve cut out your dancing and you never see a show
Friends come by to pick you up and you hardly ever go
It seems your head is in the clouds above
You’ve got the ways of a woman in love

I walked by your house tonight and hoped that I might see
The guy who’s got you in the spin I wish that guy was me
I don’t know why it’s you I’m dreaming of
You’ve got the ways of a woman in love

Many is the night I’ve stayed awake and cried
Now you’ll never know how much you hurt my foolish pride
I recall your kisses the times I held you tight
Now when I come to see you you’re sitting in the light
Missing all the things that we dreamed of
You’ve got the ways of a woman in love

Many is the night I’ve stayed awake and cried
You’ve got the ways of a woman in love

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Hear John Prine’s Surprising Johnny Cash Cover