In honor of John’s birthday this month (October 10th), Jack did an absolutely beautiful cover of “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)”. The song is from John’s 1978, fifth studio album Bruised Orange.
While the album as a whole is an absolutely stellar collection of songs, this one fits Jack’s vocals so well, and you can hear the passion in his voice when he sings it.
According to John, there’s actually a really sad, fascinating story behind it and how it came to be:
“The verses to this, at least the first one, was based on a true story. I was a pew duster in an Episcopal church, and in the winter time, I’d shovel the snow off the steps so nobody would fall and bust their ass and sue the church. And so I’d have to show up real early, and they’d also use me as an alter boy.
They had me baptized and confirmed in one day. Like they had the bishop express come in and, like I said, now you’re an alter boy. And, by the way, I payed for my first guitar doing this, being a pew duster.
And I was going there early one morning, it was a winter morning, to shovel the snow before the congregation came. And it was right by a park. There was a commuter train. And that time of the morning, early Sunday morning, all you would really see is newspaper boys and alter boys going to church to do the same thing I was gonna do.
You didn’t see much else going on, everything was still on a Sunday morning. Especially when there was a fresh snow. I was going there, and there was this commotion over by the train tracks.
And it was one of the kids at the Catholic church… who was going and taking his time and walking down the train tracks, his mind totally somewhere else. And a train came up behind him and hit him.
And by the time I got over there, of course the ambulance was there and stuff, there was a bunch of mothers who didn’t know where their kids where. And they hadn’t identified the kid yet. That stuck in my mind, so that’s what I wrote the verse about on this years later.”
“I seen, I was going over one Sunday morning And this kid who was going over to a Catholic church This altar boy, he got hit by a train He was just kind of screwing around, walking down the track Looking at his shoes and He got hit, he was a pretty bad mess”
It’s no easy task to cover John Prine, but Jack did him justice with this one:
Hear John tell the fascinating story of the song himself: