NPR logo First Listen: Kris Kristofferson, 'Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends'

First Listen: Kris Kristofferson, 'Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends'

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Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson.

Colin McRae

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." That line, from "Me and Bobby McGee," is so beautifully written, it makes listeners appreciate the songwriter as much as the performer. The song may have served as Janis Joplin's bittersweet farewell, but it also provides an introduction to the tremendous songwriting skills of Kris Kristofferson.

A prematurely world-weary former military captain, Kristofferson would eventually become a familiar voice and face through his music and his steady film work. But Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends compiles the previously unreleased late-'60s and early-'70s demos he recorded before anyone knew who he was. Its songs include early versions of "Me and Bobby McGee," "Come Sundown" and "Just the Other Side of Nowhere." These are iconic songs in their infancy, recorded by the writer as a sketch pad for other performers who would fill in the colors with vocal technique, orchestrations and the subtle shading of their own life experiences.

The album, heard here in its entirety until its release on May 4, provides a fascinating look back, as well as a reminder of why Kristofferson's songs have been performed by so many musicians. Please leave your thoughts on Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends in the comments section below.



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