John Prine - Fair and Square
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Fair and Square (Oh Boy, 2005)

John Prine

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

John Prine's first album of new original songs in nine years has a mostly folk sound, full of acoustic guitars with the occasional accordion and harmonica thrown in. "Morning Train" is a sultry song with an organ, low steel guitar, and fantastic background vocals from Mindy Smith. Overall, the songs are good, but not great - many of the lyrics are mundane, although there are some creative highlights.

"She Is My Everything," a sweet love featuring the line, "If I get lost you can always find her standing right beside me in the rain," is a standout. Lest the song get too sentimental, Prine also manages to rhyme "everybody" with "Maserati" and throws in a line about his love's Eveready batteries. One of two bonus tracks is a live rendition of "The Other Side of Town," a hilarious song about a guy who manages to achieve a Zen-like state of detachment when his wife is on his case. "My body's in this room with you just catchin' hell, but my soul is drinking beer down the road a spell," Prine sings, with a hint of laughter in his voice.

"Fair and Square" might not measure up to the high hopes of Prine's longtime fans who have waited nearly a decade for this release, but it's an enjoyable collection of songs nonetheless.


CDs by John Prine

The Tree of Forgiveness, 2018 For Better, Or Worse, 2016 In Person & On Stage, 2010 Fair and Square, 2005


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