Sign up for newsletter

John Prine

Fair and Square – 2005 (Oh Boy)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

Find it on Amazon

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by John Prine

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.