John Prine and Mac Wiseman: Standard Songs for Average People (Oh Boy)

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John Prine and Mac Wiseman: Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine
John Prine and Mac Wiseman: Standard Songs for Average People (Oh Boy)

Elsewhere has never pretended to be fashionable, and this one certainly ain't. Two salty old pals just a-sittin' and a-playin' a bunch of tunes from their back pages: Bob Wills' Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age; Charlie Feathers' I Forgot To Remember To Forget; Saginaw Michigan; Old Cape Cod; The Blue Side of Lonesome; Old Rugged Cross . . .

It doesn't come much more unfashionable -- or relaxed -- than this.

The songs are for the most part country standards of the old school, although Kris Kristofferson's Just the Other Side of Nowhere is a more recent song and gets a welcome airing here. Leon Payne's I Love You Because is the clue here: it is a hoary chestnut and dripping in cheap sentiment which these old boys milk for all its worth -- and they have the Carol Lee Singers to take it just that little bit closer to Doris Day and 50s schmaltz.

A lot of the songs are sentimental weepers (Tom T Hall's Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine, Payne's The Blue Side of Lonesome), but there is also Pistol Packin' Mama and a couple of others to bring a bit of sandpaper to the saccharine. But that said, this is so obvious, unashamed and good-willed that you can't help nod along to the pedal steel, tap your foot to mandolin and fiddle, and forgive their indulgence.

These guys have lived, survived and have won the right to be reflective, dew-eyed, and just a little crusty in the vocals.

Yep, very unfashionable.

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