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John Prine and Mac Wiseman - Standard Songs For Average People
Review By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Oh Boy Records, which released John Prine's last very successful disc, Fair And Square selling a million discs, is releasing this collaboration titled Standard Songs For Average People at the end of the month.

This disc has a real old time feel and Mac Wiseman and Prine sound great together, though they just met. Meant to sound like a warm LP, it totally works. They play around with digital quality and analog sound and get a real warm disc. Their acoustic guitars blend well together along with the other musicians on the disc. 

Picking covers from the fifties, the time when Patsy Cline and her contemporaries ruled, these guys have a lot of respect for each other. Wiseman comes from a bluegrass background and is considered a legend. Others had ideas of getting these two together before.

I like "Saginaw Michigan", (Lefty Frizzell), and Kris Kristofferson's "Just the Other Side Of Nowhere" the best, it is a relaxing listen. On the other hand, this kinda doesn't work for me because Prine is a singer-songwriter. His last CD had some great intuitive original songs. Prine singing old covers with Mac Wiseman is more for retro country fans than your typical Prine record, though it is brilliant.

Which brings me to another topic concerning an article about the alarming drop in CD sales the first quarter of this year. John Prine was with a major label most of his career. Now, he is on a smaller label , making more money, though not getting the exposure, cause he doesn't need it. Other artists are doing this too. Tammy Cochran's last CD was done on Straybranch Records, an indie CD. She got started with two major label discs. 

When Billboard and sound scan do their CD sales, these indies are not in the picture. They are concerned about the ever merging downsizing big labels like Sony, MCA , Universal, Mercury and so on. 

So, are people buying twenty percent less CDs, well probably not, except on the major label picture. I was talking to a record store manager recently and he said the first part of this year has been horrible and he gives a lot of the problem to no really good music and I agree. BUT, if you have small indie labels like Sugar Hill, Rounder and on and on who can make what I call the big label sound, there is plenty of good music being distributed and it gives the indie artist a better shot at being discovered. Most bands and labels today have their own studios. Big Nashville studios sit empty because of lack of need.

With the rise of the CD , digital music and the ease of digital recording, it has drastically changed the picture of music. People also can legally or otherwise download songs from the Internet and burn their own CDs. Record stores have Listen and Burn centers where you can make your own CD with the selection of songs that you want and they will burn it with artwork for you right there in the store, I'm thinking of FYE. 

So, right now, there are more CDs around than ever, probably too many. Honestly, lots of times, smaller labels make better sounding CDs than major labels. Well, enough of this, but I think you get the gist. Digital recording opened a can of worms that Major labels were not ready for. And digital recording is still evolving. But the proof is in the pudding. Prine and Wiseman have made a 14 song CD that sounds great on a very small label.

Imprint- Oh Boy Records 
Release Date - April 24, 2007

1. Blue Eyed Elaine 
2. Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Age 
3. I Forgot To Remember To Forget 
4. I Love You Because 
5. Pistol Packin' Mama 
6. Saginaw Michigan
7. Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine 
8. Old Cape Cod 
9. Death Of Floyd Collins 
10. The Blue Side Of Lonesome 
11. In The Garden 
12. Just The Other Side Of Nowhere 
13. Old Rugged Cross 
14. Where The Blue Of The Night 

Related Links:
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