For Better, or Worse

For Better, or Worse

by John PrineJohn Prine


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In 1999, John Prine released a thoroughly charming and engaging album called In Spite of Ourselves, in which he covered a handful of classic country tunes (tossing in one new original for good measure) as duets with nine talented female vocalists. Prine has given the same approach another try 17 years later, and though For Better, or Worse isn't quite as good as his first go-round with this concept, it's still a fine collection of songs from a man who knows a bit about crafting a tune. The greatest strength of For Better, or Worse is also one of its weaknesses -- Prine himself. Prine was nearly 70 when he recorded this album, and his voice has grown worse for wear (his battle with throat cancer in the '90s and a more recent brush with lung cancer haven't helped). But if he sounds his age on these tracks, he also spins that to his advantage; on numbers like "Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out," "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke," and "I'm Telling You," he sounds like an wily old rascal who's seen it all and has plenty to tell. Prine's female co-stars are all in better shape than he is in terms of their instruments, and across the board they sound happy and honored to be working with the great man. Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack, Kacey Musgraves, Susan Tedeschi, Miranda Lambert, and Kathy Mattea all bring their A game to these sessions, and help to give Prine a boost when he needs it. Of course, the best tracks are the ones where Prine teams up with Iris DeMent; the two singers have long shown they're simpatico, and hearing them together on "Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out" and "Mr. & Mrs. Used to Be" is a delight. Add in a studio band that delivers the classic Nashville honky tonk sound these songs demand, and a closing solo performance of "Just Waitin'," where Prine makes Luke the Drifter's lyrics sound like something he could have written himself, and you get a fine latter-day album from a seminal artist. It's still troubling that one of America's best songwriters seems to have lost the desire to pen new material, but For Better, or Worse shows John Prine hasn't lost his spirit as a performer.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/30/2016
Label: Oh Boy
UPC: 0696859970207
catalogNumber: 44
Rank: 6561


  1. Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out
  2. Storms Never Last
  3. Falling in Love Again
  4. Color of the Blues
  5. I'm Telling You
  6. Remember Me
  7. Look at Us
  8. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
  9. Fifteen Years Ago
  10. Cold Cold Heart
  11. Dreaming My Dreams
  12. Mental Cruelty
  13. Mr. & Mrs. Used to Be
  14. My Happiness
  15. Just Waitin'

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Prine   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Kathy Mattea   Vocals
Iris DeMent   Vocals
Pat McLaughlin   Mandolin
Mark Howard   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin
Tim O'Brien   Fiddle,Mandolin
Perkins   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Pete Wasner   Piano
Lee Ann Womack   Vocals
Jason Wilber   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson   Harmonica
Susan Tedeschi   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Kenneth Blevins   Drums
Shad Cobb   Fiddle
Fiona Prine   Vocals
Holly Williams   Vocals
Miranda Lambert   Vocals
Kacey Musgraves   Vocals
Amanda Shires   Vocals
Dave Jacques   Upright Bass
Morgane Stapleton   Vocals

Technical Credits

Larry Davis   Composer
George Jones   Composer
Ray Kennedy   Engineer
Joe Maphis   Composer
Buck Owens   Composer
Iris DeMent   Liner Notes
John Prine   Producer,Liner Notes
Johnny Tillotson   Composer
Rose Lee Maphis   Composer
Jim Rooney   Producer
Jessi Colter   Composer
Neal Cappellino   Engineer
Vince Gill   Composer
Allen Reynolds   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Bob Delevante   Layout
Lawton Williams   Composer
Teddy Wilburn   Composer
Jason Wilber   Executive Producer
Friedrich Hollaender   Composer
Sammy Lerner   Composer
Max T. Barnes   Composer
Borney Bergantine   Composer
Dixie Davis   Composer
Billy Hughes   Composer
Matt Allen   Engineer
Fiona Prine   Executive Producer
Betty Peterson   Composer
Raymond Smith   Composer
Joe Deaton   Composer
Scott Wiseman   Composer
Lucille Cosenza   Composer
Jody Whelan   Producer

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