Personnel: John Prine (vocals, acoustic guitar); Howie Epstein (various instruments, background vocals); Gary Nicholson (acoustic guitar); Waddy Wachtel (acoustic & electric guitars); Jay Dee Manness (pedal steel guitar); Phil Parlapiano (octave mandolin, accordion, harmonium, keyboards); John Hobbs (piano); Benmont Tench (piano, organ, keyboards); Bob Glaub (bass); Rock Deadrick (drums, percussion); Joe Romersa (drums, percussion, background vocals); Gary Riley (hurdy gurdy); Juliet Prayter, Vince Santoro (percussion); Vicky Levy, Johnnie Fiori, Sarah Taylor, Doug Hamblin, Carol Leffler, Pattie Brooks (background vocals).
Engineers: Joe Romersa, Micajah Ryan, Martin Horenburg.
Recorded at Huh Sound Theater, Los Angeles, California; Pacifique Recording Studios, North Hollywood, California.
LOST DOGS & MIXED BLESSINGS was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Veteran folksinger John Prine followed up his Grammy winning THE MISSING YEARS with the nearly-as-winning LOST DOGS AND MIXED BLESSINGS. Keeping Tom Petty and Heartbreakers' Howie Epstein in the producer's chair, Prine assembled a cast of similarly seasoned pros to lend a hand (fellow Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, Marianne Faithful, and Waddy Wachtel.) Perhaps bolstered by his recent commercial recognition, Prine beefed up the sound considerably with fuller band arrangements. While the augmented sound provides considerably more texture, the level of intimacy is somewhat diminished as a result.
Prine nonetheless comes up aces in more than a few places. The full-blown rock feel of "We Are The Lonely" chronicles the inherent lunacy of personal ads in a litany of absurd couplets. The album's crowning achievement is the stunning "Lake Marie," which features the most outwardly emotive vocals of his career. Besides, nobody else but Prine could use the chorus of "Louie Louie" as a metaphor for the dissolution of a relationship.
ReviewsSpin (8/95, p.95) - 6 - Reasonably Good - "...Prine...seems worried that the fate of the lonely oldtimers in his classic `Hello In There' is creeping up on him....[his] nursery-rhyme stream-of-consciousness seems not like a sideways engagement, but an evasion--he's the funny guy who can't stop spouting one-liners even as his...love is walking out the door..."