Picks and Pans Review: German Afternoons

updated 08/04/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

John Prine

True, this is probably the worst album title in pop music history. But Prine, the '70s folkie who hasn't recorded on a major label in six years, makes up for it with 11 affable, lively tunes that are full of tradition yet never sound dated. Singing in his familiar, slightly nasal tones—he sounds like Bob Dylan with voice lessons—Prine, born in 1946, comes across a little wise and very musical. He picks up a couple of old tunes, Leon Payne's They'll Never Take Her Love From Me and a 1929 song by country pioneer A.P Carter, Lulu Walls: "I asked her if she'd wed me in the fall,/But she only turned away/And nothing would she say/That aggravating beauty Lulu Walls." The rest of the songs were at least co-written by Prine, and they're consistently bright, although his 1971 anti-strip-mining tune, Paradise, seems dated. The album title, he says, refers to the kind of afternoon where someone meets a friend at lunch, and they end up buying beers for each other. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't; still anything, even Bulgarian Evenings, would have been a better title. (Oh Boy Records, P.O. Box 36099, Los Angeles, CA 90036, $10 postpaid)

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