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Back to the Country finds Johnny Shines, accompanied by Snooky Pryor, running through a selection of standards, many of which they had played in their prime. At the time they made Back to the Country, they were well into old age, and had suffered some losses. Shines, in particular, was hit hard by the ravages of old age, suffering a stroke in the late '80s. As a result, Shines couldn't play guitar for this session, so producer John Nicholas and Kent Du Chane pick up the slack. This doesn't really hurt the music, but it's disheartening and awkward to listen to the album knowing that Shines isn't able to perform. That said, there are some nice moments on the record -- Shines and Pryor have a nice rapport which shines through despite difficulties -- but overall, it's hard not to view this as a nostalgia exercise. ~ Thom Owens, Rovi