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Dixie Chicks MP3 Files

A service of The Unofficial All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page

If you haven't visited The All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page, you may have not even known that the Dixie Chicks existed prior to their first major-label release, Wide Open Spaces. Once you learn about the history behind Country's hottest and freshest band, you may be very interested in hearing their prior releases.

[Original Chicks, 29K JPEG, CD back cover]
Robin, Emily, Laura, and Martie, from the CD Little Ol' Cowgirl
Unfortunately, these albums are not even available as 30-second sound samples at CDnow! The original label, Crystal Clear Sound, sold out their entire stock of 90,000 copies of the three releases and does not own the rights to make more.

As a service to Dixie Chicks fans everywhere, this site originally featured sound samples from the out-of-print releases. In fact, I even decided to include a full-length cut of the only Dixie Chicks track to get some semblance of mainstream airplay: "She'll Find Better Things To Do" from Little Ol' Cowgirl. That was a mistake! It caught the attention of the Dixie Chicks' lawyers, who bestowed upon me a Cease And Desist letter -- that story is told in detail in my Cease And Desist section. The samples came down.

They're back!

It was not appropriate to include a full-length track without permission -- that is a clear violation of the so-called "Fair Use" doctrine of US copyright law. However, like a music critic or university researcher, I do have a right under the law to provide short samples in the context of my review of the artist's work. To prevent trouble, I've implemented the following safeguards:

  1. Short Samples: My samples will only be 30 seconds or so in length. Full-length versions will not be provided -- either on this site or by any other means.
  2. Lower Quality Samples: While it is possible to create near-CD-quality samples using the .mp3 format, I have purposely chosen to use a lower bitrate setting. This will allow the listener to appreciate the Dixie Chicks' musical history without compromising their desire to search out and find the real thing.
  3. A Short Intro: Each sound sample will be prefaced by the drumroll.wav sound that comes with Microsoft Office 97. It's short, but it should suffice to keep the samples from being peformed in public. If Bill Gates would like to send me a Cease and Desist letter over drumroll.wav, I'll add it to my collection.

Important disclaimers!

The .mp3 files on this site are not authorized for distribution by the Dixie Chicks or any of their members, past or present. They are included here solely as a service to those who would like to know more about the history of a group of talented individuals whose impact on mainstream country music is only now being felt. They are posted here under the Fair Use doctrines of US copyright law, which allows their use in the context of a review of the artist's work.

For more information about the .mp3 format and the legal and ethical issues surrounding it's use -- and for .mp3 players -- visit http://www.mp3.com/

Sound Samples and Track-By-Track Notes

Special Treats!

Interested in cuts that didn't make the albums -- or other recordings by the Dixie Chicks and related artists like the
Domestic Science Club? Then visit the Special Treats page! But you'd better get there before the lawyers do...

And for something completely different... I've added sound samples to my page dedicated to Emily's husband, Charlie Robison. A warning: his songs are not for the faint of heart (or mind).

Other Dixie Chicks Sound Sites

  • As mentioned above, CDnow has 30-second RealAudio clips of all the songs on the Chicks' first and third releases, as well as five samples from Wide Open Spaces. Why do I keep mentioning CDnow? Because they have great service and a commission program -- see my Discography Page for details.

  • Nici's Dixie Chicks Site has a nice samples page with 30-second RealAudio samples of all 12 songs on Wide Open Spaces. She also recorded the final 30 seconds of the Chicks' swingin' performance of Stand By Your Man at the Academy of Country Music Awards show -- the track that leads off Sony's new compilation, Tribute To Tradition. And to top it all off, she also has a RealAudio version of Til I See You Again!

    My only concern is that she doesn't link to the Summer Lights festival site (that's probably where the Til I See You Again clip originated), and I'd like to know how she created the Stand By Your Man audio file -- it's showing up all over lately. On the other hand, her Samples page is fast-loading without silly dancing speaker graphics...

  • Sony's Dixie Chicks page features a short, cute QuickTime movie, recorded before I Can Love You Better became the group's first hit.

    The Audio section features .aiff and .wav samples of three songs: I Can Love You Better, the title track Wide Open Spaces, and Once You've Loved Somebody. Interestingly, Sony sent the first batches of discs to record stores with a label saying, "Includes I Can Love You Better and Once You've Loved Somebody" -- they must have thought that these would be the first two or three singles off the CD. They were certainly surprised by the fan response to the album -- but fans who have followed the Dixie Chicks for years weren't surprised at all.

  • Billboard supplies a link from their Top Country Albums page to a samples page that includes .wav samples of three songs from Wide Open Spaces. This site also includes a feature that appears unique to previews.net, "The Full 3 Minute Music Preview (sm)," available in RealAudio or .mpg format. A smooth-voiced DJ takes you on a short tour of the disc.

Tech Notes

I've used a variety of tools to create the .mp3 files on this site. The number next to the track name above indicates which method was used. If you receive unusual sound results with your hardware, let me know and I'll see what I can do!
  1. Cdex, a freeware CD Ripper that seems to have trouble with certain tracks. Either it works or it doesn't. It also features import/export of .wav files, but something's not quite right (see #3 below). Note that new versions of this program are no longer able to create .mp3 files due to a dispute over the encoder.

  2. Windows 95 Sound Recorder, which can convert a .wav to a .mp3 with no trouble, as long as you manage to use the same or lower output sampling rate. You can't convert a "radio quality" sample to a "cd quality" sample -- you end up with something that sounds like you turned your radio's tuning knob a half turn too far! On the other hand, Microsoft chose not to make the maximum quality .mp3 settings available with this tool.

  3. EAC - Exact Audio Copy V0.7 beta, a cardware CD Ripper that creates a very clear .wav file for tracks that Cdex can't seem to read. On tracks marked '3a', I used the EAC 'remove glitches' function (although I can't tell the difference before and after). I used Win95 SndRec to convert the .wav to a .mp3 file, since Cdex didn't recognize the file as valid. Even with the loss of quality (due to SndRec's limitations), the sound seems ok -- and the file created is less than half the size! Any "hiss" was probably added by SndRec.

  4. EAC - Exact Audio Copy V0.85 beta, the latest version. With new hardware and the newest version of the software, I'm able to create even better samples than before! I'm still running the .wav files through Windows' SndRec -- now the WinNT version -- for the conversion to .mp3 format.
For a small, free player, I recommend the NAD player. It's a 117k download, takes up less than 400k when installed, starts quickly, and doesn't waste time or space with flashy graphics (although its colors aren't quite right in 256 color mode). The homepage URL appears to be a bit flaky, but the player is available at download.com (if that link doesn't work, start at the download.com home and search for "nad")

Oh, yeah, I guess I should mention that Microsoft's Media Player will also play .mp3 files. Lots more features, but the download is huge! It begs the question, "Where do you want to spend all day?"

I found all these and much more at http://www.mp3.com/, where you can find handy comparative lists of the latest Rippers, Players, and other wares/warez.

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Last update: 09/07/1999 by Robert Brooks
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