The 2007 Garrison Keillor CD Never Better Stories From Lake Wobegon set features 10 solid stories as aired on A Prairie Home Companion in 2005 and 2006. Over the last few years, though much less lately, I have been rather annoyed with Keillor using A Prairie Home Companion as his bully pulpit and sometimes carrying his political preaching into his stories but this is not the case here. Other fans have blushed a bit due to the occasional risqué, for Lake Wobegon that is, references, so there you go. Keillor has also been somewhat repetitive over the last three or four years. However, these are certainly two CDs of original stories -save one if you are a fanatic public radio listener-- anyone can fully enjoy.
Particularly excellent on this 2 Garrison Keillor CD set is the story Flying Elvises on the 4th of July. News From Lake Wobegon is usually at its most memorable around the holidays (4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas) and this particular story is certainly memorable. Also excellent is The March of the Turtles where migrating turtles interrupt and influence the life of Wobegonians. There are a lot of original bits here and on L'Amour a la Myrtle where one of the characters goes missing for a while. Traditionalists is the story of the Christmas Pageant, of people who want to change a few things about the holiday, and, strangely enough, those who change the most want the most tradition.
Tragedy of a Summer Day (CD 2) features a deaf and almost blind man mowing his lawn and painting his house the wrong colour, a dog sprayed by a skunk, tomato juice, and an old lady, and Mr. Hoppy recuperating from playing a clown for the kids. There are a few other mishaps, including the rather unoriginal prank the graduating students play on the school superintendent (this is a story element fans of Prairie Home Companion look forward to). It is a somewhat disorganized story but it is fun to listen to because of the many very original moments and nary a reference to Bruno the fishing dog.
Adversity, on CD 2 of Garrison Keillor's Stories From Lake Wobegon, is one of those smorgasbord stories about winter with the familiar tale of how winters were in Keillor's childhood. This is the only story most fans of A Prairie Home Companion will recognize many elements of (the remnants of the confederate army, lots of snow, sleigh ride to school, etc. Christmas 2006 is also a buffet of various short bits.
Another good story is Girl's Volleyball though it includes familiar stuff about lutefisk. This is one of the more touching stories on this Keillor CD.
One thing that does bother me about Garrison Keillor Never Better Stories From Lake Wobegon is the introduction to the stories was deleted. Somehow, it is not quite news from Lake Wobegon unless Garrison Keillor says "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my hometown". I guess this had to be done to fit 5 stories on each CD and was probably not an easy decision.
Never Better Stories From Lake Wobegon Track List:
L'Amour a la Myrtle
The March of the Turtles
Flying Elvises on the 4th of July
Traditionalists (Xmas Story)
The Little Girl and the Deadly Snake
Tragedy of a Summer Day
Other Garrison Keillor Reviews
The Christmas Companion With Garrison Keillor: 2 comedy CD set great stocking stuffer
The Adventures Of Guy Noir: Fans of Prairie Home Companion will certainly enjoy this two sketch comedy CD set
Local Man Moves To The City: different from what you are used to on the Prairie Home Companion show.
A Prairie Home Companion It's Only A Show: Prairie Home Companion compilation from HighBridge Audio,
Comedy Theater: For those who remember a kinder, gentler Prairie Home Companion
Gospel Birds: This Garrison Keillor CD is definitely better than what we have heard in the last couple of years or so as News From Lake Wobegone
Guy Noir Radio Private Eye: Radio Private Eye is only one of two Garrison Keillor CD collections of Guy Noir stories
More News From Lake Wobegon: the stories from More News From Lake Wobegon are funny
Dusty And Lefty The Lives Of The Cowboys: 6 complete stories on this 10-track cowboy comedy CD
Songs Of The Cat: Any cat lover must have this very funny Garrison Keillor CD
Mother, Father, Uncle, Aunt: 2 Garrison Keillor CD set from when Wobegon was not political.
WLT A Radio Romance: How often do you get to suggest to a novelist to stick to the news?
A Prairie Home Companion Commercial Radio: great compilation comedy CD of Prairie Home Companion commercials
A Prairie Home Companion 10th Anniversary: A less preachy time in Lake Wobegon history.
A Prairie Home Companion - The Movie: Decent movie version of Garrisson Keillor Lake Wobegone radio show
Lake Wobegon Loyalty Days: includes perhaps Garrison Keillor's best track ever: The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra.
Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel - Audio Book - Capsule Review: A bowling ball containing the ashes of a Lake Wobegon resident is scheduled to be dropped in the lake as another is having a wedding ceremony on it.
Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel - Audio Book Full Review: Better as an audiobook than as a paperback.
More News From Lake Wobegon - Hope: CD reissue of 1989 More News From Lake Wobegon set. A kindler, gentler time and stories
More News From Lake Wobegon - Faith: 4 News segments: Rotten Apples, O Death, The Wise Men, and A trip to Grand Rapids.
English Majors A comedy collection for the highly literate: Perfect gift for the college graduate and funny too.
A Prairie Home Companion - Duets: A who's who of music and the American songbook.
A Prairie Home Companion 4th Annual Farewell Performance: A 2 CD Prairie Home Companion set with more music and less talk.
A Prairie Home Companion 2nd Annual Farewell Performance: A few skits, lots of music including the Everly Brothers: a solid show
A Prairie Home Companion Final Performance: The first final performance. Good but not the best.
A Prairie Home Companion 3rd Annual Farewell Performance: Good stuff including a 2 part 40-minute News From Lake Wobegon
Tourists: Prairie Home Companion CD of esoteric music like klezmer, balalaika, and zydeco
Liberty - A Lake Wobegon Novel - Audio Book: One of the better Lake Wobegon novels, this Garrison Keillor audio book is darker and features some adult situations.
Lake Wobegon USA - Fertility: Prairie Home Companion CD reissue. Finally
Lake Wobegon USA - Patience: Features Aunt Ellie, Duke's 25th, and You're Not the Only One.
Lake Wobegon USA - Youth: Features Blue Devils, Nostalgia, O Christmas Tree, Pageant, and Messy Shoes
Lake Wobegon USA - Rhubarb: Includes Rhubarb, Yellow Ribbon, Sweet Corn, and The Sun's Gonna Shine Someday
Even More Pretty Good Jokes 2CD set: Best of the last 3 years of the Prairie Home Companion Joke Show
A Christmas Blizzard: A non-Lake Wobegon Christmas yarn is decent enough.
Prairie Home Comedy - Radio Songs & Sketches: Lots and lots of musical comedy plus some short skits.
Church People - The Lutherans of Lake Wobegon: Lots of Lutheran based humor the kids are not going to get.
Motherhood: Not quite as good as expected and very loosely about motherhood
Summer Love: A mostly musical record of the Prairie Home Companion 2010 tour in a country western vein.
My Little Town - Stories From Lake Wobegon: 3 CD set includes the story of the Inqvist s departure.