HighBridge Audio has reissued the Lake Wobegon USA set. The four CDs in this collection include Fertility, Youth, Patience, and Rhubarb. The series consists in recordings of the News From Lake Wobegon performed by Garrison Keillor in 1991 and 1992 during a Prairie Home Companion tour. The stories on Lake Wobegon USA – Fertility are The Krebsbach’s Vacation, Prophet, The Six Labors of Father Wilmer, and Fertility.

My favorite News From Lake Wobegon story on this CD and a favorite amongst all of Garrison Keillor’s tales is track 3, The Six Labors of Father Wilmer. A successor to autocratic Father Emil, Father Wilmer invited a bit more democracy within Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow church but this has led to installing mercury vapor lights in the sanctuary. Father Wilmer decides to turn them off but it proves to be more difficult than he thought it would be. Some might argue this story is a metaphor for getting to heaven, who knows?

Florian and Myrtle Krebsbach go to California in The Krebsbach’s Vacation, the first track on this Garrison Keillor CD. All this because Myrtle started an argument and Florian didn’t follow the usual dialogue for the argument. This is a fun tale of two old folks out of their element. The best moment is still Garrison Keillor’s recreations of the conversations between Florian and Myrtle.

Prophet, the second News From Lake Wobegon segment on Lake Wobegon USA – Fertility is a rambling tale that has a thinly veiled aside about the first Gulf War. It even includes a bit of the oft told (most recently Oct.08) tomato butt story.

Fertility, the title story of Lake Wobegon, U.S.A.: Fertility mp3 version, has the villagers preparing their gardens, mayor Eloise Krebsbach dating a teacher at the high school and hoping spring will make him a little more passionate, and a few bachelor farmers taking off a layer as spring is here. This is not a very focused story but it is very interesting and funny.

The musical intros or outros to the stories still fail to impress.

The Lake Wobegon USA packaging for the 4 different CDs reflects the fact these recordings belong together. I appreciate HighBridge also used the original artwork of the cassette release. It really looks like a painting of Lake Wobegon. Click here for our Garrison Keillor dedicated page

Lake Wobegon USA – Fertility
Garrison Keillor
HighBridge Audio 2008
76 minutes

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