Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Smorgasboard of Stories

Compact Disc Review
Heck no, we didn’t bury my mother!
and other family stories as told by Lona Bartlett
Available directly from Lona Bartlett by emailing .
 $15.00, plus $3.00 shipping and handling.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

            This collection of charming stories delightfully told is an impressive sampler of the personal stories, poetry, folktales, and tall tales in Lona Bartlett’s repertoire.

            The Dunderdeck Machine introduces us to Lona’s father (a largely self-educated poet with a sharp wit and a love of words) and his favorite poem. Surely Lona has other stories about this endearing man and I cannot wait to hear them.

The album’s title story, Heck no, we didn’t bury my mother!, is a lesson on what NOT to share if you were raised in an “undocumented religion,” especially if you want to be on your church’s prayer team. The dialog in this story is hilarious.

            Bartlett grew up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, where she heard the same folktales that those of us who grew up in the Southern Appalachians Mountains enjoyed. Her rendition of Jack and the Bull is one of them, and she tells it with skill, daring, and a contagious sense of wonder. In this story, Jack is the target of an old woman’s grudge. Fortunately, Jack is aided by an enchanted bull who knows exactly how to deal with Jack’s problems. Of course, Jack ends up rich and returns to his mother to live happily ever after, or at least until his next adventure

            In The Muffler Pipe, about Joel, Bartlett’s only brother and the baby of the family, an experiment with a muffler pipe leads to chaos on the family farm. The CD ends with Anansi and the Tiger, a pourquoi tale from Africa that finds Anansi competing with a much larger adversary for the hand of a princess. Anansi may be much smaller than Tiger, but Anansi is a trickster. What antics will he pull to make the princess choose him?

            Bartlett is of mixed heritage and the stories on this CD celebrate her family’s internal diversity. She creatively uses unique character voices to good effect. Elementary school children, as well as older children and adults, will enjoy this CD.