Stuart McLean

Vinyl Cafe Odd Jobs

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Like other releases in Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe series, this presents some of his one-man storytelling performances of tales from his CBC Vinyl Cafe radio program, recorded at several Canadian concerts. You certainly can't argue with the value here: two CDs with four stories each, running for about two-and-a-half hours in all. Each monologue is of the consistent standard listeners have come to expect from McLean, mixing humor and insight in its documentation of the tribulations of a Toronto family, without falling into pathos. Some of these are indeed primarily funny pieces, like the attempt to install a new wall plug for the toaster that ends on the verge of a house wrecking party; the mutinous cunning of "Arthur the Dog"; and an embarrassed housewife hiding nude in the kitchen cupboard when unexpected visitors arrive. Others, however, venture into more serious territory, though they're not delivered in an overly somber manner: a letter from the widow of a childhood baseball coach, a son's music lessons setting off thoughts weighing respected academic study against the joy of doing art for the fun of it, and worries about whether elderly good neighbors are on the verge of deathly illness.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick