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A Prairie Home Companion Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Garrison Keillor's long running public radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion" is now the center of a Robert Altman film of the same name starring Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Kevin K... more »
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Garrison Keillor's long running public radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion" is now the center of a Robert Altman film of the same name starring Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, Maya Rudolph, and Tommy Lee Jones. The story is a fictional one of what happens on and off stage during the last broadcast of the beloved radio show. The soundtrack showcases the spectacular onstage performances by the cast. Offered here is a regular audio-only version and a CD + DVD deluxe version packed with performance footage and film outtakes.
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A Prairie Home Companion Homecoming
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 06/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After you see the wondrous movie, you ought to have the accompanying soundtrack. All the Prairie Home Companion regulars whom we regular listeners know and love-- Butch Thompson, Robin and Linda Williams, The Guys All-Star Shoe Band, Richard Dworsky, Jearlyn Steele, Prudence Johnson et al.-- are here, along with "musical" guests Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, L. Q. Jones, Lindsay Lohan, Tim Russell and John C. Reilly. Guy Noir, Private Eye, would say that Garrison Keillor's fingerprints are all over this CD, as well they should be. After all Mr. Keillor IS the show so he sings with a lot of the other performers and has written some of both the words and lyrics to some of the selections here. His "Goodbye To Mama" is as good a bluegrass tear-jerker as you will want to hear; and with most songs of this persuasion, you don't know if you should laugh or cry. It reminded me a little bit of "Song For Mama" that the Carter Sisters recorded in the seventies. Speaking of the Carters, two A. P. Carter songs made the cut: "Gold Watch And Chain," sung by Meryl Streep and Mr. Keillor and "You Have Been A Friend To Me." If Ms. Streep ever decides to stop making movies, she certainly has a career as a country western/bluegrass singer. Her duets with Lily Tomlin are some of the best on this CD. Of course we found out she could sing when she was in the film POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. Harrelson and Reilly's hooty jokes are included here-- I wouldn't have missed them-- and the "Red River Valley/In The Sweet By And By" sung by the entire ensemble. I was certain I heard "Softly and Tenderly" sung in the movie, but it's omitted here.
The accompanying musicians are all superb. I particularly like the occasional filigree of Linda Williams' banjo and Richard Dworsky's piano, somewhere between honkytonk and gospel-- I suppose it depends on what day of the week he is playing as to what you call it.
"A Prairie Home Companion" is a close second to my favorite soundtrack CD of recent years, "O Brother Where Art Thou." As Mr. Keillor would say, it's as good as "Powder Milk Biscuits."
Terry Serres | Minneapolis, MN United States | 10/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved the movie, and part of its charm is that it doesn't try to epitomize the institution it portrays by presenting perfect, canned performances. In the dialog and the music, both, you get the spontaneity and rough edges of live broadcast. For a soundtrack recording, that both works for and against it.
It was certainly nice to have the music in full ... During the movie itself much of it is only heard in the background, in snippets, or in passage.
Not every performance is treasurable -- "Red River Valley" is pretty pedestrian, and Jearlyn Steele's solo ("The Day is Short") didn't grab me either. Keillor's solo, "Slow Days of Summer," is a little homespun for even my tolerant tastes.
"Goodbye to My Mama" is one of the highlights of the disc and the movie -- a paean to motherhood touchingly sung by Meryl Streep, with Lily Tomlin offering scratchy harmonies. It starts as a lullaby, ends as a hymn. But their other duet, "My Minnesota Home," while performed with style (Tomlin's voice works better here), is an odd conceit -- Keillor has reworked the lyrics of Foster's "Old Folks at Home" a/k/a "Way Down Upon the Suwannee River," hijacking them north. Given his occasional sly jab at the South, this struck me as a little graceless.
It's wonderful fun to have the novelty numbers: 3 nifty commercials, and the zesty cowboy duos featuring the talents of Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly. Lohan's number is a novelty, too, but it only makes sense in the context of the entire film; here it's a throwaway.
Apart from Streep's songs, the other standout vocal performance is the rousing "Old Plank Road" from Robin and Linda Williams! The eight instrumentals, all heard in the film, bridge the hodgepodge of vocal numbers with consistent excellence. These are études in jazz, blues, dixie, bluegrass, and ragtime. The band, through its crack musicianship and spirit of fun, comes across as a vivid character in the film. They are spot-on in capturing, or adjusting, the mood of the moment.
All in all, this is a CD worth enjoying apart from the film. I actually bought it first, and it was good enough to whet my appetite for seeing the movie itself."