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Six Dozen Cookies

Jad & David Fair

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What would happen if Jad Fair and his brother David Fair, the founding fathers of wildly primitive indie rock pioneers Half Japanese, took over as hosts of A Prairie Home Companion? Well, Six Dozen Cookies from the Fair brothers inadvertently suggests what might occur if they stepped in for Garrison Keillor as America's Leading Radio Storytellers, and the results are not nearly as disorienting as you might expect. On Six Dozen Cookies, David Fair reads 19 short stories about his childhood adventures with his mildly eccentric grandfather, accompanied by minimal musical accompaniment and a whole bunch of cartoonish sounds effects assembled by Jad. While most of the stories are just a wee bit strange, they're joyfully odd in a way not unlike Keillor's tales of the denizens of Lake Wobegon, and the tone of Fair's tale is warm, friendly, and loving — there's not a drop of postmodern condescension to be heard, and by the end of the disc David's warm but craggy monotone is as comfortable as a well-worn pair of slippers. And while Jad's collection of sound effects and bare-bones melodies are a shade less user-friendly, they fit the material well enough, and add more to the charm of the record than they take away. Most of these tales deal with common events in family life (making pancakes, decorating cookies, dealing with wrong numbers, losing your glasses) or small-town strangeness (a series of odd practical jokes, a guy who devises a new deck of cards, Grandpa's impractical notion for an automatic bird feeder), but all find a sense of playful wonder in Grandpa's outlook on life, and Six Dozen Cookies is a marvelous little experiment that would doubtless appeal to a lot of folks who would never dream of checking out Half Japanese.

Six Dozen Cookies, Jad & David Fair
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