Jo Radner | Yankee Ingenuity: Stories of Headstrong and Resourceful People

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United States - Maine

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Spoken Word: Storytelling Spoken Word: Comedy Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Yankee Ingenuity: Stories of Headstrong and Resourceful People

by Jo Radner

Smart, wry, witty, and moving stories of odd folks who did things their own way -- and sometimes encountered hard realities. Winner of the 2013 Storytelling World Award.
Genre: Spoken Word: Storytelling
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Wimble Betty
12:33 album only
2. The Man Who Proved the Earth Was Flat
10:21 album only
3. Lion Makers
12:28 album only
4. Feet First
14:59 album only
5. Eccentricity
18:29 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
There’s some truth to the image of traditional Mainers as self-reliant, neighborly, and clever at making things work. They have a good dollop of boneheaded stubbornness, too. Odd folks, welcome in rural Maine, give rise to good stories and affirm the independence we value. Occasionally, they remind us of some hard realities.
This album is a tribute to such uncommon folks.

Here are a few notes about the tracks:

Wimble Betty
A strong-willed pioneer woman outsmarts a wily peddler (adapted from C.A. Stephens’ 1934 memoir, My Folks in Maine).

The Man Who Proved the Earth Was Flat
The village of East Otisfield, Maine, still celebrates this self-proclaimed astronomer – though not for his scientific acumen.

Lion Makers
A genius from northern Maine unleashed bloody horrors on the world.

Feet First
An overconfident farmer is outdone by a resourceful and determined pig.

The oddest member of my family turns out to have a tragic secret.



to write a review

Linda Goodman

A Classic CD!
I became a fan of Jo Radner at the New England Modern Storytelling Festival in Windsor, Maine in 1997, when I heard her tell a story about outhouses. On that cold (thirty degrees), rainy September Saturday, I also fell in love with the people of Maine. There they stood, bare-footed and wearing shorts, listening in rapt attention to the stories being told. I was reminded of my own Appalachian kinfolk. No amount of rain or cold was going to keep them away from what they loved. Can you blame me for being thrilled when I found Yankee Ingenuity, a CD by Jo Radner about real Mainers, in my post office box?
I listened to this CD during a four hour drive home from a performance in Roanoke. I listened the entire four hours, savoring each story multiple times. They are that good!
Stories like those included on Yankee Ingenuity are the kind of stories that made me want to become a storyteller. Everyone, especially our young people, should hear them. While it may be too late to turn back the clock, stories shared can teach hard lessons in such a way that wisdom may yet prevail.

Simon Brooks

Storytelling at its finest
When I first thought about storytelling I never really liked the idea of personal or 'real' stories. Then I heard Donald Davis on CD and saw Jo Radner live and that changed my opinion. Jo is the consummate professional teller of tales. Her choice of words is wonderful and her expression and tone is joyous. The stories are mostly true stories (one story, although a fable, sets up a true story very, very well). I first bought this for my father-in-law who is a real Yankee. I thought he would identify with some of the stories. But when I listened to the CD I was enthralled. I keep listening to it and fall in love with it and the characters more each time. Although some of the stories are historical (which may frighten some listeners away) they are far from boring. This is a recording of great family and little (unknown?) historical stories and even though they might not be YOUR family, we all know families have their own little traits and quirks. These people you will fall in love with - well, most of them! There is humour and pathos, joy and sadness just as in our own lives. What Jo does with her stories is give live and a voice to these people. Her imagery is flawless, as is her delivery. This is a pitch perfect recording and should be on everyone's listening list - whether in the car's CD player, or on your iPad/iPod or other listening devise. I listened to this recording again today as I drove to a performance an hour away and found myself there before I knew it, wishing some of these characters had been truly in my life.

Meg Gilman

Intriguing stories from a masterful teller
This cd is definitely a "keepah!" Every time I listen, there are new discoveries, a greater appreciation of the nuances in Jo's telling, and a deeper understanding of a place and its people. Wonderful characters populate this cd; ingenious plans outsmart the 'trickster,' once-genius inventiveness has dire consequences, and Jo's humor and wit add spice. These stories complement each other well - there's a nice flow to the program. You'll want to listen to these stories often - to relish the Maine spirit, and to learn from a masterful (and ingenious!) storyteller how to shape a good story.