T-TUTT History
Saturday, April 17, 1999

(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)

GK: Tim Russell was hired for our show as a result of winning the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Contest - a little known fact -

TR: Teetotal, Wisconsin. Population 8.

GK: On the Temperance River. Tim won the contest that year, 1974, by playing "Tico Tico" on a beer bottle.

TR: I'm amazed at your memory.

GK: It's not often a six-year-old boy can master the beer bottle well enough to play a tune as tough as Tico Tico.

TR: There was a lot of time to practice in Teetotal, Wisconsin, believe me.

GK: I imagine they were pretty proud of you when you won.

TR: I have no idea. Whole town disappeared that summer. Went back for a visit, there was nothing there. Gone.

GK: Gone where.

TR: I have no idea. There were just big circular patterns in the cornfields. And scorch marks.

GK: Interesting. So Tim joined our show that spring. And Sue Scott came a few years later from a town in northern Minnesota called Wistful Prospect to win the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Contest.

SS: That was the year the gigantic mutant walleyes came out of the swamp.

GK: Sue did a tap dance on the show that year.

SS: Walleyes who hatched near nuclear plants -

GK: She wore Mary Janes and a pinafore and her hair in braids and she had braces on her teeth.

SS: It was really something. Walleyes the size of bass boats.

GK: She was a real crowd pleaser. She tap-danced to "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" I'll never forget it.

SS: They ate sixteen people. Town was never the same after that.

GK: Funny. I never read about that.

SS: The Defense Department came and made people promise not to talk.

GK: You still tap dance?

SS: Of course.

GK: Let's hear it. (AMAZING GRACE, TAP) Sue Scott. Anyway, the year after Sue won, Tom Keith won the contest with a performance of Danny Boy on a chain saw.

TK: That's right.

GK: Tom comes from a little town in western Minnesota called Fetlock. No trees in Fetlock, just prairie.

TK: Out there we use chain saws mainly for musical purposes.

GK: Fetlock is just north of Marshall, I believe.

TK: Used to be but it's gone now.

GK: Gone?

TK: Disappeared. I came to St. Paul to be in the contest and when I went home, it was gone.

GK: How could it be gone?

TK: Well, that's what I wondered. There was just this strange guy with revolving bright green eyes wandering around. Spoke a strange language. I didn't understand a word he said.

GK: What did you do?

TK: Went someplace else.

GK: It was pretty amazing, Danny Boy on the chain saw. Play them a little bit of Danny Boy.


GK: What happened?

TK: Chainsaw got choked up.

GK: I see.

TK: Always happens with Danny Boy.

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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