The Blues
Saturday, January 22, 2000

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

SS: Mr. Baker? I'm Dr. Able. I'm filling in for Dr. Charlie today. What seems to be your problem? Says here you're feeling bad.
TR: Well, I lay down last night, turning from side to side, I was not sick, just dissatisfied.
SS: I see. Were you sleeping on a pallet on the floor?---
TR: No. We have a regular queen-sized bed.
SS: Who's "we," Mr. Baker?
TR: My sweet baby.
SS: So you lay down to sleep---- when you woke up, did you have shackles on your feet?
TR: Twenty-nine links of chain and on each link an initial of my name.
SS: Sounds like the blues to me. Your water---Did it taste like turpentine?
TR: I don't drink water. Just coffee.
SS: Did it taste like turpentine?
TR: Yes, as a matter of fact it did.
SS: Let me ask you about your baby. Does she have lowdown ways? Any lowdown ways you're hoping she'll change?
TR: No. No lowdown ways. She's Methodist.
SS: Or mistreatin ways? She have any of those?
TR: We went through family counselling and we learned how to work through her mistreatin ways.
SS: Good. So she doesn't cause you to weep and cause you to moan?
TR: She causes me to moan a little bit.
SS: How often do you moan? Once in awhile? Often? Every night?
TR: Every evening when the sun goes down.
SS: Mr. Baker, I'm going to read you some statements and you tell me if they're true or false, okay?
TR: Okay.
SS: Do you feel like laying your head on some lonesome railroad line and let the 2:19 ease your troubled mind?
TR: No, I don't.
SS: Was the longest train you ever saw sixteen coaches long and the gal you love was on that train and gone?
TR: No, I've seen trains a lot longer than that.
SS: Let me get some of your family history. Your mama?
TR: She's an old mama lion.
SS: Your daddy?
TR: He's an engineer.
SS: Your brother?
TR: Drives a hack.
SS: Your sister?
TR: Takes in washing.
SS: And the baby?
TR: Balls the jack.
SS: I see. You're not a railroad man yourself, are you?
TR: I'm an accountant.
SS: So you haven't been having some hard travelling, way down the road?
TR: No, I've been staying at home for the most part.
SS: Have you been to see another doctor about this?
TR: I went down to the St. James Infirmary.
SS: And?
TR: I felt like I was fixin' to die.
SS: So it's the pure blues. You feel lonely.
TR: I'd rather be dead and in my grave than to be in this town and treated this way.
SS: Well, let me say this, Mr. Baker. You're troubled in mind. And you're blue. But you won't be blue always. The sun's going to shine in your back door someday.
TR: What is that supposed to mean?
SS: It means: Go to bed, lay down, try not to turn from side to side, and give me a call in the morning.


(c) 2000 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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