Brain script
Saturday, June 30, 2007
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Garrison Keillor: It's good to have James Taylor on our show-a man of extraordinary talent, but of course being a famous performer also has its downside-and I'm referring to invasion of privacy.

James Taylor: Well, it's not that bad, really—

GK: Everybody wants a piece of you. You have no privacy-everybody wants to look in your windows...paw through your garbage.

JT: It's really not an issue—

GK: Here on public radio we would never invade an artist's personal life, unless of course we were doing it in the name of science. Do you see what I have in my hand, Mr. Taylor?

JT: It looks like a small probe of some sort.

GK: Yes, it's a brain probe with tiny sensors in it and when we run the sensor up your nostril and into the cranial cavity, we'll be able to see and hear everything in your life...

JT: What??? Get out of here. (HE FIGHTS BACK: "NO NO — NO—NO_

GK: Just inhale this nasal spray, Mr. Taylor. This will deaden the sinuses so you won't feel a thing— (POWERFUL BLAST) And now that the singer is fully anesthetized , we will lay him out (BIG EFFORT, MUTTERS OF CREW) here on the gurney and attach these monitors (BEEPS OF ELECTROCARDIO MONITORS) and hook him up to the vent (VENT) and now we will insert the probe up his nose (SFX) — and just push it in there (SFX), a little deeper (SFX), a little deeper (SFX), and we'll take a look around. Join us now for —

Tim Russell (ANNC): WHAT IS GOING ON IN JAMES TAYLOR'S MIND—

GK: See if we can find out about the inner life of the artist. (ELECTRICITY). There you see the neurons at work, firing away (SFX), impulses moving down the axons (ZAP), and the dendrites (ZAP), the neurotransmitters moving into the synaptic gap (SFX), and getting absorbed on the other side (SFX)-let's follow one of these impulses down to the auditory cortex (SFX), where Mr. Taylor stores his musical influences—

Fred Newman (BARRY MANILOW, SINGS): Down at the Copa-Copacabana—

GK: Interesting-little scraps of music here—(ZAP, ZAP)

FN (SINGS): I wanna know what love is—I want you to show me—

JT: (SINGS): Flintstones! Meet the Flintstones! They're a modern stone-age family-(ZAP, ZAP)

GK: Maybe we'd do better in the frontal cortex (SFX)-the seat of logic and analytical reasoning-

Kim Taylor: You need to drink more water. I mean it. If you don't you'll get a kidney stone. And you don't want that.

GK: A voice of reason, it sounds like.

KIM: Put that guitar down and come to bed, James. If you don't get some sleep you're gonna sing flat tomorrow and people will notice. They won't say anything, but they'll notice, and that's worse.

GK: There's logic operating in there, although it's not his own, exactly-

KIM: You have to eat something besides candy, James. You're a grown man.

GK: The voice of common sense, of moderation—

KIM: Gummi bears? Jujubees? Boxes and boxes of Peeps left over from Easter? I mean what's going on here, James? Is there something you need to tell me?

GK: Someone needs to ask these questions. Now let's head down to the brain stem (SFX), which controls the body's instinctual functions-the breathing (DARTH VADAR), the heartbeat (HEARTBEAT)-sounds like Mr. Taylor has a very rhythmic heartbeat-kind of a swing feeling to it (SWING HEARTBEAT), and very close to the brain stem is the limbic system, which regulates your emotions-the good ones (FN WEIRD LAUGHTER), and also the not so good ones-(SS SOBS)

GK: We're locating some of Mr. Taylor deep-seated fears, over here near the amygdala —

JT (SINGS, FLAT): You've got a friend... (FEEDBACK, BOOS)

GK: The fears of a performer.

TR (BUSH): You're one of my favorite singers. Laura and I love everything you've done. I play your CDs all the time.

GK: Along with some of the more primal fears-(LION ROARS)-an assortment of phobias--

(WIND)

SS (OFF): Don't look down, James! Just hang on with your fingertips!

JT (OFF): I can't hold on! I'm slipping! (WIND)

SS (OFF): Hold on, James! Hold on!

JT (OFF): Can't-hold—on—

TR (CRITIC): At his Carnegie Hall concert, Mr. Taylor seemed tense and irritable, and for good reason. He forgot most of his lyrics and the half-capacity crowd stood and booed when he walked offstage, after 15 minutes-

GK: These fears live close to this is the shame cortex, which stores a lot of things from childhood- (CHALKBOARD)

SS (OLD LADY): Carry the one, James. (SQUEAKING CHALK) No, the one. Move it up on top. No, over the six. The six, James. (SQUEAKING CHALK) Do you know what I mean when I say carry the one, James? James, can you hear me?

GK: Shame— a natural motivation for any artist—

SS (MARILYN): Happy birthday to you-happy birthday to you-happy birthday James Taylor-happy birthday to you—

GK: Now it looks like we've stumbled into the fantasy cortex (CELESTE)

SS (OVERLAP, ECHO): And James Taylor Beats U2 for the Grammy for Best Album of the Year...Bono is just crushed- absolutely destroyed (FN SOBS) and James Taylor is triumphant (CROWD CHEERS)

TR (ECHO, OVERLAP): Full count here in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, and the Fenway crowd is on its feet as Taylor steps back into the box and here comes the pitch and (CRACK OF BAT) he hits a long long long— it's out of here! It's out of here! The Red Sox win the World Series!

GK: And now here's the hypothalamus, which squirts out a lot of hormones (SQUIRTING)--dopamine (SFX), somatostatin (SFX), corticotropin-releasing hormone (SFX)—you didn't think that was still going on in a man his age, but his hormonal system is in overdrive (PTERADACTYL), lot of complicated things going on here. (MONKEYS). Lot of raw urges and surges and turmoil down here (

SS: Oh yes yes yes yes. Yes yes yes. Oh yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.) Whoops. I think we better get out now. Uh oh. He's waking up. So let's get out of here-pull out the probe -(SFX)(POP) we're out.

JT (GASP): Whoa. What happened?

GK: Nothing. You're fine.

JT: I feel like I've seen fire and I've seen rain.

GK: You have. Don't worry about it.

JT: Do you have a tissue? I think I'm getting a cold or something.

GK: Here you go. (SFX) Thank you James Taylor. Always good to have you on the show.

JT: I think I need to take a nap.

GK: That's fine. You do that.

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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