The Lives of the Cowboys script
Saturday, May 2, 2009

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SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by High Fiber Chewing Tobacco. Itís the smokeless tobacco that contains all the fiber you could possibly want or need. And now, The Lives of the Cowboys.

(HORSES)

TR: I had no idea Nashville was so far to the east. Itís almost to Washington D.C. Itís so far east people wear shoes. Dull clothes. And I havenít seen the color turquoise all day.

GK: Well, itís where they make the records, Dusty. And thatís why weíre here. To put the western back into country. Yessir.

TR: I think maybe youíve been out in the sun too long, pardner.

GK: I got a hit song in my pocket, Dusty. And I got me a recording session all lined up. Flying Pig Studio. Itís down here on 17th Street somewhere.

TR: How much that cost you?

GK: A couple of steers made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of art.

TR: Glad it wasnít me.

GK: Here. This looks like it here. This little brick building here. Whoa. (HORSES HOLD UP AND NICKER)

TR: Flying Pig Studio. Wonder where they got the name. (BOOTS LAND ON SIDEWALK, FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Iím gonna walk in here an ordinary cowboy and walk out of here a major star. And nobody will ever look at me with disdain again.

TR: I will, I can promise you that. (DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS)

GK: I knew you would, Dusty.

TR: You can count on me for disdain.

GK: I am sure.

TR: Long as you got me around, you will never lack for discouragement.

GK: I know thatís true.

FN: Howdy, gentlemen. May I help you?

GK: Iím Lefty, here to record a record.

FN: My name is Pig. Pig Johnson. Iím the producer here.

GK: Good to meet you, Mr. Johnson.

FN: Call me Pig.

GK: Okay.

TR: What they give you the nickname Pig for, Mister?

FN: I was told it was for my intelligence. The pig is a very intelligent animal.

GK: Iíve heard that.

FN: So you want to make a record—

GK: Yes, sir.

FN: You all set?

GK: Yeah.

FN: Okay. Studioís in here— (CREAKING DOOR)

GK: Kinda dark in here.

FN: The band likes it dark.

GK: Oh. Thereís a band.

FN: Right. This is Ahmed on bass— (TR EGYPTIAN) — and Arugula on drums (TR FOREIGN MUTTER) and Tse-Tse on piano (TR CHINESE) and your guitarist is Ishmael (TR SYRIAN)—

GK: And they play country music?

FN: Right.

GK: Do they speak English?

FN: Why would they need to?

GK: What do you pay them?

FN: I pay them 35 cents a day plus an egg salad sandwich plus a bus ride to the shelter.

GK: Thatís not much.

FN: They do it for the love of the music. You ready to go?

GK: Ready.

FN: Okay, Iíll just go up to the control room. You make yourself comfortable. (CREAKING DOOR OPEN, CLOSE)

GK: So— how you all doing?

TR (EGYPTIAN)

GK: Good to have you.

TR (SYRIAN)

GK: Nice headdress. Head scarf. Whatever you call it.

FN (INTERCOM): Okay. You all set?

GK: All set.

FN (INTERCOM): Whatís the name of the song?

GK: Twitter.

FN (INTERCOM): Twitter, Okay— Ahmed?

TR (EGYPTIAN)

TR (EGYPTIAN) (HE COUNTS IN EGYPTIAN) (BAND STARTS TO PLAY IN 3/4 AND PIANO HITS CLINKER)

TR (EGYPTIAN SHOUTING. WHIPPING. FN REACTS. EGYPTIAN INSULTS. FN WHIMPERING)

GK: Was something wrong?

FN (INTERCOM): Ya gotta maintain discipline. Okay. Achmed. Once more.

TR (EGYPTIAN) (HE COUNTS IN EGYPTIAN) (BAND STARTS TO PLAY IN ĺ AND PIANO HITS CLINKER)

TR (EGYPTIAN SHOUTING) (GUNSHOT)

TR (EGYPTIAN)

GK: He shot the piano player.

FN (INTERCOM): You donít need a piano player. Itís country music. Letís go. Timeís a wasting.

GK: You going to haul the body out first—

FN (INTERCOM): Letís do the song, okay? Ahmed—

TR (EGYPTIAN) (BAND PLAYS)

GK (SINGS):
Riding down the canyon with the cattle
Darling I am lonesome missing you.
Thank goodness I can reach down in my saddle
And let you know what I am going through.

Here I sit and twitter to you dearest
Just a line or two and I press send
I am eating oatmeal for my breakfast
I am getting on my horse again
Tell me where you are, at home or in your car,
Iím on a horse and Iím playing my guitar
Here I sit and twitter like Tex Ritter
Driving herds of critters down the trail.

(SPOKEN)
I am going to the refrigerator
To get me a celery stalk
And cream cheese and later
I will go for a little walk
And now Iím reading the news
And then Iíll call my mother
And then Iíll tie my shoes
First one, then the other

Now Iím going to brush my teeth and floss Ďem
And now Iím going to turn around and spit
The scenery on the trail is doggone awesome
It makes a twitter cowboy want to twit.
GK (CONT.):

Tell me where you are, at home or in your car,
Iím on a horse and Iím playing my guitar
Here I sit and twitter like Tex Ritter
Driving herds of critters down the trail.


(GK YODELS, SONG ENDS)

(PAUSE TWO BEATS)

FN (INTERCOM): Thatís all?

GK: Thatís it.

FN (INTERCOM): Okay. That was great. You wanna try it again?

GK: Not really.

FN (INTERCOM): Just as a backup? For safety sake.

GK: I donít want any more loss of life.

FN (INTERCOM): Just trying to give you your moneyís worth.

GK: Appreciate it. What do you think of the song?

FN (INTERCOM): Let me listen to it. (REWIND) (STOP) (CLICK)

FN (SINGS): I went to Nashville to record a song
I got some Egyptians to play along.
They played the oud, bandura, and sitar.
I was the star, I played guitar. (TAPE SLOWS AND ENDS)

GK: What was that? Whatís wrong?

FN (INTERCOM): That was another session.

GK: I thought so.

FN (INTERCOM): I thought Iíd pressed Record but I guess not.

GK: You didnít record it?

FN (INTERCOM): My mistake. Sorry.

GK: Men shed their blood for that song, sir—

FN (INTERCOM): I realize that. Iím really sorry.

GK: I never knew the music business was like this.

TR (EGYPTIAN)

GK: You can say that again.

TR (EGYPTIAN);

(BRIDGE, HORSES WALK)

GK: That was a good song. Twitter. Coulda earned some money, bought a house, met a woman, settled down.

TR: Well, you get yourself a nice house and a beautiful woman and pretty soon youíre going to be redecorating and building an addition and arguing about the carpet and the wallpaper and then youíre gonna get back on the trail, which here you are, youíre on the trail already, so look at the trouble you saved yourself.

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Cowboy Fiber Biscuits. Keep it Moving on the trail.

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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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