The Lives of the Cowboys, June 4, 2011

Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park

Flagstaff, AZ


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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS. .brought to you by Wild Bill Brand Skin Cream..... it helps heal bruises from fistfights so you're still attractive to the gal you were fighting over.

(OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, HORSES HOOVES WALKING, CATTLE NEARBY)

GK: Mighty pretty country here in northern Arizona. Easy to see why all these tourists come in----- (BUS PASSING, SLOW, SHIFTING UP ON UPGRADE) there's a busload of them there, Dusty. Don't wave.

TR: Why not?

GK: Don't wave. Cowboys are not supposed to be ingratiating. Squint.

TR: I just squint like Clint.

GK: And your look of weary resignation is good.

TR: That comes natural.

GK: And cynical detachment.

TR: I was born with it.

GK: Yeah. They don't want us to grin. Those tourists have all seen Clint Eastwood movies, they're expecting grim taciturn weather-beaten men who squint and grimace. The Department of Tourism told us to look real.

TR: I am starting to regret us having hired out as scenic attractions.

GK: Pays better than anything else we got going these days.

TR: It's demeaning. Herding these cattle back and forth between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon just so tourists can take video of us.

GK: Well, look out---- here comes one. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH) (HORSES WHINNY)

TR: (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH) Good heavens. A young one. Rather attractive if you ask me.

AS: Hi there. How's it going?

GK: Not bad. How's it with you?

AS: You wouldn't happen to know if there' a vegetarian café around here, would you?

GK: We're cowboys, ma'am. Only vegetable we eat is cactus. Raw. Unpeeled.

AS: I know you're cowboys, I just thought maybe----

TR: We don't know about cafes, we know about shooting and spitting and pounding the birdseed out of people.

AS: Are you a musician?

GK: Yes. (GUITAR STRUM) Singer, anyway. My name's Lefty, this here's my pardner Dusty.

AS: They call me Mustang Sally.

GK: You're a cowboy singer?

AS: Used to be. But people just didn't want to hear cowboy songs anymore, so I joined a band called Coronary Thrombosis.

GK: Doesn't sound like a cowboy band.

AS: It isn't.

GK: You can't give up on something you believe in, darling. I'll bet you know this one... (STRUMS)

AS/GK (SING):
All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water,
Cool water.
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry and souls that cry for water,
Cool water.

(AND CONTINUE INTO.....)
See them tumbling down,
Pledging their love to the ground,
Lonely but free I'll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

AS: Do you know "Riding Down The Canyon"?

GK: Smiley Burnette's song. The one he wrote for Gene Autry. My hero.

AS: My hero, too.

GK: Yours? You're too young to know about Gene Autry.

AS: It's all on YouTube.

(STRUMS)

AS:
When evening chores are over at the ranch house on the plains
And there's nothing left to do but lay around
I saddle up my pony and go riding down the trail
Just to watch the desert sun go down

AS/GK:
Ridin' down the canyon to watch the sun go down
A picture that no artist 'ere could paint
Cactus plants are bloomin' on the mountain side
I hear a coyote calling to its mate
White faced cattle lowing, sagebrush everywhere
Granite spires are standing all around
I'll tell you folks it's heaven to go ridin' down the trail
Just to watch the desert sun go down
Shadows on the Trail.

TR: You know---- I can't believe I'm about to say what I think I'm about to say, but---- you two don't sound too bad together.

AS: Why thank you, sir.

GK: That's the first compliment I've heard out of him in twenty-seven years of cowboyin.

TR: And it wasn't easy to say it, let me tell you. The words stuck in my throat.

GK: I think you and I could form a duet, pardon my brazen overture, but I think we could make a go of it.

AS: Singing cowboy songs?

GK: Why not? The pendulum swings and then it swings back. Cowboy music is on the verge of a major comeback and you and I could be in the forefront.

TR: I could come along as the sidekick. You know, the one who looks adoringly up at the stars as they sing and wipes a tear from his eye.

AS: We could wear big white hats and cowboy shirts.

GK: You look good in those jeans.

AS: I like the way you squint.

GK: You do?

AS: Good squint and a terrific grimace. And the hair ----- we can work with that.

FN: Who is this?

AS: Oh. Hi, honey. Didn't see you walk up. Lefty, like you to meet my ------ fiancé, Dogface.

FN: You ready to go? We're supposed to be in Phoenix by six for the sound check.

AS: Oh. Right. Yeah, I'll be right there.

GK: This your bus? The big one with the flames painted on it and Coronary Thrombosis?

AS: Yeah. That's our band bus.

GK: So how's it going?

FN: Pretty great. Used to be in dive bars and now we're playing big arenas. She and I are planning to get married in September when the tour ends.

GK: Ah. Well. Take care of yourself.

AS: So long, Lefty. Nice to meet you.

GK: Goodbye. Good luck with your music.

AS: Yeah. You too.

(FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

GK: Got a new song of my own.

(SINGS)
How sad I look, I've been forsook, and I just took a shower
Cold shower
I want to cry, my hopes were high, then suddenly I was showered by
Cold cold water.

TR: Back on your horse, Lefty. Let's resume our meaningless charade for the benefit of impressionable strangers.

GK: You think I shoulda rescued her from his clutches?

TR: I think she likes his clutches. Just because someone knows the words to "Riding Down the Canyon" doesn't mean you like canyons. Most people prefer mountains.

GK: Maybe so. Let's ride. (GIDDUP. HORSES WHINNY, HOOVES)

(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS. . . was brought to you by Sundown Kid deodorant and snake spray ---- it keeps snakes from crawling into your bed while you sleep? Try Sundown Kid. You smell good and you don't get bit by snakes.

(MUSIC OUT)

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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