Koussevitzky Music Shed, Tanglewood Music Festival
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was the 4th of July weekend and I was working security at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which had been under siege by a disgruntled bagpiper named Harry McHarry, known as the Van Gogh of the bagpipe, because he had no ear. He liked to come around during quiet passages in concerts ----
(QUIET ENDING CHORDS OF A PIANO SONATA, RITARD, EXTENDED, HUSHED, POIGNANT......THEN BAGPIPES OFF)
He was out in the woods and they'd chase him (DOGS BAYING) and bring in a helicopter (CHOPPER, TR ON P.A.: GIVE YOURSELF UP, MCHARRY. YOU'RE SURROUNDED.) but he always got away. So they brought me in.
SS: I'm Felicia Flexner, Mr. Noir. I'm the head of security here.
GK: Are you all right, Miss Flexner? Your head is tilted to the left.
SS: I was a flutist at one time, sir. I overpracticed and my head became permanently tilted.
GK: From the flute.
SS: Yes, and I have this permanent lip pucker.
GK: I noticed that.
SS: It's what happens when you blow on a flute sixteen hours a day for weeks at a time. You become crippled.
GK: How ironic.
GK: That in the quest for supremacy and perfection, one can become crippled.
SS: It happens all the time in the orchestra world.
SS: Violinists with shoulder problems, trumpet players who blow their brains out, pianists who suffer from hard stools, and wind players who go deaf because they sit right in front of the tympani.
GK: You went deaf?
SS: Pardon me? What?
GK: You sat in front of the tympani?
SS: Yes, I was in the symphony.
GK: I get your drift. What can I do for you?
SS: Catch this Harry McHarry. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: So I searched the woods for a man in a skirt. There are little practice studios all through the woods for students who come in for the summer program. At Tanglewood, they train musicians to be well-rounded individuals, and to pursue a serious music career (PIANO CHOPIN) but also be prepared to work in a cocktail lounge (LOUNGE) or do birthday parties (HAPPY B'DAY, TWO BARS) and bar mitzvahs (MITZ) and work at a ballpark (CLAP SEQUENCE) and still keep up your classical chops (CHOPIN). It's called market diversification. YAnd then I came to a simple hut where someone was playing violin (VIOLIN: SUMMER SONG) (KNOCKS ON DOOR) (SQUEAKY DOOR OPENS).
TR (OLD): Hello? Who is it?
GK: The name's Noir. Security. You a jazz player?
TR (OLD): No.
GK: You're wearing dark glasses. I figure you're a jazz guy.
TR (OLD): I'm visually impaired. Okay? See the white cane? See the dog? (WOOF) You blind or something?
GK: Sorry. Didn't notice.
TR (OLD): Use your eyes, for crying out loud. Jeez. I'm a violin student. Forty-eight years I've been studying. Ever hear of the Bach violin partitas?
TR (OLD): They're driving me crazy. (VIOLIN, BACH, FEW BARS PERFECT, THEN BAD NOTE AND STOP) I just can't get it. It's so simple and I can't get it.
GK: You know, sir---- one reason you may be having a hard time with the Bach violin partita----
TR (OLD): Yes?
GK: I'm looking at the music on the music stand.
TR (OLD): Yes?
GK: It's not a violin partita. It's a viola partita.
TR (OLD): What??? Oh no!!!! (HE SOBS) (BRIDGE)
GK: I walked into the woods looking for a man in a kilt, the dreaded Harry McHarry ---- the night before he had interrupted a James Taylor concert at Tanglewood....
(GUITAR FADES IN)
You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you got to do is call---- (BAGPIPE OFF)
GK: And I walked through a grove of trees and I stepped over a branch and —(GK CRY OF ALARM, GROUND GIVES WAY, LONG FALL INTO PIT, LAND ON METALLIC JUNK) Ouch. Ohhh boy. (ECHOING GRAVEL, DUST FALLS) An abandoned mineshaft. What a cliché. Walking in the woods and I fall into an abandoned mineshaft. Oh boy. (CLANKING) What is this? Whoa. (RUMMAGING) A saxophone. (RUMMAGING) Lots of saxophones.
SS: Hello? Is someone down there?
GK (ECHOES): Yes I'm down here! Down at the bottom of this mineshaft! Could you call for help?
SS: I suppose so, but I'm on my way to a vocal lesson.
GK (ECHOES): You're a singer?
SS: I'm a contralto. A low contralto. A deep C diva.
GK (ECHOES): Please call for help.
SS: I'll try to.
GK (ECHOES): Please.
GK (ECHOES): Years of being a private eye and this is my first abandoned mineshaft. Maybe I ought to retire. Next thing, I'll be falling into open manholes. I'll be a cartoon. Slipping on bananas. Somebody'll drop an anvil on me.
FN: Somebody down there?
GK (ECHOES): Yes. I'm down here in this abandoned mineshaft.
FN: You're sure? I can't see you.
GK (ECHOES): That's because it's radio.
FN: Oh. Right. How can I help?
GK (ECHOES): Just go for help, would you?
FN: I just want to see----- —(GROUND GIVES WAY, WHOOP, LONG FALL INTO PIT, LAND ON METALLIC JUNK) (ECHOES) Oh, you're right. It's an abandoned mineshaft.
GK (ECHOES): Right.
FN (ECHOES): What's all this junk? Oh, it's a saxophone. Lucky it isn't a piano.
GK (ECHOES): How so?
FN (ECHOES): You drop a piano down a mineshaft and you get A flat minor.
GK (ECHOES): Hey. You're a trombonist.
FN (ECHOES): How'd you know?
GK (ECHOES): Your hat. It says Domino's Pizza.
FN (ECHOES): Yeah, well, I used to be a trombonist. Then I switched to chainsaw.
GK (ECHOES): Why?
FN (ECHOES): More vibrato.
TR: Hello? Anybody down here in this unmarked abandoned mineshaft?
GK (ECHOES): Yes! Down here!
TR: What are you doing down there?
GK (ECHOES): I'm wishing I weren't.
TR: Anybody down there with you?
GK (ECHOES): Yes. A former trombonist.
TR: Around here we don't call it a trombone. We call it a wind-driven manually-operated pitch approximator.
GK (ECHOES): And there's a pile of old saxophones.
TR: A pile of saxophones at the bottom of a mineshaft. That's what I call a good start.
GK (ECHOES): We need someone to throw down a rope or something-----
TR: Got a rope and a winch right here. (RATCHET, WORK) A
GK (ECHOES): Just don't drop anything on us, would you.
TR: Speaking of which, what do a guillotine and a saxophone have in common? They're always sharp. (DOG CHUCKLES) My dog loves saxophone jokes.
GK (ECHOES): How's the winch coming?
TR: I'm attaching it to a tree right now. (RATCHET) How do you know a sax player is at your door? They don't know what key to use or where to come in. (HE LAUGHS, DOG CHUCKLES) Good one, huh, Rex?
GK (ECHOES): Would you mind getting us out of here?
TR: I don't know. Maybe I should leave you there. I mean, deep down you're a really nice guy. Okay I got the winch. ----- Hey! What's the difference between a saxophone solo and being hanged on the gallows? Huh? What's the difference?
GK (ECHOES): I don't know and I don't care.
TR: The difference between a sax solo and being hanged is that in a little while the hanging will stop. (HE LAUGHS, LOUDER AND LOUDER, CONVULSIVELY, WHEEZING, CHORTLING)
GK (ECHOES): Hey. Be careful up there. —(GROUND GIVES WAY, WHOOP, LONG FALL INTO PIT, LAND ON GK & FN, CRUNCH. GROANS) Oh boy. He was supposed to rescue us and instead he fell on us.
TR (ECHOES): Ohhhhhhhhhh.
FN (ECHOES): What do we do now?
GK (ECHOES): Hope that contralto remembers.
FN (ECHOES): We could be in here for weeks.
TR (SCOTS GIBBERISH): Wha' hae me braw bricht gi' abou' ower me couthie pipes at many a mickle maks a muckle----
TR (SCOTTISH GIBBERISH): I say, me laddies, they ar' abou' ----me mickle muckle ha' gang on a braw bricht moonlicht nicht----wha hae?
TR (SCOTTISH): I say, is anybody meet a body gang doon the braw bricht abandoned mineshaft for a' that and a' that and a mickle a muckle-----
GK: You know I can't understand a single word you're saying---
TR (SCOTS): Aha! I got ye noo.
GK: No! Not the bagpipes.
(BAGPIPES PLAY "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW")
TR: A dark night in the city that keeps its secrets, where one guy is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye.
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).