The Fitzgerald Theater
Saint Paul, MN
The Lives of the Cowboys
SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS. . .brought to you by Wild Bill Brand Skin Moisturizer..... the lotion that keeps your skin soft but looking dry and scaly, so nobody has to know. And now today's story.
(FOOTSTEPS, SLOW, IN GRAVEL)
GK: Well, here we are in Melancholy River, Dusty. Six weeks on the trail and now finally we get to rejoin the human race
TR: Show me the way to the saloon.
GK: Seems like something's different in Melancholy Creek. Where are those ne'er-do-wells, low-lifes, and barflies who used to populate this town, not to mention the shameless hussies?
TR: Well, here's one barfly reporting for duty.
GK: Town seems sort of cleaned up, I'd say.
TR: Well, I can change that in a hurry.
GK: This saloon used to be called the Last Chance Saloon. Now it's called Frosted Windows? Well, let's have a look--
(DOOR CREAKS OPEN, FOOTSTEPS, THEN STOP) (PIANO PLAYS)
ARNAE & TIM SING "DANCING QUEEN" THEN FADE
GK: What in tarnation is going on? They turned the saloon into a piano bar?? Hey piano man, how come you're not playing that song you always used to play, "Camptown Races?
RD: Piano lid fell on my head and now I forget how it goes.
TR: Who are these people?
GK: I can tell by their outfits they are not cowboys. Look like art majors. Hey, where you from?
ARNAE: You talking to me?
GK: You from Melancholy River?
TIM: We're from Long Beach. On our way to Minnesota.
TR: Minnesota??? Nothing there but loose women and hockey players.
TIM: What are you trying to say, mister?
GK: He's wondering what position your wife plays.
ARNAE: Left wing.
GK: Good for you.
MAMUSE SINGS KILLING ME SOFTLY
TR: Interesting idea, killing somebody with music. I've known songwriters like that.
GK: Well, that was very lovely, ladies. You from here?
KARISHA: California. Chico. It's farm country but we raise stuff that grows on trees or bushes so we don't have to bend down so far to pick it.
TR: I knew a woman from Chico once. Woman by the name of Mrs. Barker. LaVonne Barker. Quite a gal. Oh boy.
SARAH: LaVonne Barker was my English teacher.
TR: Tall blonde woman with a tattoo---- right there.
SARAH: I don't know about the tattoo, but---- yeah.
TR: Well, she didn't say much about Chico but she sure did know her irregular verbs.
BRIAN & KAIJA SING "YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE"
TR: Not a song that a cowboy would sing, is it. "You Light Up My Life" indeed. Arson lights up your life, too, but it's not something you seek out.
TR: Hey, bartender.
SS (BARKEEP): Yeah?
TR: How about some rotgut whiskey for these folks ---- darken up their life a little.
KAIJA: No thanks. Don't care for whiskey.
SS (BARKEEP): We don't serve rotgut anymore. We are catering to a higher-class clientele. People like you two are dying off ----
GK: Thanks for the reminder.
SS (BARKEEP): So we are repurposing the saloon as a social networking site for singers.
KAIJA: Are you guys on Facebook?
TR: I slept with my face on a book once.
GK: Where you folks headed for?
BRIAN: We're on our way to Sioux Falls.
GK: I was in love with a woman from Sioux Falls once. But it was not meant to be. She was Methodist and I was a pessimist. You're pretty darn good looking, if you don't mind my saying. You got a man in your life?
KAIJA: I've got a whole binder full of men.
GK: Well, let me know if you need another one.
JACK AND MOLLY SING "ROCKY TOP"
TR: Well, I don't know about you but I've been to a lot of places with rocks on top and I wouldn't care to go back there.
JACK: You two seem sort of down in the dumps. Maybe you oughta head for Palo Alto, that's where we're from.
GK: I don't know. I've been a pal of some altos and they're not the cheeriest people. Nee Speaking of which---- hello?
GK: You wouldn't happen to be from Indianapolis, would you?
KATIE: Yep. Both of us are.
GK: I could tell. Beautiful place, Indianapolis.
JULIA: You've been there?
GK: Not yet, but from the looks of you, I'm putting it high on my list. What you do?
JULIA: I teach music to grade-school kids.
GK: Ah to be a child again.
HALF-STEP SISTERS SING "I SAW THE SIGN"
GK: We saw the sign long ago. Cowboy life is not for us. The fist fighting, the fly-by-night romances, the loneliness. If I met a good woman, I'd marry her in a minute.
TR: Ha, most married men ---- the only thing they have in common with their wife is that their anniversary is on the same day.
AVENUE ELLE SINGS "LOLLIPOP"
GK: Oh wow. Where you women from?
ALISON: Austin, Texas---- couldn't you tell? We're Texas but we're normal.
CHRISSIE: Which, in Texas, is considered weird.
GK: What line of work you women in, if I may ask.
TR: I thought in Texas acupuncture was done with a rifle.
CHRISSIE: You lie down on this table, mister, and I'll show you some acupuncture.
GK: Be my pleasure, ma'am.
TR: Where you going???
GK: Going with them.
TR: How can you do that?
GK: Dusty, when it comes to a choice between you and two beautiful women, it's nothing I have to think hard about.
TR: You are going off with these Austin, Texas, liberal women who believe that in poker you get to reshuffle the deck whenever you like and the pot oughta go to the loser?
GK: I'm tired of the cowboy life, pal. Tired of the dirt and the wind and sleeping outdoors.
TR: Being tired of it is a key part of the cowboy life.
GK: It makes no sense.
TR: And senselessness is another key part.
GK: Well, at least there is music. When a man is lonesome, there is nothing for it but to sing ---- (STRUMS)
TR: Didja ever think that your lonesomeness might be due to people not liking your music? Huh?
ARNAE: I like your music, Lefty.
GK: Well, thank you, darling. You know the Minnesota waltz?
ARNAE: I think so.
GK & ARNAE: (SING)
I was dancin' with my darlin'
To the Minnesota Waltz
When an old friend happened to speak
He and I we got to talking
And we went deer hunting
And we left her there for a week.
I remember the night and the Minnesota Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
I lost a pair of gloves
The week I went hunting
When I heard that Minnesota Waltz.
GK: That was nice. Thank you.
ARNAE: Maybe you ought to sing duets more often.
GK: Yeah, but I'm afraid the women might become too attached to me and want to settle down or something.
ARNAE: That's a risk you just have to take.
SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS brought to you by Wild Bill Brand Skin Moisturizer..... it helps you stay moist while still looking tough. (THEME OUT)
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).