Tall, January 12, 2013

War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco, CA


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Tall

Listen (MP3)

(PIANO)

GK: If you are a tall person, such as I am, ever so often in the course of a day, without any warning you are going to (BWANGGGG) hit your head on something, such as that frying pan that someone hung from an overhead rack or perhaps this (DEEPER BWANGGG) copper kettle, or maybe as you bend over a kitchen counter, you will straight up and go right into a cupboard door (KRAACK, CRUNCH), and you'll start bleeding (DRIPS) and you'll dash for the bathroom and (CRUNCH) hit the low doorway. And you start to lose more and more information-----Hey, babes, where did I put my car keys?

FN (WOMAN): You had them in your hand a minute ago. For mercy's sakes.

GK: A tall man wandering from room to room searching for car keys and you become more and more irritated and it's only a matter of time before you (BWANGGGG) ----- and now something very strange has happened.

TR: (SWEDISH LAMENT)

GK: You hit your head on an iron skillet and you hit the left hemisphere, which has to do with language, and now you are thinking in a language you yourself do not understand.

TR (SWEDISH BEWILDERMENT)

GK: Weird. So what do you do now?

SS: Is something wrong? You haven't said a word. Tell me you're okay. Honey?

GK: You know this woman. But how? She seems to be fond of you. But why?

SS: Why won't you talk to me? Say something. Honey?? Something's wrong. I'm going to call the doctor.

GK: She goes into the next room. You've done something wrong. You're in trouble. You have to get out of here. Fast.

FAST PIANO TRAVELLING MUSIC, THEN SLOW UNDER.....(TRAIN WHISTLE)

TR (SWEDISH, RECOGNITION OF TRAIN)

GK: You hear the whistle— (MEN TALK, OFF, PUSHING FORWARD) Three men there. Friendly. So you follow them. They climb up into a big empty box on wheels.

DR: Here you go, fella. Easy.

GK: You take his hand, he pulls you up.

DR: See all these computer crates? (TRAIN WHISTLE, OFF) Betcha this train is headed for San Francisco. (TRAIN STARTS OUT)

GK: San Francisco. It sounds good.

TR: (SWEDISH) San Francisco. Good.

GK: You say it again.

TR (SWEDISH): San Francisco. Good.

(WHISTLE, OFF, FAST CLICKETY CLICK OF WHEELS)

GK: And you fall asleep to the rhythm of the train as it heads up toward the Rockies. (PIANO COMES IN AT TRAIN WHEEL TEMPO, THEN SLOWS. DREAMY BRIDGE)

GK: You wake up. The train has stopped. It's night. You smell smoke. There's a fire in the weeds. A dozen men stand around it. (ACCORDION)

DR: Care for something to eat, old-timer? Some of the other hobos rustled up some fine stew. Help yourself.

GK: Smoke, and stars overhead, and music. And men with dirty faces sitting around a fire, passing the bottle, singing.

GK & CHANTICLEER

In the attics of my life, full of cloudy dreams unreal.
Full of tastes no tongue can know, and lights no eyes can see.
When there was no ear to hear, you sang to me.

I have spent my life seeking all that's still unsung.
Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see.
When there was no strings to play, you played to me.

In the book of loves own dream, where all the print is blood.
Where all the pages are my days, and all the lights grow old.
When I had no wings to fly, you flew to me, you flew to me.

DR: You care for a pull of whiskey? It's good whiskey, if you like antifreeze. It's a fine night, that's for sure. Bunch of pals around a campfire. We may never meet again, but we'll never forget tonight. I won't.

GK: And you head for the train (WHISTLE) and the man who fixed the stew accidentally (BWANG) -----

FN: Sorry. You okay?

GK: I think so. Hey. I talked. Wow. (BRIDGE)

GK: And the train pulls into Oakland (TRAIN BRAKES) and you hitchhike over the bridge to San Francisco (CARS PASSING, HEAVY TRAFFIC) and a trucker picks you up ----

TR: How far you going? (TRUCK ACCEL, FIRST TO SECOND TO THIRD GEAR)

GK: Not sure. Somewhere in the city. (SEMI AIR BRAKES) And he lets you off on California Street and you start up the hill and you look through a window and see pots and skillets hanging and you walk in and ----

SS: You come about the job?

GK: Yes, ma'am.

SS: You ever been a short-order cook before?

GK: Never did anything but.. (FRYING, COOKING, STIRRING)

GK: And you become a cook. And everybody loves to eat and now you have a hundred friends. You turned the hazard of low-hanging cookware into an opportunity. You've forgotten nine-tenths of what you used to know but you've made the one-tenth remaining into something worthwhile. A person doesn't need a hundred percent. A person can get along on one-tenth. It's good enough.

GK & CHANTICLEER:
In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.
When the secrets all are told, and the petals all unfold.
When there was no dream of mine, you dreamed of me.

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).

Available now»

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