Gone West

Recently I was asked to perform a 10 minute sketch at a local music pub’s Americana night. My brief: you are Marshall Amp (geddit?) and we want you to devise a story to illustrate a line from a traditional American song. Oh, and you can do a harmonica solo …

Image result for marshall amps

Always game for a laugh, I agreed. I found a risqué old blues and wrote a cod-Western script to accompany it. Now, two days before the show, I learn it’s been cancelled. I reckon the promoter and the landlord have fallen out … again!

Shucks!

Now it’s no skin off my nose.  I don’t sing and play for money – they do buy me the occasional beer – but just because I like doing it. However this time, because I’ve gone the extra mile and devised a little routine, thought I might as well make it the basis of a blogpost. So here, my friends, is an exclusive preview of the sketch that never was …

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(Marshall Amp, star pinned on his check shirt, leather waistcoat, jeans, boots, ten-gallon hat over his eyes, asleep)

Hunh? Uh … yeah … howdy! Mus’ say that it’s a reel honor and privilege to be sat here in the world-famous Runnin’ Horse listnin’ to me … Marshall Amp … kinda well-known hereabouts on account of that byoootiful big beast up there on the wall behind y’all …

(Points at the life-size facsimile of an American bison head)

… yup, that’s the very las’ prairie buffalo of ’em all and it was yours truly what pulled the trigger … got the pictures to prove it, too, put ’em up all over Facebook … you seen ’em, ain’tcha?

(Adopts smug pose with foot on imaginary dead animal)

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it, Co-chise! … Now folk always tellin’ me – Hey, Marshall Amp, how come a lawman like you always out huntin’ endangered species like that? Well, I tell ’em, I reckon it give me summat to do since they stopped all that bounty huntin’ for lawbreakers … y’all seen them posters … Wanted, Dead or Alive!

‘Course the little woman always bitchin’ I ain’t never home, where’s the money comin’ from, all that stuff! You heard ’em – How’m I gonna make ends meet, Marshall? Well, take ma word for it, she know how to make ends meet! My back turn no more’n a minute on the trail o’ everlasting glory in shootin’ circles, know what ma wife done? Only high-tailed it downtown, cruisin’ all them there juke joints, fulla men with big pockets and no morals! You know them places …

(Looks suspiciously round audience)

Y’do? Well, I got my eye on you! You know Bootleg Sal? Howzabout Little Suzanne? Y’ever been down Django Hill?

Yeah, see, there’s this song they wrote about it. Kinda public-service warning to stay away from all that stuff. So I aim to sing it and all the while I’ll be watching out for signs o’ guilty knowledge. All you poker-faces out there, here come a li’l musical lie-detector test! Maybe you better join in with the chorus …

(Sings)

You know Bootleg Sal she used to live cross town
The law went there and he closed her down

Now you can’t get the stuff no more
You can’t get the stuff no more
No matter how you try
You can’t buy
You can’t get that stuff no more

You know that place on Django Hill
The law shut the gals and the liquor still

Now you can’t get the stuff, etc.

Little Suzanne used to sell hair grease
Got in trouble with the Chief of Police

Now you can’t get the stuff, etc.

(harmonica solo)

There go Amp with a great big knife
Somebody been foolin’ round with his wife

Now you can’t get the stuff, etc.

Old State street girl used to give it away
Now you can’t get it if you offers to pay

You can’t get the stuff, etc.

All the girls used to walk the streets
The law done put ’em off his beat

Now you can’t get the stuff no more
You can’t get the stuff no more
No matter how you try
You can’t buy
You can’t get that stuff no more

You get the message, people?

(Another hard scan of the audience)

Well, I guess you passed that test! So I aim to make some o’ you ma deputies ‘fore the night is out. Eyes an’ ears on the street, see … an’ hear? We gonna clean up this town, make it fit fo’ families, yeah? Make it a place where good ol’ private enterprise can flourish again.

So any o’ you folk wanna open up a house o’ ill-repute, won’t get no trouble from li’l old me, jus’ make a decent donation to the M.A.F.F.K.W.H. … that’s the Marshall Amp Fund For Keeping Wives Home. Don’t want no more How’m I gonna make ends meet, Marshall? Her end gonna stay jus’ where it is, thank y’very much, so howzabout a li’l old goodwill contribution?

(Holds out upturned hat)

Kinda shy, huh? Well, it’s not every day you meet a gen-u-ine hero. Jus’ think of it, folks, the very las’ prairie buffalo an’ I’ll be posin’ right next to her fo’ all o’ your pictures in two shakes of a –

(Promoter calls out “It’s plastic!”)

Whoa, baby, best not tell Ranger Rob (indicates pub landlord) or he’ll be asking me for his money back! Anyhow, I’ve been Marshall Amp and you’ve been … kinda patient!

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Me again! On second thoughts, perhaps it’s just as well they cancelled. They probably wanted a nice little fireside chat conforming to cosy 1950s stereotypes, Burl Ives meets Gene Autry …

O ma darlin’
O ma darlin’
O ma darlin’ Clementine
You are lost
And gone forever
Dreadful sorry Clementine …

 

Images:

choiceguitaramplifiers.com    

zillustration studio news        

gifbin.com

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15 thoughts on “Gone West

    1. Thank you. I think the evening was the landlord’s idea, so he may ask me again. Writing it out here helped me make improvements, so I’d be up for it … though I might have to warn him it ain’t Burl ‘n’ Gene!

  1. Love the funny twists…. I am singing along and joining you with: “O ma darlin’ Clementine” 😀 😉
    Have a great Spring ahead dear Dave!. Best to you.

    1. Don’t know about talent but I’ve got plenty of cheek! As to making a video, wouldn’t know where to start being a complete clot when it comes to technology! All suggestions gratefully received!

      1. The Cheek will come handy! If someone in the audience can take a video with your phone / their phone and you upload it to YouTube and / or they send you the link, it’s not long before you could be owning a show😉Kind of. It’s as easy as WordPress: if you have gmail, you already have a YouTube account. Kids do video homework.

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