Episode Seven of the Lion in Tweed: The Lion in Tweed and Mutton Red at Live at Peacemaker's Stage, playing a song by Buffy Sainte-Marie.
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Partial transcript below.
|``The Peacemaker's Trail seeks to educate, inspire and unite,'' said Mayor Ryan. ``Peacemakers have a played a fundamental role in promoting social justice in our country and around the world, and they continue to do so today. Dr. King's example is second to none, and we're proud to honor him with a statue at the center of this trail, which also highlights the work of other peacemakers. We hope the Peacemaker's Trail makes Binghamton a beacon for peace and understanding, attracting citizens from across the Southern Tier and beyond.''|
The Lion in Tweed walked to front-center of the concrete stage, just under the lip of the blue canvas roof that read, in white capital letters of some Times font variant: PEACEMAKER'S STAGE. He looked out over the small group of people who had assembled for the show and smiled thinly as he did before starting class, as if to say "oh, yeah, I'm here, but don't worry about me, just act like I'm not here. Although I will be speaking eventually and you'll want to pay attention then."
He assessed the size of the audience. A pretty good turnout, he thought. He was pleased.
Mutton Red was in a chair behind him, to his left, tuning his guitar. The Lion's chair, turned slightly toward Red's, but mostly out to the audience, was empty. There was a small table next to his chair with his harmonicas, and off to the right, the recording equipment and old Fender Blues Junior.
The Lion took a deep breath and pushed his diaphragm into his stomach in anticipation of projecting his voice over the crowd. "Hello," the Lion said. "Welcome to the Lion in Tweed and Mutton Red Live on Peacemaker's Stage. I am the titular Lion in Tweed, and this is Mutton Red, an American guitar-playing hound.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Mutton Red."
"That was a Ry Cooder song, telling the story of a guitar-playing cat named Buddy who befriends a fiddle-playing mouse named Lefty.
Mutton Red: Cats and mice are always told that they have to be enemies, but they don't. Buddy and Lefty become friends and travel together for a while. That's just like our story!
The Lion began to tell the story to the audience:
Red and I met at the foot of a railway bridge over an American river flowing south, like the Chenengo does through downtown Binghamton. It was a warm summer afternoon, a bit later than now, the sun lower in the sky. I'd been walking for a few days. I was heading over the bridge to the north, I was going to cross it on foot, hoping that no train would come when I was halfway across, like that scene in 'Stand by me.' That's when I heard Red playing his guitar. He was playing "Cod'ine" by Buffy Sainte-Marie. I knew the song, so I hopped off the tracks and began to sing it.
After the song was finished, Red looked the Lion up and down. "I don't think I've had the pleasure," Red said, after a moment.
The Lion introduced himself. "I was just walking by when I heard you playing. I hope you don't mind that I joined in," he said.
"No, no problem at all, you have a nice set of pipes on ya." Red said.
"Thanks. You know your way around that guitar," the Lion offered.
Red nodded in response. "I'm Mutton Red, or 'Red' for short," he added, extending his paw, and the Lion took it hesitantly in his. "What are you doing around these parts?" Red asked.
"Just traveling through," the Lion said.
"Me, too!" Red said, "Where are you headed?" he asked.
"Uh...," the Lion began to fidget. He didn't want to say. He trusted the hound instinctively, reenforced by the musical rapport, so it wasn't that. Rather, it was that he didn't care to admit that he wasn't really sure where he was going. "I'm, uh," he said finally, "going, uh, west." He shrugged to indicate the vagueness of his desire.
Red nodded. "I hear you. I'm familiar with that kind of trip," he said. "Why don't you have a seat?"
The Lion looked down at the ground next to Red and looked out over the river, and the train tracks heading across the river to the west. "I could stand to take a load off," he said. He sat down beside Red. "Thanks," he said.
Red shook his head. "What do you think about playin' some songs tonight, and then getting two tickets on the first train heading west in the morning?"
"I don't know," The Lion said. He hesitated a moment. "I don't have that kind of money."
"Well," Red said, "it's not that kind of ticket."
The Lion cocked his head and looked at him a long time. "Okay," he said, not changing the focus of his eyes. "I'm in." He extended his paw. "Glad to make your acquaintance, Mister Red."
Red took it. "'Red,' just 'Red' is fine. Glad to have met you."
The Lion looked out at the concert audience and said, "And we've been harmonizing since." He turned to Red. "How 'bout we play Moonshiner for these folks, another one of those songs we played the day we met?"
"One of my favorites," Red said. Red put his capo up on the fifth fret, and they began to play on the riverbank of the Chenengo as the sun settled behind the far western hills.
Hello. This is the
of the podcast. Thanks for listening to "The Lion in Tweed and Mutton Red at Live at Peacemaker's Stage, playing a song by Buffy Sainte-Marie."
"Buffy Sainte-Marie is a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas." This is wikipedia speaking. She says that she found out "that President Lyndon B. Johnson had been writing letters on White House stationery praising radio stations for suppressing [her] music." We covered Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Cod'ine" in this podcast. Scott remembers Buffy Sainte-Marie on Sesame Street. This is her performing Cripple Creek on that program in nineteen seventy-five, with two voices and a homemade string instrument:
We'd like to thank everyone who came to our show. If you kept your postcard-sized program from the event, you'll note that the story on the back of the postcard was the opening of this podcast. Cool, huh?
We'd like to thank Pat and Connie of River Read Books for their support and to river read itself for providing us with chairs. That was great. We look forward to having another event like that on Peacemaker's stage.
We'd like to give a shout-out to the Mayor of Binghamton, or, at least, whoever manages his facebook page:
We'd like to thank Joshua B. of BingSpot (@JoshuaBonAir on twitter) and Nancy Dooling of the Press-Sun Bulletin (@PSBnancy on twitter) for coming to the show and, in Joshua's case, taking great pictures. One of his pictures provided the template for the image which accompanies this podcast.
I'd like to give a shout-out to Winston Rowntree, who does the visual art for this podcast and has since the first episode. When I first imagined The Lion in Tweed, I imagined him as drawn by Winston. Winston writes and draws the excellent webcomic Subnormality, which you can find at http://viruscomix.com (that's comix with an x). You can see his art on display at Orion Beauty and Balance in downtown Binghamton.
We'd also like to thank Mark Urban for making a short video.
Penultimately, we'd like to thank all of our friends who came out to the show: Wendy, Nadja, and Brian; Melissa and Pumpkin; Seth and Emily, who can be seen on the right side of the front row in the image for this show; Dora and Sol, who can be seen on the left side of that same row; and we'd like to especially thank our wives Kelly and Emily, and special thanks to Emily for managing the recorder and taking great pictures.
And, finally, we'd like to thank you, the listener. We sincerely hope you enjoyed this and welcome emails at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. As Graham Clark would say, "If you liked this podcast, tell your friends, that's how we grow."
Here are some pictures from the event.