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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Plant Your Wagon, Part One

Let me tell you a tale of the strange way that ideas can evolve.

A few centuries ago, I had written a country western type song called "You Got My Woman." Although we hadn't yet tried recording it with the comedy trio, both my writing partner and I were fond of the song and would sing it regularly. Well, one evening, Mike told me that he had been singing "You Got My Woman" that afternoon while he was stuck in traffic on his way home from work, only he had changed the tune. (The original tune was inspired by--perhaps "stolen from" is the correct term--"Stand By Your Man.") He proceeded to sing this new version to me, and I had the new tune down in no time.

The next morning, we were scheduled to go to our compatriot's house in order to record something, probably a sketch. Mike was going to pick me up on his way. As happens with so many ideas, a great one occurred to me in the shower. The tune that Mike had sung had been bothering me because it was no longer a country tune; it was western. As I hummed the tune, suddenly a new lyric appeared in my brain. It went:

Out in the West, they grow petunias,
Chrysanthemums and roses red.

Well, that's something, I thought. Then another chunk appeared. And another. And then the chorus. Within five minutes, I had the entire song in my head. Furthermore, I knew what story it was a part of: It would be the first song in a musical that told the story of the range war between the cattle men and the flower growers.

I wasn't in the car more than 30 seconds before I started pitching the idea to Mike. He loved it. When we got our then-partner's house, we pitched the idea to him. Grudgingly as always, he allowed as it might not be a bad idea. But he did come up with a title: "Plant Your Wagon."

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