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FULL EPISODE

Jerry Ostensoe

As a lifetime resident of southwestern Minnesota, Ostensoe is known for his laid back blend of country, folk and blues songs about the people, the wind blown prairies, the small towns and railroads of the region Ostensoe calls “just east of west.”

AIRED: May 01, 2014 | 0:28:46
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TRANSCRIPT

The following program is a production of

Pioneer Public Television

clarinet music

theme music

theme music

Babe it ain't no lie

is an old blues song written

by Elizabeth Cotton

she was well known for writing the

song Freight Train in the 60's

during the big folk revival

so it's one of the finger picking classics.

You know I've been...

all around this world and I just got home today

You know I work so very hard

and gave all my money to you

tell me girl what more can I do

hey now girl you know it ain't no lie ain't I girl

I ain't tellin' you a lie girl, it ain't no lie cuz

this life that I'm livin' it's so very, very hard

Now there's this ol gal lives down in my town

she just keeps tellin' lies on me

and I wish, I wish she would get her story straight

and stop tellin' those lies on me

Hey now girl just ain't no lie now ain't I girl I ain't tellin' you no lie girl it just ain't

Hey now girl just ain't no lie now ain't I girl I ain't tellin' you no lie girl it just ain't

no lie cuz this life that Im livin' it's so very very hard

...guitar....

Hey now girl you know it ain't no lie ain't I girl

I ain't tellin' you no lie girl it ain't no lie cuz

this life that Im livin' it's so very very hard

It's a beautiful beautiful place here,

the venue I love these old places because they're

made for music you often times you get stuck in a

corner of some room or someplace somewhere and

it's not really a musical room but when they built

these places before there were amplifiers and a lot

of electricity and stuff they had to pay attention

to the sound quality and I'm just really pleased

that some of these places are still around cuz

they're just a joy to sing in

Trouble in Mind is an

old blue song it's one of those it's so far back

there people have a hard time figuring out where it

came from or who it came from it's an interesting

blue progression that's in a lot of other songs it

probably sounds quite familiar so it's a lot of

fun to play and sing it's a really fun song to sing

Oh now trouble, oh trouble,

trouble well trouble in mind,

I'm feelin' blue you know I ain't had so much

trouble in my life before

Well I'm goin' down to

that railroad catch myself an outbound train let that

old 219 carry by trouble away

Oh now trouble in mind,

I'm feelin' blue but my blues won' last always

I know the sun's gonna shine way down in my

backdoor someday.

Oh now trouble, trouble, trouble trouble in mind,

I'm feelin' blue you know I ain't had so much

trouble in my life before

...guitar pickin' blues.....

...guitar pickin' blues.....

Oh now trouble, trouble, trouble well trouble in

mind, I'm feelin' blue you know I ain't had so much

trouble in my young life before

...guitar pickin'....

trouble in mind

Well I can talk about My Little Town

a lot because I wrote the song

it's about Canby,

I grew up in Canby, I was there till I was about 9

years old my great grandfather Ole my

grandfather Oliver and my father Fredrick were all

lawyers and judges and so a long tradition of

lawyers and judges over there in Canby The song

came about we went back to Canby after Dad had

passed, my Mother, my brother and I and drove

around and looked at all the old spots and stuff

and it turned out to be kind of an emotional trip

for all of us and when I got back I wrote

My Little Town.

It's a sweet little song

about Canby which is a

sweet little town.

Guitar picking Intro....

Walkin' down the street, of my little town All

those old old buildings they're just a little run

down hotels and railroads they mostly gone to dust

I wonder is it true, 'bout the rest of us.

All my people you know, they're outside of town

underneath those Norway pines,

in that immigrant ground I go out there sometimes

and I read the names I wonder did they look like me did

they feel the same way about my little town,

my little town

I guess I didn't fall too far

from the nest

that wide spot in the

King of Trails a little bit east of west

oh that's my little town,

my little town

I sure miss the feelin'

of slidin' down Mrs. Meyers hill

didn't like it all that

much but that was part of the thrill Momma didn't

like it either in fact the word she used was no.

got the scars to prove I once flew all those years ago.

Just across from great grandpas house

up on Saint Olaf's street

little norwegian lutheran church

and vestber bell so sweet You could feel those

ancient rhythms so sweet for the day they wrote a

tone they let every wayward child know time to

go back home in my, my little town.

I guess I didn't fall too far from the nest wide

spot in the King of Trails a little bit east of west

that's my little town, my little town that's my

little town.

We got Pistol Pete on the harmonica,

Pete's a great harmonica player it's funny he's a

frustrated Jazz musician he always wants to bring

the big horns you know the saxaphones and stuff in

and it's funny one night we played a gig somewhere

and I'm sittin' up there with my little acoustic

guitar you know and tinkling along and Pete's

over there on the baritone sax and you woulda you

know you think there's a ship coming in or

something cuz it's so big and so loud.

Pete's good about keeping me happy and he plays the

harp really well.

He grew up in Los Angeles and ended up coming up

here and people really like his playing which is

obvious cuz he's really well and Richard,

Richard and I have known each other forever,

we've been playing music forever and the

interesting thing about the sound with Richard and

Pete and I is you know we don't really ever practice

in fact practicing is kind of a,

well it just doesn't really work the way it's

supposed to work with us guys because nobody's

really thinking about it so much so we have a

pretty unnatural sound which I think people

really appreciate and it's really nice,

it's really nice, we have our,

we have wonderful moments.

I'm goin back down to Baltimore shoes and

stockings down on the floor come on gal come

along with me gonna take you down to Tennessee

Well Okee Dokee tell me soda cracker does your momma

does she chew tobacca Well Okee Dokee tell me soda

cracker does your momma does she chew tobacca

Well now do ya hear that ol' midnight train rollin'

down through that ol' fallin' rain

Ride that train baby day and night in your arms girl I feel

alright Now this old world,

a lonesome place I can see it on every face.

As I ramble and as I roam in your arms I feel at

home It's a Green ol Green Rocky Road promenade

around old green who do you love girl

who do you love who do you love, who do you love who do you

love girl who do you love who do you love girl,

who do you love.

I was interested in guitar as far back as I can

remember when I was in Canby I remember looking

at you know guitars and motorcycles in the

catalogs then a friend of mine she had a guitar and

I remember being fascinated with it but I

don't remember playing that much but in high

school I got kind of serious about it I was in

a little folk group and I started playing guitar and

I always enjoyed the way it sounded I always

thought I could make a decent sound with it.

I tried taking lessons, it was a disaster because I'm

not that disciplined so I'm a very slow learner

you know I'm happy I'm still around doing it cuz

it took that long but I've just always been

interested in it, I've always loved music and you

know you have to, not that I have anything more to

say that anybody else but people think well you have

to make stuff up or create stuff when you write a

song I dont think thats it I think you just have to

pay attention a little bit because I dont think you

really do create anything quite frankly you know you

just might put together what's here a differently

than somebody else maybe and I think I can do that.

So it's been a passion my whole life I tell people

being a single guy and all this and that,

there's a lot of hours in a day sometimes and lot of

guys get in trouble and I've always been able to

sit and play the guitar and thats been a real

blessing for me I could entertain myself or maybe

like I say I'd be getting into trouble or something

so its really personal, my struggle is to not make it

not quite so personal and try to make it accessible

to people thats my struggle but I've always

been interested I've always been able to

entertain myself I've always loved the blues I

love trains and I'm still singing about trains and

this and that and the other thing and this is a

wonderful place to write about,

it's got everything here that anybody would ever

need.

It's not fly over land like some people say,

you know.

.... guitar intro....

Whole of Things Being Said,

I wrote that song too I have a few things to say

about I guess, I've always thought it's interesting

reading in scripture when you read the accounts of

the tower of Bable and after the sons of sons of

Noah go out on the plains of Shannara,

right away everyone's yakkin' away you know and

they build a tower and they figure out that well

bricks are better than stone so they can go

higher and the story in the bible says that well

God looked down and he said he knew that nothing

was impossible for them so he had to kinda figure out

a way to kind of slow these guys down and so he

struck em in the tongue and spread em out over the

world and that's what the song's about it's

interesting because in this day now everybody I

mean there's an awful lot of talkin' goin' on and

sometimes you think nahhh...

maybe it would be better to just do something and

so that's kinda what the song,

it tries to draw the connection and in a lot of

ways I think that not all the much changed,

you know people are still doing an awful lot of

talking and sometimes you get a little tired of it .

Way back in old bible days not long after the flood

sons of the sons of Noah ventured on the dried up

mud put their little heads together to serve

themselves instead there's a whole lot of words being

spoken, whole lot of things being said.

Brick upon brick was stronger than stone upon

stone built themselves a tower to see if God was

home God he looked down , he looked down and shook

his head Well there's a whole lot of words being

spoken, whole lot of things they was being said.

You know that God he knew that nothin' was

impossible for them.

So he struck em in the tongue and scattered them

in the wind and now it wasn't long at all,

before the dead, they was a burying the dead.

There's a whole lot of words being spoken,

a whole lot of things being said.

Up those slippery steps we go mud upon our feet right

past the signs they've warn time is a bitter sweet

The whole truth and nothin but,

all the faithful heartache trails there's a whole lot

of words being spoken, whole lot of things being said.

Well I just came out with new CD it's called

Whatever's Left of the Day and it turned out really

nice I'm very happy with it We had a CD release

party down in Granite Falls at Sarina's church

it's an old church, I used to go to Boy Scouts there

when I was in high school and even earlier in the

basement and it's been various things over the

years but a young gal from Granite bought it and

she's living in the basement presently but

sooner or later plans to fix the church up but now

it's just a wonderful open space with the stained

glass and it's really a pleasant place so we had a

party there and when I walked in the first time I

said I wanna be able to play here sometime.

Things went really well, I couldn't have hoped it

would go much better we had a really nice crowd

the weather was great some wonderful musicians came

quite a distance to play at the party which I

really took as a compliment to myself

because they didn't have to do that they're busy

guys they do a lot of playing,

so we had quite a band I think we had 10 people on

stage at one point it was a lot of fun it really

went well sold a bunch of CDs which is fun cuz I've

been writing a lot of checks lately so it's nice

to get a little money coming back in you know

cuz it's expensive stuff but you wanna do it well.

Hard Luck Soul its an old blues song by a guy

names Blind Lemon Jefferson for years we've

been doing a version of it with The Strollers,

with Pete and Richard but I recently this winter

started fooling around with an open C tuning

kinda fell in love with it the version I did for you

guys as a solo is an open C tuning of Hard Luck Soul

it's a little different feel to it,

the one we do in the band is a standard tuning.

It's just a interesting tune about some guy would

like to go home but he just doesnt have

sufficient clothes which is just kind of an odd

thing to think about really but thats what it

was and of course it's got the railroad references

which is great you know but you take the Katy I'll

take the Sante Fe and when we get out to Denver ...

so that's interesting, it's just an old blues

song that's about the railroad and that's of

course what I love I'm quite the railroad guy you

know....

I'd like to go home, ain't got sufficient clothes dog

gone, a hard luck soul I'd like to go home,

ain't got sufficient clothes you know I'd like

to go home, ain't got sufficient clothes

You take the Katy I'll catch the Sante Fe,

dog gone, a hard luck soul now You take the Katy I'll

catch the Sante Fe when you get out to Denver,

take the Luther JD

I had some money, I lost it it's gone, dog gone,

a hard luck sole well I had some money,

I lost it it's gone.

Well I ain't gonna bet on that queen of spades no more.

Alright Pete.......

.....harmonica solo......

.....harmonica solo......

My sweet Selma, she's 5 feet from the ground,

dog gone, a hard luck soul My sweet Selma,

she's 5 feet from the ground that girl's tailor

made, ain't no hand me down I'd like to go home,

ain't got sufficient clothes dog gone,

a hard luck soul well I'd like to go home,

ain't got sufficient clothes you know I'd like

to go home, ain't got sufficient clothes.

I think I've played You Ain't Goin' Nowhere every

time I've ever played in public in my entire life

and that goes back to the late 60s a little folk

group in high school Goodtime Railroad we

always played that song at the beginning often times

with The Strollers we play that song at the beginning

I often do it first off when Im doing it by myself

too it's kind of my you know its just a very

comfortable song to start with its a pretty song,

its easy.

Clouds so swift the rain won't lift The gate so

cold the railings froze Get your mind off

wintertime You ain't going nowhere

Ooowe, ride me high Tomorrow my bride's gonna come we're

gonna fly Down into that easy chair

I don't care how many letters they sent My

morning came, My morning went Pack up your things

pick up your tent You ain't going nowhere

Ooowe, ride me high Tomorrow my bride's gonna come we're

gonna fly Down into that easy chair

Buy me a flute, a gun that shoots Tailgates and

substitutes Strap yourself to a tree with roots You

ain't going nowhere

Ooowe, ride me high

Tomorrow my

bride's gonna come we're gonna fly

Down into that easy chair

Ghengis Kahn and his brother Don could not keep

on keepin' on They'll cross that bridge you're

standin' on when they get to it.

Ooowe, ride me high Tomorrow my bride's

gonna come We're gonna fly down into that easy chair

...guitar.....

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