Not My Job: 'Elementary, My Dear (Dale) Watson'

Nov 8, 2014

Wait Wait is in Austin, Texas this week, and so we've invited country singer Dale Watson to play our quiz. Watson has that true Austin sound — not to mention his own honky-tonk bar.

We've invited Watson to play a game called, "Elementary, my dear Dale!" Three questions about the immortal detective, Sherlock Holmes.

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And now the game where we travel the country to find people who at least didn't have to leave home to do this. To many, Austin, Texas means music - specifically country music - and by that, we don't mean the stuff they pedal in Nashville. We mean the down home twanging songs about cold beer and true misery. Dale Watson has got the true Austin sound...


SAGAL: ...He's got the tats, he's got the pompadour, and he's got his own honky-tonk right here in Austin. Dale Watson, welcome...

DALE WATSON: Thank you.



SAGAL: Austin City Limits - that's the great music program out of Austin - they call you Austin's king of country music. Does that sound right to you? Do you accept that title?

WATSON: Oh, no, I couldn't do that.

SAGAL: Really?

WATSON: No, but I'm very honored. I play Ameripolitan music.

SAGAL: I've read about this - Ameripolitan music. You have decided that the word country music has been what? Degraded? Misused?

WATSON: Well, no, it just doesn't describe what I grew up to know as country music anymore. I'd like to say that the definition is original music with prominent roots, influences - started with Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams and, you know, Kitty Wells. So it started there and it goes on. And if you can hear the influence of an artist in another artist, than that's your roots.

SAGAL: Right.

WATSON: And to me, the mainstream stuff coming out of from Nashville has got their roots firmly planted in midair. They have no roots whatsoever.


SAGAL: But, so...

FAITH SALIE: Hey, Dale, how do you feel about the banjo?


WATSON: There's a thing called perfect pitch. You ever heard of perfect pitch?

SAGAL: Yeah, people who can hear a note and know exactly - sing a note...

WATSON: No, no, no, no, no. It's when you throw an accordion in a dumpster...


WATSON: ...And it doesn't hit the rim and it lands on a banjo.


SAGAL: For people, Dale, who are not lucky enough to have heard you play around Texas where you play all the time or your own club in Austin, what songs are you known for?

WATSON: Probably "I lie when I drink."


WATSON: (Singing) I lie when I drink. I drink a lot.


SAGAL: When I told people you we were going to be on the show, the people from Austin who I told, they said, well, you got to ask him about his Sunday gig every Sunday. And I know it's going to be difficult...

WATSON: Chicken poop bingo.


WATSON: For a poultry $2 donation, you can win...


WATSON: You can win over $100 if the same number that's in the bag, you draw, is the same number the chicken picks in her chicken picking way.


SAGAL: All right. So you've got some sort of like dirt thing on the floor?

WATSON: It's free hot dogs and...

SAGAL: Free hot dogs?

WATSON: ...And $2 Lone Stars.

SAGAL: All right.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Well, it'd be weird to eat chicken in front of the chickens.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know.

GOLDTHWAIT: It wouldn't really motivate them.

SAGAL: So the way this works is you've got like, it marked down on the floor - maybe a dirt floor - I haven't been there. I'm guessing.


SAGAL: No, not dirt floor?

WATSON: Cement floor.

SAGAL: Cement floor. And you got to mark that with numbers. Cement, that's what they have here in Texas.


SAGAL: So you got your cement floor. You got it marked out with numbers. And you have chickens...

WATSON: No, no. There's a board that we put on the pool table...


WATSON: ...And it's got numbers on it. And if the chicken picks that number - that one you draw out of a bag - then they won the money.

SAGAL: And the chicken picks the number by relieving itself on the number?

WATSON: There is a line ticket, which, you know, is the luckiest ticket.


WATSON: In case it crosses into a line.

GOLDTHWAIT: Sure, I got you.

SALIE: Is at the same chicken every week?

WATSON: Yeah, well, actually we've been doing it for so long I think we're on our sixth chicken now.


TOM BODETT: Do you have a lucky chicken?

WATSON: Doesn't everybody?



GOLDTHWAIT: That's rather personal, Tom.

WATSON: Well, you know, the thing is we've had them pass away. I never knew how long a chicken could live, but they can - they be a good long time.

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah, they're tenacious.


WATSON: We've had one killed by the chupacabra.


GOLDTHWAIT: That'll happen.

SAGAL: You have a...

GOLDTHWAIT: Did the chupacabra lose the week before?

SAGAL: Did the chicken actually killed by the chupacabra?

WATSON: Oh, yeah. His...

GOLDTHWAIT: Are you drunk now because you said you lie when you drink.

SAGAL: I want to hear about the chupacabra eating your chicken.

WATSON: Well, we assume it was 'cause the chicken's body was still in the chicken coop and the head was on the outside.

GOLDTHWAIT: Could've been the Mafia.

WATSON: Could've been the Mafia - the Texas Mafia.


SAGAL: And you know how they thought it was the Mafia? 'Cause it's feet were in a little tub of cement.


SAGAL: Now you are dressed - is this the rig you perform in - what you're wearing now? 'Cause you're wearing really shiny cowboy boots. And you've got fabulous hair. You've got this beautiful white pompadour.

WATSON: Well it didn't used to be white, it used to be pretty black.


WATSON: It's getting whiter as this show goes on.

SAGAL: Yeah I know.


SAGAL: Dale Watson, we are so enjoying talking to you, but we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: Elementary, My Dear Dale.


SAGAL: Should've seen this coming.

WATSON: I love the way Bill says that.

SAGAL: Don't you? I love the way he says anything. So you are a Watson, but what do you know about Holmes? We're going to ask you three questions about the immortal detective Sherlock Holmes. Get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of Carl Kasell himself on their voicemail. So Bill, who is Dale Watson playing for?

KURTIS: Elizabeth Day of Austin, Texas.


SAGAL: She's out there somewhere.

WATSON: Elizabeth - let me just first say Elizabeth, I will make this up to you.


GOLDTHWAIT: All the free chicken bingo you can handle.

SAGAL: There's nothing I want to right more with my life than go to play chicken bingo on Sunday.

GOLDTHWAIT: I have a confession - I'm the chupacabra.


GOLDTHWAIT: I owe you a chicken.

SAGAL: Here is your first question Dale. The BBC version of "Sherlock" - you might've seen it, it's a huge hit in China. They lovingly refer to the stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman by nicknames which are what? A, Rizzoli and Isles; B, the Captain and Garfunkel; or C, Curly Fu and Peanut.




SAGAL: You're thinking.

WATSON: I am. I'm not used to it.


WATSON: I'm going to go with Curly.

SAGAL: Curly Fu?

WATSON: Peanut.

SAGAL: Curly Fu and Peanut is the right answer.


SAGAL: Curly for Benedict Cumberbatch's luxurious hair and Fu is the Chinese derivation of Holmes, apparently. All right. Two more questions. "Sherlock Holmes..."

GOLDTHWAIT: Wait. What's the Peanut for?

SAGAL: Well, Peanut is Martin Freeman. I guess he's smaller - he's a rather short man so I guess that's where that comes from.


SAGAL: Sherlock Holmes, some believe, is the most filmed character ever, right? More movies with Sherlock Holmes than any other human character. Which of these is the title of a real "Sherlock Holmes" film? Is it A, "Tom And Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes;" B, "Sherlock 2: Sherlocker;" or C; "Holmes On The Range"?


WATSON: Those - one of them is real?

SAGAL: One of those is real.


WATSON: Well, now could one of them be a cartoon, is that what you're talking about?

SAGAL: One of them could be a cartoon.

WATSON: OK, well, I'm going with a Tom and Jerry.

SAGAL: You're right, "Tom And Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes."




SAGAL: Now one more question. Let's see if you're perfect. Hundreds of people around the world right to Sherlock Holmes.

WATSON: Oh, I'm not perfect.


SAGAL: Do you want to talk about it?



SAGAL: We're all friends here if you want to discuss anything.

BODETT: Sing about it.

SAGAL: I'll ask you the question. Hundreds of people around the world write to Sherlock Holmes for help each year. And these letters end up at the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London. Now most are - please to help solve mysteries, oh, please Mr. Holmes. There's one letter on display at the museum that is what? Is it an e-mail from a Nigerian Prince asking for Sherlock Holmes' help in a business opportunity? Is it B, a postcard from a local optician reminding Mr. Sherlock Holmes it's time for his checkup? Or is it C, a J.Crew catalog addressed to Sherlock Holmes and advertising their fall collection of deer stalker hats?


WATSON: All right. I'm going to say the catalog.

SAGAL: The catalog. No, I'm afraid it was the optician.

WATSON: Was it really?

SAGAL: Yep, an optician wrote to Sherlock Holmes saying you're ready for your next eye appointment. When their last one was, we don't know.


WATSON: Didn't he have just one thing - monocle?

SAGAL: No, no, no, you're confusing him with somebody I can't even imagine right now.

GOLDTHWAIT: With Mr. Peanut.

SAGAL: That was Mr. Peanut, yes. Bill how did Dale Watson do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three and that's a winner Dale.

SAGAL: Yes it is.



SAGAL: Congratulations.

WATSON: Thank you.

SAGAL: Well done. Dale Watson is recording in January for Red House Records. Then he's heading out on an East Coast tour with Reverend Horton Heat and Rosie Flores. Dale Watson, thank you so much for being on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

WATSON: Thank you.


WATSON: (Signing) Whiskey or God, going to bring me relief. Believing or not, bending my elbow or my knees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.