Old News 20011
For those of you who came in late, here's what you missed...

December 27th, 2011...

Copyright © 2011 by Misty Morgan.

"The Way Home" by that aspiring photographer, Misty Morgan.

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
CHRISTMAS PAST. Nothing is over like Christmas. Months of anticipation, and then it's gone. Try to hold on to it and it slides away like this morning's dream. It's hard to work up the spirit here in Florida, but we give it a shot every year. Misty decorates a tree, and puts Christmas stuff all over the place. We listen to Christmas music with the air conditioning on and with palm trees lurking in the front yard. I get very sentimental about Christmas, probably because I had real Christmasy holidays years ago, with folks who are no longer with us, and my childlike subconscious thinks it will happen again sometime. I toss up futile prayers for snow here in the subtropics, but this is the time of year when we just get a cheap imitation of early autumn. A couple of trees around here have a touch of red, and I go look at them. Television doesn't help, with reports of all night sales, talking heads urging us to be good consumers, stranded travelers sleeping in airports, and carolers singing "Happy Honda Days". The people who tell us that it's a pagan holiday, just because it's near the winter solstice, may not realize what an intrusion that is upon our enjoyment. I think we can each bring our own spirituality and memories to the season, and make it our personal non-pagan celebration. It's in the spirit of the beholder. Christmas Eve and Day at my sister Val's house is a fleeting taste of "old Christmas" that saves the day, with turkey, eggnog, and all the trimmings. I think I'll write a letter to Santa, and ask him for one more snowy Christmas in Buffalo, where the night is silent, the homes are warm, and the feeling is strong in the air. Copyright © December 26, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 24th/25th, 2011...

Starflakes were falling. The moonlight was dreamy. The snow was all drifty, and tasted whip creamy Toyland was singing on this Christmas Eve. Santa's sleigh was all packed up and ready to leave. "The big rush is over!” I heard an elf shout. They gathered together as Santa came out. The boss shook each hand as he passed through the group. Mrs. Santa appeared with a thermos of soup. "Ho ho", laughed the chief, as he thanked every one "for your loyal support, and a job so well done." He climbed to the cockpit. "Let's rock!" he cried. The reindeer all giggled till they nearly died. He tucked in the blanket along by his knees, And took aim at the Milky Way over the trees. There was shouting and waving and kisses goodbye. He fastened his seatbelt and soared to the sky. The crowd went inside to get out of the weather. Time for the annual Elf Get-together. All except one, who just slouched on a stump, Crabby Bassnaster, the neighborhood grump. "What is it, Crabby", asked toymaker Spiro? "We do the work", he crabbed. "Santa's the hero." "Merry Christmas, big deal", and "Humbug", he said. "Just put it into my paycheck instead." Back to the workshop he stumped with a grumble, grumping back over his shoulder to mumble: "Land, if there's one thing that I jes' cain't take, it's singin' an' dancin', an' ice cream an' cake!" Toyland was darkened, and spookily still. Not a sound of a hammer, much less a drill. Rumble and grumble, he slumped through the halls, Even his shadow looked sad on the walls. By the light on his workbench he fumed and he fussed, brushing away at a small speck of dust. "One more 'ho-ho' from jolly ol' Santa, And I'm gonna pack an' go back to Atlanta. Sweeping the floor in a circle of light, He saw something shiny there, off to the right. "A leftover present? How can that be? How come these troubles all happen to me?" Tied with a ribbon and stuck with a pearl, the card was addressed:" To a good little girl". "The name an' address are marked here inside, so it looks like I'm in for a cold midnight ride." He hitched up the sleigh for the unscheduled run. "The work of a pore elf jes' ain't never done." (Later that Christmas Eve...) "Now, let me see, this looks like the house. I hope I don't stir up no critter nor mouse." Then from the roof, down the chimney he slid. "They ain't makin' chimleys the way that they did." There by the fire a little girl sat. "Jes' what I need, a wide awake brat." She said, "Are you Santa"? He seemed sort of scarey. "Do bloodshot eyes twinkle? Is my nose a cherry? No, I'm just a gopher, a regular jerk. He gets the glory, an' we do the work." "I love you", she melted. "You ARE kinda cute!' His face turned as red as his little red suit. "I just couldn't sleep. I was feeling so bad. It's my first Christmas Eve away from my dad." Suddenly sobbing and snurfing and sighing. Could all of that racket be Bassnaster crying? He gave her the gift, and he kissed her goodbye, With almost a twinkle in one teary eye. Up to the rooftop, and into the sleigh, He cranked up the reindeer and roared them away. "Back to the party! Les move this ol' crate! I better not miss out on ice cream an' cake!" And, I heard him shout, as he dropped 'er in gear, "Merry Christmas, y'all, and a Happy New Year!" Jack Blanchard

December 21, 2011... I WILL is still going somewhere around the world:

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ALL I EVER WANTED WAS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. "All I ever wanted was an unfair advantage." Will Campbell We miss Mister McGoo as Scrooge. They took off Mr. McGoo because they said it was politically incorrect, making fun of blind people. McGoo wasn't blind, just nearsighted, as I was most of my life. Besides, blind people weren't even watching McGoo... but they knew it was funny. We're listening to Billie Jo Spears on the laptop. She's singing "New York Secretary's Life" and now, our favorite "Blanket on the Ground". We spent a little time with her on a couple of occasions, and have always been fans. We liked knowing she was there. Misty says "She wasn't pure country, she was just pure good." CHRISTMAS TV SPECIAL: "It's a Wonderful Life, The Sequel": George Bailey has old man Potter whacked. I call it a "pick". The guitar books call it a "plectrum". I'm almost sure plectrum is a body part. I don't play Bingo, but sometimes I go down to the Senior Center, and when the guy is calling the Bingo numbers, I just stand in the back of the room and yell out other random numbers. You better not shout. You better not cry. You better watch out, I'm telling you why... Santa Claus is coming to get you. When Misty was six years old she sang "Cabin in the Sky" on a radio talent program. The winner was a kid that tap danced. On the RADIO! The announcer, Colin Male, later became her brother-in-law, and was the announcer on The Andy Griffith Show. Strange but true. I got a pair of size 32 jeans today. I'm using them for a scarf. People worry about the world ending in 2012 because that's as far as the Mayan calendar goes. Actually, the Mayan guys were just sick of working on the calendar and said "The hell with it" My dad went to a farmer to buy a chicken. The farmer said "Do you want a pullet?" My dad said "No, just put it in a bag. I'll carry it." Dana, our neighbor, brought home a furry toy cat. Her real cat must have been lonesome and never said anything. The real cat loves the stuffed one and cleans it with its tongue, a social thing that never caught on with most people. The stuffed cat's fake fur is getting worn off, so this may be the first time in history a cat coughs up a polyester fur ball. The dying old man's withered and shaking hand made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife. "Stay out of those," she said, "they're for the funeral." I think the only way to be healthy is: Don't eat anything you like, do a lot of things you hate, and avoid anything you might enjoy. Anything you enjoy is probably a sin anyway. That's it! Music has stood in my way long enough! I'm going to clown college! Copyright © December 20, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 17th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
SORRY. BUT HERE'S THE THING... I don't do product reviews in this space, but a day or two ago I made some unfortunate comments about a company called Crysonic. I was mad. and warned other musicians and audio engineers not to buy their products. I was mad because I had paid for a software program four months ago, and had never received it, or a refund, and could get no satisfactory response. Sorry. I didn't mean to yell. But, here's the thing... I have been happily using their products in my mastering studio for over five years. Their programs are unique, and on the right material can do very good things to the sound. So why should I tell the other guys not to buy their stuff? Because I was mad. I should have recommended that they try Crysonic plug-ins, but it might be wise not go for the pre-release discount offers. I would just wait until the new product is released and then buy it. It's a few more bucks, but the technology you get will be worth it. I think maybe this company is run by geniuses, who direct their brain power at making new and somewhat unconventional programs to make the world's music sound a little better, and spend less of their attention on things like user manuals and business details. To wrap up this little drama, the gang at Crysonic showed heart, and sent me a refund for the missing program, with a brief but friendly note. I suggest that my counterparts in the music industry take note of Crysonic, and the products that emanate from their lab. They are a step ahead of most of their competition, their programs do interesting things for your mix, and are fun to use. Copyright © December 17, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 10th, 2011... A wonderful new Christmas song we'd like to share with you. A very beautiful Christmas song written and performed by our good friend MAYF NUTTER. Please listen. You will be glad you did. http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11278772 This is our favorite new Christmas song, Jack & Misty
December 2nd, 2011...
Hi folks! You may remember I installed the SoundClick™ player for Jack and Misty's new single "SECOND TUESDAY IN DECEMBER" (see picture above for what would make a great single sleeve!) on this very page. In the words of Phil Harris, "Well, stupid old me!" That error has now been corrected. My bad. Jerry.
November 30th, 2011...

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WE MEET AN ELF. One Christmas we were in a mall, and in the holiday spirit. Misty said "There's a little gingerbread house! Look inside and see what it's like." I looked in a window and an elf yelled, "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKIN' AT? I'M ON A BREAK HERE. BEAT IT, JERK." I hate elves. THE MARGARET TRUMAN LAUNDRY: Harry Truman, his wife Bess, and daughter Margaret are honored in Key West. Truman Avenue is a main street. Playing our first job there, we stayed at the "El Rancho Motel", on the corner of Truman Avenue and Margaret Street. Across the corner was The Margaret-Truman Laundry, now called "Launderette". HERE COMES THE RAIN: (We were once on the road for eight years... one continuous tour. That's when I wrote this song.) "3 A.M. by the courthouse chime, I wonder what they call this town. Sang my last song a few hours ago, And the road fever's got me down. 3 A.M. is a lonesome time, And no time to be alone. Packed my guitar, in the back of the car. I wish that we were headin' home. Here Comes the Rain. Here Comes the Rain. Soft as the sound of a far away train. "Read all the papers and magazines, And the Bible that I found in the drawer. From a hotel window, all these towns look the same, And tomorrow, there will be one more. Here Comes the Rain. Here Comes the Rain. Soft as the sound of a far away train." REAL CHURCH ANNOUNCEMENTS: "A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow." "Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered." Our friends and fans have been listening to our songs for so long they must wonder what we look like now. This photo was taken at the jam session following our induction into The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, October 7th, 2010. Picture: http://tinyurl.com/6w75fzt I got on the scale today. it said "One at a time, please." If life were fair, Elvis would be alive, and all the impersonators would be dead. 911 operator: "Calm down, sir. First, let's make sure your friend is dead." A shot is heard. Caller: "OK. What next?" HOW THE ANGEL GOT ON THE TOP OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Santa was busy, tired, worn out, and in a lousy mood. The little angel said, "What do you want me to do with this Christmas tree?" CHARLIE DOUGLAS. Our friend of many years, Charlie Douglas, has passed away. He was best known as all-night DJ at WWL New Orleans. We first met in 1970 at his home in Picayune MS, and the last time at the WSM Opryland Studio. He was known in other areas as Doug China. It's a radio thing. We will miss him, and we send our love to his family. Charlie and our friend Bill Mack once ruled the night, over their 50,000 watt, clear channel trucker shows.... coast to coast and beyond. We first met in 1970 at his home in Picayune MS, and the last time at the WSM Opryland Studio. Charlie Douglas, to us, was like a friend you have on your speed dial. We had our times together, and then years where we almost lost touch, but we liked knowing he was there. I'm losing more friends lately, but I'm not getting more used to it. Copyright © November 30 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 25th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
SEASONAL RAVINGS. When we were having album cover pictures taken in Nashville, the location was an old railroad track with a rundown building beside it. We didn't know the building was an illegal bootleg record factory. Guys with shotguns came out thinking we were undercover cops with cameras. Yes, they do make bootleg records. It's happened to us. To look at all our pictures you wouldn't think that we were in trouble and danger so much, and even homeless at least once, and close to it other times. It's been a rough road, with some beautiful highs to balance it out. An adventure I'd gladly do over, with only a few minor changes. :) My humble advice to songwriters and artists: Watch what everybody else is doing and do something else. Listen to advice, but analyze it before you act on it. It's not gospel unless he's wearing a halo... like mine. The US and many other countries are broke. Money doesn't evaporate. I wonder who's got it. My dad always said: "You can't judge a man until you walk a mile in his hat." I never understood that but I've tried to live by it. ****************************************** BELATED THANKSGIVING THOUGHTS: Misty had Bonnie Raitt playing and the turkey on the table. Life is good. In England they're give thanks that the Pilgrims left. If the Pilgrims hadn't come here, the Indian Casinos would not have any customers. They left England because the religion wasn't cruel enough. Most frequently used word on Thanksgiving: "Heimlich". Next year we're having swan. More dressing. At Thanksgiving dinner I like to wear my plaid hunting cap with ear flaps, my best open-toed cowboy boots, and often, pants. I know I ate too much tonight, but that pie is sending me telepathic messages. ******************************************** I must have been nuts. Why would a sane person be so happy when just waking up? I did a few stretches and tummy crunches. I swung my legs gingerly out of the bed. Maybe that's the problem. I have never been known for doing anything gingerly. I was putting on my sweatshirt and jeans, and doing sort of a twist or conga, when my back went out. Now it takes me five minutes to stand, and I walk slowly in the shape of a croissant. That's what I get for being too damn happy. I used to ride horseback every day, but the horse got all the exercise. We've been eating fish. I'm not sure, but I think I'm getting a gill infection. Publix market is advertising "Large chicken breasts". I'm curious to see the farm where they raise them. I still feel that cops shouldn't heavily pepper spray and drag away unarmed protesters who are not physically fighting back. Verbally antagonizing is not enough to warrant it. That's just my view from a distance, and my experience from the 1960s and 70s. The cops don't look injured in any way, but the protesters do. AN OLD CHRISTMAS POEM: Christmas is coming, The geese are getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat. If you haven't got a penny, just give him a goose. (That's not the original poem. I just improved it.) My dad used to rent a horse drawn sleigh and take us sleigh riding through Delaware Park on beautiful winter days. We had blankets and heated bricks on the sleigh floor to keep our feet warm. It was like being in one of those glass snow globes. I remember these things around this time of year. Copyright © November 25, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY! Don't eat too much. Oh, go ahead. Love, Jack & Misty.

November 17th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THINGS I THINK I KNOW ABOUT THE MUSIC RACKET. A lot of articles dish out advice to "wannabees". Don't take offense at the term because it's the first requirement for stardom. Most of the instructive writings contain some good stuff. Others are spoiled by ulterior motives, like big money for offering advice. This isn't always bad, but here's an example of how it could be bad: A writer wants to market a book on How To Get A Job because he's out of work and need money. This genius knows about ten helpful hints, but he needs more for the other 199 blank pages. So he bulks it out with whatever will fill the space, and gives you too much to worry about. My advice is this: Listen to advice, but analyze it before you act on it. It's not gospel unless he's wearing a halo... like mine. I have a few other thoughts to offer, no charge. You knew I would. 1. Bands that laugh and talk to each other onstage, off mike are leaving the audience out. This is annoying to everybody but the band. They think they're showing personality, but it's one of the most common offenses. If you're going to talk and laugh, do it so the audience can hear every word. It doesn't have to be Class A material. The people like to be in on the process. They don't like to be left out or ignored. They can stay home and get that. 2. Even if you have to play cover material to pay the rent don't "become" a cover band unless playing at the VFW is your career plan.. 3. If you're really good but you can't compete with the local bands for gigs, maybe you're meant to compete on a higher level. I've found that acts that do well in the big scene often can't make it in the neighborhood because they're too original. The small time hates an original. 4. Learn the phrase "Escape Clause". (There ain't no sanity clause.) And a contract should benefit both parties, but the first draft usually doesn't. 5. Think outside the container. If you cater to trends your material has a short shelf life. Watch what everybody else is doing and do something else. 7. You haven't failed until you quit. Some artists get better with a little age on 'em. It gathers character. I've outlived some of the competition and most of my enemies. I keep crossing out names in my address book as the people die off. When I get them all crossed out the game is over and nobody wins... well, maybe me. 8. If you're a writer, relax and let it flow first. Have fun and don't be too critical. When that's done, edit with extreme cruelty. Don't lose a song trying to hang on to a pet line. No line or title is sacred if it prevents a song from being born. The secret is this: Get a lot of ideas and then throw most of them away. Copyright © November 17, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
LOCAL FLY FOUND DEAD ON WINDOWSILL Work hard at your music career, devote your life to it, and you'll be successful. Over the course of your life you'll get literally several people interested. We had a teenage trio. Jerry and Ronny Loft on guitar and bass, and me on piano. Being Mohawk Indians, they took me to the big July 4th races at the Six Nations Reservation, in Canada. In the middle of the night they woke me up and we tiptoed downstairs. They sat me at an organ that you work by pumping the air with your feet, and went and got their instruments. We were jamming a boogie when the lights went on. Their whole family was there watching. Enough Indians to make a John Wayne movie. And it was a funeral parlor with a dead body in it. A weird gig. n 1970 we went to LA to be on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. We stayed at the old Hollywood Plaza Hotel. It was way past it's heyday,but a former hangout and home for movie stars. The lobby was populated with retired actors ... old familiar faces. We had trouble with our air conditioner, and Maxie Rosenbloom, himself, came up to fix it. If you don't know who he was, just Google him. I wish I could write one column, just once in my life, without a tTypo. My grandfather used to be sent down in the mine to make sure it was safe for the canaries. Breaking news headline: "LOCAL FLY FOUND DEAD ON WINDOWSILL" For some unknown reason I was just reading about armadillos on Wikipedia. It told why they are often roadkill. When startled, armadillos have a habit of jumping three feet straight up. My Aunt Bess had that same habit. I occasionally see a live armadillo here. They are kinda suicidal, I think. For some reason armadillos are the only animals that can get leprosy. I'mmine back to the pet store. On the news they said the price of peanut butter was going up 40% the next day. I asked Misty to pick up a jar for me. I'm going through that jar like an armadillo through your lawn. When I was a kid and Winter came, we all cuddled up to my sister. She had a fever. I don't like TV shows about celebrities, like Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. Most celebrities are annoying when not working from the script. I don't want to hear about their grandfather's long underwear, or their kids' cute antics. I hate cute antics unless I'm doing them. This one sounds like I'm being channeled by Andy Rooney. A customer once asked Misty if she could play "Autumn Leaves". She said: "I can play it with my brain tied behind my back." It's not an easy song. You have to play all those fancy downward runs to illustrate dead vegetation falling. A friend has been carrying on a never ending campaign to convert my spiritual thinking to theirs. Why can't people respect the beliefs of others? Why are they convinced that theirs is right and everybody else's is wrong? Maybe if they could show me some identification, like angel wings, I could accept them as God's agent. I value friendship, but it's draining sometimes. I believe this person is sincerely trying to "save" me, but their beliefs are actually offensive to me. Like my life has been evil and I should let God kill it and give me a new one. I've had a good worthwile life, an adventure all the way, and not evil. Maybe a little wild at times. I think this person must have had an unpleasant past. On the news just now: Palmetto roaches crawling in and out of the air vents on a commercial airliner. Those roaches are going to wind up in Phoenix and wonder how the hell they got there. Palmetto roaches ar big, ugly, and can fly, but not very well. Hackers have invaded Facebook posting offensive pictures using other people's names. Nobody knows who the porn hackers are. Just some creepy wankers sitting in the dark, annoying the world, and hoping their mother doesn't catch them at it. The other night I took Misty to the emergency room. We were there about three hours while they took tests. They gave her some medicine and prescriptions and sent her home, but we stopped at McDonald's take-out window on the way. She has an internal infection. The medicine will fix it, but not before she turns a little orange, according to the MD. No, Virginia, The Christmas Song does NOT go "Children roasting on an open fire". Christmas is getting too commercial. "We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. So buy our CDs." Copyright © November 17, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 13th, 2011... ...And now, here's Jack with our Consumer Report...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
NO CURLY LIGHT BULBS. They're planning to stop selling regular incandescent light bulbs. Aargh! I hate fluorescent lights! Stuff looks bleached, including me! I worked at one of the 1500 desks in the Bell Aircraft Engineering Department. We had fluorescent lights in the ceiling, and nobody had a personality. Ergo, fluorescent lights suck the personality right out of you. Candice Stewart-Eden writes "They are also bad on eyes. When I was in school, I was having difficulty learning. They had me tested and found the reason was the fluorescent lighting. So they put me in a room with no lighting but a lamp with regular bulb, and my grades raised a great deal." I was sitting by the pool with my friend Paul this evening. Paul likes to wear sandals. He said he wore them to church and somebody told him they weren't appropriate. Paul told the guy "Jesus wore sandals, so they should be good enough for church." I told Paul: "Jesus didn't wear socks with them." Misty and I have had 6 dogs and 1 cat in our life together. We loved them all. Pippin was a beautiful orange cat who had been abandoned in the neighborhood, and on his own for a couple of years. We adopted him. Pippin would come when called, would take walks and stay right with us, and liked to take an evening nap in my desk chair. I had to move. We played for about a year at El Bolero Supper Club in Miami, about 1966. There was a misprint in the newspaper one time and they advertised "The Baked, stuffed Jack Blanchard Trio". Pickers don't get no respect. We met Richard Nixon when he came in, had a drink with us, and played the piano. We voted for him for this reason alone. Smart. Oh, we also voted for him because we were rich at the time, and didn't want the less fortunate to get our money. I really miss Spiro Agnew. Good news for musicians: CD Baby just announced that we will be getting 74 cents on every song downloaded for 99 cents. That's the highest rate paid by any music download company. We loved our 100 year old home in Winter Park Florida. It felt like roots to us...like an old family homestead. A good feeling when you come off months on the road. Channel 6 in Orlando is creating excitement by exposing convicted felons living in child day care homes. I have only one problem with that: They don't see a distinction between dangerous and non-dangerous felons. Martha Stewart is a convicted felon, and there are many like her. They are heaped in with sex offenders and violent criminals. Not fair. What are they going to do? Embezzle the children? We know a young man who is doing five years in prison. He was eighteen and his girlfriend was seventeen, considered statutory rape due to the one year difference in their ages. He will carry the sex offender mark for life, wherever he goes. A friend saw my mother's picture on Facebook and said "She looks so much younger than you, Jack." I said "Yes she was actually younger than me. It was a premature birth." A fan said You two are better than ever, What's your secret?" I said "We have always been motivated by bill collectors." My family had a pet monkey when I was little. They finally had to give it to The Buffalo Zoo and we visited him once a week. Sometimes you just need a monkey. But now they're under my bed and I can't sleep! A scorching hot day at The Cincinnati Zoo. A DJ showed us around. The radio station had a contest, and the winners got to have lunch with us at The Zoo Restaurant. We were allowed to pet a baby elephant, and a camel chewed on Misty's hair. FOR MUSIC INDUSTRY BUFFS: Here's the session rundown on one of our recording sessions sent by Chris Huskey: 8 August 1971 [22:00-01:00] Mercury Recording Studio, 1512 Hawkins St., Nashville, TN – Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan (Billy Sanford [gt], Pete Wade [gt], Tommy Allsup [gt], Lloyd Green [steel], Roy M. "Junior" Huskey, Jr. [bass], Willie Ackerman [drums], Hargus Robbins [piano], Robert Thompson [banjo], Buddy Spicher [fiddle], Brenton Banks [violin], Charlie McCoy [harmonica]. Producer: Jack & Misty) M1QS-1285 RINGS OF GOLD M1ES-1249 SOMEWHERE IN VIRGINIA IN THE RAIN M1QS-1286 DON'T IT MAKE YOU WANT TO GO HOME M1QS-1588? MIAMI SIDEWALKS In case you missed it: Misty and I are heard singing in the 2006 Ashley Judd movie "Come Early Morning". Also on the soundtrack album. Time again to floss the cat and go to bed. Copyright © November 13, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 10th, 2011... This just in...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE NEWS IS OUT. Well, the news is out. We did not win the CMA award for Oldest Duet of the Year. We are Lifetime CMA members, but we didn't vote on the awards this year, because we don't know who the hell they all are. I guess that's OK because they don't know who the hell we are. Taylor Swift was in the next booth when we were having lunch at The Nashville Deli. We didn't know who she was. She was facing us, sitting across from a young man. When people started asking her to have pictures taken with them, and for autographs, I realized who she was. She seemed to be almost six feet tall, and was very nice to everybody. On the way out, two booths full of people waved and smiled at Misty and me. That made us feel better. People raised on farms don't have my kind of squeamishness. A couple of our best friends keep telling me how good tasting a chicken is when it's killed that same morning. Maybe it would be even better if you could wait and kill it right on your plate. When I eat something I don't care to know its name, gender, or political leanings. Chickens never win. Antiques Road Show is in now. They just showed a chair made from one huge moose antler. The lady's grandfather shot it and had made into furniture. He could have saved everybody some trouble by just shooting a chair. Daylight Saving Time was started to give the farmers more daylight. Now their farm machinery has headlights, inside lights, telephones, TV, radar, sonar, and the occasional hooker. But we still have to set our clocks back. It's like cutting an inch off the bottom of a blanket, sewing it onto the top, and thinking you've made it longer. MY BASEBALL CAREER. They first put me in center field because of a good throwing arm. Only one trouble: I couldn’t throw a straight ball. I didn't even realize it until somebody yelled: "Hey! This jerk is throwing curves in from the field!” So they made me pitcher. Every fast ball I threw made a last minute turn directly at the batter's crotch. You never saw such a bunch of nervous guys. MY HOCKEY CAREER: Hockey was my best game. I played pro hockey for one season. Well, maybe semi-pro. They gave us uniforms and traveling expenses. That's it. It was the G.O.P team, sponsored by the Republican Party. That's the closest I ever came to being a republican. MY FOOTBALL CAREER: I got tired of the gang fights at my high school, so I switched to a school in Kenmore. The football coach had us all to run 100 yards to help him pick a team. I wore loose loafers that fell off my feet, so I had to run in my socks. I came in first. The coach yelled "Hey, kid with no shoes, are you from Kentucky?" I said no, but he called me "Kentucky" for the whole season." Artificial sweetener can kill me, but I'll be slender. I can't make up my mind. Now they can tell all about you from your blood type. It's like tarot cards with blood. They said that we O Negatives should eat a good diet and exercise. Jeez! And I suppose I'll meet a tall dark stranger. I AM a tall dark stranger! Well, not all that tall. Anyway, they accused me of having a temper! That drives me CRAZY!!! THEY BETTER KNOCK IT OFF OR GET A KNUCKLE SANDWICH!!! I hate people saying I have a temper. Quite often people say that Misty and I look like brother and sister. I smile and say: "Yes, we are... and we're married!" Actually we were both born at The Millard Fillmore Hospital, in Buffalo, but at different times and to different families. Much later we met in Miami. Life is strange. Copyright © November 10, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Oh, and in case I'm not at the keyboard on Friday, (yeah... right...) Don't forget to thank a Veteran tomorrow, Veterans' Day. Come to think of it, why stop there? YFNW™, Jerry.
November 6th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A SONG ABOUT LIFE. I probably think too much about life, death, God, and the universe, but as a songwriter that's sorta my job. I should be concentrating more on the here and now. In the here and now I write stories and songs, some of them silly to make you smile, and others are more serious... about life. Mickey Newbury wrote a song that I envy. It's such a beautiful idea. I wish I'd written it. It's called "No Signs of Age", and he's singing about someone he loves but hasn't seen in many years, and he he says "It's nice to see you again", and remarks about how he has crows feet and age lines in his face, but that she shows no signs of age... in his memory. It struck home with me because, in my memory, old friends and loves will always look the way they did then. With no signs of age. I'm now older than I ever thought I would be, but I don't feel old. I even still think of myself as that young guy, though others will undoubtedly see me as changed. Life to me is like a movie that I don't quite understand. The scenes are all out of order, and so many main characters I love die without regard for the plot. I remember my life in small snapshots, and in no particular order. I have to ask Misty where we were in a certain year. She's my historian. Life in its unedited form doesn't seem to be very good theater. It needs writers to make it a story. That's why we're always so happy. (Sarcasm alarm!) But, as I said, another part of my job is to cheer up your day. I'll try to get back to that next time. Meanwhile, here's a song I wrote about life. Go here to listen: http://tinyurl.com/6b3sclm HERE TODAY AND GONE TOMORROW. A child is born... in tribulation. He needs a friend...for consolation. He finds a love...in celebration, Lord, 'cause you know how hard it is to be alone. Here Today...and Gone Tomorrow; A little joy...a little sorrow; Not ours to keep...but just to borrow, Lord. Here Today...and Gone Tomorrow. Silver hair...an old wool sweater With trembling hands...he writes a letter: "Dear old friend, I hope you're feeling better now, 'cause you're all that I have left since she's gone." Here Today...and Gone Tomorrow. A little joy...a little sorrow. Not ours to keep...but just to borrow, Lord. Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Copyright © November 6, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "Here Today And Gone Tomorrow": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 2nd, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
LIFE IS GETTING TOO EXCITING. Hello? Is anybody there? Tap tap tap. Is this mike on? ABOUT AWARDS: Awards make one artist a winner and all the rest losers. "Sorry, pal. You were a winner a minute ago as a finalist, but now you're a loser." And nobody asks to be put in that position. Artists are all different, so it's apples against oranges. Once you're in it it becomes very important not to be a public loser. Emotions are high. Mistakes are made. That's how I feel when we DON"T win. When we DO win, none of that stuff bothers me. MY THEORY: Time doesn't move. Time is like a map, with everything that happens drawn on it. We move across the map like little blinking dots on a screen, moving from what did happen to what will happen. If I could make a U-turn I could go back, but apparently it's a one-way street. There's always a catch. Two trucks loads of Roget's Thesaurus collided. Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, amazed, astounded, and unsettled. There's a local TV station here that can't get the sound with the picture. Misty has repeatedly called and complained. The words still come out way after the lips move. If we blow up that station the sound will keep on going. I'm getting ads from a company called falsehope.com. I send them money, and they send me a daily email saying "Everything is going to be alright." We just found some old letter envelopes I had made. On the front they say "Please read before opening." About 30 years ago the TV show cut off and a message said "Please Stand By", and that's what I've been doing ever since. We used to say to the audience: "We'd like to round up all the talent here tonight... and ask them to leave." A little humor between songs doesn't hurt the show. To clear the smoke in the room, we'd ask the audience to inhale, then walk outside and exhale. Pete Drake explained his talking steel guitar this way: "You play the notes on the guitar and it goes through the amplifier. You disconnect the speakers and the sound goes through the driver into a plastic tube. You put the tube in the side of your mouth, then form the words with your mouth as you play them. It's amplified by a microphone." People are buying our music from Amazon and other places than from us. If you go to buy on of our CDs, or even download our individual songs, please email us at CD@jackandmisty.com. We'll autograph albums, and it will help a needy couple. Misty just said she was squirting the hose on the roof so the squirrels won't lie down. I hate to see an uncomfortable squirrel. She says the squirrels on our roof are playing Bowling for Nuts. I wonder if I waxed our roof the squirrels would slide off? In every class in our grammar school we averaged 33 kids. In high school there were often 40. None were allergic to peanuts. We learned a lot. Now it's a crime to have over about 20 brats, and they have computers. We had pencils. All our teachers were all Judge Judy clones. And furthermore, YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN! All over the internet there are biographies of us that call me a saxophone player. I never played the sax, although I wanted to. I brought a rented one home one day and tried it for about an hour. It sounded like unexpected gas, and I got my tongue caught in the reed. Misty threatened to move out, so I took it back to the rental store. That's my career as a sax player. On our recent anniversary, we were eating fried chicken and watching an old movie. Life is getting too exciting. She said: "Do you remember I used to make the chicken with the curry on top?" I said "No, but I remember the song." I just asked her what we're having for dinner tomorrow. She said "Spaghetti and moth balls." It's not the photographer's fault if we look blurry in the pictures. Sometimes we actually are a little blurry. We see each other older now, but we look past the signs of age. We still see our long time companions as they were then. It's a form of love. Copyright © November 2, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 31st/November 1st, 2011... In the spirit (no pun intended) of Halloween... Boo. Now, something a little less boo-like: Jack & Misty's new 2011 version of the perennial favorite, "TENNESSEE BIRDWALK"! You're probably hearing it right now, in fact. ("If not... see me after." - Graham Chapman as 'The Colonel', Monty Python's Flying Circus) More to come soon. YFNW™, Jerry
October 28th, 2011... Your Friendly Neighborhood Webmeister is kicking himself this chilly morning (30 degrees) because it seems in the last few months, I've forgotten to do something terribly, terribly important... and here it is... If you want to see more Jack and Misty stuff than we have here, right click on the image below and open in a new window:
You'll thank me for it later. Now, back to the website...
October 26th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
HARD TIMES. Our life has been one of extremes, way up or way down, and we never seemed to know when the changes would happen. Before and after the events I describe here there were both better and worse times. A week before Christmas, 1982. 35 degrees below zero. We were broke and a thousand miles from home. An agent who was just a voice on a telephone wire, booked us for four weeks in a place called Sybil’s Pickwick, in Virginia, Minnesota. No time for a contract. We took the job because we had nothing else, and headed north. Another voice on the phone was a drummer in Philadelphia. He had gotten our names from a musicians' directory, and he actually begged us to hire him for the job, even though we warned him that the gig was shaky and that bad things could happen, He wouldn't take no for an answer, and with his terminally ill wife in the aged car, set out for the cold dark north. It may be a Disneyland now, but what we saw was a rusty and frozen old mining town, like Pottersville in the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Misty and I paid for two rooms for one week in a dumpy motel... for us and the other couple. Gas for our motor home and the motel took most of the few dollars we had left. Sybil's Pickwick had the atmosphere of an abandoned subway tunnel, and Sybil, herself, had the charm of a prison guard, Her big husband was a captain on the city police force. They were not friendly. Naturally there was no piano, so the cop and I trudged a long mile through the icy streets to rent one, and we pushed the heavy upright upright all the way back over cracked sidewalks, curbs, and across frozen slushy streets. Sybil fired us at the end of the first night. Her reason: We were too good for her customers, who she said were animals. While the owners folded their arms and watched us struggle with our ton of gear, somebody took equipment we left on the stage while lugging other stuff out.. We couldn't get it out fast enough to keep an eye on thieves inside. Sybil and the cop said they saw nothing. Misty and I called some friends who lived about sixty miles away, and they invited us to stay with them over the Holidays. We called and asked the drummer and his wife to join us, but they blamed Misty and me, and they preferred to stay at the old motel. That was the last we ever heard of them. They were nice people in a tragic situation, and we hope they got a miracle. Our friends helped us through the hard time, acting as though we were just there on vacation. We felt warm and welcome, and all things considered, it wasn't a bad Christmas. Copyright © October 26, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 20th, 2011...

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FIDEL ROAMS MIAMI NIGHT: A TRUE HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE. It was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fidel Castro was a threat, and we were and young and foolish in Miami. Also, I had a weird talent for using stage makeup. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was the night before Halloween. Those are all good reasons to go nuts and terrorize an entire city. The costume shop guy said this Halloween would be loaded with Castro's, in fact he was completely sold out of Castro masks and trick cigars. I had already bought army fatigues and cap, black boots, and a realistic toy M-1 rifle. Lack of a mask was not going to stop me. My early theater training went not for naught (not for naught?). I sought out a store, selling stage makeup, (I sought not for naught.), and bought nose putty, black crepe hair, spirit gum, and tan pancake makeup. An hour later I looked exactly like Castro. I knew it was good when Misty didn't laugh. She just said "You ARE Castro!” Meanwhile, she had become a cowgirl. That was the point where I went nuts. I thought I was Fidel! I chewed my foot-and-a-half-long cigar, and swaggered like a man in command. This was just supposed to be a trial run, but it was too good to waste. We hit the Miami streets, not knowing what havoc was to be wrought (We wrought not for naught). On that night before Halloween, the world wasn't ready for a couple of premature screwballs. We burst through the door of a prominent nightspot, and stopped the show. The entertainers got the joke and called me on-stage for an interview. I told them, with a thick accent, that I just came over to get my welfare check, which may be the most conservative thing I ever said. That was so much fun, we started making the rounds, winding up in North Miami Beach at 4 AM, bugging anybody we could find. I got out and hitchhiked, and cars turned around and went the other way. I lurked outside diners until somebody spotted me, then I'd disappear and let them try to tell the rest of the crowd. At one diner, four cops were sitting in a booth when I stood in front of the window. The rest of the customers saw me and were laughing. When the police finally spotted me they went for their guns, and everybody laughed harder. I melted into the shadows. At 5 AM, exhausted, laughed out, and hungry, we went into an all night restaurant and waited for a waitress who never came. We eventually gave up and walked out, and were met at the door by a mob of police in uniform and plain clothes. Patrol cars with flashing lights were all over the place. I stuck my cigar in my mouth, hiked up my "rifle", and we walked straight to our car. They watched us, uncertain what to do. A detective tapped on my window and I rolled it down. "I feel a little foolish", he said, "but we've had twenty-three calls tonight from citizens who swear they saw Fidel Castro. Do you mind if I pull your beard?" "It might come off", I said in American. We told him we were warming up for Halloween. The Miami Herald headlines the next day read: “FIDEL ROAMS MIAMI NIGHT!" To see the actual newspaper item, go here on the internet: http://tinyurl.com/3n7a8yr I did TV interviews in full makeup. They also interviewed the detective who said we were nuts. But we weren't nuts for naught. Copyright © October 20, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 10th, 2011...
"FIDEL ROAMS MIAMI NIGHT." FROM THE MIAMI HERALD ONE HALLOWEEN. This is a front page story about Misty and me on a Halloween caper, when we were young enough to have more ideas than brains.

October 7th, 2011...
We don't get to say this often enough around here... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, JACK AND MISTY!!! Best wishes to the nicest couple I've ever had the pleasure of running a website for! May you have many more. Jerry.

October 6th, 2011...
Hi, radio friends. Our WHP single for October is a Halloween song... Listen to the sample here: http://tinyurl.com/3kod9f3 Download it in high quality from Airplay Direct here: AirPlayDirect.com/whpcompilationvol125 or Just let us know and we'll send you an mp3. Happy Halloween. Jack & Misty

October 2nd, 2011... Well, here we go, folks. A new month, some new thoughts from Chairman Jack, and more of the usual stuff. So, here 'tis...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
UPDATE ON MUSIC MIXING AND MASTERING. Since I wrote my articles on recording, mixing, and mastering, a lot of new programs have come along, and also some of my opinions have changed a little. A lot of the newer effects for mixing and mastering music are intended to make it sound analog... like studio tape. They can give your master a warmth that records used to have. We have to be careful not to oversaturate the Ferric Oxide effect, as one of mine is called. (Ferrous Oxide is rust. That's the magnetic stuff on recording tape.) A side note: We found some of our old wide tape masters we wanted to check out, and I played about ten seconds of the intro and noticed that the ferrous oxide was coming off the tape and piling up on the machine's tape heads. I had forgotten that you have to have most old tape "baked" by a special process to bind the ferrous oxide back to the tape. Back to the subject: We have to be careful when using the tape effect plug-ins, bcause too much will will distort the sound. I've also lightened my touch on all electronic music effects, including enhancers and compressors. I don't use enhancers (like BBE, Crysonic, and Aphex) as often as I used to, because they they are mostly based on phasing, and can sound great when mixing, but might leave distortion not noticed until you hear it on another player. I mastered two songs today, and did not use a sonic enhancer on one, and did use it on another. Some tools work best with some songs. I have a few multi-band compressors that are absolutely beautiful on some music, and terrible on other material. I use a conservative amount of compression to avoid pumping, and then boost the volume to where we need it with a hard limiter. I've been using Voxengo's Elephant Mastering Limiter for this. The limiter is usually the final step in mastering, at least for me. I have hardware versions of most of the needed equipment, but I work almost exclusively with the computer, and music software now. We've been working with a method called "mid-side EQ". With mid-side EQ you can adjust the EQ (tone) separately in the middle, and/or on the right and left side of the stereo. To me, taking some of the low frequencies off the sides make the stereo sound better, and keeps the singer, bass, and kick drum solid in the center, all out of each others way. You can also make the center or the sides louder or softer... whatever is needed. I still have the list I made of the frequencies of all the instruments and vocals, and where the sweet spots are. I keep it on my desk and refer to it when using an equalizer. I don't expect everybody doing this kind of work to agree with me. Just sharing. Copyright © October 2, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. ...and while we're trying to catch up around here... September 29th, 2011...

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GOOD TIMES ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. On the all night WSM radio show... Marty Robbins had just returned from Hawaii, and was telling us about a Hawaiian game where they use a coconut for a ball. I said to Ralph Emery: "They call it Fruitball." We all broke up laughing. Good times are not forgotten. On the road we passed a farm and I mentioned that the farmer had a lot of outhouses... in fact there were nine of them. Misty said "Maybe he always wanted an 18 hole course." I've only watched the CMA Awards once. That was when we were finalists. I had our acceptance speech all worked out. We couldn't lose because we had already won all the other Country Duet awards. One of the hardest things we ever did was to smile and applaud, while having a stroke as somebody else won. The stunned look and phony smile was locked onto my face for months, like an evil clown, or Vanna White. I think babies are cute because they're little, with big heads. I don't think they would be cute if they were as big as us. In fact, swing a big one by my window at night and I'd have a stroke. The mellophone is a musical instrument best put to use when converted into a lamp. The early jeans were called dungarees for no apparent reason. Maybe it has something to do with the first syllable. They came dark blue and stiff as an ironing board. They had to be soaked in a bathtub full of bleach until wearable. They were heavy, high waisted, and shapeless. They were one length, and worn rolled up at the bottom, with white socks and penny loafers. Cool. What to say to a bald heckler: "Why don't go get a toupee with a brain in it?" In Celina, Tennessee, the Grim Reaper made a grab for us. It started with sniffles that we said was just a mild allergy, and it went immediately into a week long near death experience, and a then a marathon coughing fit. Driving home, our coughing and sneezing made it rough on the cruise control, by causing the car to jerk around. We were apparently trying to cough up Linda Blair. I don't like any programs about celebrities, like Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, and Inside Edition. Most stars are annoying when they aren't performing. I don't want to know about their grandfather's shorts, or their kids cute antics. I hate cute antics unless I'm doing them. I plan to get a face-lift on my 90th birthday. Maybe some butt implants, too. One early morning a deputy knocked on my door and wanted me to go with him "just to have a talk with the sheriff". My hangover saved the day. I must have looked bad because he asked me if I was sick. A very creative lie just popped right out of me: "I've got the measles." He took a step back, and said "Well, come down to the Office when you can." I went to Florida. If I ever find myself, I may be disappointed. Copyright © September 29, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 26th, 2011... Hey again, gang! Just time enough for me to wish a Happy Birthday to our friend and not-so-mysterious benefactor emeritus, PETER BERLIN! (As I already mentioned on his facebook page, there literally wouldn't BE a "Birdwalk" without him.) So, happy birthday, Peter. Have some cake for me! Jerry (P.S.: We'll have the regular news, new video links, and more tomorrow.)
September 24th, 2011... Hey there, folks. Your friendly neighborhood slightly-under-the-weather webmeister, Jerry, here, catching up on the columns I missed this week. So, here they are: September 22nd, 2011...

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THIS IS TOM T. HALL. "This is Tom T. Hall", he said. I think I'd have recognized the voice on the phone even if he hadn't said his name. I almost hadn't answered because I couldn't find the phone. I don't keep my music room too neat. Once we returned from a tour and found the cops at our house. They said our front door was open and my studio had been ransacked. I told them: "No. That's just the way I usually keep it". Tom T. and I had talked a few times at parties, etc., around Nashville. We had the same manager, and were on the same label, Mercury, but we didn't exactly "hang out". In Nashville we were alll too busy to really get to know each other. I was surprised by the call. He said he'd been reading a book of mine on a plane. I asked where he'd gotten it. It wasn't exactly a best seller. He told me somebody on the plane gave it to him. I think he said it was Loretta Lynn. The point of the call was this: He wanted me to write the liner notes for his upcoming album. I said, "What do you want me to write?" He said, "Just write that kind of stuff that you write. That's what I want on there". The album was "We All Got Together And..." (Mercury SR61362.) I'd never heard the songs, and had no idea what the theme was. The most popular song from the LP was "Me and Jesus", I learned that later. I worried about it for about ten minutes, And then wrote this: “WARNING: DO We don't get to say this often enough around here... NOT hold this album under the hot water faucet, as the people living inside the record might pop out into living 3-D, right there in your kitchen... or even worse, your bathroom. The crowd might be hard to explain to the landlord. “This same warning applies to any Tom T. Hall record because of his secret recipe for canning REAL people like you and me and Luther Short into plastic discs, without losing the original flavor. “The characters in his songs act completely on their own, sticking up their noses at Mr. Hall. They couldn't care less if he is stuck without a romantic ending, or an earthshaking moral. They've got their own troubles, and they work them out in their own way. Thanks to the miracles of science, we can eavesdrop in living stereo. “Heroes and beautiful people are the usual favorites of storytellers, but Tom T. finds poetry in us ordinary hairy-legged mortals, with our petty selfishness, hypocrisy, and intolerance... our weaknesses, and our occasional goodness. “So, step inside. You're likely to run into yourself somewhere in this record. “And, oh yeah, like I said at the beginning, Keep this record dry, and out of the reach of children. And please keep Tom T. Hall's picture off the floor if you have pets. “Jack Blanchard” Copyright © September 22, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. September 21st, 2011...

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BROKE AND ON THE STREET. This is how Misty and I became homeless. We were living in a cabin in an old motor court on 79th street, in Miami, paying rent by the week. We were buying a junky used car, also paying by the week. Our rent and our car payment were exactly the same amount. Just starting out, we had no equipment or instruments. At a lounge in Hallandale, I talked the owner into trying us out as a duo. We were both piano players so we had a problem. We went to see a friendly man who ran a little store called Ace Music. He rented us two mikes and a guitar amp to sing through, and an accordion. Neither of us played accordion, but in a pinch we figured we could fake it. We were the worst duo we had ever heard. We knew we stank, but we hoped the owner didn't know it. At the end of the first night he looked at us with pity, and told us that our music was “not good”. The understatement of the year. Gus had rented us the equipment on the honor system. We were to pay him when we got paid, so we took the stuff back, paid him for one night, and had exactly enough money left to pay either the rent, or the car payment. The landlord had shut off our water and electricity for being an hour late with the rent, so we packed all our belongings in the car, and drove through the Friday traffic to make the payment on it. We parked in front of the Intercity Finance office and went in. The woman behind the counter took our money and gave us a receipt. Just as we were about to leave she asked: "Why do you have the car packed with clothing and bags?" I was still young and honest, so I said, "It was a choice between our rent and the car payment. We decided to pay you". She asked us to please wait for a moment, and went into the back somewhere. She came back and said their legal department ruled that without an address, we couldn't keep the car. We told her we had just given her all our money, but she wouldn't return it. This was the help she gave us: She would allow us to keep our things locked in the car, at her office, until Monday when they would reopen. If we could get an address by Monday we could have the car. We were broke, homeless, and with no transportation, facing the long weekend ahead. A few years later we read in the paper that she and her whole outfit went to prison for doing bad things to people. That was good news, but too late to help us. We didn't know which way to turn as we went out into the late afternoon heat. For some reason we hitchhiked to Hollywood. Maybe because we had worked around there, and might run into somebody we knew. The sun went down fast, the way it does in south Florida, and we got hungry. I knew the family that owned Jimmy's Italian Restaurant. The son was sort of a friend of mine. He gave us dinner, and we promised to pay later. Midnight came and went and we were still walking. No luck anywhere. We were sitting on a bench in the big circle in the center of town. Directly in front of us was the old Hollywood Hotel, a castle left over from the Al Capone days. I remembered that I'd met somebody who told me he was the night clerk there. We went in and I asked the guy if he had a place we could sleep. He said "Well it's now 3 AM, the day clerk doesn't come on till seven, so I can let you sleep in a room for four hours." We took the deal. Somehow we got through it, but things didn't get much better for a long time. Just different. Copyright © September 21, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. And I think that's it. Now that we're sorta back on track, I'm gonna go to bed. :) YFNSUTWW, Jerry.
September 11th, 2011...

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FISH TICKLING. We're going fish tickling this weekend. It's a new outdoor sport that's all the rage. You tickle them under the chin, as you would a child. It works best with trout. The tickling hypnotizes them. Then you just place them in the boat. I wouldn't advise it with a shark... unless the shark wants you to, then do it as quickly as possible. TIPS FOR FISH-TICKLING: You must learn to fake an innocent look and approach the fish in a non-threatening, almost loving manner. Trout are known to be sharp judges of character. In those Hoveround electric wheelchair advertisements on TV, why do they run the people right up to the edge of the Grand Canyon? Touch one wrong button and they're airborne. I just heard that plants reproduce, in some ways, like we do. I also heard that in order to grow papayas, you need a male and a female tree. Now I can't sleep. God only knows what's going on out in that yard when we're not looking. We played a very upscale jazz room in Schenectady NY. It was in a three story brownstone in a historical neighborhood. Aged, but not worn. The owner, a wonderful old gentleman, loved music and good musicians. He confided in us that he had over a million dollars worth of antiques on shelves and tables, and nobody ever took any. He said people probably thought they were fake. Some people are worried about the end of the world because the Mayan calendar ends at 2012. If the Mayans were so smart, why aren't they still around. Never yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater. Creep quietly up the aisle and when you are safely outside, THEN yell "FIRE!" I'm not old just because today I yelled "You kids get off my lawn!". It was the neighbors across the street, they are in their forties, and they were on their own lawn. They gave me the finger and I thought they were saluting the flag, so I stood up. Misty says: I wouldn't want a lemming for a pet. Every couple of years it would try to commit suicide. All relationships have a honeymoon period which fades and changes into something else... Maybe better. Maybe not. The life of the honeymoon can be affected by these: high expectations in the beginning, familiarity allowing us to see each other's faults, a need to control, novelty wearing off, other matters requiring our time and attention, running out of common interests, and, basically, things change. I can fool other drivers into thinking I have an expensive smart phone by holding an old TV or video remote control up to my ear and occasionally swerving across the road and mounting the curb. We almost always do a ragtime piano duet in our shows. The audiences seem to like them even better than the actual music. I will never act my age or grow old gracefully. I will be a hip dude on my deathbed. Come to think of it, I don't even own a deathbed and I'm not going to buy one, unless I get a good deal on a used one. Interviewer question: What would you like to have someone say at your funeral? My answer: "I thought I saw him move." Copyright © September 11, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
YouTube Video Time: HERE TODAY & GONE TOMORROW. A very unusual song and video. It includes vintage black & white pictures of us and our family, most of whom are no longer with us. This song is for them. We'd like to have you see it. Right click the link below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaZ4NmFGfhk

September 10th/11th, 2011...

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A TIME CAPSULE FROM AMERICA SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001. On that day I sat down to work on my column, and this is what I wrote. It's pretty much how I felt at that moment. "We're all zombies here today. "We somehow find our way to the grocery store or post office like sleepwalkers. "We stare blankly at the television in disbelief. "We've been getting messages of sympathy from friends around the world. Thank you. We're glad you're there, and we're glad you care. "This is obviously a dark time for the American people. Our thoughts are with the victims and the people who love them. "The airports are all closed. Folks who ordinarily rant and rave if their flight is delayed, seem to be taking it without protest, quietly seeking another way to get home. Too quietly. Like zombies. "We worry about friends up north. We'll try to call tomorrow. Today is not a good time to overload the phone lines. "In some different way, all of us are victims. At our house things are not normal. We are in a state of confusion, disbelief, sadness, and anger. Maybe we're in shock. I try to make my wife smile with the occasional light remark, but her regular smile is not working today. "All our projects, so important yesterday, seem trivial. They're on the back burner for now. "It's inspiring to see how people in New York and Washington risked their own lives to help each other. I'm proud of Americans tonight, and it's been a while since I've felt that way. Firefighters, police, and emergency workers are heroes. "We saw Republicans and Democrats singing a spontaneous God Bless America together. Touching. I hope they remember the feeling. It's the way it should be. "Misty said she saw the young workers bagging groceries at the supermarket almost in tears. "We, even as Democrats, are discussing hopefully that President George W. Bush might have the potential to be a Harry Truman. Right now we need somebody to "give 'em hell". This is not a day for political differences. We hope he kicks butt. "The maniacs that committed these atrocities represent to me what evil is. I'm glad I'm not president. I'd probably bomb all the suspects and ask questions later. I know that's wrong, but we're mad as hell over here. At least I am. "We've seen the pictures on TV all day, over and over, but the reality is still hard to grasp. We'll watch them over and over again... even after the television is turned off. "Our country is strong. Our people are tough. I almost forgot that. We'll get through this, and even be stronger. "In time things will be more like normal, but never quite the same. "I never thought of myself as a super patriot, but tomorrow I think I'll go out and buy a flag. "Jack Blanchard. September 11th, 2001." Copyright © September 11, 2001 and September 10, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 4th/5th, 2011...

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A LABOR DAY COLUMN SUITABLE FOR ANY YEAR. Labor Day was originally to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed in 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. It was first proposed by the American Federation of Labor in May 1882. In high society, Labor Day is the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white. So, I better take these sneakers off. Do musicians ever get over being night owls? We have a sign on our door: "Do not disturb before 2PM." The neighbors think we're weird. They get up at 5AM for no particular reason. In Florida, they go out to dinner and a show, go dancing, and then they go home and watch the sunset. I've never had an Early Bird Special. Well, maybe sort of, but I'm not talking. At 8 AM our neighbors are all out in their yards whacking their weeds, and waking me up. I was playing at a piano bar in Hollywood. On a break, a woman at a table alone called me over. She motioned to me to lean down so she could whisper something to me. She said softly "You think you're so hot playing up there being the center of attention. Well, I think your music stinks and I don't like your hair." I jumped back and shouted "FIFTY DOLLARS?" Then SHE was the center of attention. A bit of humor from an interview we did a few days ago: Interviewer: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could? Our answer: I’d probably be rich, thin, and young. Interviewer: What has been your greatest challenge in music business? Our answer: Paying our bills. Interviewer: Before you became stars, were your friends and family supportive? Our answer: Our families got more supportive after we had hits. Interviewer: Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders? Our answer: No, we're just doing what we've always done, only slower. Interviewer: Do you have any retirement plans at all. Our answer: We plan on being found dead in front of a microphone at age 115. We were recording in one of America's premium studios, Criteria, in Miami. Aretha Franklin, The Bee Gees, and other stars recorded there. We were doing a song about lovers breaking up, and we could see through the control room window that the engineer was crying. He got up, said "I can't take this anymore", and left the building. We stood there while the clock ran up hundreds of dollars an hour. In today's headlines: A man bit a snake... twice. He said he just doesn't like snakes. The authorities took him to jail and rushed the snake to a hospital, where it received numerous stitches on the bites. The snake had no comment, but had an expression that said "What the HELL?!" I'm writing this on Labor Day Weekend, so I'll be in labor until Tuesday. I'll probably have a forty year old baby. Changing those diapers ought to be an experience. I plan to have triplets... one of each. It used to be a great music scene in Florida, but now it's just one guy up there with no particular talent, playing CDs. I removed the postings from Facebook about my stalker. If he gets struck by lightning, I don't want to get blamed, just because I prayed for it. :) Always swim in the "No Peeing" section of the pool. Copyright © September 4, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 3rd, 2011... New interview with Country Music International! Click here: http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2011/09/interview-with-jack-blanchard-misty.html And have a safe and happy Labor Day, folks! YFNW™, Jerry.
September 1st, 2011... NEW MUSIC WEEKLY REPORT SEPT. 2ND, 2011. To view the charts, Please click this link: http://tinyurl.com/3jlvlwk Thanks. Jack & Misty

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY. There was a hurricane in the Florida Keys a couple of years before we played at The Key Colony Beach Resort. They showed us photos of the flooded restaurant. There were big fish, like tarpon, and the grand piano was floating upside-down. A woman we knew sat out the storm on top of her rocking refrigerator holding her parrot above the water. It's hard to explain to a non-musician that if it looks like you're just listening to music, you could in fact be stealing a song. A couple, musician friends of ours, got addicted to pain medications. Their grown kids turned against them, and they were depressed. They called to tell us they were committing double suicide with pills. I told them that if they didn't call me every 10 minutes all night that I would immediately call 911. That stopped them. I mention this in case it might help somebody in a similar situation. My grandfather, Clair Blanchard, lost his leg above the knee when he was in his sixties, and was asked by the V.A, to visit hospitals and show young amputee veterans how to learn to walk with an artificial leg and knee. I wasn't raised watching The Dukes Of Hazard, Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. I grew up staring at the radio. My sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. We once bought a trailer on payments in Key West. It came with a free chain link fence so we couldn't take off with it. Misty started feeding a stray dog... the biggest meanest pit bull I've ever seen! They became friends, but he wouldn't let me in or out of my own home! I was a prisoner of love. ON THE ROAD: In Millville, Pennsylvania: An elderly dwarf, who called himself "Shorty" jumped up and down in front of the stage, ordering the audience to "Shut up!" and "Stand back, there!" He had no official capacity, but nobody knew that. He kept it up throughout our show. You could look into Shorty's eyes and see that nobody was driving. Television gives us too much sensory information. Radio and written word leave a lot for our brains to fill in. They exercise our minds. Once we were booked into a show lounge that was connected to a bowling alley. I was on a wild cherry cough drop kick that year. Between sets I went in and asked the shoe-rental guy if he had wild cherry coughdrops. He said yes. I said "Are they really wild?" And he said "We can hardly keep them in the box." We love San Francisco. We were there for a CBS convention. The only things that bothered me were the little Chinese grocery stores with all the small corpses hanging in the windows. They were trying to pass for chickens, but I thought I saw Frisbee in one's mouth. At a certain age you have to move to Florida. It's the law. We get to Nashville a couple of times a year. I keep Nashville as our Facebook address because that's where most of our friends are. We don't know that many people in Central Florida anymore. I had a friend named Ed, an ex-fighter pilot, who lived up in the Catskills. Years had passed since we talked, except on the phone. His daughter notified me when he passed away. In the hospital he demanded "Hand me that damn sherbet!" Those turned out to be his last words. She had refused him the dessert because he wasn't supposed to have it. There's a lesson in there somewhere. Thought for the today: Life is no rehearsal. This is it... today... this minute. Look at it. Smell it. Feel it. Listen to it. Live it. It's all we really have. Copyright © August 30, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
FDR is hilarious and right on the money in this vintage video. It's like he made these statements today. Jack. (Same basic YouTube rules apply: Right click on the link and open in a new window.)
August 29th, 2011...

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THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE AND ENTERTAINMENT. We moved to our new home over a year ago and still can't find everything. When we find something of value that we'd forgotten it's like getting a little gift. Yesterday Misty was sorting through things piled in the shed and the utility room, and found an old appointment book dated 1982. In the back of it I had scribbled down a lot of little life tips that I'd learned over the years from various sources and personal experience. Misty and I tried to practice them, and we think they helped us, so I pass them on to you in case you find them useful. I offer these bits and pieces below with little attempt to sort them out. Be careful of other people's pride, even when they are acting stupid. Give them a graceful way out. Let them save face. They could turn out to be friends if you get past the first collision. ON STAGE: Never audition for an audience.Don't put yourself on trial. Be in gentle control. Confidence without arrogance. Hold some of yourself back. Let your talent come as a surprise. Be unpredictable. Cue the audience as to what they like. Laugh tracks do this on TV. Bring them into the process. Tell them the story behind the song, or something about your life. Speak more slowly that you may be used to. Avoid precise speech. Maybe slur a little. Appear relaxed. Don't come off as hip or intellectual. Don't be slick. Don't be a threat. Be likable, pleasant, earthy. Be loose. Look like you belong wherever you are. Good posture and walk. Natural gestures. Develop style... the recognition factor. Desperation shows. Inflate the audience. Make them feel good about themselves. No inside jokes or private laughs with the band. Do it all over the microphone. Don't leave them out. LIFE IN GENERAL: Don't let the competition see you as a rival. Learn from the past but don't feel guilty about it. Think about your goals all the time. Picture them. In a negotiation, the first one to mention money loses. Experiments have proven that children learn better and faster surrounded by mirrors and pictures of themselves. Many entertainers and musicians practice in front of a mirror. Sometimes it helps to pose your material as socially relevant. Everybody who ever does anything makes mistakes. Stupidity is no reason not to be a success. Everybody has it. If you believe in God, trust your God. Life is no rehearsal. This is it... today... this minute. Look at it. Smell it. Feel it. Listen to it. Live it. It's all you really have. Naturally, we couldn't think of all these things at any one time, but we drilled them into our brains until it became automatic. There are lots more of the little suggestions in the back of the old book, but I'll save them for later. Copyright © August 29, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 25th, 2011...

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DO YOU REMEMBER? Do you remember when the DJ Conventions in Nashville all took place within a block or two? Between The Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage hotels you could meet everybody in the business. It was GREAT! Being songwriters, maybe we see things as miracles. We've been in trouble most of our lives, but something unexpected always saves us just in the nick of time. Misty and I are fast producers. I think we broke a record when we were on CBS/Columbia/Epic doing five songs in a three hour session. All released. Tennessee Birdwalk was recorded in one take. With the run through, ten minutes. When we used strings, we'd do the main sessions quickly, and send them to the arranger to write for the strings. They'd come in about 3 days later and lay down the string section. We only used strings on six songs, to see how it felt. It felt good. Misty would stand right in the middle of all the strings like she was in heaven. When I went to school in Buffalo, a teacher was not allowed to lay a hand on a kid. I remember one teacher who was fired immediately for slapping girl. At home, and this is the truth, we never got spanked. Not ever. I think we turned out okay. Except maybe for me. I had a chance to go straight, but I went into music instead. My parents just used sarcasm. My grandfather had "the look". We'd be running through the house, see him, and suddenly walk slowly and quietly past him. I wonder how he made the veins in his forehead stick out like that. My Uncle Clate had "the look" too, but that's because he was criminally insane. I remember my grandparents' attic with the big wind-up Victrola, the old thick records, and a guy in a high vaudeville voice singing ‘It's Just a Lotta Baloney’." It may have been Billy Murray that sang "It's just a Lotta Baloney, a lotta baloney, that's all. It takes a lotta rehoissin'... (Rehoissin' means rehearsing.)" Do you know where I put my zoot suit? I was arrested in Dothan, Alabama in my youth, and later did a show there with Leroy van Dyke. Well, it looks like this first hurricane is going to miss us. I've been praying that it would hit somebody else. :) I'm trying to become more angelic. Misty went to but bottled water yesterday, and it was all gone. Then we realized there was a hurricane coming. They say we should go into an interior room. In a trailer that would be the refrigerator. In Florida our idea of a nice day is when a tree doesn't blow down on us, or when the lightning strikes somebody else, and we can come out from under the kitchen table. Time clicks by...faster and faster, like a cheap watch. They say you should live every day as if it were your last. Should I be on Facebook? Shouldn't I be panicking or something? Maybe rushing to the hospital? Getting the last word in an old argument? Sobbing in my beer? The world may be screwed up, but I'm glad to be in it. I don't know any rhetorical questions. I just know rhetorical answers. Sometimes I get excited and cut people off in order to talk about me, and I see them glance at their watch. Apparently, to others, my life isn't the adventure I think it is. Well, I'm going to go lie down now, but I won't get much sleep if those monkeys are still under the bed. I'm gonna have to skip flossing the cat tonight. I'm going to bed with a good book: "Weird Proctology". Copyright © August 25, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Another picture found in a dark corner of the attic. When things got slow for us in Country Music, we played jazz clubs around New York, like the beautiful Van Dyck. Misty played the big Steinway grand piano.

August 22nd, 2011...

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WHAT RHYMES WITH "ORANGE"? Songwriters and poets say you can't rhyme with the word "orange": I say: "I'm forging the courage to forage for porridge with foreign George." I write a lot of songs and stories, so I often get asked: Where do you get your ideas? I get my ideas from a post office box in Schenectady. We were having oatmeal at breakfast today because it's supposed to be healthy. I looked across the table at Misty and noticed that she was struggling to finish hers. She said "It's like eating a bowl of laundry." In the 1970s women teased their hair. Misty teased hers and it bit her. In Florida our idea of a nice day is when a tree doesn't blow down on us, or when the lightning strikes somebody else, and we can come out from under the kitchen table. Many dead animals of the past changed to fossils. Others preferred to become oil. I'm planning to become a fossil. I'm about halfway there. Sometimes those voices in my head have good ideas. Walt, a friend of mine, saw this ad : "Refurbished Casket, used only once briefly." He said ”It looks like a real bargain too." I said "Just use it for the funeral and then resell it on Ebay." He said "I wonder if that would void the warranty?" Do my multiple personalities allow me to drive in the car pool lane? Our town was too poor to have a village idiot, so we took turns. I had a few drinks at a party and woke up with both contact lenses in one eye. Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know that we know they're there. I hope the recession doesn't get worse. We're eating pictures of food out of magazines. We still check the neighborhood dumpster because people throw good stuff away. There's a nice TV set in there now. I'm thinking about it. I like to think of myself as "Early Middle-aged" (not to be confused with "Early American"). I'm still waiting for my mid-life crisis. At our concert at Walt Disney World, the stagehands lowered the stage at the BEGINNING of our closing number! We watched the audience disappear. We must have looked like singing heads. Stagehands don't always watch the show. Winning isn't everything. Winning and gloating and rubbing their noses in it ... That's everything! World War Two had great songs and good-lookin' dames. Hubba hubba! Goodbye Mama, I'm off to Yokohama for my country, my flag, and youse. That's the ticket, ya big lug. Warning: I am armed and extremely jolly. I get uncomfortable when somebody winks at me. Who winks, anyway? Leprechauns and pedophiles? I still have my grandfather's watch. On his deathbed, he sold it to me. It's now after 2AM. I can't believe all the moths around our porch light. Like a bunch of drunks. They're gonna be a mess when they get home. Wait till their wives get a look at them. They come here because our porch light is the last one open in town. Time again to floss the cat and go to bed. Copyright © August 22, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 16th, 2011...
HI, RADIO FRIENDS! We are getting exceptional response to our WHP single "I WILL". Thanks for all you do!!! :) Jack & Misty NEW MUSIC WEEKLY_Record info_ Aug. 16th, 2011
Chart information © 2011, New Music Weekly. All rights reserved.
August 15th, 2011... New old pictures found in the attic. Just click on a thumbnail picture to see it full size. First, click this link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2162738388703.252868.1253883172&l=a4214b8594&type=1 Jack & Misty

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BACKACHES, BABIES, AND BRIEFS. I read an article about backaches. It said that our prehistoric ancestors walked on all-fours and learned to walk upright because it was easier to carry stuff, but it's not natural and causes us backaches. That does it! From now on I'm walking on all-fours. I remember being a baby and being toilet trained. I wasn't embarrassed then, but I am now. I asked Misty what we were having for supper tonight. She said "Chicken Formica." "Dimmy Jean's Poor Puke Sauce Linkages, made from the finest hogs and hostages this side of The Great Beyond" My self-help books: "Learn Magic: Pull a Flaming Rabbit Out of Your Pants" "Neuter Your Pet with Common Kitchen Utensils." "Appear Taller by Clenching Your Foot Muscles." "Teaching a Ferret to Whistle." "Drive Without Your Glasses." I said to Misty "What are we having for dinner?" She said "Poverty Helper." We're watching "The Pelican Brief". Dang! I thought it was going to be a comedy called "The Pelican's Briefs". According to The Weather Channel, we broke 9,000 heat records in the US in July alone. Can you imagine if we were REALLY having global warming? "Exposure" is what agents offer you when they don't want to give you money. If I sent you some of these before, it's because I have no idea what I'm doing. Copyright © August 14, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 12th, 2011... Sorry I haven't posted lately, but real life interfered. Again. Anyway, here's something to make you perk right up and say Howdy! It's the video for Jack & Misty's hot new single, "I WILL". Right-click this link and hit "Open in new window" to go immediately to YouTube to see it. (Tried taking the direct route, but for some reason, YouTube's acting massively Republican...) And just exactly how hot is it? Take a peek at the NMW chart (which, in this case, measures fastest new singles added in country radio) for today...
Not too bad, huh? (As I was telling Jack & Misty, that's some pretty heavy company to be sitting on top of.) Congratulations to our dynamic duo! More news as it develops... (Chart information ©2011 New Music Weekly.)
August 7th, 2011...

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BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA. Late last night Misty turned the TV on and a black and white movie came on. It was over a half-century old but it was sharp and clear. We got excited because it starred our old friend Sammy Petrillo. We only spent one night with him, but he felt like a friend. Sammy was a great comedian, and was known for being the first and best Jerry Lewis impersonator. He made some B movies with Bela Lugosi and others. One was a "gem" entitled "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla", made in 1952. It must have cost about eight dollars and fifty cents to shoot this movie, but Sammy made it worth seeing. It’s become a cult film, and famous movie critic Leonard Maltin said it's his favorite picture. In the 1960's we met Sammy Petrillo at The Apache Club, a Miami showplace. The crowd and even the club owner had their doubts that Sammy had ever made a movie. When Sammy found out that we'd seen one of his pictures he took us around to the boss and all the customers saying, “Hey! These people saw my movie!”. We were his "proof" to the bunch who didn't know who he was. He didn't do much Jerry Lewis in his show that night, but he did a lot of other good stuff. He seemed as though he could look like anybody he wanted. He told us later that he just had “that kind of face". Like Frank Fontaine, Sammy could do a lot more than people knew. He and his wife invited us to their motel room where we sat up all night and talked. He's one of the nicest people we have met in our years in show business. Over time Sammy Petrillo became a cult star, and was considered a comedy genius by many, but not by Jerry Lewis, who seemed to spend a lot of time attacking him. You can read all about it on the Internet if you Google "Sammy Petrillo". We lost the wonderful man to cancer in 2009, at age 74. He made a lot of people happy, and we were hoping to run into him again some time, but that wasn’t to be. Click this link for the the Sammy Petrillo picture: http://tinyurl.com/43aqlab Copyright © August 7, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 4th, 2011... JUST A BEAUTIFUL SONG We were going through our library and found this song. We had just about forgotten that we recorded it. It's even more beautiful than we remembered, and we wanted a few friends to hear it. Just click here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10919918** Love, Jack & Misty (**P.S. from the webmeister: Since the original posting, Western Heart Productions has now officially released I WILL as a "Special Radio Single". So, it'll now be on our front page... as well as the first song you'll hear on this page.)
August 3rd, 2011... Hey there, birdwatchers and music fans in general. If you think America cornered the market on clueless record companies, have a look at this. These are the front and back covers to Jack and Misty's first LP, "BIRDS OF A FEATHER" as released back in the day by Mercury Records in Germany. Behold... if you dare...

I forget where I read this, (a book of album covers is all I remember), but what applied there applies here as well: "As long as record companies insist on releasing albums in covers like this, country music will always be a joke to most people." (Kinda makes you wonder if vinyl will ever stage a comeback, huh?) YFNW™, Jerry.
August 1st, 2011... Hey there, thrill seekers! We're starting the month off with a few points to ponder from our peerless leader. Dive in...

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I FEEL RANDOM TODAY. Today it's pot luck... a loose collection of random thoughts, most of which I made up, and a few I borrowed. Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff. "Dear musician, We look forward to your performance at our daughter's wedding. We'll have your check for the fee of $35 by the end of next month. We're a little short as the young lady doing the balloon arch wanted her $1,850 in advance, and the DJ had to be paid up front his $2,500 as normal." Liven up singalongs by singing "with no pants on" after every line. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with no pants on", Good Night Irene, good night Irene. I'll see you in my dreams, with no pants on", "Here Comes the Bride, with no pants on", "God Save the Queen", etc.. It works great on "The Sheik of Araby". Misty asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes.' It's HOT here. I want dress cooler but it must be stylish. I think I'll put on my tweed string bikini. And my open-toed cowboy boots. I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car. I hate it when my foot goes to sleep. I know it will be up all night. Hundreds of years ago they had computers and cell phones, but there was no place to plug them in. Do alligators get reptile dysfunction? "Waiter, what's this fly doing in my soup?" "I believe it's the backstroke, sir." "But, I ordered a moth." My father made a meager living selling meagers. Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck. If a person is nice to you, and not nice to the waiter, they are not a nice person. Some writers close with a prayer. I'm just going to add a couple of actual prayer lines said by children in a New York City kindergarten: "Give us this day our jelly bread." and "Lead us not into Penn Station." Copyright © July 31, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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LESTER PARKER. When I met Misty Morgan she was with a country band, then she played all kinds of music and finally her own jazz group, before we wound up back in Country Music. We were taken by a friend to meet a sax player for her combo, and when we knocked on the apartment door, this Dustin Hoffmann type guy answered in his boxer shorts. Our friend said to Lester Parker, "Go put some pants on!" He was a wonderful character and the best jazz tenor sax player in Miami... maybe in Florida. We became close friends. Les was so laid back. He could play any requested song and nobody would recognize it except another jazz musician. He spoke in the jive talk of the time, and was an avid chess player. Misty's group, with Lester, packed 'em in at a popular Miami club. We lost track of him for many decades, until recently. I found this home made eulogy to him written by a friend of his named Tim. It was on an Internet musicians' forum, and I'm leaving it in its original non-literary form, just as I found it. It's hard to understand in places, but it's "real". ********************************** SAD NEWS......Lester Parker,.a Boston tenor sax player and friend of mine since 1969..... passed away October 10 at 9:30 PM. He went in with pneumonia , and they also found tumors on his lungs, and clogged valves in the heart. it was just a matter of time. Lester was 72. He was born Joseph Arena. His mom Angela White is 92 and in a Nursing home in Lawrence Mass. Most musicians knew him as LESTER PARKER. In the 50's Lester traveled with George Wallington the bop pianist. Lester worked the joints in Boston, but more importantly.... he was a master of the standard song form. He practiced at least 4 hours a day, sick or NOT. Educated musically on the bandstand via the school of hard knocks, Lester had a rough as nails front. He could verbally level ya in a heartbeat, but once you got past that....he was a good guy . ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC. In 1969....I first ran into him in Wallys , at a Sunday session. The first time I saw him, with his King Super 20 tenor....Black shirt, Black tie , slicked back hair....he looked like something outta the 1940s. I had no idea what to think. A WEEK LATER....I had a gig at the " Two O' Clock lounge". Playing for strippers. I was in the back room....diggin' the babes and all ..thinkin'.....when here comes Lester's hard as nails voice.... "Hey kid, Don't touch the BROADS.....it's a one way ticket to trouble"... so we went and gotta pizza on Washington st. Thru the years , to me...Lester was a good friend. No question. The last time I saw him was last year when he came to NYC lookin' for OLD METAL BERGS (saxophones). - He was told by a shop outside town that they had drawers full. So....we trecked out in my car... Lester was smokin so much that the Lincoln tunnel smelled good.lol ANOTHER COOL THING- Lester lived... for the session. He practiced CONSTANTLY. He rented, a spot..... in Wakefield to shed (practice). and he was there all the time...in the shed. THAT.....was an inspiration in itself. Thru the years , he helped many rhythm section guys gell on the bandstand. His thing was -PLAYIN'. You'd session with him, and he'll tell ya....." Look ...its either 4 hours minimum or I ain't bringin out my artillery.". lol- You'd play.....and he'd pass out lead sheets . As the song was goin- he'd pull the sheet off the stand and yell "PLAY!" He had a odd way.....but he was real. Lester would throw a kid's "REAL BOOK" on the floor and say..... " your not playin WITH the band..you're relyin' on that book." He meant well. Old school yea...but.......the results were there ...IF....you tried. What he had to offer was different....but ....he cared. A few years ago he bought a mint condition King Super 20 (sax) as a back up. It was amazing. He had the bread saved to buy a newer car.... but...he went for the SUPER 20. Whatta guy, huh ? His comment was..." Hey......the sled (car) I can get any time... those pieces a junk are everwhere...the Super 20....is ART" . Lester helped a lot of guys and was one of the cats. So....sorry for the long post.......but it's guys like this guy... who made music 24/7...365. no matter what. You'll never see his name in DownBeat or Sax Journal.... but that's why I put this much here. I owe this guy a lot. Lester kicked my butt to not settle for the OKIE DOKEY.... I valued his friendship big time. His was THE FIRST Xmas card I'd ever recieve. ( over...30 years of them too !!! ) When I wasn't home he'd talk to my mom or in later years my wife. A different kinda cat...but ....ain't we all ?!! I never expected this, as Lester was never sick. He hated hospitals and nursing homes. So in closing , be glad for the days ya got folks and make sure music is part of it. This guy sure did and many were the better for it. Where ever he is I'm sure there is a song in the air. Thanks- Tim ..... ************************************** (Responses from Tim's friends.) Tim - thank you so much for the info on Lester Parker. I never knew him well. In fact for the last thirty years I avoided him because everyone I knew would never go to a gig or session if they even thought he was going to show up because he "terrorized" the bandstand.The very least we can say is that he was a legend here in Boston. Characters like him are getting rarer and rarer. Tim , thanks man, it's a sobering way to start the day. - TD ************************************** Great tribute, Tim. I think anyone who spent any time in Boston remembers "Lester the character" but your post remembers Lester the man/musician. Thanks for sharing it with us. Leigh ************************************* Tim, I don't know whether to be sorry you've lost a friend, or envious that you knew a cat like that.. But I am sorry he's gone.. BobMac ************************************ Sad news, indeed... I never met Lester personally, but spoke to him many times on the phone. He'd call Ralph's shop, rather regularly--- and I'd know it's him--- He'd snarl into the phone "Tell Ralph it's his brother-in-law!" lol- of course they weren't related, but brothers like that, ya know... First time I ever talked to him, scared the crap outta me! Yeah, he had that gruff exterior, in your face and the langauge, but I was ready the next time he called (Ralph explained him to me!) But I soon came to know him as very generous and very knowledgable and we've got this recent picture of him blowing on the wall, black hair still slicked back... Thanks Tim for the info... I'm sorry for the loss. Brian ************************************* (From Tim again.) I told Roberto today...about Lester and his eyes teared up. Lester walked in the store and had EVERYONE crackin up with his crazy talk and funny BS. One young player was so touched by Lester's playing that he wanted to buy him a drink at the end of the night. Lester told the kid....save it kid... go buy some reeds and keep working on your horn. You know what his name meant right ? *Swing like LESTER YOUNG, BURN like Charlie Parker !!!!" Pretty cool . The cat who told me_ that was SAM RIVERS (Sam Rivers is a famous jazz musician and arranger). You always knew Lester was in the building when you heard the sound of a saxophone emanating from the men's (or sometimes the ladie's) room. The next thing you knew he was strutting towards the bandstand all hunched over with his right hand doing that shaking thing of his, playing all the way. He didn't seem to care if the guys in the band welcomed him or not. Lester NEVER bought a drink in a club cuz he had this way cool flask in the Super 20 case with his initals on it...L.P. I know..cuz I was one of the few who got to take a hit off that flask. I REALLY appreciate the stuff ya'll said. Lester used to sign his letters.... " To the Bitter End"... little did he know, ya know.......little did he know. I'm sure gonna miss this guy . We need more Lester Parkers. Thanks- Tim :) Edit to story form, and introduction Copyright © July 31, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 26th, 2011... Hi, gang. Got an email from our favorite English birdwatcher, Moragh Carter. Those of you with smartphones, heads up! Hi All Did you see this article in the Guardian newspaper at the weekend? Anyone with a smartphone should read it and take note. This one's for real ... not a hoax. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/jul/22/smartphones-hacked-zeus-malware Hope you are being hyper-vigilant ... and please pass on the warning. All the best Moragh Consider it passed, Moragh! Jerry
July 21st, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
POTPOURRI AGAIN. "Potpourri" is French for "You poured soup in my pants." My first public appearance was in front of my 4th grade class. I played the ukulele and sang "Little Brown Jug". I think I was an alto or soprano. Then my voice changed, and spoiled my chance to be Tiny Tim. I learned Morse Code in the Boy Scouts. After that I could never stand tap dancing. It's surprisingly hard to baptize a cat. There are people who are good arguers, and they jump at every opportunity to show off the facts, figures, and "history" they have either gained second-hand or made up. Get something pierced, kids. A ring through your tongue couldn’t make you, like, talk any worse. And it’s a good place to hang your keys. I think a computer is better than a legal pad for stories. and a piano or guitar is better for writing songs. A lamp is good. To me, a piano, a desk, or a guitar in soft lamplight is hard to resist. Sex was more fun when it was underground. The casualness takes away the thrill of getting away with something. "An insanity defense doesn't fly for someone killing another person in a rage. Insanity is when somebody breaks into your house and irons all your laundry." (Ron Wiggins) Joyce Kilmer wrote: "Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree." I think it's because it's so hard to get the bark on. Money does not disappear in a recession, It just changes hands, and maybe leaves the country altogether. "OK, that's it! No more mister nice guy." Hitler's alleged response to the Allied invasion of Normandy. Political debates would be more fun if the politicians were not allowed to talk. At least we'd have a sporting chance of making them cry. "You stink" is not constructive criticism. I'm always anxious to hear how much you love our latest song, but please stop there. Don't say "I like your record, but the rhythm ought to approximate the beat of the human heart." A great artist has to suffer. Van Gogh cut off his ear for the woman he loved. She said, "You did this for me?" and he said, "What?" I know this story is true because I was that ballerina. Copyright © July 21, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 19th, 2011...

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EDDIE SIMMONS. When I first got to Miami I answered some help-wanted ads for piano players. One was at The Sportsman’s Lodge, a restaurant and lounge which sat right in the driveway of The Hollywood Dog Track. I auditioned for a man in his fifties named Eddie Simmons. I thought he was the owner, because he had an air of authority. He was small, wiry, and bald, except for a fringe of dark hair. His long nose pointed straight out like Pinocchio or Cyrano, but his Sean Connery eyes nailed you to the wall. There was also a little of the sad clown about him. It turned out that Eddie was the singer and drummer who would work as a duo with me. He had one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard... the depth of Barry White, with Al Jolson’s power. He didn’t need a mike. When Eddy sang, he was an actor, drawing the crowd right in. Everything Eddie Simmons did he did with a flair. He’d come out from behind the drums, during a song and sing personally to women in the crowd. It would have been corny if I had done it, but Eddie had the touch. One week the chef was out sick and Eddie cooked for the whole place, making it look easy. I saw him take a head of lettuce, slam it down on the counter, and then drop into a pot of cold water. The core fell right out and the lettuce opened like a flower. He’d switch from the chef’s apron and hat to a waiter’s jacket, and glide out from the kitchen with heavy laden trays of food held high, and serve it with a flourish, a smile, and a bow... like a magician. Eddie had problems, but he didn’t let the public know it. One was alcohol and the other: women. He married a nice lady named Betty who got pregnant and stayed that way for about ten months. The last few months she looked like the Queen Mary. A doctor finally told her it was a false pregnancy”, and she immediately deflated. It was all in her mind. She left Eddie for a Norwegian sea captain. Eddie did what alcoholics do, but his singing was still genius, especially the blues. The last I saw of Eddie he was going with a lady alcoholic. It was sad to see them drinking their lives away. Eddie Simmons was a star the world lost before he was found. I wish you could have heard him sing "When It’s Sleepy Time Down South". Copyright © July 19, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 18th, 2011...

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FORTY YEARS LATER. We were playing at The Gold Coast Lounge in Key West, Florida in 1967, when we were signed to a four song recording deal, and took off for Nashville. Our first Billboard Hot 100 release “Bethlehem Steel” came out of that session. For a while after that we didn’t know whether there would be any more Nashville sessions, so we took four or five of our Miami musician friends into a studio down there, and recorded some original songs that never came out until forty years later, on our Omni Records “Nashville Sputnik" CD. One of those songs was “Journey’s End”, a goin’ home song… a little traveling music. The idea of going back home is a theme that runs through a lot of our songs, probably because Misty and I both left our home town, Buffalo, and went out on our own in our teens. We didn’t know each other in Buffalo, and didn’t meet until we were playing lounge piano about a block from each other in Hollywood, Florida. On this recording, “Journey’s End”, we didn't have a good country lead guitar player, so Misty played the lead on the organ. I think she did a great instrumental chorus. Check it out by clicking this link: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9328689 JOURNEY'S END. It's sundown, I see the lights in the windows of the houses Just around the bend... Journey's End, Journey's End My home town, I smell the smoke from the chimneys of the houses Just around the bend... Journey's End, Journey's End Old folks will be smiling, asking all about the city "Do you ever hear from Mary Ann, son? She was always so pretty" It's been a long time, but there'll be old friends waitin' In the houses Just around the bend... Journey's End, Journey's End Copyright © July 18, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "JOURNEY'S END": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 10th, 2011... Hey, gang. Sorry I haven't posted lately. Computer problems + fatigue = one tired & frustrated webmeister (you know how that goes). There's a bit of news I've missed out on posting in the interim. First and foremost, our favorite Country Shakespeare, "Cowboy" Jack Clement, recently experienced a house fire. Thankfully, folks, he's okay. (Whew!) Second, we hope you all had a safe and happy Fourth of July (The U.S. of A. - 235 years and still counting!). And finally, of course, some items from our leader, Chairman Jack Blanchard (not to be confused with Champion Jack Dupree). To wit...

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LIFE IS GETTING WEIRDER. Just about one year ago I went to renew my driver's license. For some reason they now require the following: Your birth certificate; your old driver's license; two proofs of residence; your Social Security card; a marriage license, whether or not you've ever been married; medical records with your name and birth date; a pint of blood; and two other proofs that you actually exist. Misty went with me to renew hers. Our birthdays are close together. She had to prove that her last name was now Blanchard. This is true: An 84 year old friend of mine was recently required to provide an affidavit swearing that he and his elderly wife were actually married, and not living in sin (as though they could).. It was to prove that her last name was legally the same as his. It must have something to do with Homeland Security. We're all under suspicion. Anyway... They noticed that my driver's license and Social Security card both say "Jack Blanchard", but my birth certificate says "John Blanchard". This made me a suspect and they wouldn't renew my license. They told me to go to the Social Security office 40 miles away through city traffic, and get them to change my S.S. card to "John". Misty was sent on a similar mission. The next day was 85 degrees in the shade here in Florida, and about double that in our car because the A/C freon was low. We drove an hour each way and waited on the steel bench for two hours. We couldn't share our anger with any of the crowd, because they were just as mad as we were about this new license mess. Misty got a friendly clerk and zipped right through. The woman greeted her with "You're Misty Morgan, aren't you?" She was a fan. I got a sleepy-eyed clerk who had her young child with her, ready to go home. We weren't happy to see each other. She looked at her computer, which was out of my line of sight, and said this: "We have you as 'Jack' for your whole life." I said I'd never used any other name, and that nobody had ever questioned it. She asked if I could name any companies I'd worked for. I named about six Buffalo factories where I'd labored away my youth. She studied the computer screen and said nothing. At this point she knew who I was, but she wouldn't admit it. I had two large manila envelopes packed with what I thought were important papers. She shoved them back at me and said, "You need two pieces of ID that say "John". I said "I know. That's why they sent me here... to have you change my S.S. card to "John", and then I'll have to live as John for life." She said "You will have to change all your legal things to John... titles to your home and vehicles, your credit, your will, your bills, and everything else." "I can't wait", I said. She was getting tired of me. She told me it would be easier to legally change my first name to "Jack". I've been Jack all my life and didn't know I was committing a crime. I stomped out the door like everybody else had been doing. But, on second thought, her idea wasn't all bad. So the next day I called our lawyer and made an appointment for Monday. I said this: "Hi. This is Jack. I need to change my name to Jack." He said "First you have to go to the Sheriff's headquarters and get a criminal background check. You'll need an appointment." So, three days later I was fingerprinted. and waited several hours to find out that I'm not a crook. There were a pile of legal papers were filled out and notarized, we drove to the courthouse, went through the semi-strip search, pleaded our case to the judge, and got a name change court order. Next I'm supposed to advertise the court order in the local newspaper, and send the whole pile to Albany, New York to get a new birth certificate. I haven't done that yet. I've already got $1100 and three weeks invested in the driver's license. I need a rest. Copyright © July 9, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 30th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A BEDTIME STORY. Once upon a time a young couple lived on the edge of starvation... but still managed to come up with beer money. They had no cash or college degrees, and they were too nervous to steal, so they chose music as their life's endeavor. Cars and houses were being repossessed faster than they could replace them, and times were hard. There were trolls under every bridge and wolves at the door, but they had each other, their music, and more than their fair share of desperation. He sat down and tried to write a song. He printed "Notes in a Birdbath" at the top of the legal pad page, and wrote a few lines of a story that went like this: A guy's wife had left him, he was drinking beers, writing notes to her, putting the notes in the empty bottles, and throwing the bottles with the messages into the birdbath. Sort of like a person stranded on an island tosses bottled notes into the sea. In this case, he was drunk, the notes were not being delivered to anybody, and the birds were getting dirty and annoyed. He ran out of ideas before he ran out of song, and the legal pad was tossed on The Heap of Lost Things. Years went by and the semi-young musicians were still screwed up. He sat on the porch, still trying to write songs. He blamed his guitar, the weather, and General Mills for his failure. Desperation grew into a magic force, and suddenly a complete song popped into his maturing brain. It was funny and had a good beat, but no title. They sang the song together and laughed at its weirdness. Later that night, they were given the title. The song became a big hit and the middle aged couple lived happily ever after... so far, anyway. To listen to the song, click here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=5788199 Copyright © June 30, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Oh, before I forget...
We've had 153,872 views on YouTube! You might as well join in. :) Click this link: http://youtube.com/jackandmisty
And that should just about about do it, folks! Till next time, have a happy! Jerry
June 25th, 2011...

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MUSIC KILLED MY UNCLE (and other thoughts). Music killed my uncle. He was trying to play "Flight of the Bumblebee" on a tuba, and blew his liver out the horn. When I was a young and innocent brat there were a few horses among the cars on the streets of Buffalo. I remember the Dodd's milkman letting the kids feed his horse. The driver's name was Jim. I've forgotten the horse's name. My apologies to the very nice dead horse. They test cosmetics on rats. I don't care to see a rat wearing lipstick. And it must be humiliating for the rat. Mornings are fun because you haven't yet realized what the day is planning to do to you. If I were just taller and people were smaller They’d give me their dollars and I would just spend it. I'd look down from up there and make fun of their hair ‘Cause I’m tall and they’re buying my friendship. I’m Thin and I’m Rich and I’m Tall. They love me ‘cause I’ve got it all. I can sing this all wrong 'cause the point of this song Is “I’m Thin and I’m Rich and I’m Tall”. My computer went into some kind of a coma. Misty told me to reboot the whole damn thing while holding my mouth a certain way. That didn't work, so I did the only logical thing... I looked for somebody to blame MAKING A HIT RECORD. Lyricists say it’s the words. Composers say it’s the music. The artists say it’s the vocal performance. The musicians say it’s the arrangement. Producers say it’s the whole package. I think the only good rule is this: When you play it for friends, you don’t want to have to cough to cover certain parts. When trying to pick our next single, we analyze tempo, lyric and music content, vocal performance, etc.. We get discouraged and angry, bang each other on the head, and give each other wedgies. There is very little nutrition, or anything else in a chicken wing. I would rather put hot sauce on a squirrel. Note to Humane Society: I would never put hot sauce on a live squirrel, unless it provoked me. THE SOUND OF EMPTINESS. I was sitting by the window listening to the sound of emptiness. This is not like listening to no sound at all, because the sound of emptiness contains all the things you hoped would be in it, and all the sounds that once were. Do you know where I parked my car? Copyright © June 25, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 23rd, 2011...

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MORE ON MASTERING MUSIC. So, you've got a great mix...is your music ready for the world? Not yet. It can still be a lot better. Send it to a good mastering studio like our Music Hospital, and hear what you've been missing. It will knock your hosiery off! About vocals: Sometimes the voice needs presence, or edge. To add clarity on the vocal we boost the frequency slightly at 3 kHz, and for presence, maybe a touch at 5 kHz. Too much presence can make the voice brassy and thin. A little can make it sound good, and bring out the lyrics. To increase fullness to thin vocals we boost at 200Hz. This also makes the snare drum sound fuller. To hear the breath on the vocals we might push up the slider at 15kHz. We can take the "mud" out by tweaking low mid-range frequencies To get more finger sound on acoustic bass, give it a little at &kHz. This will increase the attack on percussion instruments. If we want the bass to be heard at low volume, 400 Hz is the range. The "pluck" sound on a string bass is at about 3kHz. Enhancers like Aphex, BBE, Crysonic, and Steinberg software can help with general clarity, and instrument/vocal separation, but they can be overdone, if we’re not careful. The bass drum (kicker) has two separate frequencies... the low part and the higher tap of the pedal on the head. The bottom sound should not go below 40 Hz unless you're doing hip-hop. I usually cut off all sound below 40 Hz because many sound systems have trouble reproducing sounds that low, and it takes up a bunch of air space better used by the rest of the music. Cut out the subsonic rumble and the whole recording sounds brighter and louder. Also, The tap of the bass pedal is much higher, up in the mid-range area, where your "presence" is found. If the String bass is at a very low frequency in the mix, I make the bass drum higher, and vice versa. Knowledgeable use of compressors can work miracles, bringing out good parts that you never knew were there, and opening up the recording so it swarms around you like surround sound, using only two speakers. About "punch"... Punch just means how the audience feels the beat, and that depends upon how far the speaker cone moves back and forth to push the sound out. Some mastering engineers like to use compressors and limiters to get maximum volume. This holds down the loud sounds, and brings up the quieter ones. Everything gets loud, but the speakers don't move very far. That's not punch. I use a little hard limiter to leave the bass and drum peaks loud, just clipping off the tips of the peaks to even them up. It makes the speakers punch out the beat, and the listeners feel it. If you over-compress, it looks like a hedge on the visual readout, and will be just loud without the punch. That deep bass you hear on hip-hop records played by the guy in the car behind you is done by taking a low frequency bass and lengthening the notes. Notes that last longer sound louder. Music lovers go out and buy equipment for low bass and high treble, but most humans can't hear sounds higher than about 16 kHz, and bass below 40 Hz is a muddy rumble and interferes with the clarity of the recording.. The human ear hears mid-range best so recordings with more mid-range sound louder, even though they don't move the needle on the meter. It's called "apparent loudness" and was used a lot on vinyl singles. It is still the reason why commercials sound louder than the programs. Too much mid-range sounds tinny. It takes a good experienced ear to get it just right. There are hundreds of useful effects available today, which, when used properly, can enhance the sound of your music. The mixdown you get at the recording studio can be really good, but a good mastering engineer can make it 100% better. I love to hear the sessions after I master them. Copyright © June 23, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 10th, 2011...
Hi to all our friends. Why not check out our new version of "RINGS OF GOLD"? It's our new single. You might like it. :) Please click this link: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10638357 DJs, if you would like an mp3 just let us know. Thanks! Jack and Misty

June 3rd, 2011..

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SHE DIDN'T LIKE OLD COMEDIANS. I worked in a show club in Detroit with The Dawn Breakers quartet. The emcee was a very funny comedian named Frankie Rapp. He did impressions of a gay lighthouse and a 1956 Pontiac. I saw him in a Jerry Lewis movie once. There was a classy singer on the show, Gloria Brooks, who was Frankie’s ex-wife. She told me she didn’t like old comedians. She’d been married to two of them. After comedians make us laugh we expect them to be jolly in real life. They can be quite different from their onstage persona. Mickey Rooney is one of our finest comedic actors, but backstage we found him grouchy, unfriendly, and rude. Lou Costello got 60% and Bud Abbott got 40% of their income. When asked if he needed Abbott, he said “I could have him painted on the curtain.” Misty and I have known hilarious comics who were serious depressives. We got involved with one who was a tyrant. I was producing a Starday Records artist named Rusty Diamond, who had a knack for getting rich backers. Rusty wanted to put together a Vegas type stage show. I knew he wasn’t ready for that, so I suggested we hire a comedy coach named Danny Rogers. Rusty’s backer was paying for the coaching sessions, and the rent on a rehearsal hall. Danny could be funny, lovable, humble, devious, and cruel. He could be different people at different moments. He did so many characters, I didn’t know which was the real him. I think he was the evil one. He’d been fired from Milton Berle’s Vegas show for being too funny. He told me “Berle was right. It was his show.” The potential comedy group consisted of Misty and me, Paul McLaughlin our sax player, and Rusty was to be the star. Rogers began calling Paul “the hick” and riding him mercilessly. I was the designated straight man, Misty was “the chick”, and it never became clear what Rusty was supposed to do. It did become clear that Rusty was not going to be the star. Danny was getting paid to train him, but Rusty was on his way out. It was morphing into The Danny Rogers Group. He was a terrific comedian, and I was to be his Dean Martin. He didn’t even want Paul in the act. That’s why he made his life miserable. But we made sure Paul stayed. To be fair, Danny did teach us a lot about stagecraft and comedy. He taught us some hilarious routines, but he yelled at us all the time, which took the fun out of it. Rusty’s backers pulled the plug and he left the group, Paul “the hick” was miserable, and Misty and I were imagining fun ways to kill Danny Rogers. Misty bought an expensive new dress, and Danny commanded her to “Never wear that again.” Then he booked our act into a famous showplace in the Caribbean. We were not ready to be on any island with Danny Rogers, Bur we were actually afraid to tell him. He had become the cruel warden. When we did tell him, and he wasn’t a happy camper. First he became the poor soul who’s been hurt, to make us feel guilty. He was good! Finally he got mad, did a troll dance, and left. Maybe I made up the troll dance. In the 1970’s, after we’d had several hit records, I was calling old names in our address book, and for some dumb reason I got Rogers on the phone. I asked if he remembered us, and he said this: “Yeah. Too bad you never made it.” Copyright © June 3, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 30th, 2011...

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FOR MEMORIAL DAY. I subscribe to a couple of history groups and I’ve seen some comments by younger people about World War Two. They go along this line: “People back then were suckers to let the government get away with rationing things.” “I would have been in a protest line.” ”Drafting people into the armed services... How awful!” They are appalled to hear that you couldn't get butter, or rubber tires, or nylon hosiery, etc., and that the buses had plywood stand/sit seats to carry more workers to defense plants. At first I thought they were idiots, and I’m still not sure, but I've come to accept this: People who weren't actually there during WW2 have no real 3-D concept of the time. I was just a kid, but I can tell you that you wouldn't have been in a protest line. They didn't have protest lines. WW 2 was not a police action or a "preemptive" strike as you've seen in your lifetime. It was a giant classic war between good and evil... like a video game, but with real torture and death. Maniacs were committing genocide and trying to take over the world. Our country and way of life were in real danger. It wasn't a matter for political discussion. The wartime mindset didn't allow for gray areas. You were a patriot or a traitor because your neighbors' kids were being slaughtered to defend freedom. You could see the stars hanging in the windows of the families who had lost a son or daughter. Sometimes more than one star. I can understand how all this could sound corny to those who have never experienced anything remotely like it. It's like trying to describe your hair color to a blind man. He can learn the words, but he can't get the picture. People WANTED to do what they could for the war effort. they sacrificed because it was right, and they wanted the damn thing to be over. This kind of mass effort and spirit of unity is what has left a country where we can join protest lines, ride buses with cushioned seats and buy all the butter and gasoline we can afford. I've been against virtually every war since, so, I'm not a hawk. Just trying to tell it like it was. You had to be there. Copyright © May 30, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 24th, 2011... (An apologetic note from your webmeister.) What can I say? The internet refused to cooperate yesterday. (I think we must have the only wireless service powered by snails.) Which explains why the following item is a day late showing up here... but no less heartfelt. May 23rd, 2011...
Happy Birthday, Misty. All my love, Jack, 2011.

May 19th, 2011...

And now, some items I may have missed due to illness... May 16th, 2011...
See anybody you know?
(Advance for Use Monday, May 23) Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. Today's Birthdays: Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 86. Actor Nigel Davenport is 83. Actress Barbara Barrie is 80. Actress Joan Collins is 78. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 75. Actress Lauren Chapin is 66. Country singer Misty Morgan is 66.Country singer Judy Rodman is 60. Singer Luka Bloom is 56. Actor-comedian Drew Carey is 53. Country singer Shelly West is 53. Actor Linden Ashby is 51. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 50. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 44. Actress Laurel Holloman is 43. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 41. Singer Lorenzo is 39. Country singer Brian McComas is 39. Singer Maxwell is 38. Singer Jewel is 37. Actor Lane Garrison is 31. Actor Adam Wylie is 27. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISTY!!

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ONE FINE PARTY. Misty and I often did shows with Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, Grandpa Jones, and Archie Campbell. One of those shows was a week long booking at Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheater, an outdoor venue. It was Boots Randolph's show, and he always treated the artists, musicians, and staff as honored guests, with long tables of food and drink backstage, and a party feeling that carried over to the audiences. Before the first show, Roy stepped out of his bus carrying a glass of unknown iced beverage. Misty said "How're ya doin', Roy?" Roy smiled and said "Gettin' well, honey." The drinks never caused any real problems, although a couple of times the emcee mistakenly tried to take acts off stage before they were done. They were innocent mistakes, and kinda funny. We were all friends. Like most amphitheaters, it was bowl shaped, and the bands were pretty much protected from the weather, but the act out at the front of the stage could get a little wet if it rained. This can be a thrill if you are hooked up to electrical equipment. We had just finished our show and were walking off, when Archie Campbell was heading out to do his act. I said "It's pretty windy out there, Arch." Archie ran his hand suavely over his hair and said this: "I don't have to worry. I bought the casual style." He was always funny... on or off stage. The crowds were huge and Saturday night was our closing show. We all met back at the hotel where Boots and his manager X. Cosse had us staying. They had the hotel dining room set up like a king's banquet... tons of food and anything you want to drink. It was a party for everybody in the show, including roadies and friends of friends. For the first hour everybody was there having a good time, except Jerry Reed, who was conspicuous in his absence. He bounced into the room at about 11:30, said quick hellos to the gang, grabbed a take out box, went through the food table like a lawnmower, and was gone with the wind and his doggy box of food. Jerry was on Fast Forward, and his whole appearance lasted about seven minutes. He had more energy than crazed squirrel. Misty went into his bus and got his autograph when we worked together at the Citrus Bowl. We loved Jerry Reed, and he was also my favorite guitar player. Then, later in the party, there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door when some medics rushed in with a stretcher. We wondered what was up. Roy Clark grinned, raised his glass, and said goodbye to everybody. Then he made himself comfortable on the stretcher, and was carried out to the ambulance. He was late and had a plane to catch. I've tried to reproduce the week's events exactly as they happened, down to the finest detail, but remember, I may have had a beer or two myself. The music business used to be more fun than it is now, and we miss all our old friends a lot, but we're so lucky to have been part of that wonderful era. Copyright © May 16, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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"ALL COUNTRY SINGERS SOUND ALIKE." To those who have never paid much attention to country music, all country singers sound alike. To some of them we all sound like Willie Nelson. At a show last year, a man accosted me between sets, and told me I was a dead ringer for Willie, singingwise. I said I didn't think so. He said, "I think you TRY to sound like Willie Nelson". I beeped his nose with one hand, and bonked him on the head with the other. Well, maybe not, but I wanted to. I like Willie Nelson and his singing, but his mere existence is becoming an annoyance at times. There aren't as many duets as solo singers, so some people can't tell one duet from another. Misty and I are accused of being "exactly" like Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Captain and Tenille, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, George Burns and Gracie Allen, or Homer and Marge Simpson? Fans tell us they love our records "Bony Fingers" and "Jackson", We didn't sing those songs, folks, but we just smile and say "Thank you". I'm guilty, too. I always had trouble telling Jerry Lee Lewis from Mickey Gilley. I like The Beach Boys, but Jan and Dean sound just like them to me. The human brain needs to file things in categories to prevent going nuts from data overload. I file a lot of male country singers into two categories... The Lefty Frizzells and George Joneses. The good ones have taken these sounds and expanded on them, adding themselves to the mix. Some don't even know where the sound started, but it doesn't matter. It's something good to build a style on. . Some of my vocal influences were Lee Hazelwood, Merle Haggard, and Roger Miller. I like it when listeners pick up on that. I think all of us songwriters, singers, and musicians, are combinations of others that came before. The trick is to shape it into something of our own. Years ago Misty and I decided to listen more to our own recordings, and less to others'. This led to imitating ourselves, and exaggerating the things we have that are different. It's like doing impressions of yourself. I recommend this method to young artists as a help to developing a style. I am not now, and never have been Leon Redbone. Copyright © May 15, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 7th, 2011...
For Mothers Day... Jack and mother Virginia ("Sissy"). Happy Mothers Day, Sissy. We love and miss you.
May 5th, 2011... (Sigh...) Got good news and... well... news of inconvenience, actually. First, the good news. Photobucket Jack and Misty have a new single out on WHP Records, "Hands (new 2011 version)", released yesterday. (UPDATE: "Hands" has now been moved to the first position on the regular Soundclick player.)
And now, the inconvenient part. The reason we're announcing this here, instead of on the front page, is simply that Tripod will not let me into the file manager area to update the front page. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... And apparently, I'm not the first customer this has happened to. Read for yourselves: http://team-blog.tripod.com/index.blog/2124727/some-changes-to-ftp-and-file-manager/ I'm seriously considering moving Birdwalk to some other site hoster (if I can find one; Lord knows, it wouldn't be the first time we've done this). This is getting ridiculous. Jerry.
May 4th, 2011... (YFNW™ takes a deep breath and hopes this works this time...) Well, folks, despite what our front page says (no thanks to Tripod, for reasons too confusing to contemplate), we're now on the web for 11 YEARS! YAY!! Mark that info in your Rolodex, friends. Now, on to the other piece of business: the router that handled all the internet in my home base went phlbbt Sunday, as I was trying to update this page, which means this is the first chance I've had to update the site in 4 days. (Some things, even I can't fix.) Anyway, there was a column Jack submitted last week that I couldn't seem to get posted. Let's hope this time is the charm. So, without further ado, here's the charming Jack Blanchard again, with new thoughts on an old subject...

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THINKWALKING IN 2011 Since when is gasoline to go to work not a family value, and groceries, and medicine, and health care, and being buried with respect?" Dalton Roberts. In the 1960's I played piano and organ with an R&B band in Miami. Segregation was still in full force. We had an hour long radio show from the club every night, and we sounded like a black band. Groups of black people would come to the door and were not let in. It made me mad, but being nearly homeless, I really needed the gig. Candy Candido emceed a show we did with Charlie Pride. He just wandered on stage, moving stuff around, like a janitor or roady. Then he walked up to the mike and said this to the audience: "What's the matter? You don't like Italians?" Get a laugh from this old Candy Candido video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5fuuGSguk4 My whole life is like a bunch of snapshots on a page. I remember only snippets of my existence... a still shot here, a bit of conversation there. It seems like a waste. Maybe someday I'll get senile and remember it all. Misty remembers every detail of every experience we've ever had. How does she do that? It's weird. When she tells me about some of our adventures, it's like a bedtime story... fictional. Lady to dentist: "I'd rather have a baby than have a tooth pulled." Dentist to lady: "Well, make up your mind so I can adjust the chair." Old sayings I may have gotten wrong: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice." "You can't teach and old dog card tricks." An imaginary music review. "He assaulted the guitar strings for an hour on the same three notes, without letting go of a single musical idea. They were a small but friendly audience. Empty heads waiting for information. You could look in their eyes and see that nobody was at the wheel." Things to say to hecklers: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." "Is that your voice or is our boat leaving?" "You should be on the stage. There's one leaving in ten minutes." "Why don't you climb up on your nose and give us the weather report?" I'd like to send my guitar to the repair shop and have it cleaned and burnt. The action is like hard labor. Holding down a six string chord makes the blood rush to my head and I pass out. Misty tells the audience it's all part of the show. Copyright © May 4, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
And remember, folks, Jack's birthday is this coming Sunday. Have some cake and ice cream in his honor (because FedEx'ing it would be nearly difficult. [Huh?!?]) Anyway, see you next time. Jerry
April 23rd, 2011... Hi again, gang. YFNW™ again, offering up apologies for the lateness of the entry. Seems the internet has really been acting screwy around this neck of the state recently, which means the column I thought had been loaded yesterday... well, wasn't. But here 'tis, still in time for the holidays (whew!). I hope...

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A SILLY SONG FOR THE SEASON. "IF EGGS HAD LEGS." If eggs had legs And long hair to their knees They'd run through the flowers… Shinny up trees. Then they tiptoe through the city. Better lock all the locks. They'll drink up our wine And take our dirty socks. If Eggs Had Legs They'd steal our football shoes You can see 'em kickin' chickens on the six o'clock news Well they don't give a (quack!). They got nothin' to lose. They're on the way to Tennessee, That's why I got the blues. If Eggs Had Legs And long hair to their knees, You could hear 'em bite their toenails up in the trees. Drinkin' our wine, gettin' stoned as an ox, Staggerin' around in our dirty socks. Little hairy legs in socks and football shoes You can see 'em kickin' chickens on the six o'clock news Well they don't give a (quack!) They got nothin' to lose They're on the way to Tennessee That's why I got the blues. (To hear the song click here or paste this link into your browser address line): http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=8968346 HAPPY EASTER FROM JACK BLANCHARD & MISTY MORGAN! Copyright © April 23, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "IF EGGS HAD LEGS": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Oh, while I'm at it, I almost forgot... in another week, we hit The Big 11! That's right; our 11th anniversary is coming up next month! (Hardly seems possible, doughnut?) Come to think of it, now would be as good a time as any to send out early birthday wishes to the objects of our hero worship, Jack and Misty, whose birthdays also happen to fall next month. Happy Early Birthdays, you two, and just remember, the early birthday gets... more cake and ice cream! (Two of the major food groups. [Does coffee count?]) Cheers, YFNW™, Jerry.
April 16th, 2011... Hey, gang. During their recent road trip (see below), Jack and Misty got to say hi to some old friends, one of them being the man dubbed "the Shakespeare of Country Music," Cowboy Jack Clement. Well, Jack and Misty were kind enough to forward me the latest installment of his online newsletter, which has been going on since at least 2004 (and is, of course, one of the best- kept secrets in this crazy business we call 'show'). Here's the link to the main site: http://www.cowboyjackclement.com/news/newsletter.html where you can catch up on all the doings over the last 7 years. And thanks, J&M, for bringing it to my attention. I now extend the favor to you. YFNW™, Jerry.
April 15th, 2011...

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MY HAWAIIAN LAP STEEL GUITAR. I saw a lap steel guitar in a used musical instrument store. I didn't know what it was, and had to ask. Ir was a Rickenbacher, made of Bakelite in 1934, heavy as a bowling ball, with a huge pickup magnet and no pedals. I bought it, it came easily to me, and In a few days I was playing it. I tuned it to a C6th chord for the Hawaiian sound. Misty and I like many kinds of music, including Hawaiian, and now we had to have a song for me to play my lap steel guitar, so I wrote "The Island". We went to Muscle Shoals Alabama to record an album for United Artists Records, and brought a couple of musicians from Nashville with us. I had asked for a steel guitar player with a C6th neck, but from the control room I heard the steel player warming up with the Nashville E9th tuning. I told someone to pay him and thank him, but that he wouldn't be playing tonight. He went back to Nashville, and everybody thought I was nuts. Maybe I was. That steel player just won Musician of the Year. I'm a little embarrassed about it, and I send him my apology. Anyway, I played my little lap steel and an autoharp on the session and Misty played the synth strings and flute on her keyboards. The Shoals rhythm section and backup singers were great. We brought a record of ocean sounds from home and mixed it in, and I made some seagull sounds on my guitar. So between the seagulls, the island flute, the sound of the surf, and my lap steel, I think we captured the feeling of an evening in Paradise. You can hear the song here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10526827 Here are the lyrics... "Wake up, sleepyhead. Magic has made your bed... Into an Island of Love With golden guitars, a shower of stars, Falling from somewhere above "In the glow of the fire, an angel choir... singing a heavenly chord And the silver moon beams are a cathedral of dreams Built by the hand of the Lord "On crystal wings... a seagull swings... over the moonlit sea And drifting crowds of marshmallow clouds Make a halo 'round the big banyan tree "The world we know fades away like an echo Leaving only a rainbow above... So wake up, sleepyhead, Magic has made your bed Into an Island of Love." Copyright © April 15, 2011, by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "Island Of Love" lyrics & music by Jack Blanchard © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Making our first CD album in 1992... 4/14/2011. We spent the day today with our old friends Jack & Lovey Gale. Moragh Carter was also with us. We had a great time and a great dinner. The four hour drive was well worth it. If you don't know Jack Gale, Google him. In this photo we are in the studio with Jack Gale Making our first CD album in 1992, on Jack's Playback Records label.

April 14th, 2011... For our friends... a little slide show from our April 2011 Tennessee tour. Click this link: Let the Slideshow begin! We had fun, as you can probably tell. Love ya. Jack & Misty
April 13th, 2011... Well, folks, Jack and Misty have returned from their latest road trip, and (as you might expect) Jack's got some stories to tell (doesn't he always?) So no more delays... it's Jack Time!

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THREE WEEKS IN TENNESSEE. We're back from Tennessee after three weeks, road weary, but happy. Our first stop was Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, bumper to bumper with tourists. We visited our long lost cousin Donna and her husband Rick, and our friend, Country music singer Wayne Kelly, and his girlfriend, checked into our hotel so we could spend time by the lobby fireplace catching up on each other's lives. Then on to a busy week in Nashville. One of the things I like about Nashville is that there is a lot of live music going on. Strange little clubs are rocking every night. We could hear three or four of them from out hotel room. People having fun and real musicians playing. Also, we ate in a lot of mom-and-pop restaurants that you won't find anywhere else.. The Tin Pan South songwriters convention was going on that week, and we renewed our acquaintances with Dickie Lee ("She Thinks I Still Care"), Dallas Frazier ("Elvira", "Alley Oop"), Billy Swan ("I Can Help"), Buzz Cason ("Everlasting Love"), and Cowboy Jack Clement, who wrote "I Guess Things Happen That Way", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", and many others. We stood in the theater lobby and talked with The Riders In the Sky. We love those guys. It's the cowboy way. All of us being songwriters, we complained about how the business has changed, and how new writers could walk down Music Row, which was 16th Avenue South, and get people to listen to their songs. You can't do that anymore. I heard somebody say that if an artist is over 29, they're too old to make it. I'd like to see somebody prove them wrong. George Burns had a country hit in his 80s! What's happened to the world we knew? We were out on the town with our English traveling companion Moragh Carter, and our close friend of many years, Jan Dyer. Jan wrote "Whenever Two Fools Collide". Jan and Misty were feeding nuts to ducks by the Parthenon in the middle of the night. We have pictures to prove the Ducknuts Caper. We visited Hal Willis' house and enjoyed some quality time with Hal and Irma Young. Hal has been a great friend, and is one of the best singers in the business. His biggest hit was "Lumberjack"... a masterpiece. We made new friendships with Jo Crowe and Fran MacLeran, music professionals, and had dinner with Ron and Nancy Oates, Ron Oates is an A-team session pianist and record producer. Then on to Celina, in the Dale Hollow Lake area of North Central Tennessee for a family reunion, where I gained about ten pounds on cheesecake, a staple of the Celina diet. The little motel, which is the only one in town, had a number of plumbing leaks in the batIMG SRC=hroom, leaving the floor always wet. This is a thrill when you get up in the night and walk in there barefooted. No phone, no Wi-fi, nothing fancy, but we stay there every year. Lots of pictures were snapped on the tour, and in most of them I look like a hostage. Why can't we at least make human like expressions when a camera is about to flash? We stopped in Yulee, Florida on our way home to drop in on Mike Miller and Wanda. Mike has just undergone serious surgery for cancer from Agent Orange in Viet Nam. Mike was our bandleader in the 70s, and we've been like family ever since. He looks weak for such a big strong guy, and he's going back into the hospital to have another stent put in, to stop another leak from the surgery. He's in our thoughts and prayers all the time. He joked a bit and showed us his new custom built guitar, left handed of course. We're still recuperating from the many hours on the road, all the excitement, and eating junk food out of rest area vending machines. I hope to do it all again, maybe later in the year. Misty's not ready to make that commitment yet. Jack Blanchard. Copyright © April 13, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
April 12, 2011... in loving memory... A PICTURE OF GINNY. On April 4th, this year, we were in Nashville and busy, but I kept thinking of my sister Ginny. It was her birthday. It's hard to believe it's been nine years since she left us. Our sister Val sent us this picture, which we've never seen before. Ginny's beauty shines through, so I'm sending it to our friends today, along with an article I wrote on a rough day. Click here for the picture of Ginny: http://tinyurl.com/yqdf7a (Written April 1st, 2002.) "Please forgive me if I make a few typos, double mail, and if I cry a little. My kid sister passed away today, and I'm having a few beers. I'm not much of a drinker, but today is different. "Her name was Virginia. We called her Ginny. She was the closest thing to a saint I've ever encountered. She never said a mean word or hurt anybody in her entire life. I'm telling you this because that's what friends are for. "Ginny had a great sense of humor. When she fell and broke the largest bone in her body, The paramedics in the ambulance asked her how she was. You know what she said? She said: "I can't kick." "She was weak and sick all her life. Sometimes I feel guilty because I got all the health and strength. She had an eye operation at the age of about six. They took the eye out while they worked, with no anesthetic. That was in the old days, before lasers. "I was her protector, but I couldn't protect her this time. She's been in and out of hospitals for the past several years, and this time her heart stopped. "I truly hope there is a life after death, and that she can walk and run, and see, and sing... all the things she couldn't do here. "She was afraid to die. Aren't we all? She loved life, even though it had treated her cruelly. Easter weekend is a perfect time for her to leave this world. She was as pure as Easter. "We are having her memorial service on April fourth, her birthday. Misty will be playing "Someday My Prince Will Come", and other of Ginny's favorites, which include a few hymns. "I have to try and dwell on how lucky I am to have known her. Time is getting away from us, so, pray for us all, my friends. We need it. "We miss you, Ginny." Copyright © April 12, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
March 19th, 2011... Hi everybody. We're getting ready to leave Tuesday for a three week tour. We're working to finish up mastering and restorations for clients, so we won't be on line much. We'll be taking a laptop on the road, and will be checking our email periodically. Our answering machine will continue to take messages. We'll tell you about our experiences when we get back. Stay well. Your friends, Jack & Misty
March 17th, 2011...

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THOUGHTS ON POLITICS AND AGE. Politics: Misty and I are Democrats and most of our good friends are Republicans. We feel as strongly about our views as they do. We've found that the best thing to do is keep our mouths shut, and to not carry any weapons. I might not vote at all because there are so many excellent specimens to choose from. I wouldn't want to slight any of them. I try to be liberal on the odd hours of the day, and conservative on the even hours. I would vote twice for those wonderful politicians if I could. I think we should have two co-presidents, one from each party. Twice as much brain power. I might not vote at all because there are so many excellent specimens to choose from. I wouldn't want to slight any of them. You can probably vote after you're dead. Dead people vote in every election. I'll try to remember this if I'm ever in that condition. Age: I forget more things now. I think it's because I know more things now. I used to be strong as an ox and just as smart. I can't be old. I'm still having my mid-life crisis. I never get indigestion from junk foods, but I always get sick on health foods. I don't remember the words to my own songs! What does that mean? You don't have to answer. It's rhetorical. My whole life may be rhetorical. I look young, I think young, and I talk young. It has occurred to me that I may just be a good actor. The world may be screwed up, but I'm glad to be in it. Copyright © March 16, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
March 7th, 2011...

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I USED TO LAUGH AT UFO STORIES. I will never write another article about UFOs. I will avoid even mentioning them. I will look at people funny who do. A while back I wrote an article about my UFO sighting. It was a mistake. I'm getting email from more nuts than the national census can account for. There is nobody home in the woodwork. I find myself on radical mailing lists. I'm getting insulting "REMOVE ME." messages from people I've never sent anything to. They think I'm in on it. I feel sorry for the FBI. I've received numerous emails with HUNDREDS of names on the "To" list. There is a squirrel in that bunch of names who is causing the mess, and the rest of us all suspect each other. I think a lot of them are conspiracy buffs. I say this: If government conspiracies are all around us, where do I go to sign up with the government? One thing about computers: They're keeping a lot of weirdos off the streets. I have to go now. I'm expecting an email from Big Foot. Here's my original article... "MY UFO SIGHTING. "I laughed at UFO stories until I saw them. I was on a busy street corner in North Tonawanda, New York. It was rush hour, and it was a bus stop, so there were a lot of other people there. We all saw them. "Three UFOs streaked to the center of the sky, and stopped. They were saucer shaped, but not horizontal, like you see in the pictures. They were on end, like hubcaps rolling along. They glowed orange/silver as though they were reflecting a sunset, but the sun wasn't setting. "They took off suddenly, from zero to top speed instantly, went almost to the horizon over the trees, made an abrupt right angle turn without slowing down, and shot out of sight. "The people I knew who saw them at the same time talked about it for a couple of weeks, and then started not to believe their own memories. I made up my mind to hang on to the memory. And I have. "I don't have any opinions about Bigfoot, and I don't want to be in The Globe. I just know what I saw." Copyright © March 5, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
February 24th,2011...

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RANDOM BRAIN NOISE. I've been trying to write a serious song here, but all my brain will come up with today is silly stuff. Misty says "Life is a three-way street." I'm still trying to figure that one out. This from a friend in Buffalo: "It's bitter cold with strong winds and blowing snow. Nothing to do. My wife has just been staring through the window all day. If it gets any worse I'll have to let her in." I was in the hospital for about a month two years ago, and morphine was my main enjoyment. About 2AM I'd be watching CNN and the nurse would ask if I needed my pain stuff. I thought... There's nothing on TV so what the hell. Sock it to me. The new air conditioner is working fine. Before we got it Misty put a big floor fan in the kitchen doorway to blow some cool air back to me in the studio, to prevent me from going naked in front of the dog. Misty said "The pr ice of gas is so high, they're limiting their drive-by shootings." Young people are wearing their pants around their knees, saluting the flag with one finger, and having more sex than we did. Soon they will run the world unless we are allowed to hunt them. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Usually that person is crazy. Let's all get together, go to Washington, and moon congress. The cowboy says: "That's the mangiest, scroungiest, most moth-eaten miserable beast I have ever seen." The buffalo says: "I think I just heard a discouraging word". It's getting late. I'm going to floss the cat and go to bed. Copyright © February 23, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
February 18th, 2011... "It's memory time now, and we hope you've enjoyed it half as much as we've enjoyed bringing it to you." - Gary Owens, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

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RUSTY DIAMOND Rusty Diamond was a Country recording artist, with releases on Starday and Stop records, but his main talent was getting money from rich girls. One of these angels, a very sweet buxom blond from Chicago, bought into Rusty's career to the tune of $48,000 in one week. This was in the 1960s when money was worth about five times as much. Rusty hired me as his producer, we recorded some songs in Miami, and then we flew to Nashville to record in the big time. One of the Miami songs was one I wrote titled "The Lonely Sentry". Misty sang harmony with him, using the name Maryanne Mail. You can hear it here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10293254 Rusty passed out huge tips to waitresses, porters, and anyone who had his hand out. To Rusty the important thing was the public gesture. In Nashville, he called up one of the finest men's stores and had them bring a truckload of assorted clothes to our motel. We selected several thousand dollars worth, and he paid the driver in cash. Returning to Miami, a crowd awaited us at the airport. Women stood in line to kiss Rusty, while photographers flashed pictures. Police directed traffic as we pulled away in a new rented Lincoln limo. I found out later that Rusty had hired the whole crowd, photographers, cops and all. Rusty moved into an oceanfront suite and hired a valet/bodyguard, for about two grand a week... a muscular guy about six foot eight. About this time, the blonde's father heard about her business venture and hopped a plane for Miami, hopping mad. He threatened everybody in sight with jail sentences, if he couldn't arrange for the guillotine. Rusty not only calmed the old man, but hit him for another thirty thousand. He was an "artist" all right. The last I heard of Rusty he was broke and running from his bodyguard, whom he had neglected to pay. When Rusty had a buck he made Howard Hughes look like a bum. He never realized that just being himself would have been good enough. Once, when we were alone, I saw him in tears, saying that nobody really cared for him. But he set it up that way. Wherever he is now, we'd like to tell him that we're still getting little royalties from his old records, an indication that he had some musical talent too. Also, we'd kinda like to see him again, even if he is broke. I wonder if he'd believe that? Copyright © February 17, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
February 10th, 2011... Hi, folks. Between fatigue, doctor's appointments, an almost-return of the flu and the like, I didn't get around to posting Jack's latest column. Till now. Here 'tis, two days late but just as good...

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FUNNY LITTLE ROUND NOTES. I've been reading a book titled "Conversations with Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists". Guitar has never been a main focus of mine, except for my 1970s and 80s obsession with dobros and lap steels. But I found it interesting enough to read it all the way through, and parts of it over again. The book is filled with anecdotes about musicians I remember, studio and live performance stories, and some interesting guitar tunings and chord uses. It was written by Jim Carlton and published by Mel Bay. Inside the cover the author signed it to me as his "friend and mentor". How 'bout that? One thing most of the successful New York and L.A. session players have in common is that they are good readers of those funny little round notes on lined paper. In Nashville we usually just use chord numbers written in crayon on brown paper bags. I've never been able to read any music notes fast enough to play them. The odd thing is that I can write arrangements for orchestras. For several years I made extra money writing band arrangements for variety acts and strippers. I wrote them special charts that would fit most any club house band they ran into. Some clubs would have just a trio, piano, drums, and a horn, and you never knew what the horn would be... trumpet, tenor or alto sax, clarinet, trombone, etc., so I wrote lead parts in C, Bb, and Eb, which would work with any of those. After that it gets complicated. The club bands would vary in size and instrumentation. You never knew what you were going to get. Somebody had to play second and third part harmony in the bigger bands, so I wound up writing enough parts for a larger group, with written instructions about which parts to use or ignore according to the band you were confronted with... one-size-fits-all arrangements. It took a lot of time and I worked cheap, but it kept me off the streets. I also wrote the arrangements for bands to back up our vocal quartet, The Dawn Breakers. On one tour, I got complaints from some of the musicians, which was giving me a complex about my writing. In a big theater in Canada, we ran on stage and started singing our opener, a fast tune in a minor key. It sounded funny and we looked into the orchestra pit and saw a lady in a house dress playing an out-of-tune upright piano, her thirteen year old kid banging on a K-Mart drum set, and my sheet music strewn all over the floor. To make it much worse, we made the first key change and they didn't. We were singing in one key and they were playing in another. It was a challenge. On the six week tour I hardly ever heard anything that sounded familiar from the combos. I'd just about forgot what I had written, until we got back to a major Buffalo night club. On opening night it was a shock to hear the music played as I'd written it. After the show I complimented the band leader, and he said "Really great charts, man. We dug playing them." And that's how I got my groove back, man. Copyright © February 8, 2011, by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted (belatedly) by permission of the author.
February 4th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
ACE IN THE HOLE. When I was a teenage saloon pianist we had to know all the "standard" songs... popular and jazz pieces from the previous forty years or so. And we had to play them in the "standard" keys to play with other musicians without rehearsal. Standard keys were either the key they were written in, or a key that made the songs easily sung by lyric baritones, like Sinatra, Crosby, etc.. Misty and I once played for jam sessions at a popular Orlando area hotel, and one of the musicians who regularly showed up was a jazz flutist named Smalley, who told us that Hoagy Carmichael sat in with his band and called the tune "Stardust". To find out the key, the flutist asked "In five flats?" (The key of Db.) Carmichael glared at him and said "I wrote it in C!" The back story here is that a lot of jazz musicians are key snobs, and like to play in difficult keys to show off. Especially guitarists who only have to move up or down a fret to drive the piano guy crazy. When I first got to South Florida I was faced with a whole different deal. Karaoke was not yet even a gleam in a Japanese eye, and piano bars were everywhere. People got up and sang and the piano player had to scramble for the song and key. Oddly, most of the songs were much older than the singers... things I'd never heard, from the 1890s through the 1920s, and some obscure Irish songs. I never understood why these middle aged drunks sang songs from before they were born, but I made pretty good tip glass money, so I learned them. One of the most requested songs was "Ace in the Hole", written in 1909: "This town is full of guys who think they're mighty wise, Who really think they know a thing or two. You can see them every day walking' up and down Broadway, Telling of the wonders they can do. There's con men and there's boosters, card sharks and crap-shooters. They congregate around the Metropole. They wear fancy ties and collars, but where they get their dollars... They've all got an ace down in the hole. "Some of them write to the old folks for coin, And that is their ace in the hole; And others have friends on the old Tenderloin; That's their old ace down in the hole." I googled it and found these factoids... The Metropole was a notorious Manhattan hotel, and the Tenderloin was a red light district. Apparently my customers were sentimental about historic trivia. Anyway I was forced to learn this stuff, and it has been of little use to me ever since. I can't just walk up to somebody and say "How 'bout that Metropole?" All of us piano players have been replaced by canned music now, and although I know that change is inevitable, I still complain. Copyright © Feb. 4, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author. ("Ace In The Hole": words and music by James Dempsey and George Mitchell. Copyright © Jerry Vogel (ASCAP). Reprinted without permission.)
February 3rd, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
MORE FACEBOOK INSANITY. Something about Facebook brings out my silly side. I've filled a couple of columns with things I've written there. Here are some more. I enjoy taking beautiful songs and singing "with no pants on" after every line. Misty's at the Dollar Store putting a washcloth on layaway. We stay young by eating foods that contain preservatives. We used to have a big station wagon. Then we bought a mid-size station wagon. Misty was washing it when a neighbor said to her "I see you got the car painted." Misty smiled and said this: "Yes. We had it painted a smaller color." Work hard at your music career, devote your life to it, and you'll be successful. Over the course of your life you'll get literally several people interested. Breaking news headline: "Local fly found dead on windowsill." The supreme craftsmen who weave expensive oriental rugs always tie one single knot wrong. Their reason: So it won't be perfect. Only God makes something perfect. That's exactly why I put typos in every one of my emails. Musicians that can play three chords don't like those who can play four chords. Chord Envy. Yesterday Misty was remarking about how she can remember everybody's phone number, even overseas numbers, and our bank account and routing numbers. She said "What kind of autistic crap is that?" I want to get so rich I can live in the world's most expensive trailer, dine on roast mink with gold sauce, donate my organs to the Republican party, and hire an illegal immigrant to write my songs. Copyright © February 3, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
January 19th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE SEBRING MYSTERY SOLVED? We may have solved an old mystery. In a column I once mentioned that we never wanted to go back to Sebring. Readers wrote in wondering what we had against Sebring. Let me explain... We've made friends and have been well received by audiences in forty-nine states, but our ventures into the Sebring area of Florida were like like narrow escapes from the twilight zone. Anyway, we're going to try it one more time, for a reunion with old friends who have settled there. I hope the townsfolk don't read this and get their chainsaws ready. Several years after our string of hits, we played two engagements, one in Sebring and he other in nearby Frostproof. The first one, in Sebring, was a hotel restaurant and lounge. A major hurricane was heading toward Central Florida at the time, and we had a four-week contract. A house for us to stay in was part of the deal. The audiences loved us, but the management hated us. We never found out why. It was a mystery... until now. The audiences were very receptive to our music, stories, and humor, but the owner started looking at us funny, and we noticed whispering among the help. Not good signs. By the first weekend the management was openly hostile. The owner yelled at me in front of the crowd that we should know better than to sing our song "'COWS' in a STEAK HOUSE!" Sunday night the hurricane began, and there was a strange knock on the house door. The knock of doom. We were fired, and they were not going to honor the contract. They took the house keys. We had to move our stuff out of the house, and get all of our heavy equipment out of the lounge "immediately". They began building a case against us. The owner told the agent: "You sent us starving musicians! They said they were starving in front of witnesses!" (We had remarked that we were hungry after the drive, and were going to buy dinner.) They also said: "They did improper material and threatened to ruin our business!" I began to feel that they didn't like us. The friendly U-Haul dealer rented us a trailer with over a hundred leaks and holes and we moved in the dark... in the stormy outer bands of the hurricane. While we were struggling our equipment out of the club, a waitress asked me what our future plans were. I said this: "My main goal is to get out of Sebring." Until now we had no idea why they acted so weird, but we think we may have uncovered a clue. Last night Misty and I were talking about how hard it had been to quit smoking. She was going cold turkey and I was burning my tongue with a pipe. She mentioned that during the terrible week in Sebring she had no cigarettes in the house, and when I'd go into town she'd get some of my pipe tobacco, roll it up in a paper towel, and try to smoke it. They looked like gigantic marijuana joints, as in a Cheech and Chong movie. She would smoke these huge blunts out in in the backyard so as not to set the house on fire. We looked at each other with light bulbs over our heads, and we said almost in unison: "That must be why they got rid of us!" The neighbors thought she was smoking enormous amounts of dope on a daily basis, and they complained to the hotel guy! A few years later we were booked in Frostproof on New Years Eve. It was even worse than the Sebring fiasco, and we were lucky to get out alive. We're going to dinner with our friends in a few weeks, and we have to drive through Frostproof to get to Sebring. We hope they're not waiting for us along the road with their Transylvania torches. Copyright © January 19, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
January 18th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
ANYBODY KNOW A GOOD LAWYER? Once upon a time I wrote a song titled Gemini... an instrumental. Misty and I put out our record of it and it was getting airplay on Pop stations. The Ventures covered it and put it out on Dolton/Liberty records. They pretty much copied our whole arrangement. The executives at Liberty Records were angry that I wouldn't give them the publishing, so they flipped it over and made the A Side "La Bamba". It was a hit record with "Gemini" on the back. Since then they have included "Gemini" on several of The Ventures' albums, and a box set from The Columbia Record Club called "The Versatile Ventures". We've never been paid a cent for it. We just found The Ventures' version of our song on YouTube. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/4cuaacz We also found a book called "Walk Don't Run, the Story of The Ventures". Here's an excerpt from the book: "The Columbia Record Club was well acquainted with The Ventures, having included tracks by the group since 1963 on its annual 'Headliners' compilation album along with hit makers like Marty Robbins, Ferrante and Teicher, Ray Conniff, and The New Christy Minstrels. Columbia... obtained some uncommon tracks from Liberty for 'The Versatile Ventures'. "The fact that such (elaborate) cover art had not appeared on U.S. Ventures releases since 1961 would have been enough to make the album something of a treasure, but the contents were also enticing. The album became a trophy for the band's avid fans. "Another bonus on 'Versatile' (Liberty SCR-5) was The Ventures' superb version of 'Gemini', a track heard on the flip side of The Ventures' 'La Bamba' single (Dolton 311, 1965). Incidentally, this tune is not written by Del Shannon, as was hurriedly stated on the album. Credit for this goes to prolific songwriter Jack Blanchard." I've just spoken to another lawyer who turned it down as a contingency case because it's too old, but he asked for our phone number in case he changed his mind. He said "You've piqued my interest.". I think that's the first time I've ever "piqued" anybody. We've been ripped off many times, but that's the music business. Bur this one keeps coming back just to rub it in. Copyright © January 17, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
January 12th, 2011... Sad news. We just received this email with no message, but the subject line is "Dugg Collins Passed Away." We liked Dugg a lot and were just corresponding with him this week. We're sorry to get this news. He will be missed. Jack & Misty
January 10th, 2011...
My mother and my older brother... Virginia and Sonny.

January 9th, 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
TRAINS AND TRAIN SONGS. There's something about trains. We hear a train every night about this time and the sound of it calls out to the wanderer in us. Maybe we were hobos in another life. Misty and I had a train adventure when Tennessee Birdwalk was on top of the charts. Our first destination was Pittsburgh to tape a national television show for PBS, and then on to Nashville for recording sessions. The first leg of our journey was on a classy train with dining car and a club car. We had a small private compartment for two, where we sat up late watching the frosty towns and forests sail by our window in the moonlight. This train took us as far as Washington DC where we hurried through the big station to make our connection. The next train was not so nice, but it's interesting to look back on. It was a slow old train that wound through mountainous mining country, and it seemed to stop every hundred yards. The heat was cranked up to about ninety degrees to discourage passenger travel. The company felt there was more profit in hauling freight. I was writing down things for my newspaper column, when the conductor came over and said that word had come up the line to them from Florida that a "reporter" was going to be on board. They hadn't suspected me because I looked more like a musician than a writer, but the notebook gave me away. They gave us the grand tour of the train, and finally a place in a cooler car. Misty says we took trains back to Orlando, but I don't remember it. Memories of the recording sessions must have occupied my mind. I have vague memories of riding trains as a young child with my parents, and taking a short ride on an engine with my grandfather, who was an engineer. I wear an engineer's cap a lot of the time now, buying a new one every year. I never thought much about it until I started to write this. We've always liked songs about trains, but I've only written a couple of them. Here's one we call "The Sunset Train" which is sort of a trip to the twilight zone. Misty Morgan and I recorded this in about 1970 and we drag it out and dust it off now and then. If you'd like to hear it, click here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9364089 or if you are reading this in a newspaper, type this into your browser: soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9364089 And here are the words so you can sing along... (Recitation): "Since his wife passed away, the old man spent a lot of time with memory things. He'd sit by the hour, and stare at the old picture of The Sunset Train, and be talkin' to her like she was still right there by his side." (1st verse. She sings): I remember the day you gave that picture to me. You hung it on the wall and called me to come and see. Our little apartment had windows looking out on an alley, But the picture on the wall was like a window to a beautiful valley. (Chorus. Both sing): The picture on the wall seemed like a windowpane, with the steam risin' high in the sky above a lonesome plain. We could almost hear the old locomotive strain, And the red caboose was followin' The Sunset Train (2nd verse. He sings): Years of love went by and now you're gone. I don't want to face another lonesome dawn. When all the morning papers start piling up in the hall, The neighbors'll come in, And find the picture still on the wall. (Chorus. Both sing): And the picture on the wall will seem like a windowpane, With the steam risin' high in the sky above a lonesome plain; And they'll almost hear the old locomotive strain, (He sings): But I'll be gone, and so will The Sunset Train. (Both sing): We'll be gone, and so will The Sunset Train. Copyright © January 9, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "The Sunset Train": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
January 5th, 2011... And speaking of all the news from 2011...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
OUR LIFE IS A STRING OF COINCIDENCES. Who and where we are today is the result of coincidences. I happened to go to a grammar school that stressed English and writing essays. Luckily, it was just around the corner from our house. Fortunately, my family and Misty's family were musically inclined. My dad brought great records home to expose me to the good stuff. They bought me a Gibson guitar when my hands were still too small to hold down the strings. I never learned to play it, but I liked to hold it and listen to music. Misty's mother played the piano and sang in the Ella Fitzgerald style. She wanted to be a professional singer, but it never came to be. Misty learned her first music at home. So, we both got our musical start by the accident of birth. I never played an instrument till I was about fourteen. Then, unexpectedly, my father got too sick to work and we had to move in with my grandparents. They happened to have a piano. I got hooked on the piano and sat on that bench many hours a day, teaching myself to play boogie and blues. A few years later, Misty and I were playing small gigs around town... separately. We never met in all the time we lived in the Buffalo area, but we played some of the same places, with the same musicians. Both of us got married to other people, went from poor to broke, and headed desperately to Florida in old cars, selling the radio, the spare tire, and anything that was loose, just to buy gas. Maybe we passed each other on the road and didn't know it. Later I was playing piano at an Italian restaurant and lounge on US 1 in Hollywood, Florida. By chance, Misty was playing in a show lounge one block away. We were still strangers. Then one Monday night, my night off, on a whim I dropped in at my club to see if anybody I knew was there. Misty was talking to the owner about the piano job. He told her that he planned to keep me, but he bought her dinner. That's the night we got together for life. I'll skip over a number of lean years and the parts where we were homeless, on the street, and in deep trouble. Let's move on to the night the Grammy winning TV producer happened to come into a club where we were playing, and gave us this advice: "Develop an unusual style of music and singing, a style of dress that will attract attention, get some off-beat material, and create an image that will draw crowds. Remember... nobody will walk across the street to see a good-looking musician, but they'll flock to see a good band that's a little freaky." He added: "Don't do it here in Miami where they know you. Go to a place where they don't know you, walk in as your new selves and they will think you were born that way. They'll accept you however you present yourselves." As luck would have it, we had some musician friends in Key West. They got us a booking at the Gold Coast lounge... a show bar. We were nervous because of our radical clothes and our new music style, and Misty had trouble answering to her new name... Misty. The crowd loved us and the place was packed every night. Within a couple of weeks two guys wandered in and signed us to a recording contract. They took us to Nashville for a four-song session at Woodland Studios. One of the songs happened to get a Pick in Billboard, and another got about halfway up the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That was a lot of years ago and, against the odds, we're still together, still in music, and still watching for the next coincidence. Copyright © January 5, 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.


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