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"Answers To Questions We're Often Asked"

March 11, 1970. Tennessee Birdwalk session. Here's a picture of us kids recording it.

We're often asked for background on "Tennessee Birdwalk", how we got our first recording contract, and so on. Here are some answers. I got the first idea for Tennessee Birdwalk from an old standard love ballad titled: "Don't Take Your Love From Me." The first line is: "Would you take the wings from birds so that they can't fly?" I'm always thinking of funny twists, like: "They Tried To Sell Us Egg Foo Young", or "Sixteen Camels". So I cracked to Misty: "Would you take the wings from birds so they have to walk?" After that one line led to another. I wrote the whole song in about 20 minutes. We recorded it in Nashville at 12:55 AM on a Saturday morning (Friday night). The musicians were tired. It was their last session of a long week. At 12:50 AM, they started packing up their instruments. Misty said: "Hey! Hold on! We have another song to do!" They grumbled at first, but then began to like it. It was recorded in one take, with no overdubs. Three minutes to run through it, and three minutes to record it. Total: 6 minutes. I begged the record company not to release it. I was afraid we'd get tagged as a novelty act. That's the only time I've ever been wrong. (I'm smiling here.) We were discovered in Key West, where we were playing in a nightclub. We had three Billboard charted singles before "Tennessee Birdwalk", and kept getting picks in the POP section of Billboard. Nobody knew what we were. A lot of people still don't. We've often been asked if our music is really country. Our stock answer is this: "Yes. Everybody else is doing it wrong." (Smiling again.) Some people don't see the humor in that. We make records for people who like Jack & Misty music, and we always do songs we like, not trying to think "commercial". We do very few overdubs in our sessions. We like to get all the musicians and singers in the studio at the same time. It generates a feeling you can't get with today's carefully layered and overdubbed production. We arrange and produce our own sessions, and play some of the instrumental parts. This way, if it turns out good, we take some credit, but if it's a dud, there's nobody to blame but us. Copyright 2003, Sept. 15, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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