Old News 2013
Not just a name... it's a contradiction in terms!

December 28th, 2013...

59,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
NOTHING IS OVER LIKE CHRISTMAS. Nothing is over like Christmas. Months of anticipation, and then it's gone. Try to hold on to it and it slides away like a morning dream. It's Christmas Day and there are no holiday programs on TV. Not even football in the snow. 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 immature subconscious thinks it will happen again. 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 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. Misty is saving the day by making an old fashioned Christmas dinner. I'm setting our bathroom scales back ten pounds. 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 28, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 21st, 2013...

59,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
CHRISTMAS IS A TIME... Christmas is a time of sad happiness. It gets more and more commercial, but if the stores were closed wouldn't it take away some of the fun? Bar rooms are lined with the lonely, clinging to each other... like family. Bartenders are parent images. Displaced Yankees dream of gently falling snow that never turns to slush, and wandering romeos often come home, at least temporarily. Telephone wires hum with long distance calls between people who care about each other more in December, which is better than not caring at all. After-shave lotion is unwrapped with oohs and ahs, toys are getting ready to be broken, and puppies inhabit stockings. Trees are always the most beautiful ever if you just turn the bare side to the wall, and eggs flow like nog. Roaring hearths and good fellowship are for the very lucky, but some will settle for a bag of groceries. For certain people, this will be the first Christmas, for others... the last. "Merry Christmas" will be said in shacks, castles, prisons, airplanes, battlefronts, and churches. No matter what we say is wrong with it, Christmas is a time when many people are a little nicer... and that's something. Jack Blanchard Copyright © 2008 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 13th, 2013...

59,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
A CRABBY LITTLE CHRISTMAS. 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 © Jack Blanchard 2001, 2004, 2011, 2013. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 11th, 2013...

59,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE CHRISTMAS TOWN. It was the day before Christmas. We were road tired, and traveling westward through Illinois or Iowa... on our way to another show somewhere. We tried to cheer each other up, and said we'd celebrate our Christmas at a later date. The countryside looked like a Christmas card through the windshield of our motor home. Fine dusty snow was starting to whirl around. and the Interstate Highway was just about deserted. It began snowing harder. We needed a place to pull in for the night, but we hadn't seen anything open for miles. We started to get worried. It was getting dark, and the wind was blowing the snow into drifts. We pulled off at the next exit, but there was no sign of life except an old barn. The barn had a sign over the door, and Christmas lights were on inside. It turned out to be a little store with a few groceries, and some antiques for sale in the back. The owner took us to a little room where they kept boots and snow shovels. That's where we plugged in our electric line. Misty made a good deal... One night, two dollars. We dragged our small artificial Christmas tree out of the trunk and into the bus. She had it trimmed and lit in about ten minutes. We'd been on a long hard tour and we didn't have any presents for each other, so we looked around at the antiques and things in the store. We picked out a few gifts, but we didn't have any way to gift wrap 'em. Two or three at a time some people from the town came into the store, stomping the snow off their shoes and saying "Merry Christmas" to each other. They were smiling and friendly and offered to take our gifts back to their homes and wrap 'em for us. When they came back a while later, our presents looked beautiful. They brought along some cookies and eggnog, and we had a little party with these unusual strangers. We wanted to cancel all our future bookings and live here. In the morning we woke up to snow covered cornfields and a sparkling forest of winter trees. An old rusty plow and a wagon were half buried in the snow outside our window.. It was a perfect Christmas. We don't even know the name of the town, or which state it's in. And we haven't been able to find it on any map. We just think of it as our Christmas Town. Maybe it's in the twilight zone. Copyright © December 11, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 10th, 2013...
Our Christmas card to you from Jack and Misty.

December 3rd, 2013...

59,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
Misty just found some old notes of mine, and from those notes I wrote this piece. I'm not sure whether it's a song lyric or just a poem. MAN IN THE STREET. I'm the Man In the Street. You don't know my name. I used to be somebody till the hard times came. You can't really see me 'cause we all look the same. Just a Man In the Street. You don't know my name. When the crowds go home and the sun goes down... Night in the city. Other souls. Other sounds. Got a dollar thirty-five to get something to eat. Then I'll find myself a doorway, and get me some sleep. Drop a coin in a phone, but the number I dial is my grandmother's number when I was a child. Across all the years she answers the phone, and says, "Dinner's ready, child. You'd better come on home. "Be sure to wear your sweater so you don't catch cold. Papa says be careful. Life can turn a child old. Hold on to our love when you're lost and alone, and we'll all be together when you find your way home." The city starts at six, wakes me up to the day. I felt somebody love me, but the dream slipped away. I don't mean to scare you, but I know that I do, 'cause I'm the Man In the Street, and I could be you. © 2013 Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). Misty says she thinks it's a blues song. I'll try it that way. She's usually right. Copyright ©December 2, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 1st, 2013...
One Christmas when I was at clown college.

November 2ist, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE KING O' HEARTS CLUB. A million years ago I was playing in a Rhythm and Blues band at the King o' Hearts Club on NW 7th Avenue in Miami, where Sam and Dave got their start. The band was called "Donel Austin and the Rockin' Impallas". I later made a record with them under the name “Jackie Blanchard and the Rockin' Impallas”. I won't say the guy that owned the place was a mobster. I won't say it because he might kill me. Let's just call him Johnny. He had the mandatory smaller brother Pauly. We had a great band... Donel Austin, rhythm guitar and lead vocalist, Doug Tarrant, lead guitar, and Frank Kennedy on drums. I played piano, organ, and left hand bass. The club was like an airplane hangar. We faced the long oval shaped bar. Donel would often jump from the bandstand and walk the top of the bar while belting out “Twenty-four Hours a Day” or “Stagger Lee”. The giant concrete dance floor was behind the bandstand and held hundreds of dancers. I worked behind the piano at the back of the stage, with a six foot drop to my death if I stepped back. This will be important later. The club took ID photos of everybody who came in the door. There were over a dozen bouncers armed with blackjacks. At least a couple of the bouncers were nuts and couldn't wait to beat somebody up. There was a lot of bloodshed, but the music was good. If you were looking for the rest room and happened to wander toward Johnny's office, crazy Dobermans would bounce off the inside of his door, wanting you for lunch. Johnny said they only attacked when annoyed. You could annoy them by just existing. We had a live radio show every night from the club, and Pauly was the emcee. One night Pauly and Donel started arguing while we were on the air. It turned into a fistfight, and they began wrestling around the stage, knocking things over. My big old piano was balanced on top of whiskey cases, so I could play standing up, and when Donel and Pauly lurched my way they tipped the piano off the cases. I was straining every muscle to hold up the piano with my bare hands, and looking at the six foot drop to the cement behind me. This is what Pauly yelled at me: "Keep playing, kid! We're on the air!" We got a higher paying job at The Club Seventeen, but Johnny sent his bouncers to walk through the new club, intimidating the customers and us. We finally went back to work at the King o' Hearts, under duress. A few years later Johnny did some prison time. When he got out he was elected Mayor of Sunrise, Florida. This all happened before Misty Morgan and I ever sang together. Copyright © November 21, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 16th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
A BITTERSWEET SONG. I like to write songs that cheer people up, or entertain in some way. I also like to write songs that make us think, and are not always cheery. I especially like bitter-sweet songs like "He Stopped Loving Her Today", and "Yesterday When I was Young". I seem to write a lot of those. I guess they express something that I need to get out of my system. Here's a comment from an email friend: "Your song 'Shadows Of The Leaves' is one of the most touching and beautiful, as well as one of the most difficult songs to listen to, that I've ever heard. When I hear it I think of how my widowed mom feels when I take her to the cemetery. It makes me think about all those whom I have loved and lost and who now drift on the winds of my memories. It makes me think of those whom I love and still have... and to appreciate them more. Thanks for such a beautiful song and beautiful rendition. It makes one think." To hear the song, click this link: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=7170401 And here are the words: "SHADOWS OF THE LEAVES." (He sings): Life was never easy, but when troubles came along, Together we could take 'em in our stride. Through the good times and the tears, through all the passing years, night and day, you never left my side. Now the shadows of the leaves on the grass beneath the trees are the only things that move across the lawn, as I stand here all alone and read the words upon the stone, I begin to realize you're really gone. (She sings): Don't think it's just your troubled mind if suddenly you find that something brushed away the bitter tears you've cried. If you feel something touch your face and disappear without a trace, And leave a warm familiar feeling by your side. It's not the shadows of the leaves in the early autumn breeze, As they blow along the grass that summer dried. Through the good times and the tears, through the autumn of your years, Night and day, I'll never leave your side. (Together): Oh, the shadows of the leaves in the early autumn breeze As they blow along the grass that summer dried; Through the good times and the tears, through all the passing years, Night and day, I'll never leave your side. Jack Blanchard Copyright © November 16, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "Shadows Of The Leaves" Recorded by Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan. © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 10th, 2013...
1964. Another life. When this picture was taken we had no idea we'd be on major labels. We were playing lounges all over the map for just enough money to get to the next gig.

November 4th, 2013...
One from the album.

October 30th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
RUSTY AND ME: A TRUE STORY. 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 blonde from Chicago, bought into Rusty's career to the tune of $48,000 in one week. He hired me as his producer and we flew to Nashville to record some hits. Rusty passed out $50 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 a few 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 tough 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 forty grand. 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 Diamond 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 had set it up that way by acting the bigshot, and trying to buy admiration and loyalty. 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, and a general pain in the neck. Copyright © October 29, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 21st, 2013... Once again, YFNW™ has dropped the ball. (It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.) With everything going on in politics and news in general and such, I completely forgot to announce that Jack and Misty's only instrumental album, "Masters of the Keyboards," has been completely retooled.Here's a look at the new tray:
I'll try to do better next time, really. Jerry
October 20th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
GRAB A LITTLE HAPPINESS. A friend gave us a box of Krispy Kreme chocolate cream donuts last night. I'm glad they're gone! In downtown Sanford traffic stops for ducks to cross the street. In Florida our idea of a nice day is when the lightning strikes somebody else. I admire Dr Phil but I don't have a TV show. I just sit in the park and yell advice at squirrels. We've been fired for reasons like this: “You’re not what our crowd is used to.” Why did they ever change bands, if they wanted them all alike? When I took flying lessons... The air traffic controller said this over the radio: "Jack Blanchard is taking off. Everybody get out of the sky." When life goes really bad and you don't know how to fix it, the answer is eggnog ice cream. Misty just bought two because they were on sale. Grab a little happiness while you can. My parents, grandparents, my son, my sister, friends, all show up nightly in my dreams, just as naturally as though nothing had happened. Just as though they hadn't died. When my father died, I kept seeing men who looked like him for several years. A car would be ahead of me in traffic, and I'd see the back of the driver's head. It was him! I'd hurry to catch up and it was just a stranger. Or was it? Maybe it was my dad for the minute before I caught up. 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. I hate it when Misty watches the news. She keeps hollering things like, "GET OFF, YOU IDIOT!" Chicken Little ran up to the Mayor and shouted, THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!" The Mayor said, "Holy crap! A talking chicken!" In this new radio interview I tell about the murder on music row, another murder close to home, the day that country music changed, the story behind Tennessee Birdwalk, Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Jack Greene & Jeannie Sealy, recording sessions, the Opry, and why the music business is like dope addiction. Click here to listen to it: http://tinyurl.com/nwdr7jb Misty says I talk in my sleep in a German accent. Let's all sing our Halloween song: "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Baked a Cat." Copyright © October 20, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 18th, 2013...
HALLOWEEN WITH JACK & MISTY. Jack seems to be a friendly Mafia guy, and Misty is either Dolly Parton, Snow White, or a hooker.

October 14th, 2013... Happy Columbus Day, folks! And to celebrate, we have a brand new interview with Jack Blanchard conducted by Big Al Weekley of Music Charts Magazine. Click on the logo below and it'll take you right to it:

October 10th, 2013... The latest chart...
Not bad. Not bad at all.
October 9th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
Harry "The Hipster" Gibson was one of the great musicians around Miami in the 1960's. When I was in high school in Buffalo I heard his records on the juke boxes. He played jazz piano and sang in a rough voice. and he wrote weird songs like: "Gladys isn't Gratis Anymore", and "I turned A Trick on a Train, and Thought About You." Here in 2013 you probably wouldn't like his music, but back when I was a brat it was new to me and good. You can't judge a man out of his time. He was a jazz star in the 1930s and '40s. I have a picture of him on the cover of Downbeat, the jazz magazine. Then in 1944 he put out a record called "Who Threw the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?" that ruined his career. Due to the drug references in his humorous song, Harry was blacklisted by the music industry, and it killed his career. He couldn't get played on the radio. It was a juke box hit. Harry was a gentle, soft-spoken guy who looked like a little magician... nothing like his public image. Harry was also a drug addict. His stage persona, being the opposite of his real personality, maybe he needed something to lean on. He often sat in with our band, and Misty sometimes filled in for him when he didn't show up for a club gig on a Saturday night. Harry and I became friends and I spent some time with him in his apartment on Coral Way in Miami. He liked to show me all the stacks of hand-written music charts he'd written that would probably never be played. Early in his career he played "stride" style piano, but when I last heard him in the 1960s he was more in the Erroll Garner groove, and everybody loved him. He did an unusual thing for a known jazz player... he later worked with a Rock band. The recordings that remain available don't capture how great he played later. I wish they did. I liked Harry, and was saddened to hear that he had committed suicide in 1991, with a bullet to the head. He had congestive heart failure, and was determined to go out on his own terms. Here's the song that killed his career... "Who Threw the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?". I don't think you'll care much for it. It's his early style, before I knew him, but it's about all we have. I guess you had to sit at a front row table and hear him live. It's more than an old record to me. For me it's time travel.   Click here to play it: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12527745 Copyright © October 8, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 7th, 2013... Our mutual friend Moragh Carter just reminded me that today is Jack and Misty's 50th Wedding Anniversary. Here's to the two best friends I've never met, and hoping it's a good one. Jerry.
September 25th, 2013... On this day..Sept 25th in TRADITIONAL...BLUE GRASS...WESTERN SWING...OLDSKOOL COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY... 2004 Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan were inducted into the New York State Country Music Hall of Fame.
September 20th, 2013...
We've lost a friend. Marv Rainwater, one of the good guys. Here's a video of him singing "Gonna Find Me a Bluebird". Click here to play... http://youtu.be/0bLZEL_Ovi0

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
ALPHABET SOUP. What I like and don't like in music... I like an interesting melody, fresh lyrics, and some chords. I don't like one chord all the way as I hear so often today, or an endless repetition of an inane 2 or 4 bar phrase. It's toddlers' music with drums and bass. Much current pop music is bland, repetitious stuff, delivered with fake enthusiasm. Like commercials. I still enjoy singing "with no pants on" after every line of every song. "Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, with no pants on." I wish restaurant food looked like the pictures on the menu. A hostess asked me how everything was. I said, "My compliments to the photographer." I'd like to get a tattoo of a banjo on my knee. TRUE STORY FROM THE MANCHESTER TIMES. A passenger in a taxi tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question. The driver screamed, lost control, and nearly hit a bus. The driver said, "Sorry. This is my first day driving a cab. I've been driving a hearse for 25 years." (From Walt Johnson.) When I was a teen, my girlfriend's phone number was 297J. That's it. Three numbers and a letter. It was a small town. A lot like Mayberry, only evil. Outside England’s Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant. Then, after 25 years of never missing a day, he didn't show up, so the zoo called the city council and asked it to send them another parking agent. The council replied that the parking lot was the zoo's responsibility. The zoo advised the council that the attendant was a city employee. The city said that the lot attendant had never been on the city payroll. Sitting in his villa on the coast of Spain is a man who had a ticket booth installed on his own and then had simply begun to show up every day, collecting and keeping the parking fees. At about $560 per day for 25 years this amounts to around $7 million dollars, and nobody even knows his name. (Again from Walt Johnson.) If I were a cop I'd arrest a clown and say, "Don't make any funny moves." I'd like to be a cop and yell, "SCUM, FREEZEBAG!" I saw a sign that said "THINK." I wrote under it "OR THWIM." I'm still thinking about the sexy girls in my high school. Now'days those girls are thinking about Bingo. "Santa Claus is coming to town, with no pants on." "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx. The next person to say "mind boggling" to me will get their nose beeped. When Misty was six years old she sang "Cabin in the Sky" on a radio talent program. That's a tough song to sing even for an adult. The winner was a kid that tap danced. On the RADIO! The announcer, Colin Male, later became her brother-in-law, and he was the announcer on The Andy Griffith Show. Alphabet soup makes no sense to me. I'm dyslexic. Well, pretty soon I'm going to sit back, relax, smoke a squirrel, and go to bed. Copyright © September 20, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 18th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
SONG BABIES. It’s harder to write songs under pressure. At least for me. When Misty and I were flying high on major labels, and having to plan a recording session every couple of months, the pressure was on us to come up with four or five songs that were not only damn good, but, more importantly, were different. Different enough to grab the public attention span. If we didn’t, we would be at the mercy of the corporate guys who would descend upon us with songs written by themselves or their uncle and lots of ideas for improving our “product”. I’ve long resented the term “product” as applied to the music we work so hard at. Misty and I always recorded four or five songs in a three-hour session, and kept the suits at bay by writing 99% of them. We occasionally picked an outside song, before they got a chance to do it for us. Having to come up with so many special songs, so often was a constant pressure, because being a major label artist with hits isn’t a condition that’s easy to maintain. Hit a slump and you’re back working at Burger King. There is little or no security for musicians at the top, This can bring on writer’s block. It may be a form of a musical death wish, when the stress level gets way up the scale, and you almost don’t care anymore. When the deadlines approached, I would start writing fast. Sometimes in the bus on the way to Nashville, or in the motel room before a session. There is a power that takes over when it’s sink or swim. I felt as though my feet were up in stirrups, and somebody was telling me to breathe and push. Somehow my song babies turned out okay, and still call me once in a while. Copyright © September 18, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 13th, 2013...
From our old trunk: A photo collage promo sheet from United Artists.

September 12th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE OLD MAN. I woke up old this morning. I don't mean that metaphorically, or figuratively, or any of that. It's just a fact: I went to bed young and woke up old. This is Thursday, the 12th. Yesterday, on Wednesday the 11th, I was a strong young man with big dreams and ambitions. It all went by in a day! The day before yesterday was Tuesday the 10th, and I was a child. I looked at the powdery stuff on flowers, the veins in a leaf, paint blisters and bent nails in a fence. I could follow a particular ant all around the yard. By Wednesday I was grown up. The sounds and smells, and the touch of things seemed less important. Wet sidewalks, the outdoor faucet where the hose connects, crumbly earth, tools in the garage, still had their distinctive aromas, but I didn't notice. I was too busy to listen to distant traffic. I had even stopped lying on my back and looking for faces in the clouds. Wednesday was all adult "reality": Money, status, success, entertainment... The important stuff. I had to learn fast, having only three days, and no warnings, or time to prepare for the big changes. I dreamed that I got up out of this wheelchair and ran right out across that field! But here it is Thursday, I'm old, and can barely get around. I don't like being called a Senior Citizen. It's a euphemism. It's condescending, like calling a black person "colored". Don't cushion it, my friend. I'm OLD. I leave my turn signal on because I can't hear it, not because I'm senile. And at this age, I eat my dessert first. You never know. I'll tell you what... Today I'm going to sit here on my ancient tailbone and listen to squirrel talk. If you listen a while to their sounds you'll see they have a language of nuances. I'm going to enjoy the warmth of this old wool sweater, and pay attention to that leaf blowing across the lot. I don't know when, or if, I'll get to do it again. Time is on Fast Forward, so I offer this advice to all who pass this way: PAY ATTENTION! LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS. And, tomorrow is Friday, the 13th. Copyright © Sept. 12, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 11th, 2013... A moment in time. May we never forget... - Jerry.

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
AMERICA. SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001. 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 Copyright © September 11, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 5th, 2013...

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THE BIG NIGHT AND OTHER EXCITEMENT. THE BIG NIGHT... We were finalists at the CMA Awards, and Misty went to the rest room. She had a lot on her mind and walked into the busy men's room which was was filled with famous male Country superstars. She said, "Just a mistake, fellas. Don't get up." I guarantee this is absolutely true. Every word. Sometimes I stand guard outside the men's room while Misty goes in. I actually signed up to wrestle a big pro wrestler in a Buffalo club. I had been drinking when I volunteered. This giant guy came to my house wanting me to rehearse. I left town and quit drinking... for at least a week. My wrestling name was Topsy Delaware. Every day Misty comes home from the grocery store mad. They are putting less product in every box and bottle, and at the same time raising the price. She says she would join Costco or Sam's Club if she ever needs a 12 pound bag of nutmeg. I dreamed I was eating a big sub sandwich. When I woke up I couldn't find my left shoe. I don't care for sushi. It's like eating bait. I only eat fried sushi. I saw a Dr. Phil show about a woman whose husband left her. He caught her cheating with her multiple personalities. OUR LEGAL SYSTEM... innocent until proven broke. THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND.... Why is it that in my dreams when I'm looking for a bathroom the toilet is always in the center of a busy office, or in a large room surrounded by windows, or covered by a cardboard "OUT OF ORDER" sign? I'm on a diet called "Eat With Your Left Hand". Most of the calories get spilled on my clothes. Misty buys all our party supplies at The Donner Party Store. The guy next door believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked? Good name for a soap opera... "It Never Ends." If we are here to do good for others, what are the others here for? Seriously, I have a recurring dream... We're on the road and it's time to go on stage and our equipment is not there, we get fired with no pay, and we have to hurry to the next gig, but how are we going to pay our $17,000 hotel bill? Copyright © Sept. 5, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 3rd, 2013...

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WE NAMED HIM DONN. We named him Donn, but called him Donny when he was little. He was a beautiful kid. His mother, my ex-wife, raised him, except for a couple of years, so when we finally met, as people, he was all grown up. We tried to figure each other out, and worked at getting to know one another. At first he had resentments toward me and tried to hide them, but we both felt something needed to be resolved. For some reason it was hard to talk directly at the REAL subject. I knew that he had heard a lot of things about me from his mother... not all good. Some were probably true. Then he went away for a few more years, before we tried again. The next time was better. We both had had time to think things over. People told us we walked and laughed exactly alike. It must have been genetic. Here's a picture: We understood each other's humor. We were sitting with our wives in a barbecue restaurant on one of his visits. We both reached for the check, and I said, "I've never done a damn thing for you, so I'm going to do this one thing, and then THAT'S IT!" He said this: "Aw, gee, pops. I wanted to go to college." We all broke up laughing. That was the last time Misty and I saw him alive... at least I think so. That whole period is sort of mixed up in my mind. He was riding his motorcycle in traffic when the car in front of him hit the brakes. Donn's bike hit the car and threw him. We rushed from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale to the hospital, and he looked perfectly healthy, except he was brain dead. I talked to him anyway. After that it's all a blur. Somebody pulled the plug and Donn died, There was a little funeral in northern Tennessee. I keep thinking of things I should have said and done differently. I guess that's natural. Maybe someday we'll get another chance to hash it all out. Copyright © Sept. 3, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 2nd, 2013...

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STRIP TEASE. There are professions that have just disappeared, for instance... Milkman, iceman, typist, switchboard operator, and strip tease dancer. Today’s strippers are not the same. Strip Tease artists did not come out naked and give it all away at once. They came on stage wearing fancy outfits with sequins, feathers, veils, and bangles, whatever they are. They started by wearing stuff, and took at least fifteen minutes to get it all off. That’s why they called it “tease”. They could have made it last longer by adding a parka and galoshes. They were usually accompanied by a motley collection of itinerant musicians called a “house band”, another vanished line of work, and they left their G-string on at the end to avoid getting arrested. House bands have become extinct. The bad part about that is that I made extra money writing house band arrangements for strippers. Usually something like sixteen choruses of "Hindustan". I played piano in one of those joints in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had a music light on top of the piano, and the girls, with their backs to the crowd, would come to my piano light and face me when taking their tops off. I hit a lot of bad notes. One night the star of the show, a dancer called "Jett", pulled down the back of her G-string and mooned the audience on her way out. Even the sax player woke up. Other than that it was a lousy job. Copyright © Sept. 2, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 28th, 2013...

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A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY. To the ruling corporations and their governments, we are livestock. Our job is to generate money, do the work, eat junk, keep our mouths shut, and die before before we get our money out of Social Security. Moo. As lifetime CMA members we get emails urging us to vote on the awards. We don't vote because we don't know who the hell any of them are. That's OK because they don't know who the hell we are. Our science has produced artificial intelligence. Why no artificial stupidity? Oh, yeah. I forgot. Today's popular music. “Comforting news for anyone over the age of 35, scientists have worked out that modern pop music really is louder and does all sound the same. Researchers in Spain used a huge archive known as the Million Song Dataset, which breaks down audio and lyrical content into data that can be crunched, to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010. A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used.” (Forwarded to me by our friend Ron Oates.) In the 1970s we did "The Three Couples Tour": with Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and Misty Morgan and me. Good times. Russian newspaper Pravda actually accused the United States of deliberately ruining Iraqi crops by dropping mice in parachutes. A lady pointed at my leather vest and said, "You know a cow was murdered for that jacket?" I said, "I didn't know there were any witnesses. Now I'll have to kill you." I got up today and did about a 40 minute workout before breakfast. I feel physically and mentally better today. My voice is not fully back to normal, but sounds a little more like me than it has lately. My songs are not me, or a record of my life. They are just footprints in the sand. First space alien: "Well, there's no intelligent life on Earth." Second space alien, "No, but I did hear some banjo picking." I write a lot of original humor. I also steal some of it. In many cases I can't remember which is which. The phone is ringing. I'd better answer the door. I don't drink as much as I used to. I'm spilling more now. Copyright © August 28, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 21st, 2013...

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MUSIC LAWYERS NEEDED. The music business is rough enough. Now the big guys have discovered a new way to screw the folks who actually make the music. Every label that has released recordings we wrote, performed, produced, and published, are claiming ownership. That gives us a hard time on UTUBE and other big music sites. Some of these record companies just claim ownership of everything, even on "various artists" compilations. We've never sold any of these songs and/or recordings to anybody. We only lease the masters to them for use on their product. They don't own any of it. We think even CDBABY is doing it to us. We put a couple of albums on CDBABY to sell CDs and downloads. That's all. They have no right to claim ownership! It's too easy for these big companies to claim ownership. It costs them nothing. So what have they got to lose? They're only robbing artists and musicians who don't have the means to fight back I spent four hours on UTUBE last night fighting this crap. These companies have deep pockets filled with money. They should be sued. A class action suit would be best, to fight for the many other artists who are getting ripped off. We do need a lawyer. Any takers? Copyright © August 21, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. UPDATE... August 22nd... I have some new information about record labels claiming ownership and blocking artists from uploading songs to music sites. It boils down to this... There is a computer setup that listens to music to find duplicates. The record companies take the easy way claiming ownership to everything that pops out. If you go through the long "Challenge" protocol, they will back off with no comment. So, from now on I'm going to claim ownership of everything I see, until an owner complains. My neighbors may not like this. Jack. Copyright © August 22, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
and one more...

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THE DOCTOR. This is about an unusual doctor... maybe now, a former doctor. I’m calling him Doc Barnes because that’s not his name. He has enough problems. We met him through some friends when we had a medium emergency. His office was a humble wooden building, with old Florida jalousie windows, and a coat of faded yellow paint. The office was fairly crowded with folks who didn’t look like they had money to pay. When we finally got to see the doctor we were a little worried because he looked more like a veterinarian, or a farmer, or maybe a rancher, in his faded jeans and plaid flannel shirt. He joked around a lot, but he took care of our problem and didn’t overcharge us. We later got to know him a little and went to his home, which was a little building behind his office. Inside, the décor was pure Star Trek. Doc was a Trekkie. As we talked I began to see that he was not like other physicians. He made house calls every evening, and he phoned patients on his own to see how they were coming along. He bowled instead of playing golf, and he didn’t socialize with other doctors, which may have been his downfall. He was trying to help his ex-wife, who was a drug addict. He still loved her and hoped to see her drug free and reunited with him. She was a sweet, pretty woman, but way too skinny. I don’t know how her problem got started. She seemed to be off the drugs and asked him for a job as receptionist in his practice. As I said, he loved her, so she got the job. I believe they were both really trying. Drugs became missing from his place and there was an investigation. He didn’t turn his wife in, and he put up no defense. He took the rap, and his practice was closed down. Later, we heard from friends that he was working in a walk-in clinic south of town. The next time we saw him was on Channel 9 TV. They were doing one of their exposés to boost their ratings. The investigating team had found that some of the medicines being dispensed were outdated. Remember, Doc Barnes did not own this clinic. He was just working there, and probably assumed that all the medications were OK because his had always been. The slimy TV reporter stuck the mike in Doc’s face and growled, “Using outdated medicines, what kind of a doctor are you?” Doctor Barnes kept right on tending to a patient, and said, “The best.” They closed down the clinic, and we’ve lost track of our friend. He cared about people, and he gave them all the help and medicine they needed, without worrying about covering his own backside. We have a friend across the street who has advanced cancer. His doctors won’t give him enough painkiller to stop a toothache. Are they afraid he’ll get addicted, or are they just covering their butts? I wish our neighbor had Doc Barnes. He’s “The Best”. Copyright © August 21, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 13th, 2013...

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MUSIC IS THE BEST MEDICINE. I know we get a weekly TV Guide every couple of days. That proves that time is speeding up, and yet I stay pretty much the same. Once upon a time life was simpler... good and evil were more clearly defined, everybody just knew they were on the right side, and there were no Ipods or smart phones. Just dumb phones. You couldn't carry your recorded music around with you and people got old sooner, in spite of natural foods, clean air, and pure water. Less music...faster aging. (Look at your family album.) Coincidence? I think not. I don't care for some of today's kids' music, but it's everywhere and you can't help but hear some of it. The more hip-hop I hear, the baggier my pants seem to get. This could mean nothing, but let's keep an open mind. Music is everywhere today. My psychiatrist's waiting room plays continuous New Age music, to keep us patients from attacking each other. Snore! It's like Kenny G on Valium. Military music makes ordinary people want to march out and kill something. Rap makes some listeners want to go out and mug something. Lawrence Welk makes some folks bounce around a dance floor, play bingo, and eat supper at 4PM. Doo-wop music makes people watch PBS. I like Country, Big Band, Blues, and Jazz. They make me feel almost alive. When I hear a good song, I feel like writing a good song. My point, if I ever gain on it, is this: Music is a vitamin, or maybe a drug, taken through the ear. It's so good for you that they'll probably ban it. Humans are living longer now, even with worse food, and contaminated air and water. It has to be all the music that's keeping us young and wondering why. Copyright © August 13, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 12th, 2013...

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THE COMEDIAN. 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 an old Pontiac. I saw him in a Jerry Lewis movie once. There was a classy female singer on the show 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 thought he needed Abbott, he said this: “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 it was the mean 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 all knew at that moment that we were not going to be on any island with Danny Rogers. We were actually afraid to tell him. He had become the cruel warden. But we did tell him, and he wasn’t happy 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, for some dumb reason. I got Rogers on the phone, and asked if he remembered us, and he said this: “Yeah. Too bad you never made it.” Copyright © August 11, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 8th, 2013... Just got this news from Bob Kingsley (Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40) via Facebook...

"The music world lost a great one today. Cowboy Jack Clement was a true legend. He was a producer/engineer at Sun Records in Memphis, working with Johnny Cash, with whom he had a lifelong friendship, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins, among others. He discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and later brought Charley Pride to national attention. His songs were recorded by Cash, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and many others. He worked with artists as divergent as Louis Armstrong, Townes Van Zant and U2. One of the world's great story-tellers, he will be missed." Amen to that, Mr. Kingsley.

A truly wonderful person has passed away... a giant in music... a friend to so many. R.I.P Cowboy Jack Clement. He was kind to us. - Jack and Misty.

August 2nd, 2013...
Congratulations to our friend Brad Wolfe for his second #1 APD chart record in a row. Two out of two on WHP Records. I'm also happy to say that I wrote, produced, and mastered both of them. Listen to it here: http://snd.sc/1bUPDG2 DJs who would like MP3s, go here; http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/whpvol148/ or just let us know. Thanks. :-)     Jack Blanchard Mastering & restoration studio: 407 330 1611.

August 1st, 2013...

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GROWING OLD WITH GRACE. Misty says, "You're growing old with grace. And Grace is getting sick of it." I'm getting paranoid about age. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of photographs in circulation taken of us when we were younger, and now we seem to be in competition with our younger selves. When we meet somebody in the supermarket, and they start up a conversation, it often ends up with them wanting a business card so they can find our home page, or contact us by phone. They are starting to say things like this: "WOW! That picture must have been taken a long time ago!" We wrestle with them trying to get the card back, because, actually, the picture on our card was taken just two years ago! The picture was taken in a good light and we were all gussied up for a special occasion. (That's the first time I've ever said "gussied up".) Then we threw away most of the photos taken that night and picked the one that looks the least awful. It's real and looks pretty good, but we don't come off like that half asleep, on a hot windy day, and under the supermarket Fluorescent lights. I'm thinking of getting cards with terrible pictures on them, so people will say good things like "Hey, you look great now! I'm glad you survived the train wreck." Maybe a picture of two skeletons. But then they'd say "I see you've gained weight." Maybe we can get cowboy hats with flattering lights under the brims. Or wear our hoodies on backwards. Those young Misty and Jack brats out there are getting annoying. While looking around for our songs and reviews, I actually found a Jack Blanchard grave on Google, but somebody was already in it. Damn! All the good graves are taken! Copyright © August 1, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 17th, 2013...

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THE PIANO MAN. Jackie Ball was a great pianist and a wino. He looked like a skid row bum and played like Art Tatum. He used to wander in and out of Hollywood bars, playing for wine and maybe a buck tip. Once, when a bar patron moaned that his wife would give him hell for coming home late, I heard Jackie mumble, "I wish somebody cared that much about me". The story was that Jackie's wife was addicted to men, and left him for a bunch of other guys. Jackie loved the wrong person too much, and hit the skids. He became a mean, sarcastic old alcoholic who gave the townspeople a daily surprise by being alive while looking dead. He lived in his old Dodge convertible that had no top, and in rainy weather he slept in water. He consented to give me a few advanced piano lessons because I was "the only sonofabitch that ever asked". Somehow age had slowed down his ex-wife's activities and she agreed to try again with him. He quit drinking, got some teeth, took a bath, and rejoined her in Buffalo. He was becoming a model citizen, when he died six months later during a hernia operation. I never did get the lessons. He knew some tricks, chords, and technique that I would like to have learned. Too bad he never made any records. The world missed out. I guess the moral here is: Genius alone doesn't make you lucky. Copyright © July 17, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 13th, 2013... Hi cohorts. :-) There are 4 songs on this chart that I'm happy to have been a part of. James Marvell's, Brad Wolfe's, and the two Jack & Misty recordings. I'm beginning to like this business.     Jack (& Misty)
July 11th, 2013...

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PICKING YOUR NEXT SINGLE. What makes a recording a hit? First, let's just tackle an easier one... What makes a recording good? Publishers and writers usually say it's the song. 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 tend to side with the producers, but, being good doesn't guarantee a hit. Sadly, it's not a quality contest. There are plenty of things along the way that can kill a great record, or make a bad one popular. Most of these involve money, politics, and luck. For instance, if you and an artist who is managed by the label's vice-president both release a single the same week, which one do you think will get the promotion? This was our experience with one of the major labels. There are less politics in the Indie field, but there are still problems in selecting single that will help your career. Things to consider... Twenty-four hour programming: If the song is too slow, DJ's might not play it in the daytime. They like to keep the audience awake in the morning and during drive time. If it's too fast they may not play it after dark, when listeners are trying too relax. Medium is the safest tempo, but there are a lot of hits that don't follow this rule. A story lyric? A singalong? A novelty? A ballad? And on and on. Momentum. If you've had some recent airplay with ballads, do you need a similar follow-up or a change of pace? Some DJ's like the old time sound, and some like it more modern. No matter which you choose somebody won't like it. That's okay. You don't need everybody to like it. Just apply some skin thickener. Here's how we pick our singles. We listen to all the potential singles we have and narrow it down to a short list, our criteria being "What WE like". Although we've learned that we can't second-guess the public that's what we try to do next. We analyze tempo, lyric and music content, vocal performance, etc.. We get discouraged and angry and bang each other on the head. Then we try again. When we have it down to two or three, we take a poll of our friends. If we don't like the poll results, we throw them away. We listen to the short list over and over until we can't hear it anymore. We try listening from the next room, from the backyard, and from inside the toilet tank. We finally pick one and send it in to the record company. As soon as the mailbox slams shut, we think we sent the wrong one. We begged the record label not to release our biggest hit: "Tennessee Birdwalk". I thought "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain" had too many chords for country music. Our most popular songs have been fast, slow, funny, serious, and unexpected. We press on regardless. I think the only good rule is this: Don't put out anything that is so bad that it will embarrass you. When you play it for friends, you don't want to have to cough to cover certain parts. Copyright © July 11, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 8th, 2013... And now, a few words from Jack...

Not bad for the first week. Brad Wolfe is right up there too. I wrote and produced his recording. Also our good friend James Marvell is climbing the chart. I had the pleasure of remastering his terrific song. And now, a few more words from Jack...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
LIFE ON THE ANIMAL CIRCUIT. We dropped out of the Country Music Industry in 1979 for various reasons. A couple of years later we’d lost our place in Nashville, and our manager had died. After recording on a half dozen major labels we were without a recording contract. We went to work anyway. playing a wide variety of gigs from country shows to a string of New York jazz clubs. Some of the most ornery groups were in The Animal Circuit: Moose, Elks, Eagles, senior clubs, Condos, RV Parks, and on and on. You cater to the guy who books the bands like you’re competing for the Brownie Award. You just get him to like you when they vote in a new bunch. The new “Entertainment Chairman” hates you because the other guy liked you. If there is one loudmouth who complains about you it can kill return bookings. Contracts mean nothing to these people. At one club the Entertainment Geezer came up to us and grumbled this: “They aren’t dancing as much as when we have the 17 piece band!” There were three of us on stage, which is all they were paying for. There is always one couple who has been taking ballroom dancing lessons and demands a tango. If you play it, everybody else sits and sulks while the tango nerds stalk each other around the floor. It can kill a set and spoil your lunch. A rose should never be carried in any body cavity. The oldest guy in the place always wants Rock & Roll. He says things like: “We ain’t dead yet!”, and “Let’s get down!” I whisper to Misty: “I didn’t think he could get up.” They like their fast songs medium, and there slow songs medium. Set your metronome at 147 and leave it. A club owner once told Count Basie: “Our crowd likes to dance at 120.” The Count said: “That’s too bad. We start at 9.” People tell me what singer they think I’m imitating: Hoyt Axton, Leon Redbone, Willie Nelson, and Shirley Temple. I had to stop singing “The Good Ship Lollipop.” They don’t understand or want anything original. It makes them walk funny. If you can fake a rhythm guitar and have prerecorded background tapes, that will work. Talent is not required. We only go out for the bigger country shows now, but the Animal Circuit has taught me this: The less musicians get paid the less respect they get. We’ve never been able to compete in the small time, and it’s not that we haven’t tried. Copyright © July 7, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 4th, 2013... Happy Independence Day, everybody! There's a lot of stuff we gotta catch up on, so let's get to it. First, Jack & Misty's new single, "You've Got Your Troubles (I've Got Mine)" hit #1 the day it was released! All I can add to that is, "WOW!" :D (There may be hope for country radio yet, folks!) They also have a second release on WHP, "Starvin' Hog Blues", a fun hoedown with Buddy Spicher on banjo and Bobby Thompson on twin fiddles. You can listen to that one here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=7666921. (Be sure to put this page's Soundclick player on pause before you hit the link, folks.) And now, it's time for some more observations from Chairman Jack...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
RECORDING SESSIONS LIKE PARTIES. Listening to our old records is like hearing yourself a thousand years younger. Our minds go back to the original recording sessions. We remember the genius of the Nashville A-team musicians, and how they would take our ideas and make them sound better than we had imagined. Lloyd Green, Billy Sanford, and Hargus Robbins recently said that our music was the most creative they’ve played, but it goes both ways. Our sessions were like parties. In fact, sometimes we hurried to get things done before the party got too wild. We liked to record late at night and with all the musicians and singers there at once. It got a feeling going that you can’t get with overdubbing. Feeling is more important to us than perfection. We always showed up prepared... with numbered chord charts, demo tapes, and lyric sheets. Our lyric sheets were color coded... red text for Misty, and blue for me. If there was overdubbing, it was usually Misty or me, laying down a keyboard or guitar track, that we couldn’t do while singing. Whenever we’d find a good engineer that was easy to work with we’d asked for him as often as possible. This is especially important to us because we always oversee and take part in the mixdown. When we first hit Nashville and they weren’t used to us, some engineers resented our suggestions, but after a while they became friends and allies. A lot of our most popular recordings were done in one take. We’d probably do a backup, but wind up using the original. We were lucky to have record labels that gave us the freedom and the budget to make our music our way. Copyright © July 3, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. Well, that's all for now, friends. Here's hoping you have a safe and happy 4th, and we'll see you after the fireworks show, just this side of Friday! Your friendly neighborhood webmeister, Jerry.
June 30th, 2013...

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OUR LITTLE SCAM THAT PAID OFF. The Sea Palms at Saint Simon’s Island provided the best accommodations, and one of the weirdest gigs of our career, so far. St. Simon’s sits in the blue Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Brunswick Georgia. The job came with a luxury apartment, overlooking a small river. Tropical flowers, trees and shrubs were trimmed neatly, and the riverside grass was like a putting green. Misty liked to sit in the grass and watch the ducks. One particular duck liked to sit with her. It moseyed up to her one afternoon, quacked a few pleasantries, sat by her, tucked in its feet, puffed up a little, and remained there as long as Misty would stay. The job was for just us as a duet, Misty doesn’t like the word “duo”. “It sounds so small and local.” We had all our keyboards, and sounded like a big band, with nothing prerecorded, of course. Nobody knew who owned the place, and so the rumor got started that Misty and I did. The lounge manager asked me if it was true, and I said “Shhh, I can’t talk about it.” He took that to mean that we owned the place, although I hadn't actually said that. So we became royal hosts of a month-long wild party, and got paid for it. The bartender was dancing with a rich old lady, The waitresses were laughing with friends at the bar, and anything Misty and I ordered was not on our bill. People in town heard about the fun and the place was packed. It was the happiest place we ever played. Copyright © June 29, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 27th, 2013...

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FROM OUR DISTANT PAST. I searched through our old recordings and found something special... a scratched up acetate disc from our distant past. When Misty Morgan and I first played music together, we were playing at the Downtowner Bar in Key West FL in the early 1960s, and somebody in the audience caught this minute of our music on a tape recorder, probably an old Webcor. When we got back to Miami we took the little reel of tape to a studio to have it put on an acetate disc to play on our hi-fi at home. For you younger readers: A "hi-fi" was the I-pod of the day, only made of rocks. If there was any writing on the disc label it has long been faded away, and the old recording has a lot of scratches and a skip in the middle. I haven't attempted to get the surface noise out. It keeps it real. Acetate discs don't usually last one year, much less over forty. The third musician in our trio was guitarist Doug Tarrant. We played a lot of kinds of music, including rock & roll, jazz, standards, and current hits. Misty and I hadn't even thought of singing duets on stage yet. The year that we first played at the Downtowner in Key West, Misty was playing an instrument that is now extinct and out of memory. The Lowrey Organo was an attachment that you hooked up to a piano, and turned it into an organ with left-hand bass. We rented them from other musicians until we could buy our own. We were singing into a CB radio microphone, because that's all we could afford. Even so. it sounded okay... like an old fashioned telephone. Doug was playing his original Les Paul model guitar, and getting the latest techno sound with an Echofonic, probably the first tape echo device ever marketed for live performance. We were pretty hip for the Dark Ages. We loved the music of Les Paul and Mary Ford, and on this clip we are doing "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise". It's a bit of our music history... a minute of our life almost forgotten. Terrible audio quality, but a great bit of our history Click a link here for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE4mynAOVIk Copyright © June 27, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 21st, 2013...

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CREATING PEOPLE. As a writer I am allowed to invent people. Today I'm making up Chuck Fulton. Chuck Fulton was born in West Carrolton, Ohio, in 1967, on his way to Buffalo. He was just a month old when the West Carrolton Paper Box Company folded, throwing his father out of work and his mother into chronic conniption fits. Lamps, pillows, kitchenware, everything, was jammed into the old gray Hudson for the journey to Buffalo, where they would stay with relatives until they got on their feet. Chuck was born Charles Fulton Rash. He later changed his name for several reasons, which will become evident as we go along. In seventh grade at P.S.56, Chucky Rash and Fannie Weaver fell in love. (I just now invented her.) Chucky was attracted to Fannie because she was the only girl in his class who didn't look like Buck Owens. Fannie liked Chucky because he was the only boy interested in her. She looked like David Letterman. Chuck, as a child, looked like Sally Struthers. He keeps his hair cut real short to offset it. At 70 he will be an antique Sally in a buzz cut. He always wanted to look like Charles Bronson. Inside, he feels like Charles Bronson. One day, fooling around behind the garage, Fannie said: "I could never marry anyone named Chuck Rash", and he asked why. She said: "It sounds like a disease you get from eating hamburger." He said: "Fannie Weaver's not such a hot name either. It sounds like somebody who sews up your butt." So that's why he changed his name, and she escaped becoming Fannie Rash. Chuck was rejected by the army because of a hernia he accomplished while attempting to play "Flight of the Bumblebee" on a tuba, in the high school band. Chuck's an insurance salesman now, after having bounced around in several lines of work. He and Fannie have a baby boy, a year old, and she's pregnant again. The baby boy's name is John Rash Fulton, and he will grow up to look like Charles Bronson. Chuck and Fannie don't like each other as much as they did in school. They will eventually be unfaithful to each other, but they'd be shocked to hear that now. Right this minute I'm placing a phone call to Chuck up in Buffalo. A recorded operator says: "You have a collect call from..." I shout: "THIS IS NOT COLLECT!" Chuck is on the line now. Chuck: "Hello?" (As author, I have dissolved the recorded operator.) Jack: "Hi, Chuck! How's it going?" Chuck: "Who's this?" Jack: "It's Jack Blanchard, your creator, dummy". Chuck: "Is this call going to get obscene?" Jack, angrily: "How's your hernia, Sally? Would you like to play 'Flight of the Bumblebee' for us?" Chuck: "How could you POSSIBLY know that stuff?" Jack: "Not only do I know it, but so do all my readers, and that ENDS our little argument, because I've HAD it with you! Consider yourself dissolved!" Chuck said, "Bull!" and hung up. The recorded operator said to me: "Are you through, big shot?" The only trouble with creating people is this: You can't always dissolve them when you want to. Copyright June 21, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 16th, 2013...
My father as a young man. Happy Father's day, Dad. -- Jack.

June 7th, 2013... "Weird Scenes Inside The Birdhouse" has been discontinued, but people still want it. So, here is our new CD... "The Birdhouse Album - Mid 1970s" (Velvet Saw 0613)

The price is $18.95 + S&H.
June 4th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE PROMO LETTER. One way for recording artists to promote their latest release is to make contact with the radio station Music Director via the "Personal Note", which can be reproduced in quantity, and mailed eleventh class to 12,563 deejays by a machine. The sender fondly believes that each recipient thinks he has been selected to be the artist's best friend. The radio people play along with the gag, often telling the artist that his or her record is doing great, while throwing it into the wastebasket. Misty and I have a new CD, and for show and tell, here's a copy of the letter we plan to send out. THE PROMO LETTER: To our good friend (Insert your name): How have you been? How is your (Check appropriate loved one.) (a) wife? (b) husband? (c) dog? (d) cat? (e) bird? We hope you don't think this is a form letter, because we actually had this one copy printed just for you. If any other deejay claims he got one like it, he is obviously lying and is jealous of our relationship. We aren't promoting our CD here, we just don't want our buddy (Your name) to be caught not playing the hottest record in the industry. Just this week we were added to the playlists at radio stations WICK, WARP, WAD, and WIMP, in the east, and we picked up KRAB on the west coast. Don't forget, we love you more than all the other artists do, regardless of what they try to hand you in their letters. But, don't let sentiment influence you. Play the record for its greatness alone, and we'll give you all the credit when we get the awards. Hoping your (Insert portion of your anatomy) is feeling better. We remain your loyal, patriotic, God fearing, humble country cousins, Jack and Misty. Copyright © 2003, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 1st, 2013...

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ONE MORE COLUMN JUST TO CHEER YOU UP. Due to the slow economy, Misty and I will sing for store coupons. I'm getting crows feet, but somehow my shoes still fit. 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. I was arrested for yodeling at a funeral. We once hired a promotion man who reported to us every snotty little thing that was said about our recordings. We fired him. He asked why, and we told him this: "Everybody says you're a crappy promoter." The larger the population becomes, the more idiots we get. I hate furbishers! You always have to get it redone. I once had a dislocated shoulder, but I later located it. I have never boned a chicken. I asked Misty if chickens hum. She immediately said this: "Yes. 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'." It's illegal to teach a ferret to whistle. Horace Greeley said, ""Go West, young man.", while he stayed East with all the hot chicks. Give me ambiguity or give me something else. Chickens that sit on cold eggs get henrhoids. I once had a detached retina. It just didn't care. On my list of weird words: "FLABBERGAST". The sound of unexpected gas while dancing. Did you ever feel that nothing in life is real, and yet somehow it's still out to get you? I've never been a topical humorist. I've been told that the stuff I write is "non sequitur" humor, unrelated to much of anything real, and avoiding logic wherever possible. I just googled "Non sequitur" and got hundreds of pages of long-winded and ultra-logical explanations of it. These people don't have a clue, and should get a job in a panty factory. Got some new medication. Also quitting coffee. Between the two I'm getting sleepy. Guess I'll hose down the cat and go to bed. Sometimes I feel uncalled for. Copyright © May 31, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 27th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
IN THE STUDIO. We remember the genius of the Nashville A-team musicians, and how they would take our ideas and make them sound better than we had imagined. Lloyd Green, Billy Sanford, and Hargus Robins say that our music was the most creative they’ve played, but it goes both ways. Our sessions were like parties. In fact, sometimes we hurried to get things done before the party got too wild. We liked to record late at night and with all the musicians and singers there at once. It got a feeling going that you can’t get with overdubbing. Feeling is more important to us than perfection. We always showed up prepared... with numbered chord charts, demo tapes, and lyric sheets. Our lyric sheets were color coded... red text for Misty, and blue for me. If there was overdubbing, it was usually Misty or me, laying down a keyboard or guitar track, that we couldn’t do while singing. Whenever we’d find a good engineer that was easy to work with we’d asked for him as often as possible. This is especially important to us because we always oversee and take part in the mixdown. When we first hit Nashville and they weren’t used to us, some engineers resented our suggestions, but after a while they became friends and allies. I listened to tips from well-known producers and engineers on getting recordings to sound good. I used to tune my studio speakers by putting white noise (pure static) through them, and holding up a microphone connected to a frequency analyzer. The analyzer would show red and green lights indicating which sound frequencies were too soft or too loud. I would then use a graphic equalizer to make them all even, or “flat”. I told my method to a famous producer/studio owner in Nashville and he said it was wrong. He said to this: Hang your speakers, and then sit down for a week or so and just listen to big hit major label recordings through them, adjusting the tone controls until they sounded best. Then mix your recordings to sound as good as the proven hits on the same speakers. Also, I learned somewhere along the line to place my near-field monitor speakers so that my head is the third point of a perfect triangle. If the speakers are too close, I will hear too much stereo spread and not enough of the middle. If they are too far away I don’t get enough stereo, and I start to get distracting room ambient sounds. I learned to be very conservative with EQ, which means adjusting the tone to you folks at home. I’ve also learned that you can get a hit record without knowing any of this. Copyright © May 27, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 23rd, 2013... Today’s celebrity birthdays: Thursday, May 23 Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 88. Actor Nigel Davenport is 85. Actress Barbara Barrie is 82. Actress Joan Collins is 80. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 77. Actress Lauren Chapin is 68. Country singer Misty Morgan is 68. Country singer Judy Rodman is 62. Singer Luka Bloom is 58. Actor-comedian Drew Carey is 55. Country singer Shelly West is 55. Actor Linden Ashby is 53. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 52. Actress Melissa McBride is 48. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 46. Actress Laurel Holloman is 45. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 43. Singer Lorenzo is 41. Country singer Brian McComas is 41. Singer Maxwell is 40. Singer Jewel is 39. Game show contestant Ken Jennings is 39. Actor Lane Garrison is 33. Actor Adam Wylie is 29. Happy Birthday and best wishes to Misty!
May 21st, 2013... UPDATE. Hi everybody. We've been to the hospital for tests, and have an appointment with our GP tomorrow. We are still feeling pretty rough. Misty is fighting it better than I am. Our GP is supposed to send me to a heart specialist, which I think is a waste of time, because the test indicated that the slight irregularities are likely caused by cold medications. I've been taking TONS of those for the past week or two. I got well in the ER, and returned home and got lung trouble again. I think I may be allergic to something in the house, and was tipped over the edge by the creosote cloud that came through here. (See previous writings.) We hope to be back with you soon. Love,     Jack & Misty.
May 14th, 2013...

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WHY MY COLUMN IS SHORT TODAY. Friday night we got creosote poisoning from burning railroad ties. Channel 9 TV showed an interest and Misty went and took pictures of the burn site and how they covered it up by dumping sand and gravel on it. She also got a sample of the burned ties and creosote in a jar. I was up all night coughing like I needed an exorcist. The crew showed up at about 8 this morning. I looked and felt like a murder victim and didn't answer the door.  I was already thinking about clean underwear for the hospital. I'm so sick today I don't even care about TV news. Misty and I don't have any voices to talk with, but we feel a tiny bit better. I feel almost alive. My apologies to the TV people. Copyright © May 14, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 12th, 2013... Just got some serious news from Jack, so I'm posting this as a public service, with prayers for a swift recovery to both Jack and Misty. HOW WE GOT CREOSOTE POISONING.     A couple of nights ago at about 2 AM a cloud of black smoke surrounded our house, cutting visibility to near zero. It had a powerful creosote smell and burned our eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. We've been coughing our brains out, and have been weak and we thought is was a bad case of flu. After taking a lot of medicine and sleeping sitting up we seem to be finally coming out of it. Here's what I found on how creosote effects health, besides being a carcinogen. "Health effects of Creosote:    According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), eating food or drinking water contaminated with high levels of coal tar creosote may cause a burning in the mouth and throat, and stomach pains. ATSDR also states that brief direct contact with large amounts of coal tar creosote may result in a rash or severe irritation of the skin, chemical burns of the surfaces of the eyes, convulsions and mental confusion, kidney or liver problems, unconsciousness, and even death. Longer direct skin contact with low levels of creosote mixtures or their vapors can result in increased light sensitivity, damage to the cornea, and skin damage. Longer exposure to creosote vapors can cause irritation of the respiratory tract. The largest health effect of creosote is deaths caused by residential fires, which are entirely unconnected with its industrial production or use." Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan.
As I said, this is serious stuff, here, folks. Sending out prayers and well wishes. -- Jerry.
May 11th, 2013...

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THE TEAR. (For my mother on Mothers Day.) There’s something about a photograph. Many people believe that having your picture taken steals some of your soul. I look at pictures of friends and relatives who have died, and I can see that soul, especially in the eyes, the expression, and even the body language. I have a picture of my mother taken at a holiday gathering during her later years. She was smiling, and seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. I’ve looked at that picture many times, but a few weeks ago, I enlarged it, and thought I saw something. I hit the 200% button, made it really big, and zoomed in on her face. The smile was still there, but in her eye I saw something unexpected: A tear. I sat back in shock and took a deep breath. What could she have been thinking? Was it a tear of joy or sadness? Did she know that it may be one of her last family moments? I asked her that question aloud, but the photograph didn’t answer. I’m sure we were all enjoying the moment together, but at the same time, taking it for granted. You always think there will be many more. Now I realize my mother was not taking that moment for granted. I keep going back to look at the photo, even though it’s burned into my mind, and my heart. When I discovered the tear behind her smile, I had tears to match hers. We spoke to each other beyond the limits of time and space. There is soul in a photograph. Copyright © 2008, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 7th, 2013...
Taking my birthday off starting.... NOW. :) -- Jack.

May 3rd, 2013... Four months down, eight more to go this year. Before anything else, let's wish early Happy Birthdays to our two inspirations for this website. Happy Birthday to Jack and Misty! And speaking of Jack...

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JERRY'S BEANERY. In Miami I had a little office doing music-related things. A sweet elderly lady came to me to make a lead sheet of a song she'd written. "It just popped into my head", she said. "I call it 'Jerry's Beanery'." She sat by me on the piano bench and sang the tune to "Mountain Greenery", a famous old standard song. I said, "Was the radio on when you got the idea?" She said, "I think so." Some years ago I tried to help several songwriters and singers by setting up recording sessions or arranging meetings for them. Two of them just didn't show up and left me holding the bag, and the bill. They told people they didn't show up because I was a crook. It was easier for them to avoid the opportunity and blame me, than to take their chance and face the possibility of failing. They could use me as an excuse for the rest of their life. A friend asked me to produce a recording session for his wife. He said she had written the song. About ten minutes into the session I said to my friend, "She didn't write that melody. It's an old hit song." He said, "What song?" I said, "'Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch'". He ran it over in his head, rolled his eyes, and whispered, "Don't say anything." It's been raining for days (and nights) here in Florida. It looks like it will never stop. I'm turning sort of a pale green. Croak. We heard from a friend that it's snowing in Minnesota in May. The biggest snow storm I remember in Buffalo was on May 8th. We were snowed in at Big Bear Lake CA in June. They closed the roads that go down the mountain. Weather is weird, but it's better than no weather at all. Just got this from Channel 9 Weather... "More Rain and a Few Storms", a variety. "If you're a super hero it's OK to put a big "S" on your shirt, but I think a cape is just rubbing it in." Will Campbell "When a chicken gains weight it never shows in its face." Roger Miller. Misty was watching the weather on TV just now. I asked, "What's happening?" She said, "Severe thunderstorms capable of producing midgets." CELEB BIRTHDAYS FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 5-11, 2013. By The Associated Press — May 8: Comedian Don Rickles is 87. Singer Toni Tennille is 73. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 71. Singer Gary Glitter is 69. Drummer Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and of Tom Tom Club is 62. Singer Philip Bailey (solo and with Earth, Wind and Fire) is 62. Country musician Billy Burnette is 60. Drummer Alex Van Halen of Van Halen is 60. Actor Stephen Furst ("St. Elsewhere," ''Animal House") is 59. Actor David Keith is 59. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 49. Drummer Dave Rowntree of Blur is 49. Drummer Del Gray of Little Texas is 45. Singer Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) is 41. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 38. Actress Julia Whelan ("Once and Again") is 29. Copyright © May 3, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 27th, 2013...

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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 that 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 who docked his last ship at Port Everglades and retired. 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 © 2011, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 26th, 2013... In the 1970s Misty Morgan and I did a string of shows in the south billed as "The Three Couples Tour". The three couples were Jack Greene and Jeannie Sealy, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and Misty and me. They were all the nicest people you could work with. We are losing too many of our old acquaintances. -- Jack.
April 24th, 2013...

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NORM. When strangers enter our lives, we always try to be nice, even when they are rude to us. We know they could either turn out to be our best friends, or have a dark side that could show itself later. We're two of the friendliest entertainers in the business, but, as in the Kenny Rogers song... You have to know when to fold 'em. Once a man named Norm came into our nightclub and overheard a conversation in which we said we were planning to have a large speaker cabinet built. He had the erect posture, jutting chin, and clipped speech of a military man, but he wasn't. We already had a carpenter in mind, but this man introduced himself, and insisted that he be allowed to build it for us...free. A week later Norm wheeled the cabinet into the club, presented it to us, and showed us his bloody hands, to illustrate how hard he had worked. He had bled for us. We thanked him, offered to pay, and expressed our sympathy for his injuries. He began coming to the club every night, and if we didn't neglect all our other customers, and spend our time only with him, he sulked and soon became angry and belligerent. He began getting drunk and butting into conversations we were having with other friends and fans. He would even threaten them, and tell them to stay away from us.... that we were his brother and sister. In his mind he was our bodyguard. We tried to reason with him, and he would apologize and promise to lighten up. We finally had to bar him from the club, which caused a big unpleasant scene. Then he began driving past our house at all hours. We had friends on the police force, and with their urging he eventually went away. I think he probably  latched on to somebody else. Here's why: He needed more than most people can give. He often talked about his father, who was a high ranking military officer, and who considered Norm a disappointment for not enlisting. In his father's eyes, he couldn't do anything right. The lack parental of approval haunted him. This type of episode with strangers has happened to us more than once, and to most other people who lead public lives, but we still give new relationships every chance to work out well. When they end badly, the person usually becomes depressed, and then angry. You have to be careful, but you can't lock up your life. There are too many good friends out there, waiting to be met. Copyright © April 23, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 23rd, 2013...

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ATLANTIC CITY. Being a lounge act at an Atlantic City gambling casino is not what it's cracked up to be. We were one of the first three acts in town when they first got gambling. Our casino they were using play money for the first week, until the license came through. The entertainment is way down on the list of what's important to casino operators. In fact, it's a necessary annoyance. They don't like you if you're too good, because people will be paying attention to you instead of losing their money. We heard there was a good band across the street at Bally's. We went to have a look, and there were no signs anywhere telling you who the band was. The employees didn't even know. After listening for a few minutes we realized that it was Jonah Jones, the great trumpet player with a string of hit records. We worked in the casino for a couple of months and didn't get to know even one employee. The day after we closed, we went back to get something we'd forgotten, and nobody knew who we were. There were no signs or ads for us either. After we'd been playing there about ten days, a workman came over from the other side of the huge room, where there was still some construction going on. His tool belt was slung low like a gunfighter, and a cigarette pack was rolled up in the sleeve of his tee shirt. He stood in front of us and waited until we finished the song we were doing. Then he said this to me: "I been listening to you guys for a couple weeks now and I got a question. How come you do so much Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan material?" Copyright © April 23, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 20th, 2013... SOUNDCLICK CHART, TODAY, APRIL 21, 2013. DONEL AUSTIN sings "SOMETHING YOU'VE GOT". http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12278880 BOY WITH THE BEBOP GLASSES. By The Dawn Breakers: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11585856

April 15th, 2013... (or, The Ides of Taxes Are Upon Us) And after a dreadful pun like that, here's a shot of Jack...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
BEING PLEASANTLY NUTS. Writing is an obsession with me. I think it started seven or eight years ago. I always had to dig for ideas like everybody else. but now, as soon as I finish one thing an idea shows up for the next. Once it's in my mind it sticks like a song you can't get out of your head, and I can't let go until it's done. The neighbors see my light still on as they go to work many mornings. I've never been good at moderation in anything... music, sports, reading, love, alcohol, and on and on. Sports and alcohol seem to have run their course, and after reading a lot, I now write more than I read. After listening to a lot of music I like, I now compose more than I listen to. A shrink would ask about my childhood. As a kid I knew all the sports names and statistics but I had other heroes like writers and musicians. I hope this might be a little help to another writer but I wouldn't try to teach anybody how to do it. I can just tell what works for me. Roger Miller said a lot of his song ideas came from misunderstanding what other people say. Thomas Edison said that Ideas come from space. Woody Allen says he gets his ideas from a post office box in Schenectady. I think my ideas come from being pleasantly nuts but it's not a bad kind of mental illness. I should have come down with it sooner. 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. I've been asked if I write words or music first. It varies, and sometimes it's both at once. Writing every day becomes a helpful habit. It's a nice feeling to have a finished story or song. Hey! I did this! How the hell did that happen? At first the hardest part is starting and once I get started the hardest part is stopping. Compulsive writing could be a side effect of getting older. Age can bring this realization... Time doesn't grow on trees. Get it all down now if you want to leave your mark. Copyright © April 15, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 7th, 2013... Well, we made it through another minor crisis only slightly scathed. Those of you who know the deep dank dark behind the scenes stuff of websites like these will no doubt appreciate this. Or not. Recently our hosts, the Friendly Folks at Tripod™, decided to give their website a complete makeover. That's fine, nothing wrong with that. Unless it becomes an inconvenience. Basically, when I went to update some files, I headed to the trusty File Manager. Which wasn't there. (Insert SFX: screams, thunder and lightning, diabolical laughter -- you know the bit...) Much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and a grumpy letter to Tripod followed. I will say this for the FFaT's Customer Service department: they waste no time in coming up with a reply. Their suggestion was useless, but as it turned out, unnecessary; they had simply moved the File Manager to the 'File Editor' tab. Problem solved! Only now, I forgot what files I was going to update. Websites. You gotta love 'em. (Or not.) Your friendly neighborhood webmeister™, Jerry.
Oh, before I forget: we recently changed guestbook hosts, which (in the words of the immortal Victor Borge,) seems to be a secret. If you want to leave a few words for Jack & Misty, it's simplicity itself. Just click this button:
and type away! (And again, thanks to said new hosts at 123guestbook.com!)
March 31st, 2013... Happy Easter, everybody! And now, a few words from our peerless leader...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
Our first Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan duet recording recorded in Nashville, was in 1967. It included four original songs: "No Sign of Love", "Midnight Greyhound", "Lonely Bell", and the main song "Bethlehem Steel". We produced the session ourselves. Our plan was to shop it around to labels, or release it on our own little indie, Zodiac Records. Tape cassettes were not around then, so everybody got their demos made on acetate discs, aluminum discs shaped like 78 RPM singles, with a black plastic lacquer finish that would wear out after a limited number of plays. We were in a studio watching a guy make us a demo of our songs. I asked him if thought "Bethlehem Steel" would get country air play. He was very enthusiastic about my lead vocal: "Yes! Nobody up here has a voice like that!" What he didn't know was that I had the flu during the recording session, and was never able to get that sound again. In January, 1969... "Big Black Bird" was released as a Country record, but Billboard gave it a Top 10 Pick in the Pop field. We were on the Pick list with Aretha Franklin and other pop artists. Our small label didn't have pop distribution, so they made a deal with Mercury to distribute it. They took so long to close the deal that the record lost its momentum, and Defeat was snatched from the jaws of Victory. I also heard that when our label, Wayside Records, sent the master to Coral Records, they inserted gaps in the music to prevent anybody from stealing it before negotiations were complete. When Mercury was ready to distribute it, they checked the master and found the gaps. They had to call Wayside and have the real master sent. There was no internet then, so it was snail mail. Another delay. But later, this turned out to be a sort of a good thing. "Bethlehem Steel" got good airplay and chart action for a first record, but was not a big hit. The next release on Wayside/ Mercury was "Poor Jody", and then another, which I can't remember. Mercury was ready to drop us. There was one release left. They wanted to put out "Tennessee Bird Walk", and we objected. We were afraid of getting type cast as a novelty act. (By the way, it was written as "Tennessee Birdwalk", but on the label it was printed as "Tennessee Bird Walk", so it's been "Bird Walk" ever since. We still write it the original way. We've always been stubborn.) Looking back, if "Big Black Bird" had not gotten everybody excited, Birdwalk would not have been released on a major label. We got a phone call one day. The voice on the other end said this: "You'd better get ready to travel. We're selling 50,000 a day, and just getting started!" It was being promoted and distributed by Mercury. Records. The indie label, Wayside Records, could not have handled it, so "Big Black Bird" actually paved the way for "Tennessee Birdwalk", our #1 Country record. Copyright © March 31, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 19th, 2013... Another year older, and another year... well... older... it's YFNW™ Jerry doing a little bit of catching up around the website. Here's a couple of classics from our peerless leader. Enjoy...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE LAST SALOON. When the bad guy sneaked open our front door to get at Misty, we were living in Homestead, Florida. I was playing piano at the Last Chance Bar on US 1 in Florida City, It’s the last saloon on the United States mainland, before you head down into the Florida Keys. Next stop: Key Largo. Misty had picked up a gig at the Redland Tavern, a couple of towns up. I had canvassed every bar up and down the highway, and the Last Chance had an old upright piano, so I bought a beer and sat down and started playing. I got the job. Misty and I rented a small house with a screened in front porch. From the street, you could look in the windows, through the living room, and into the kitchen. I'm telling you this for a reason. It was our night off, and very dark outside. We were both in the kitchen. Misty was by the stove and sink, and was visible from the street. I was sitting at the table, to the right of the kitchen door, and could not be seen. We heard the porch screen door creaking slowly open. We looked at each other, and I raised a hand signaling her to stay where she was. I sneaked silently through the living room, in a half crouch, to the front inside door. I heard the screen door still opening. I jumped onto the porch and slammed the screen door, catching the guy's arm in it. He was outside and his arm was inside, I held it hard, bracing the door with my foot. I yelled "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?" He said, "Food". We both knew that the food was Misty. Right then she came to the living room and said this: "You hold him and I'll go get the 45". I said, "Go! I'm gonna blow his head off!" We didn't have a gun but he didn't know that. He took off like a shot, leaving his sleeve in the door. Misty's a creative thinker. We had taken on more than we thought, renting the house. We'd forgotten about the utility bills, deposits, etc., and we were worried. The bartender at the Last Chance, who was also an NCO at the Air Force base in Homestead, said he was exhausted and needed a night off. I told him I'd take his place on a Sunday night, my night off. He said, "Can you tend bar?" I said, "Sure. No problem." Well, the electric bill was overdue. I learned to tend bar on the job the next Sunday. A man came in who looked even more depressed than I did. I got talking to him, and he told me that everything he touched turned to money. I thought: "Gee. How sad." He was wealthy, but had family problems that were getting to him. I took a shot. I said, "You should be in my place. My wife and I are about to get our power shut off, and then evicted." He said that he could give me the money, but it wouldn't make us happy, because "Money never does." I said, "Don't toy with me. We're desperate!" He wrote me out a check for $120, which is like about $700 now. The check was on a Key West bank, so we worried for several more days, but it cleared. I never told the regular bartender about the huge tip. Why make a grown man cry? I never saw the rich guy again, but I heard that he owned a major string of truck stops. If I ever do see him again I'll tell him this: The money really did make us happy for a while. I've never seen a problem that money made worse. Copyright © March 19, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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GHOST TOWN. Somehow we had missed the turnoff to the southern Ohio town. We went back to where the highway ought to be and found a narrow old road, with grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement. Could this be the main road to town that I remembered from my childhood? The sign said it was. The small city, after slumbering quietly for generations, had become a boomtown with the coming of a large chemical company. For a while the population grew with the influx of labor. The little corner taverns where old cronies had once exchanged worldly wisdom became juke joints as the town opened up. Housing became scarce, money became plentiful, and the townsfolk began a new habit... locking their doors. That was the last time I'd seen the place, and the only memory I had to go by. I was surprised at the desolate weeded over road that had once been a main artery. We turned off the superhighway and followed the rustic lane toward the town, trying to spot familiar landmarks. There were new shabby buildings, some vacant and boarded up. There were new gas stations looking aged and toothless with their pumps gone. I thought I recognized an old building... a certain curve in the road... but the clutter made it impossible to get my bearings. Drifting into town, I was relieved to see the railroad station and its surrounding park untouched by time. I had often told Misty about the good times at Aunt Bess' house, where I had spent a lot of my childhood. Now I was about to show her the actual place where it all happened, but at first I couldn't find it. It used to be right there on the corner of Fourth and Maple. Now there was just an ancient rundown Frankenstein house, hiding in the weeds. We parked while I stared at it for a long time. I had somehow forgotten... They're all gone. The whole smiling, partying family had died off one by one since I'd been gone. I knew it, I'm sure, but I’d blocked it out. The small grocery store across the street had a new name but looked the same. I went in and asked, but they didn't remember who had lived in that corner house. They didn't recognize my desperately mentioned names, and they were busy. Asking around we learned that the chemical plant had laid off thousands of workers, and the government had built a superhighway that bypassed the town, so it went quietly back to sleep, somewhat the worse for wear. We searched the town all day, and it was sunset before we found anyone we knew. They were all together, as always. The squeak of the rusty wrought iron gate pierced the evening stillness, as we entered the old cemetery, and began brushing away weeds and dust, to peer at names on tombstones... names that clicked on familiar faces in my mind. We drove out of town and didn't talk for a while. Nobody said goodbye. If this was a ghost town these new people didn't know it. We were the ghosts. Copyright © March 17, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 18th, 2013... A MARCH 18th, 2013 HAPPENING. I was sitting at the table just after midnight last night  and saw somebody walk by me on my left.  I turned and nobody was there.  Misty was in the shower with the door closed.  When she came out I told her  and we discussed the possibilities. Today would be my father's birthday. Just sharing. Jack.
In other news of recent vintage...
We're celebrating a little milestone... Over 200,000 YouTube views on one song. Actually 200,344 but who's counting. :-) Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan on TV, with Ralph Emery and Tanya Tucker, performing Tennessee Bird Walk. It's right here. Thanks.     Jack & Misty

March 6th, 2013...

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OUR FIRST GIG AFTER 9/11/2001. I wrote this on September 16th, 2001. "We did several shows today. "We had been a little apprehensive, due to the past week's events. We'd wondered if they'd want us to match the present mood of grief. We hoped we weren't being irreverent, putting on a show at this time. "We also wondered what the mood of the audience would be. But, we had said we would appear, so we kept our word. We wore red white and blue. "I looked around the club and noticed familiar faces we hadn't seen for a long time. It was almost like a family reunion. In a sense, it was. "We turned up the PA and kicked butt from the first note. No sense being mousy. "We were rewarded with warmth, applause, and many requests for our own songs. People gathered around the stage between shows to talk to us. We told how happy we were to see each other again. The active word there is 'happy'. "Music has a healing effect. It felt good to see them smile. They needed it. So did we." Copyright © March 6, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 2nd, 2013...

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FAREWELL TO AN OLD FRIEND. Winnie has been through a lot of adventures with us, over many years... good times and bad It’s hard to say goodbye. I don’t know if you get attached to “inanimate objects”, but we do. After they’ve been with you a long time, they have personality and feelings. Winnie was never inanimate until her last few years. She was always on the go, scurrying across 48 of our big beautiful states from one show to the next. Winnie is short for Winnebago, our home away from home. We adopted her when she was gloriously new, with zero miles on her odometer. But eventually she got old, and when we had her towed away It was like having your dog put to sleep. Many famous stars have joined us at Winnie’s kitchen table. One morning I was in the bathroom when Misty called to me: “Jack, George and Tammy are here.” Among the other visitors were Waylon Jennings, Grandpa Jones, Archie Campbell, Skeeter Davis, Faron Young, Conway Twitty, and on and on. Winnie should have been bronzed and put in the Hall of Fame. There should have at least been a funeral ceremony. Can bagpipes play country music? Maybe we’re crazy, but we said some teary goodbyes, patted her walls affectionately, and thanked her for the years of fun and comfort. We left before she was towed away by a wrecker... probably to a junkyard. We couldn’t watch. We still feel sad when we think of her, and even a little guilty. Winnie was a big part of our life. She took care of us, and the very least I could do was write this. Copyright © March 2, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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March 1st, 2013... LOST TIME. High on the mountain curves of The Blue Ridge Parkway both of our left rear dual wheel tires blew out with a shotgun blast. Our big motor home lurched and swayed, and our equipment trailer tried to pull us over the cliff. A Seven-Up bottle had ripped the tires apart, and I fought the heaving monster to the shoulder of the two-lane road, where it shivered and died. Dead silence. Misty and I were in shock. Our traveling companion, Pat Patrick, showed no emotion. As usual. We couldn’t raise any help on our CB radio, and nobody had cell phones then. It was early gray winter and the bare trees were black lace against the sky. We were stranded in a Currier and Ives Christmas card. Pat said calmly: “I can fix it.” I thought I deserved a good panic first but he left the bus and got the tools from the trunk. We followed, still in a daze. He assessed the situation, examined the guilty pop bottle as evidence, and then he slid under the crippled dinosaur. Misty said, “You really shouldn’t be under there.” Pat said, “Hand me the jack, please.” The jack looked small and wobbly, as Pat pumped it up. There was a little glaze of ice on the asphalt. The jack slipped and the big rig dropped to within a half inch of his face. He didn’t blink or utter a sound. He scraped off a patch of ice and tried again. When we were moving down the road a few minutes later, I looked over at him and said, “Thanks, Pat!” From the co-pilot seat he looked ahead through the windshield and said, “No problem.” Pat Patrick and I were friends for a while, but, being me, I wanted to be friends for life. Being Pat, he was basically a loner. He was a former Green Beret and an intellectual with strong opinions. I made him laugh a lot with my smart alec comments, and I liked that he got the jokes, but we also got into philosophical debates, followed by quiet spells, while each of us thought the other just didn’t get it. I’m never nervous on stage, but I’m always a mess just before going on. Pat and I would play chess right up to the minute they called me. He always won, but it stopped my pre-stage fright. We were sort of a three-piece family...Misty, Pat, and me, and like a family we occasionally did something that hurt or annoyed another. Misty lets you know loud and clear when you’re out of line, my style is to sting back with quiet words, but Pat never reacted at all. All these years later I realize he was letting it build up inside. When the negativity reached a certain level he just faded out of our life. He was the guy who carried our heavy sound equipment, scared reluctant show promoters into handing over our money, and shared adventures with us all over America, but we never knew where he lived. He didn’t believe in having a telephone because they were “an invasion of privacy”. He used pay phones. I missed having Pat around and tried to find him for a long time. I finally heard that he owned a little antique store called “The Rusty Duck”. I went to see him and at first we didn’t recognize each other. I looked pretty much the same, but Pat had had a stroke. He was shaky and white haired. We traded cordial small talk for a few minutes, and held back decades of words. Recently I heard that Pat Patrick had died. I keep thinking about the years of friendship we lost and wondering why. Copyright © March 1, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
February 19th, 2013...

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LAST EARTHLY GIFT TO OUR MOTHER. As I write this it's my mother's birthday. My sister Val, a Central Florida artist and writer, published this revealing tribute, so today for the first time I have a guest columnist. "MY LAST EARTHLY GIFT TO MY MOM." By Valerie X Armstrong
For anyone who doesn't know my family well this might seem like a strange tale... For those who do know us, it's just another "business as usual" story.  We are a family of artists, writers, and musicians, sprinkled with a little Addams family vibe and an appreciation of subtle humor.  One thing is for sure...We love and respect one another deeply and always try to do the very best to make each other's lives as pleasant as possible. We share some of the same traits or idiosyncrasies, nothing terribly weird, just, we like to sit in the aisle seat at theaters, preferably the back row.  We like to be alone at times to reflect on the beauty of nature and embrace the calm.  We love holidays and always make a big deal of them and we don't disbelieve in the hereafter and the presence of our departed loved ones still being close to us as we go about our daily lives. My mom was a flower child before the time when they were popular.  She was gentle, highly intelligent, creative, talented,loving,and cool. A modern day wood nymph. She left this earthly plane on August 5, 1981.  I wanted to have her buried in a setting befitting her personality.  The problem was, at the time, I was short of funds...I picked out a very nice cemetery near where we lived so I could visit often.  There were some lovely available spots but they were out of my price range.  I had to settle for a spot that I could afford, which I knew my mother would have hated, but I had no choice at the time. I felt so guilty leaving her there, crowded among strangers, in the middle of the shadeless park, when I knew how much she disliked being in the sun.  She was a redhead and avoided the sun at all costs.  I promised her that day, that I would do what ever I could to get her some shade. Several years later when my finances had improved, I decided to have mom moved to one of those beautiful spots I couldn't afford before.  It was right next to a little woodsy park like area..It was the aisle seat with trees and shade and no one else between her and the lovely lush natural woodsy area, so her spirit could cavort with the sprites on a moonlit night. On Halloween day 1987, a small group of family members gathered at the cemetery with a few seasonal refreshments, and witnessed the moving of my mother from the one spot I knew she would have hated to another that I knew she would have loved.  We gave thanks for being able to do one last thing for mom that we felt she would have thought was the coolest thing ever.  We cried and reminisced about the wonderful former Halloweens we had all spent together and we talked about this day being one we would never forget, and then we smiled. Valerie X Armstrong Thanks, Val, for this wonderful tribute to our mother, and the brilliant sketch of our unusual family. Jack Blanchard Copyright © February 19, 2013 by Valerie X Armstrong. All rights reserved.
February 13th, 2013...

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MISTY'S REVENGE. I was shocked when Misty told me what she had done, I said, "You're KIDDING!" She wasn't. Here's how it started: The couple we liked moved to Oregon, and a real idiot took their place in the house next door. We tried to be friendly, but when we'd look at this guy or his wife, they'd look away, avoiding eye contact. They ignored our presence but they seemed to know who we were. I know that because when he took his big German Shepherd out, we heard him tell the dog: "Go over in Misty's yard and do it". I'm pretty sure he suspected that we'd called the cops when he was beating his wife. We had. He was a sweetheart. He had two cars and a two-car garage. He needed two cars because he'd wreck one every weekend. The other was a spare. Once, when he came home drunk he ran into the center post between the garage stalls and knocked it down. For an encore he came home stewed and smashed into his spare car. Meanwhile, our property was filling up with German Shepherd doo-doo. A cruel friend said this to me: "It's good luck to step in it." Somehow I didn't feel lucky. Misty apparently had had enough of this guy. She took a trowel out to the yard, picked up each pile, one by one, and carefully threw them at the side of the jerk's house. She took particular aim at the screened windows. This time HE called the law. The policeman came to our door and asked us if we had done the dirty deed. Instead of denying it, Misty said: "I was just returning his own property." I cringed. She was proud of it. The cop said, "That's against the law." and tried not to smile. Nobody went to jail. In a way we won and in a way we didn't. The moron never cleaned the side of his house, and, of course, it was the side facing us. Copyright © February 13, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
February 6th, 2013...
Another new book with a nice section about us. Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/b2kcbqp

February 2nd, 2013...

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VIET NAM VET KIDNAPPED. Our friend Mike Miller was kidnapped last week. Mike is a Viet Nam vet who saw the worst that war had to offer. Two or three years ago he got cancer, diabetes, and other deadly effects of Agent Orange, which had hidden out in his liver for decades. He had had a number of major surgeries and came through them, over a hundred pounds thinner, but still with his musical ability and sense of humor. We drive to the Jacksonville area to visit Mike and his wife Wanda, and we talk and laugh often on the phone. Mike is as sane as you and me. He's probably saner than I am. He has to take a lot of medication for his physical health and his PTSD. Occasionally the medication needs to be adjusted if he's not feeling well. He went to the emergency room in a Florida hospital last week to see about getting his prescriptions adjusted. It was a different place from the one where he usually goes. They put him to sleep with something and he woke up in a mental facility. They had Baker Acted him with no explanation, and kept him for a week. His wife had no idea where he was. Nobody did. The place was filthy, the staff were terrible, and there were mentally ill patients there along with perfectly sane ones who had also been shanghaied. One man said he was terribly sick and the nurse fluffed him off with a glass of water, which he immediately threw up. Mike told them "This man is really sick! Call 911 or you'll be in trouble!" The medics from the ambulance said the guy was seriously dehydrated and they hurried him away. The place was dirty, violent, cruel, and the food was inedible. They get $550 a day for each patient they capture and keep. Mike has consulted his regular doctors since, and they say he is not mentally unstable in any way, and that he has been victimized. They even threatened Mike with loss of benefits. He has learned since that they have no authority to do that, or to threaten him. He has written to a lot of important people in associated government positions, and he wrote this: "If my phone doesn't ring soon I'm going to the press with this." Mike is our friend, so I'm making as much noise as I can. We want people to know what's going on. Copyright © February 2, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 31st, 2013...

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ALFALFA. (A special edition) I started working for gangsters when I was about 18. They liked me because I looked innocent, and that makes for a good front man. I was just reading about Carl Switzer, the actor who played Alfalfa in The Our Gang Comedies of the 1930s. I met him in Miami shortly before he was shot to death over money. I was managing two clubs for The Mob, both clubs in the same building. The club owner was a notorious money lender and killer. I got talking to a guy at the bar. He said, "I was the original Alfalfa." He wore a suit, looked about 30, and seemed very edgy. This was 1958, and I was surprised to read that he was killed in January, 1959. Copyright © January 31, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 29th, 2013...

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JUST ANOTHER COLUMN TO CHEER YOU UP. My first studio session in the late 1950s there was no mix. Just mike placement. This was recorded mono to acetate disc. No tape. If you didn't like the take you threw the disc in the trash and started over with new discs until it was right. A fan said "You two are better than ever, What's your secret?" I said "We have always been motivated by bill collectors." We've performed in stadium shows where I wished I had lip synced. It was like singing into a bucket of live bait. I just asked Misty what we're having for dinner. She said "Spaghetti and moth balls." SIGNS IN A BAR... "The piano player will become temporary manager in case all other employees are dead." and... "For your safety: Please don't feed the band." OMG! There's a program on with girls screaming for Justin Bieber and I can't find the remote! "I wish I was an Oscar Meyer wiener." Do you remember that little Freudian commercial? The airlines never say "crashed". They say, "The aircraft descended to an altitude below that of the runway." Misty brought home Chicken Tidbits. I didn't know chickens had tidbits. When startled, armadillos have a habit of jumping three feet straight up. My Aunt Bess had that same habit. SIGN: "Trespassers will be violated." I actually had a drink with Richard Nixon. and I had dinner with Joe DiMaggio. Did they ever call or write? No. I feel so used! I was playing football in the street with other kids. When cars came by we'd stand back by the curbs. I didn't stand back enough and this huge vehicle stopped right on top of my foot. The driver got out to see if I was hurt, and all I could do was keep pointing at the wheel on my foot, like Lassie trying to tell that Jimmy fell in the well. Or was it Timmy? I don't think that matters to a dog. Now they're talking about regulating our caffeine intake. Soon we'll never have to make a decision for ourselves. I wonder when they'll start regulating my underwear? I wish somebody would. In Groucho Marx's last days, his friend George Fenneman, who was also old and not very strong, was helping Groucho from his wheelchair to his bed. As they were struggling, Groucho said, "Fenneman, you always were a lousy dancer." About 30 years ago the TV showed a "Please Stand By" message. That's what I've been doing ever since. "No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously." Will Campbell I was a country singer for the FBI. Copyright © January 29, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 22nd, 2013...

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BEFORE AND AFTER. Time flies when you're having life. We've had a lot of good times, but I seem to remember the bad ones more clearly. It seems to go more slowly when we're younger. Now I get up, watch a couple of reruns, and the day is over. 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.. Luckily, a lot of our life is recorded in photographs and in our music. It still kinda seems like somebody else. Here's a Before & After picture: I can't help staring at the young me in pictures with some kind of morbid curiosity, I'm comparing him to the the present me. The older me wins a few games, but not the series. I must admit I sort of envy that young guy. I know he's in for a lot of hard knocks, bizarre adventures, and some tragedy, but he has plenty of time on his side. I've been inches from violent death more than once, in desperate situations that seemed to have no way out, and yet somehow I survived. I met Misty only by the wildest string of coincidences, and she has given me me hope and direction. I'm beginning to think that I was meant to come this far down this improbable path. I was in the ER a couple of years ago, and the nurse asked me if I wanted "heroic measures" to keep me alive. I said "You betcha. NOBODY pulls the plug on me. I got things to do." Anyway... you spend a bunch of decades learning stuff, and when you just about get it all right...time's up. That's not good planning. I object to this system. Who do you complain to? Is there an 800 number? Copyright © January 22, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 21st, 2013...
Another new song by Jack Blanchard & Michael Warner. Demo by Michael Warner. Click here to listen... http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12119550 We're having fun writing five songs long distance in just a few weeks. Michael's in Australia and we're in Florida. Hope you get a smile out of this one. Jack & Misty (and Michael).

January 11th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
I'D RATHER EAT GLASS. I'm never tense during a live stage show. I'm ALWAYS a wreck on TV shows. What makes the difference is this: Control. At a stage performance we can instruct the sound guys, get the equipment set up just right, and have the lighting the way we want it. And, most importantly, it's OUR show. We can read the audience and set the pace accordingly. We're in control. On a TV show, we have to stand on a tape mark that somebody else put there, and usually I can't hear myself sing because the monitors are set for the normal human voice. I don't own a normal human voice. For one thing, I sing lead in the bass range, which most TV engineers don't seem to understand. It's somebody else's show. Some directors like you to play to the cameras, and some don't. They never tell you which. In a show we did with Ralph Emery on TNN, I was standing on my mark, singing by the seat of my pants because I couldn't hear myself. When a camera red light would go on, I'd play to that one, and the director would immediately switch to another camera. I played eye tag with the cameras through most of the song, and never won a round. Misty is calm on TV. Her voice can cut through a brass band. She doesn't care about the sound monitors, because she can just sing louder. I have often wanted to hide behind her. She doesn't concern herself with finding her tape mark on the floor, but usually gets to it okay, while I'm like Sherlock Holmes looking for a clue. To me, the worst was a show we did with Jackie Gleason, Mike Douglas, and Frank Fontaine, live from the Miami Beach Auditorium. We had to show up for rehearsal at about noon. We had special orchestra charts written for the occasion, and we'd never heard them before. While we were rehearsing, Jackie Gleason and Mike Douglas were sitting in the fifth row, watching us. My tension started to build. Then there was a four or five hour wait until the show started. Plenty of time to relax, right? Wrong! Plenty of time to get my panic into high gear! We were backstage talking to Gleason when he was introduced with a fanfare. He was so cool! He went and stood just behind the curtain and seemed to count to a hundred while the applause gained momentum, then he walked briskly onstage. He didn't want to step on his applause, and he didn't want it to die down. His perfect timing told him the exact second to make his appearance. I was impressed. Jackie Gleason wasn't anything like Ralph Kramden. He was intelligent and dignified, wearing a dark blue suit with a flower in the lapel. When Misty and I were introduced, we walked briskly out from behind the curtain, and she walked right past our mark to a wrong one about eight feet farther front. My panic gong rang. She didn't even notice. The directors, producers, and camera people had to move fast to find her. I had no choice but follow her to my doom. I looked like some dumb rabbit caught in the headlights. When I go into a REAL panic my voice goes up into Dolly Parton's range. I have never sung worse, or looked stupider. Misty and the orchestra sounded great. The directors and camera crew looked at us with venom, but I was the only one who noticed. Misty still thinks the show went nicely, so I'm alone in my grief. After we did our fiasco, Jackie and Mike led the applause, and we sat down to talk. This part was where I hope I redeemed myself by debating spiritualism with Jackie Gleason for twelve minutes. I let him win. We have a videotape of it somewhere around here, but I've just never felt up to looking for it. I hate watching myself on TV. I'd rather eat glass than go through it again. Copyright © January 11, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 10th, 2013...
Announcing a new song by Jack Blanchard & Michael Warner... Click this link to listen: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12099270

January 8th, 2013...

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
WRITING SERIOUS LYRICS. I can't tell a songwriter how to write, but I can describe some of my methods that others may find helpful. On a serious lyric I try to avoid cleverness. It sucks the sincerity right out of it. First I stare out the window a while and mentally put myself in a place and situation, and see where it goes from there. In my case, most of them are places and situations I've been in. I set the scene with a few details I call "furniture", to get the feel of it, then the story develops from that. I have some examples. "Dandelions that grow along the highway, Silver gray they blow away like foam. Trucks roll by and make the blackbirds fly away. Seems like there ain't no goin' home." I was broke and hitchhiking in the rain outside Phenix City, Alabama. I had a hangover, a new sore tattoo, and no home to go to. Until then I'd thought I was the happy wanderer. I was hitching vaguely northward because I had remnants of a family somewhere up there. "Spent what I had left in Phenix City. Nothin' in my pocket but my comb. The way I look this morning ain't so pretty. It seems like there ain't no goin' home. Oh, it seems like there ain't no goin' home." I had walked away from a couple of relationships, thinking there would always be another waiting in the wings. I found you can't depend on that. These were not perfect relationships, but on that journey I could have used a partner. "Over on the hill I see a farmer, Workin' in his field behind a mule. There'll be smoke from the chimney of his cabin, In the evening when the air is turning cool; And a woman cookin' supper in the kitchen. That's not for me, you see my freedom's all I own. Here and there I get my share of lovin', But it seems like there ain't no goin' home. Yeah, it seems like there ain't no goin' home." After a lot of rides to nowhere that left me stranded in desolate places, I wound up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with the flu. It was cold and all I had for warmth was a fold up plastic raincoat. The town was having a centennial, and a bunch of good-natured men, including a sheriff, wanted to arrest me for not having a beard, as I was sitting shaking in the Greyhound station. I had somehow come up with bus fare to Buffalo, where relatives agreed to take me in, but the bus driver didn't want to let me on the bus because of my shaking, and the awful way I looked, and the wrinkled plastic I was clutching around myself. But it must have turned out all right because I'm still here, and I got a song out of it. You can hear the song here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=8081265 (This song is also our current release on WHP Comp. #141.) Copyright © January 8, 2013 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 4th, 2013... A few years back, Jack wrote a few lyrics that remained just that... lyrics. Until last year. Enter Michael Warner. I know very little about Michael (save that he's from somewhere in Victoria, Australia)... and he plays the guitar. And sings. And also composes. And he's taken three of Jack's lyrics and set them to music. And now, the results are here. And at least one of them is on the new WHP compilation! Here's the one that started it all... "THE GOODBYE SONG", now on WHP Records compilation #141. Click on the picture for the YouTube video. For slower connections listen to the audio here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12057503 WHP DOWNLOADS FOR RADIO HERE: http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/whpvol141/
THE GOODBYE SONG When I'm gone you'll find that I won't be here anymore. When I go I'll say goodbye and walk out through the door. Then you'll see it won't be me that's with you as before. When I'm gone you'll find that I won't be here anymore. (SECOND VERSE) When I'm gone if you're alone you'll know that I'm not here. When I go if I’m far away you'll know I won't be near. Then you'll see it won't be me that's with you as before. When I'm gone you'll find that I won't be here anymore. (CHORUS) Goodbye - Goodbye - I think you ought to know... It doesn't mean I'm going to stay, It means I'm going to go. Goodbye - Goodbye - The sun comes up at dawn. You'll find I won't be here no more, Honey, when I'm gone." Lyrics © Jack Blanchard 2001, 2012. Music by Michael Warner ©2012. Published by Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.
And here's links to a couple more Blanchard/Warner collaborations...

Enjoy. YFNW™, Jerry
January 3rd, 2013... Patti Page passed away at age 85. In the obituary they mentioned "Tennessee Waltz" and other of her hits, but nothing about her great recording of "Old Cape Cod". So now I've mentioned it and I feel a little better. She was about to get a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. Well deserved, but a little late. - Jack.

52,000 intelligent, good-looking readers.
THE MYSTERIOUS PHONE CALL. My sister Virginia passed away Easter weekend, 2002, after a prolonged stay in hospitals and nursing homes. Much of her suffering during the last few years was due to horrible healthcare workers, arrogant doctors, and the wrong medications they prescribed. Ginny deserved better. She was in poor health and nearly blind most of her life, and was the closest thing to a saint I've ever encountered. She was cheerful and funny even after all her suffering, and never hurt anyone in her life. One night in 2005, at 11PM, I got a phone call from Ginny. The call came in on our private line, known only to friends and relatives, and the Caller ID said "BLOCKED NUMBER". I never pick up on blocked calls, but this time I did. It was, after all, our private number, and I thought maybe somebody close to us might be in trouble. It was Virginia. I know that voice, probably better than my own. I was covered with chills and goose pimples from head to foot, and had to hang on to something to keep from falling. At first the voice was soft and distant, and I said "Hello?" Her tone sounded desperate and pleading. Then I recognized words: "I can't find my ball." "Who is this?” I asked. "I've lost my ball", she said a little more emphatically. "What ball did you lose?” I asked. I already knew who it was, and I didn't understand any of this weirdness, but my reaction was to try and help my kid sister. The voice on the line started to fade away, still pleading for help I couldn’t give. I called our sister Valerie and told her about the call. We both got chills. Then Val told me that Ginny had had trouble with one of her hands. I think it was caused by a stroke. She was given a ball to squeeze for therapy, and occasionally the ball would get lost among the bed covers. Val would enter the hospital room and ask Ginny how she was, and the reply sometimes was "I've lost my ball". We're trying to figure it all out, and have found no easy answers. Here's one remotely possible conclusion. We had a lot of trouble with hospital staff, and threatened to sue them more than once. We may have gotten an employee fired, and angry at us. This is pretty far-fetched, but barely possible. A disgruntled employee could have recorded Ginny's voice, and is trying to scare us for revenge. But why would he or she wait three years? The hospital did have our private phone number. Today Valerie received a call from a rest home in Minneola, a nearby town. She found the number on her Caller ID this morning. They had left no message. Could a worker who is holding a grudge be working there? The easiest explanation is that it was a call from a ghost. What doesn't seem to fit is this... Our sister Virginia would be in a better place, and not still suffering after death. If I get another blocked number call on our private line, I am going to pick it up. Copyright © 2005, 2013 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 1st, 2013...

Last year's New Year's Eve party in our trailer... On behalf of Jack and Misty, we wish you all a very happy New Year! Jerry, your friendly neighborhood webmeister.

Oh, one more thing... As is our custom around here, all the 2012 news will now be found on our 2012 Old News page.

Oh, one thing more... A great big hurkin' round of applause and howdy to our new guestbook hosts, 123Guestbook.com! (See? Told ya we'd find a replacement!)

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