Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column August 20 2019


We've been stuck in a lot of dumps,
but we don't want to talk about those today.

Over morning coffee (noon), I asked Misty this:
"All in all, what do you think were the best places we've stayed or played,
like apartments, houses, motels, gigs, and so on?"
She said "That's easy" and named three.

The Sea Palms at Saint Simon's Island provided the best accommodations,
and one of the weirdest jobs of our career, so far.
St. Simon's sits in the blue Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brunswick Georgia.
The booking 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,
but we had all our keyboards and sounded like a big band.
Nobody knew who owned the place, and a rumor 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."
Within an hour everybody thought we were the secret owners,
and we became royal hosts of a month-long party.
Everybody had fun and we got paid for it.

Another place that is on the top of our list was Key Colony Beach.
The place was called a "boatel", like a motel for boats,
and was situated in the between Key Largo and Marathon, Florida.
The apartments were built on pilings, like a long pier.
Ours was the last apartment, way out in the ocean.

Porpoises played outside our big windows,
and when the tourist fishing boats would come in at sunset,
hoards of seagulls and pelicans would gather noisily,
for the leftover fish that was tossed overboard.

The Steinway grand piano in the dining room was still upside down,
the way Hurricane Donna had left it.
When a bunch of guys turned it right side up for Misty,
it played beautifully.

In the restaurant/lounge we had our five piece band.
At the entrance there was a huge decorative champagne glass
that bubbled as long as it was plugged in.
Nobody in our band drank, so when customers would buy us cocktails
we'd dump them in the fake champagne glass.
We thought it continually brought in new bubbly water, but it didn't.
Soon there were swirling orange peels, olives, and other garbage,
and the imitation champagne was taking on a peculiar color.
When we realized our mistake we tried to look innocent.
The owner was a nice guy and never brought it up.

Our drummer made friends with the chef,
and smuggled out a couple of live lobsters to take to his apartment.
They were tied up and handcuffed, or whatever they do to lobsters,
so, in a hurry, Roy stashed them on the bumper of his car,
which was parked in a dark place.
They either escaped or were stolen,
and Roy cursed the lousy crooks
who would stoop so low as to steal his stolen lobsters.

One foggy summer night we got lost
and checked into a lodge on top of the mountain at Lake Arrowhead.
We got up the next morning,
pulled the cord on the drapes that covered a whole wall,
and they opened onto a huge picture window.
Outside, the mountain forest was covered in two feet of new snow,
without a sign of life, except for some rabbit tracks by our window.
The most beautiful real-life Christmas card we've ever seen…
in California…in June.

I may have told you all this before, but we wanted to hear it again.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan...
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists. 

© Jack Blanchard, 2019 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column Seasons August 12, 2019


Autumn is my favorite time of year a season of moods.
The first chill after summer has worn out its welcome...
That's when I start to feel the holidays coming on.
Not that we do any big celebrating these days
but it's the remembering of celebrations past,
and those who were with us during good times.
The empty places at our table.

I write more songs during the remnants of the year
when emotions are nearer to the surface,
the past is just over our shoulder,
and old voices whisper in our ear.

ONE WINTER, when it was minus 35 degrees and windy in Minnesota,
Misty and I stayed in a cement floor cabin on a lake shore.
I heard what sounded like whale sounds.
It was the frozen lake groaning as it expanded.
We had recently had such bad times
that we were thankful to be there with friends close by at Christmas.
We didn't mind the cold.

When we played Walt Disney World
Roy Clark and Hank Williams, Jr. were at the ends of the park,
and we were at the center stage.
We were assigned a guide for the day. He looked 12 years old.
Misty thought he was a boy and called him honey and sweetie,
and he liked it.
Turns out he was a Disney Vice President.
He must have started out as a duck and worked his way up.

After a week's shows at Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheater,
Boots Randolph threw a party for the artists.
Later in the party, there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door
when medics rushed in with a stretcher.
Roy Clark grinned, raised his glass, and said goodbye to everybody.
Then he made himself comfortable on the stretcher,
and was carried out to the ambulance.
He was late and had a plane to catch.


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the park,
One trailer was leaky and covered with tarp.
On the wall were two cards where you taped them up.
By the light of a candle I poured us a cup.
Our tree on the table was scrawny and thin...
A foot and three quarters of plastic and tin.
The carolers sang on our clock radio,
It's the thought, after all, that counts, as you know.
The snow on the window, the smell of the pine,
Were sprayed from a can, but we didn't mind.
No money, no shopping, no last minute rush.
Christmas with love is Christmas Enough.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists

Jack Blanchard, 2019  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column Me And Roger Miller


When I was trying to figure how this voice of mine,
and the way I write songs would fit into the music business,
Roger Miller was a great help to me.
His voice and style of writing were in the same category as mine:..
No category.
My first few country songs had a strong Miller influence.
Most people didn't hear it, but I did.

I was and am a Roger Miller fan.
I don't know why, but "Engine #9" is my favorite.
It doesn't have the depth of "Husbands and Wives",
but it is a minimalist gem.
Simple is good.

Every word, every phrase in his songs adds something to the whole.
No fill ins. That's what I've always tried for in my work.
Any word that doesn't add something, erase it.
I learned a lot from him.

Misty and I were doing a session at Columbia Studio B.
Roger's session in studio A was already going on.
We took a few minutes and watched through the window in the door.
I remember hearing him say over the microphone,
"Let's go, folks. We're losin' light".

Right in the middle of our session Roger walked in,
carrying a brief case, and stood by the door, listening.
I stopped everything and told Misty I had to go meet Roger Miller
and tell him what a fan I was.

Just as I approached him with my hand out, he said,
"Hi, Jack. I'm a fan of yours."
One of the best moments of my life.

The last time I saw him was at a party he hosted
at the King of the Road Motel.
He wove through the crowd to greet us, and we got talking.
He must have heard one of our interviews,
because he asked me what I meant when I said
that he was responsible for me getting into country music.
Here's where I did a stupid human trick.
I will never know why, but I said this:
"I was just trying to get your attention."

He looked at me funny and drifted off into the crowd.
I could have told him all that I've told you here, but I didn't.
And now I never can.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan...
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists

Jack Blanchard, 2019  

Monday, July 29, 2019

HOMELESS IN MIAMI (Part Two.)_Jack Blanchard's Column


(Part Two)

We parked in front of the Intercity Finance office and went in.
The woman behind the counter took our car payment money and gave us a receipt.
Just as we were about to leave she asked:
"Why do you have the car packed with clothing and bags?"
I was still young and honest, so I said,
"It was a choice between our rent and the car payment. We decided to pay you".

She asked us to please wait for a moment, and went into the back somewhere.
She came back and said their legal department ruled that without an address,
we couldn't keep the car.
We told her we had just given her all our money, but she wouldn't return it.

This was the help she gave us:
She would allow us to keep our things locked in the car, at her office,
until Monday, when they would reopen.
If we had an address by then we could have the car.
We were broke, homeless, and with no transportation,
facing the long weekend ahead.

We didn't know which way to turn as we went out into the late afternoon heat.
For some reason we hitchhiked to Hollywood.
Maybe because we had worked around there,
and might run into somebody we knew.
The sun went down fast, the way it does in south Florida, and we got hungry.
I knew the family that owned Jimmy's Italian Restaurant.
The son was sort of a friend of mine.
He gave us dinner and we promised to pay later.

Midnight came and went and we were still walking.
No luck anywhere.
We were sitting on a bench in the big circle in the center of town.
Directly in front of us was the old Hollywood Hotel,
a castle left over from the Al Capone days.
I remembered that I'd met somebody who told me he was the night clerk there.

We went in and I asked the guy if he had a place we could sleep for free.
He said "Well it's now 3 AM, the day clerk doesn't come on till seven,
so I can let you sleep in a room for four hours."
We took the deal.

Somehow we got through it,
but things didn't get much better for a long time.
We didn't know that we would eventually have hit records.

Part Two.

After being homeless on the street for several days, broke and without a car,
we got the car back from the finance company.
It died and we left it on a street and told the finance people where it was.

My mother didn't have money but she drove us around to find a place to live
and gave us a few dollars to get a room by the week
in the worst dump ever, on a slum street.
An old dark green window shade, a single bare light bulb hanging on a wire.
Shared bathroom down a creepy hallway.
No food allowed in the room.
When we were out looking for gigs they locked us out of the room with our stuff in it.
We got a junk car from some crooks with no money down, and on and on.

It took a couple of more years to get a normal old car
and an efficiency apartment in a motel.
Eventually we fought our way out of the poverty,
and bought a new three bedroom home on a VA loan.
Naturally we lost the home after about a year, but things were looking up.
We went to Key West, got signed to a four song recording contract.
and our career started.

(Note: This will probably be the first chapter in our book.}

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists

Jack Blanchard, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019