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February 14th, 2018...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

VALENTINE'S DAY, 1991. That was the day of the strong arm robbery. We were playing in Jacksonville Florida, and Misty wanted to go and buy a red blouse for Valentine's Day. She was already wearing a very nice red blouse, but I kept my mouth shut. We drove to a Pic 'n' Save store on Dunn Avenue. I dropped her off near the door and drove to the nearest parking slot. It had just gotten dark. As I was locking the car door I heard a woman scream. I had never heard Misty scream, but the sound came from where she ought to be... by the door. I started toward the building and saw a big guy running from the door area, from right to left across the front of the building, and carrying a woman's purse. He was going about 35 mph when he saw me running directly at him. He shouted: "NOOOOOOO!" We crashed head on and I knocked him across a bunch of shopping carts. I spun around, flew a few feet, and landed on the point of my index finger, like an acrobat. The finger bent into an "L", and I did a neat landing on my face. People in the parking lot closed in, held the guy down and called the police, while I looked for my glasses and bled from a variety of places. He had been running toward the high chain link fence where he was to throw the purse to his brother, who was waiting on the other side. The brother disappeared. The cops told us that if he hadn't taken at least $400 they couldn't send him away, wink, wink. Funny, that's the exact amount we reported. Meanwhile, Misty, who was also hurt from being knocked to the ground by a blow to the ear, was helping me into the store to get assistance. Something had gone wrong with my leg and I couldn't walk. The pharmacist said he couldn't help because it would be admitting liability. I'm leaning on Misty with broken glasses, an injured leg, a bent finger, and bleeding like a lawn sprinkler. I reached across the counter, grabbed the pencil out of his pocket, pushed him aside, took some tape from a shelf, and made a rough splint for my finger. The next day we went to a walk-in medical clinic where the doctor put a splint on my finger backwards, Later I turned it around. I was on crutches for a couple of months and the crook went to jail. We sued the store and came out of it with a nice used car. Since then I don't forget Valentines Day as I used to. Copyright © February 14, 2018 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

February 9th, 2018...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

STILL MORE ODDS AND ENDS. THE BALLET EXPERIMENT. Business was off at the ballet. The theater manager was sharp enough to realize that not everybody likes the ballet. Some people like trombone playing. He did an extensive talent search and found a ballerina who could play the trombone. He offered her big bucks if she could learn to do both at once. The house was packed on opening night. The ballerina danced "Swan Lake" brilliantly, playing the trombone all the way until the last act, which called for a pirouette and a seventh position trombone lick at the same time. She tripped over another swan, blew her teeth to the audience, and did an ad lib five minute pain dance. I know this story is true because I was that ballerina. ******************************************************************************** 1957. When my Dawn Breakers vocal quartet,were recording for a Detroit label, we stayed at an old hotel called The Barlum. A lot of traveling show biz people stayed there. I found it had a long closed penthouse nightclub with a white grand piano. I was up there alone writing songs each night and enjoying the view of the city lights. ********************************************************************************** Miami, 1960's. Misty and I were just coming off being homeless, when a couple of musicians who had always snubbed us asked us to fill in on their gig because they had something better to do for two nights. It was in Hialeah near the race track and a winner came in and tipped us $100. We almost passed out! That was like $1,000 then. *********************************************************************************** I wrote, arranged, and conducted the music for a government documentary film about The Everglades, called "Million Acre Playground". It was good experience watching the film and getting the live band to synchronize with the scenes. I went to the premier in Ft. Lauderdale and sat through it just to see my name fly by in the credits. ********************************************************************************** Starting out, we couldn't afford a Hammond B-3 organ, so Misty got a Wurlitzer and tinkered with it. She got the keys to pop like a Hammond by putting a switch halfway on. The audiences liked to see the sparks fly in the back of the organ. *********************************************************************************** Over forty years ago we were driving in heavy traffic down a six or eight lane highway near the Pentagon. There was a small injured dog trapped in the median. When I could stop a few miles later I called the police trying to get help for the dog. The cop said. "We ain't allowed to shoot 'em." Nothing I could do. Now, four decades later, I still remember that little dog, and the look on his face, and I still feel somehow guilty. ************************************************************************************ The teacher said, "What is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?" I said, "I don't know and I don't care." * * * "Bewitch me, darling. Bewitch me." "I'll bewitch you in a minute. I'm busy." * * * A group of rabbits walking backwards is a receding hare line. * * * I don't know why the doctor gave me an anti-depressant. .. unless it's because I had my hands around his throat. * * * I'm getting crows feet, but somehow my shoes still fit. Copyright © February 9, 2018 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

January 31st, 2018...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

HOW WE RUINED LUNCH HOUR IN DULUTH. We were not recording stars, and had no idea we would ever have hit records. We were just three Florida musicians, Misty, me, and our guitar player Doug Tarrant, who somehow wound up in the north country in December. Our booking was at the Black Bear Lounge in the Hotel Duluth. Our dog, Brubeck, accompanied us on the tour. He looked like a Jack Russell Terrier, but he wasn't anything you could pin down. Brubeck would not eat dog food. He would eat cat food or a foul smelling liver and garlic concoction that Misty cooked for him. He would also eat complete motel mattresses, medium sized linoleum floors, and my better clothes. We loved him! Misty felt a need to dress Brubeck up like a rich lady's poodle. He would be led through the lobby wearing a leopard print dog coat, a hat, and four yellow boots, at least one of which was always turned around with the toe facing grotesquely backwards. He would be shaking a rear leg trying to get rid of it. This gets worse. The hotel had a classy restaurant which was below ground level. The sidewalk and snow covered grass were exactly at eye level with the lunch crowd inside. The place was packed with business people enjoying their food, when Misty's legs appeared in the far right window, then the leash, and finally what looked like a dog in a pimp suit. The pimp dog went right up to the restaurant window and proceeded with a long overdue bowel movement. Misty, totally embarrassed at being the focus of every eye in the crowd, tried her best to look like she'd never seen this dog before in her life. It didn't work, and Brubeck went earnestly on and on. Then she made it worse by trying to drag him away while he was still going. A lot worse! The lunch hour business dropped off abruptly after that. Copyright © 2017 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted b y kind permission of the author.

January 17th, 2018...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

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 boom town 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 a 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 © January 16, 2018 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

January 15th, 2018...
WATCH THIS! Amazon is selling our 29 SONG CD new for $200, used for $50 to $100!... We are offering these NEW CD-Rs, exact duplicates, art work, sound & all, personally autographed to you, for $39.95 + shipping. Email, or write Jack Blanchard, PO Box 895444, Leesburg FL 34789. (P.S.: Click on the picture for a slightly larger view.)
January 3rd, 2018... And a happy new year to everybody out there, and welcome to our first news page of 2018. (But enough about that.) Here's Jack (but...)

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

ENOUGH ABOUT ME. Misty Morgan, my wife and partner, has a photographic memory for music. I call it a "phonographic" memory. She can play any piece she hears once, even if it's just background Muzak in a store, but she does not read music. She has never sung a note off key. Her first underage jobs were with pickup combos around Tonawanda, New York. They played standards, dance music, and a little country. As a piano single, she played and sang mostly standards, Broadway, and popular songs. When I met her she was playing with a country band at The Corral Barbecue in West Hollywood, Florida, under the name "Mary Male". One night, when we had only been together a short time, we went to a club to hear an all female jazz quintet. Somebody asked her to sit in on piano, and she accepted. I was embarrassed. I said, "Honey, you don't play jazz." She just said, "I can do it." As she went on-stage, I went to the rest room. I didn't want to see it. Then I heard this great jazz piano, a mix of Oscar Petersen, Erroll Garner, and Ramsey Lewis. I went out and looked and it was Misty. She brought down the house. I said, "Where did you learn THAT?!" She calmly said, "I told you I could do it" She can play all kinds of music, and never plays anything the same twice. She is the first female entertainer I know of to play six stacked keyboards onstage. Sometimes the strings, guitars, fiddles, and many other sounds on our records are really Misty and her magic keyboards. She can blend them with Buddy Spicher, Johnny Gimbel, Vassar Clements, and other musicians, so that you can't tell. unless you were there. Her ear for sound is a valuable tool I use when mixing sessions. I can write the songs, and we work out the arrangements together, but she has the final word on the mixdowns. She was the first woman to produce a Number One country record. When I write a new song I sing it to her first. She never says it's bad. If she says, "That's really nice" I know it isn't. I have go back and work on the song until she gives the right reaction. It's sort of an excitement in her eyes... sometimes even tears. She's always right. My final editor. Everybody remarks about her unusual harmony our duets. I have no idea what she's doing and I don't want to know. It just works. On top of all this, she is the perfect straight man to my funny stuff. She folds her arms and gives me a look that says this: "Whenever you're through, dummy. We're trying to do a serious show here." The audiences love her, and so do I. Copyright © January 3, 2018 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

December 28th, 2017... (From sometime in the past.) Well, here we go again, folks. If you get the feeling you just missed last year (what was it called, anyway?), you can now find it here! (And also on the Old News page, of course.) Here's to a safe, sane and happy 2018! Happy New Year, everybody! Jerry D. Withers, Your Friendly Neighborhood Webmeister™
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