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"A Stupid Human Trick"

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:

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 the stupid human trick comes in.
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. 

Copyright  January 22, 2000 by Jack Blanchard. All Rights reserved.


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