Monday, March 22, 2021

A MORNING DREAM A Morning Dream By Jack Blanchard

 

 

 A MORNING DREAM 

 

 
It was dark, except for a soft glow from somewhere.
It reminded me of a stage play performed in the dark
except for one soft spotlight above.
No scenery or props needed.

I could see dimly that we were out in the country,
from the patches of grass and dirt for about twenty feet around,
and the outline of the ancient country store through our windshield.
The large square of blackness represented a weathered wood building.
A door with an opaque window front lit our scene.

My two sisters Ginny and Val were in the back seat of the black car,
I was in the passenger seat, and our mother was behind the wheel.
They were almost silhouettes, but I could see their features.

Our little family group seemed happy, in spite of the gloom.
We were just sitting there, cheerfully talking about what we were going to do,
as if it were a vacation.

I thought I saw a back shadow dart out of the store entrance
with a garbage bag.

I couldn't understand a word of what my family was saying,
but I got the meanings.
I said, "i'm really beat! I have to go in there and get something to eat or I'll pass out. You guys go ahead, have fun, and come back and pick me up."
Then a spotlight somewhere dimmed and went to black.
End of the play.

(NOTE: My sister Val and I are alive at this writing.
Our sister Ginny and our mother are not.)

Jack Blanchard.

Written March 19th, 2021.


 

 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

THE MYSTERIOUS PHONE CALL Jack Blanchard's Column



Thousands of readers around the world

NOTE: I've written so many stories that I can't always remember when I last sent them out, so if I send one again too soon, don't tell me. It would only make me cry.

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, Three years after her death,
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.
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 they wait for three years?

Later Valerie received a call
from a rest home in Minneola, a nearby town.
She found the number on her Caller ID this morning.
They 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.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan



Grammy Nominees. Billboard Duet of the Year.
Home page: http://jackandmisty.net.
Facebook: http://facebook.com/jackandmisty.
Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.
VIDEOS: http://youtube.com/jackandmisty


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Jack Blanchard's Column,February 11, 2021


 
Thousands of readers around the world

THE TEAR

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.

Jack Blanchard 
 
 

 Jack Blanchard 
Misty Morgan



Grammy Nominees. Billboard Duet of the Year
Home page: http://jackandmisty.net.
Facebook: http://facebook.com/jackandmisty.
Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.
VIDEOS: http://youtube.com/jackandmisty

 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

VALENTINE'S DAY, 1991 Jack Blanchard's Column



Thousands of readers around the world

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 the way I used to.

Jack Blanchard

    Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan



Grammy Nominees 
Billboard Duet of the Year

HOW WE RUINED LUNCH HOUR IN DULUTH Jack Blanchard's Column







Thousands of readers around the world
 

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.

Jack Blanchard

 

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan.


Grammy Nominees. Billboard Duet of the Year

Monday, January 18, 2021

Fwd: ENOUGH ABOUT ME Jack Blanchard's Column


















Thousands of readers around the world

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, jazz, 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 her 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 of the 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 on 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.

Jack Blanchard

P.S. Misty and I have been together 24 hours a day for over half century,
I seriously miss her.

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan.


Grammy Nominees. Billboard Duet of the Year.
Home page: http://jackandmisty.net.
Facebook: http://facebook.com/jackandmisty.
Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.
VIDEOS: http://youtube.com/jackandmisty


Monday, January 4, 2021

Country Songstress Misty Morgan Passes Away At The Age Of 75

 

 

It’s never easy to say goodbye


by Paul Cashmere 

on January 3, 2021

in 

News

 

Country Star Misty Morgan 

Dies Aged 75

January 01 2021

Country singer Misty Morgan, best known for the 1970 hit ‘Tennessee Bird Walk’ with her husband Jack Blanchard, has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 75.

‘Tennessee Bird Walk’ was a number 1 hit according to Billboard in America and reached number three in Australia. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group at the 13th Grammy Awards.

 

 


Misty


That Nashville Sound

January 01 2021

Country Songstress Misty Morgan Passes Away At The Age Of 75

The new year begins as the old one ended: with sad news.  Misty Morgan has died.

Morgan, half of the duet of Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan, died New Year's Day, less than a week after being diagnosed with cancer.  According to Blanchard (her husband of 53 years), Morgan was taken to the emergency room on Christmas day.  Surgery, per his Facebook posts, revealed that she had cancer and "not more than five months or so, if we're lucky."  By New Year's Eve, Blanchard's posts went from searching for hospice care to "she can't come home." 

This evening, around 6 PM, Blanchard posted, "I was sitting in the hospital room watching Misty sleep, and she died."

Although both were from Buffalo, New York (even born in the same hospital), Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan didn't meet until 1963, in Florida.  They wed in 1967 and spent their career and lives together.

In 1970 America was blindsided by the novelty-style hit "Tennessee Bird Walk," the song about taking things away from birds that make them birds.  It went to #1 on the country charts and was a top 25 hit on the pop charts (amid things as diverse as Elvis, the Jackson Five, and Led Zeppelin).  Blanchard and Morgan would have a total of five top 40 country hits in their brief heyday, including another novelty song, "Humphrey the Camel," and the far more serious "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain," before fading from commercial popularity. 

Misty Morgan was 75.

K.F. Raizor, author of the website Raizor's Edge and the book We Can't Sing and We Ain't Funny: The World of Homer and Jethro is our guest writer today on That Nashville Sound. She's ever so gracious to provide wonderful tributes to honor those to whom the music we treasure just wouldn't be the same without. Thank you, K.F.

Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan also had another 1970 Top 40 Australian hit with ‘Humphrey The Camel’.

 

 

 

 

 

Jack and Misty would have a string of Country hits in America throughout the 1970s including ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’, ‘There Must Be Something More To Life (Than Growing Old’ and ‘Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain’.

 

In a statement on Facebook Jack Blanchard told fans,

“I was sitting in the hospital room watching Misty sleep and she died. They tell me I’m in shock so I’d better stop writing”.
Love, Jack