Thursday, October 29, 2020

A LETTER FROM AN OLD FRIEND Jack Blanchard's Column, October 29, 2020

Thousands of readers around the world


I get mail from amateur songwriters,
many of them past acquaintances
who feel something is due them for associating with me
before I was of any practical use.
I got one like this a while back.
Notes in parentheses are mine.

"Hi, Jack! Sorry about taking so long to answer your letter
(Note -- Eight Years),
but we've had company from out of town.
We were just talking about you the other day
after we noticed your albums in the stores up here.
You look great, even with the long hair and strange clothes.
Have you put on weight?
(Note - He just killed any chance of a favor.)

"Do you remember the cold winter night
I gave you a lift down to the gas station
to get kerosene for your heater
after the gas and electric companies had shut you off?
And I'd have run you all the way back home through the blizzard,
except for the smell of the kerosene.
You know I would have.

"Well, you finally made it, didn't you?
Everybody up here always knew you would.
We were just kidding
when we used to call you a no-good bum.
HA -- HA. We were just trying to put some spunk into you,
and you'll have to admit -- IT WORKED!

"Since you are an old friend
I am giving you first crack at the enclosed original song.
If you don't record it I'll have to send it to Johnny Cash,
so let me know right away, and don't worry, it's copyrighted.

"Your old kerosene buddy,

The following is the hit song he enclosed:

"When I'm gone - you'll find that I won't be here anymore
When I go - I'll say goodbye and walk out thru 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.

"When I'm gone - if you're alone,
you'll know that I'm not here
When I go - if I am 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.

"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."

Here's the answer I wrote to my dear old friend:

"Dear Robert,

"In unbiased critical appraisal
I must admit that your lyric has a certain steadfastness,
not leaving the slightest worry in the listener's mind
as to the protagonist's departure.

"It drives home the point and makes its title known
with a repetitiveness highly valued in the commercial field.
Its simplicity is to be complimented
as well as its portrayal of a situation in which each of us has found himself
at one time or another.

"The first-person style and identifiability of the characters
only strengthen the argument
that you have invested the total of your talent in this one grand effort.

"In consideration of the above,
and in sincere gratitude for the kerosene you took me to get,
I cannot, in good conscience, stand in the way of you and Johnny Cash.
Please send it to him and take all the credit for yourself.
Don't mention me at all.
Heaven knows you deserve it.

"Your old friend,
    Mr. Blanchard"

Jack Blanchard.

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan.

Grammy Nominees. Billboard Duet of the Year.
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