Wednesday, February 20, 2019

On This Day in Music - “Grey Tuesday” brings mashups to the mainstream

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“Grey Tuesday” brings mashups to the mainstream 2004
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The phenomenon known as the “mashup” can be traced back through at least several decades of radio DJs and record producers manipulating, or “remixing,” one or more existing recordings to create a new musical work. With the rise of digitally distributed music and of inexpensive, sophisticated production technologies in the late 1990s, however, the phenomenon was radically democratized, and a trend was born—a trend that reached its highest level of public awareness with the event known as “Grey Tuesday,” which took place on this day in 2004.

Grey Tuesday was a well-organized, one-day effort to distribute from as many Internet sources as possible a controversial work called The Grey Album, created by the American DJ/Producer Brian Joseph Burton, aka Danger Mouse. Burton lived in England in the early 2000s, at a time when the mashup phenomenon exploded in the UK thanks to a radio program called “The Remix,” which invited its listeners to send in their own examples of what was also known as “bastard pop.” Among the most popular and creatively successful mashups introduced on “The Remix” were: Freelance Hellraiser’s “A Stroke of Genie-us” (2001), which paired Christina Aguilera’s vocal from “Genie in a Bottle” with the instrumental track of The Strokes’ “Hard To Explain;” and Go Home Productions’ brilliantly titled “Ray of Gob” (2003), which combined Madonna’s “Ray of Light” with the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” and “God Save the Queen.”

Burton’s inspiration for The Grey Album came in December 2003 while listening to the Beatles’ White Album shortly after hearing an a capella version of Jay-Z’s Black Album. Over an intense two-week period, Burton constructed a brand-new version of the Jay-Z album layered over beats and samples lifted from the Beatles. Burton created The Grey Album only to share among his friends, so he never even tried to clear the rights to the Beatles samples it contained. Even as The Grey Album caught on as a word-of-mouth Internet phenomenon, Burton’s only concern was a creative one: “I’m just worried whether Jay-Z will like it, or whether Paul and Ringo will like it.”

It is fair to say that EMI, the owners of the rights to the Beatles’ master recordings, did not. The intensity of their legal response to The Grey Album, however, did not sit well with vocal Internet opponents of the music industry, and Grey Tuesday was organized in protest. On that day, hundreds of websites organized to offer Burton’s album for free download in defiance of EMI. That protest, and its attendant publicity, combined to make The Grey Album the most widely distributed mashup album in history.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column February 19, 2019 Our Valentine's Day Robbery


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

© Jack Blanchard, 2019 

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column The Comedian February 12, 2019


I sang with The Dawn Breakers quartet in a show club called The Elmwood Casino
in Windsor, Ontario, across from Detroit.
The emcee was a very funny comedian named Frankie Rapp.
I once saw him in a Jerry Lewis movie.

There was also a classy female singer named Gloria Brooks.
She was Frankie's ex-wife.and she told me she didn't like old comedians.
She'd been married to two of them.
After comedians make us laugh we expect them to be jolly in real life.
They can be quite different .

Lou Costello got 60% and Bud Abbott got 40% of their income.
When asked if he thought he needed Abbott,
Costello said, "I could have him painted on the curtain."
Misty and I have known hilarious comics who were depressives offstage..
We got involved with one who was evil.

I was producing a Starday Records artist named Rusty Diamond,
who had a knack for getting rich women as backers.
Rusty wanted to put together a Vegas type stage show.
I knew he wasn't ready for that,
so I suggested we hire a comedy coach I'd heard of.
His name was Danny Rogers.

Rusty's backer was paying for the coaching sessions,
and the rent on a rehearsal hall.
Danny could be funny, lovable, humble, devious, and cruel.
He could be different people at different moments.
He did so many characters I didn't know which was the real him.
I think he was the mean one.

He'd been fired from Milton Berle's Vegas show for being too funny.
He told me "Berle was right. It was his show."

The potential comedy group consisted of Misty and me,
Paul McLaughlin our sax player, and Rusty was to be the star.
Rogers began calling Paul "the hick" and riding him mercilessly.
I was the designated straight man, Misty was "the chick".
It never became clear what Rusty was supposed to do.
It did become clear that Rusty was not going to be the star.
Danny was getting paid to train him, but Rusty was on his way out.
It was morphing into The Danny Rogers Group.

Rogers was a terrific comedian and I was to be his Dean Martin.
He didn't even want Paul in the act. That's why he made his life miserable,
but we made sure that Paul stayed.

To be fair, Danny did teach us a lot about stagecraft and comedy.
He taught us some great routines,
but he yelled at us all the time, which took the fun out of it.
Rusty's backers pulled the plug and he left the group,
Paul "the hick" was miserable,
and Misty and I were imagining fun ways to kill Danny Rogers.

Misty bought an expensive new dress
and Danny commanded her to "Never wear that again!"
Then he booked our act into a famous showplace in the Caribbean.
We all knew at that moment
that we were not going to be on any island with Danny Rogers.
We were actually afraid to tell him. He had become the cruel warden.
But we did tell him, and he wasn't at all happy.

First he became the poor soul who's been hurt, to make us feel guilty.
He was good!
Finally he got mad, did a troll dance, and left.
(Maybe I made up the troll dance.)

Ten years later, after we'd had several hit records,
I was calling old names in our address book for some reason,
and got Danny Rogers on the phone,
I asked if he remembered us, and he said this:
"Yeah. Too bad you never made it. I'm in the diamond business now."

With all our modern technology
\we still can't strangle jerks over the phone.

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.