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"The Fairytale Behind The Song"
Once upon a time
a young couple lived on the edge of starvation...
but still managed to come up with beer money.
They had no cash or college degrees,
and they were too nervous to steal,
so they chose music as their life's endeavor.
Cars and houses were being repossessed
faster than they could replace them,
and times were hard.
There were trolls under every bridge,
and wolves at the door,
but they had each other, their music,
and more than their fair share of desperation.
He sat down and tried to write a song.
He printed "Notes in a Birdbath" at the top of the legal pad page,
and wrote a few lines of a story that went like this:
A guy's wife had left him,
he was drinking beers,
writing notes to her,
putting the notes in the empty bottles,
and throwing the bottles with the messages into the birdbath.
Sort of like a person stranded on an island
tosses bottled notes into the sea.
In this case, he was drunk,
the notes were not being delivered to anybody,
and the birds were getting dirty and annoyed.
He ran out of ideas before he ran out of song,
and the legal pad was tossed on The Heap of Lost Things.
Years went by
and the semi-young musicians were still screwed up.
He sat on the porch, still trying to write songs.
He blamed his guitar, the weather, and General Mills
for his failure.
Desperation grew into a magic force,
and suddenly a complete song popped into his maturing brain.
It was funny and had a good beat, but no title.
They sang the song together and laughed at its weirdness.
(To listen to the song, click here):
Later that night, they were given the title:
Take away the trees
and the birds'll have to sit upon the ground.
Take away their wings
and the birds'll have to walk to get around.
Take away the birdbaths
and dirty birds will soon be everywhere.
Take away their feathers
and the birds will walk around in underwear.
Take away their (whistle)
and the birds'll have to whisper when they sing.
Take away their common sense
and they'll be heading southward in the spring.
Oh, remember me, my darling, when spring is in the air,
And the ballheaded birds are whispering everywhere.
When you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear,
That's the Tennessee Birdwalk.
How about some trees
so the birds won't have to sit upon the ground?
And how about some wings
so the birds won't have to walk to get around?
And how about a birdbath or two
so the birds will all be clean?
And how about some feathers
so their underwear no longer will be seen?
How about a little (whistle)
so the birds won't have to whisper when they sing?
And how about some common sense,
So they won't be blocking traffic in the spring?
Oh, remember me, my darling
when spring is in the air
And the ballheaded birds
are whispering everywhere
When you see them walking southward
in their dirty underwear
That's the Tennessee Birdwalk
* * *
The song became a big hit,
and the middle aged couple lived happily ever after...
so far, anyway.
(Song recorded by Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan.)
Copyright © January 20, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. Lyrics © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI).
All rights reserved.