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TONI'S
TAKE
- 2009 -

Toni’s Thoughts on Life, Music and Whatever...
Send your comments to: TonisTaken@aol.com
Rules & Regulations: please read...- -
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Read the LATEST Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2010
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Toni's Take / 2009
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Toni's Take / 2008
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Toni's Take / 2007
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Toni's Take / 2006

Nov. 12, 2009
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AN (UPDATED) - BIT ABOUT DARYL
- (text was recently copied & pasted below from a blog written months ago... DD)
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Now....on to other, a bit more personal, matters. Some of you have heard me mention that Daryl has developed a tremor. He has actually had it quite a while, but to a much lesser degree. It is NOT Parkinson’s Disease, thank God.

UPDATE: 11/12/2009: Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S DISEASE. - - Read more.
He was thoroughly checked out a couple of years ago for Parkinson’s at Stanford Medical Center by one of the top neurologists in the country. His condition is called Familial Tremor, and it is exacerbated by stress and anxiety.
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The problem is, whenever he is involved in a public appearance or social situation, the tremor causes him embarrassment, which then makes him anxious, which then makes the tremor worse. You get the picture. Consequently, he is less and less inclined to appear in public.



August 4, 2009
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HELLO AGAIN | CAPTAIN'S HEALTH UPDATE | TONI HAS GONE TO THE DOGS | PRESCOTT JAZZ SUMMIT

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HELLO AGAIN
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The piano tuner, a neatly dressed, polite older gentleman (probably MY age) just arrived to tune the piano for the first time since we moved into the new house. He discovered that Victor, our big tuxedo cat, had deposited a hair-ball (now old and dried up) on the hammers and strings. He suggested that perhaps, in the future, the cats should not be allowed inside the piano. Embarrassing.
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Hello there, everyone. Since my last post, I have had many, many emails from you asking for an update on how Daryl and I are doing here in Prescott. You know, we have such an ordinary life right now, it hardly seems there is anything particularly interesting to tell you. That isn’t false modesty.....it is just the truth, and we really like it this way. We’ve had ENOUGH stress and excitement over our career. Now we are striving for a very low profile in our “senior” years. I can tell you truthfully, though, that I have never had more fun in my life..... have never laughed so much or enjoyed life more.
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The years of our very busy career were pretty stressful for both of us. We loved the music, we loved the concerts, we loved our fans’ genuine pleasure and joy in hearing our music, but the other stuff that goes along with fame was uncomfortable for us both. Fame is kind of a “Pact with the Devil” anyway, in my opinion. Money, recognition, privilege come with it, but you have to give up other things that are precious to you. I wouldn’t trade any of our life and career up to this point, of course, but now is our time to concentrate on each other, family, friends, music, and how grateful we are for all that we have been given in this life.



THE CAPTAIN’S HEALTH UPDATE
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Let me update you on Daryl’s health. His tremor has been bothering him more and more, and is affecting his left hand to the degree that he can’t play up to his own high standards. His right hand is much less affected, but his favorite piano styles, boogie and blues, are dependent on the left hand. Consequently, he doesn’t play anymore and, although I have tried, I can’t get him to do any recording. He says he can’t do it right now.
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The tremor also embarrasses him and makes him even less inclined to go out to dinner, concerts, any events that would place him in a crowd. He has always been uncomfortable in social settings, but now more than ever.
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He is also still trying to fully recover from his bilateral knee surgery last October. He still doesn’t “trust” his new knees, and still uses a cane when he walks. He blames the tremor for making him feel that he might “lose his balance” and fall.
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In a couple of weeks, Daryl has an appointment with a top neurologist, Dr. Holly Shill. She practices at a cutting edge neurological research clinic in Sun City, Arizona. He will be re-evaluated to try to determine what exactly is causing his tremor, which has been previously diagnosed as Essential Tremor. We are hopeful that Dr. Shill can find a way to ease his tremor, or stop it completely.
UPDATE: 11/12/2009: Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S DISEASE. - - Read more.
We feel that, if we can get rid of the tremor, Daryl’s other problems will be greatly reduced. Daryl is a very complicated man, with many strands twisting and entwining to cause his problems. Keep a good thought that we can get this under control.



TONI HAS GONE TO THE DOGS!!!
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As for me....... I am doing just great! My broken femur has healed nicely, and I am back running Canine Agility with my Australian Shepherd, Smoky, and showing him in ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) shows. This past weekend, he picked up a four point major towards his championship. He needs two more majors to finish. The championship would be fun to earn, but it isn’t really important at all. I just have so much fun with my Aussie Shepherd friends and their dogs. They are the source of much camaraderie and laughter. I have been privileged to meet and become friends with the nicest, kindest. most “regular” gals, who all share a love for dogs, for life, and who care about and support each other. What I love most is that they treat me like a normal person. They know about my past celebrity, but that is just what I used to do for a living, and is rarely discussed, except to tease me about it. I love it!


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SMOKY AND I AT THE HOSPITAL
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As a Delta Society Pet Partners team, Smoky and I visit patients, their families and hospital staff at Yavapai Regional Medical Center here in Prescott every Thursday. Smoky has become quite a star at the hospital and has many, many fans there. He and I and two other Pet Partners teams, also go to Sedona every other Wednesday during summer to give a presentation on Pet Partners to the kids at the Sedona Humane Society Kids and Kritters Day Camp. The kids just LOVE seeing and petting the dogs and hearing about our program. I’m hoping some of them will decide to enter the Pet Partners program someday.



PRESCOTT JAZZ SUMMIT

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The Prescott Jazz Summit is coming up soon. I will be doing a big band concert here in Prescott with a 16 piece All Star band to help raise money for music scholarships and education for young musicians. I am really looking forward to singing again. I haven’t sung in public since last year, and I miss it. Since Daryl isn’t able to play yet, I can’t do Captain and Tennille music. But, at LEAST I can sing with a fabulous big band, feel that great joy when the band is cooking, and help some kids get some music education in the process!!! Sammy Nestico and Matt Catingub have done such wonderful, swinging arrangements for my big band book and I get such a kick out of sharing the music with people (as long as I don’t have to travel... no more of THAT!!!!). Rusty Higgins, my symphony and big band conductor for 20 years, is coming to Prescott to conduct for me and add his fabulous sax playing to the other jazz concerts scheduled during the weekend.
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My concert is scheduled for Saturday evening, August 29th, at 7:30PM. It will begin with a set by the Prescott High School Jazz Band, and then I will do my complete big band show...... including some tunes with Jack Peterson on guitar. He is a brilliant guitarist, and lives right here in Prescott!. I’ve never sung onstage with just guitar accompaniment, so this will be fun for me, and a nice, more intimate sound.... giving the audience a bit of a break from the dynamic sound of the big band.
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Most of you live much too far away to attend the concert, but if any of you are nearby, you can purchase tickets at the Hassayampa Hotel front desk, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, or online at prescottjazz.com. I am donating my singing as a way to give back to my new community and to support music education for young musicians.
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Well... the piano tuner has just about finished, so I’ll close for now. With everybody tweeting and twittering and texting and face-booking and such, I just think the less added to the cyberspace chatter, the better. But thank you so much for caring. I hope this update will do for a while (until something really “exciting” happens here in Prescott!!!). Until next time....
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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April 14, 2009
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SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY WORK | update ..
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SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY WORK- - watch 'Smoky' in action, among many other dogs - click here for info re. the AGILITY TRIAL event



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April 11, 2009
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SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY AND THERAPY DOG WORK | HEALING BROKEN BONES AND NEW KNEES | NOTES ON TONI'S ORIGINAL SONGS #11 THROUGH #15
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It has been fascinating and very informative to hear from you about which of my original songs you like best. What is most interesting to me is that there really isn't one single song that stands out above the others. Your responses to your favorites are as varied as the songs themselves. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY AND THERAPY DOG WORK

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I am still doing great after breaking my hip in December. My Australian Shepherd dog, Smoky, and I are back practicing agility and preparing to enter our first Agility Trial in May. He and I will run as "Novices", of course, since we have never run competitively before. We don't expect to win any points... he's still technically a puppy (he'll be two in June), and I am just learning how to guide him through the obstacles... but we'll have a great time doing it. If you happen to be in Chino Valley, AZ on May 2nd and 3rd, check it out. The Trial is sponsored by our canine agility club, TOP DOG. Smoky and I are also continuing our work as a Therapy Dog Team at our local hospital. We visit patients, their families and hospital staff every Thursday. We have met some terrific people as we make our rounds and I am finding it very, very rewarding.


HEALING BROKEN BONES AND NEW KNEES
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As far as my own recovery from my accident, I just have a bit of soreness and stiffness when I first get up after sitting for a long time.. .OR... when a storm front comes rolling through Prescott. I used to laugh when older people claimed they could predict a storm coming because their "arthritis acted up". Well... it seems to be true. I can now tell when a front is coming through even BEFORE I check the National Weather Service site!

Daryl's recovery from his October bi-lateral knee surgery is another matter. He is having a difficult time even now..... six months after his surgery. His knees have healed perfectly, but his natural tendency to anxiety and negative thinking.... AND his tremor..... have really made the road to recovery difficult for him. We have some new possibilities on the horizon for helping Daryl, and in the future I will let you know how that goes. In the meantime, he is not able to create any tracks or do any recording because of his physical limitations. I am at a standstill creatively because I simply can't do what he does. I can write the songs, give him some production ideas, but only he can create the tracks. As you know, there is really no musician quite like him! I am really hoping it won't be too long before he recovers so he and I can start creating some new music together.




NOTES ON TONI'S ORIGINAL SONGS #11 THROUGH #15

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Now....here are more notes on my original songs, which you can hear on my TT website.
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11. KEEPING OUR LOVE WARM - In 1980...about the time I had my talk show.... I was in New York City to participate in the Lighting of the Christmas Tree ceremony at Rockefeller Center. Daryl had stayed behind in California for this short trip. It was a chilly day in The City and I decided to take a jog around the Central Park Reservoir. As I ran, I was thinking of Daryl and how much I missed his being there with me, and the phrase, "Keeping our love warm" popped into my head. As I continued my run, lyrics began to form in my head, along with an initial melody. It became a song in which a girl reassures her lover that she is "keeping our love warm... keeping myself on cool". By the time I got back to the hotel room, I had the song fully formed in my head and wrote it down quickly before I could forget it (which I WILL do if I don't write a song down immediately). I just love how this track turned out. In my opinion Daryl captured the mood of the song perfectly in his production. I always thought I would love to hear a "soul" singer do this song.... sweet, mellow and warm.
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12. LOVE ME LIKE A BABY - Daryl decided that I should record this one with just my own piano accompaniment... very, very simple... let the song speak for itself. This song came to me when I began to think about people who work very hard in very stressful situations. At work they have to be tough and strong...... "Out there it's a crazy world.... I get so tired of being strong." And then the incredible relief when they come home to the one they love most in the world and can forget their stress for a while in their lover's arms.... "Baby, baby me. Safe in your arms I'm free... .where I can hide and leave the world outside." Perhaps you know what I mean.
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13. LOVE SURVIVES - Long time C&T fans already know the story behind this song. In 1984 Daryl and I had moved to Lake Tahoe. Soon after our move I received word that our dear friend, Howie Greenfield had contracted AIDS and was near death. Howie was Neil Sedaka's long time friend and writing partner. Together Howie and Neil wrote hit after hit, including LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. Howie contacted us through our record company, A&M Records, the very first time he heard LWKUT on the radio. He invited us to his beautiful home in Beverly Hills which he shared with his partner, Tory Damon. Daryl and I adored those two men, and we became fast friends with both of them. We ended up losing both of them to AIDS... what a terrible loss. After I heard the news of Howie's illness I went for a walk in the woods around our Tahoe home, thinking of him and all the joy he had brought to people with his songs. The phrase "Love survives in a song and a memory" came to me as I walked. By the time I got back to our home, about an hour later, I had almost the entire lyric ready to be written down, along with the melody for the chorus. Since we were no longer having hits at that time, I had hoped an artist like Whitney Houston would be interested in recording it. I actually gathered my courage (and fear of rejection) and sent a demo to her through Clive Davis. He did write back, but turned the song down, saying she had enough tunes for her next album. Daryl and I were used to people in the business thinking of us as kind of "fluffy" and "superficial". But Clive actually said that we did not have the "cachet" required for the music business (as he saw it). He was probably right.... we certainly weren't thought of as "hip", but LOVE SURVIVES is a wonderful song. I'm proud of it and I hope someday some terrific singer will record it. Howie is gone, but his music lives on in our hearts and memories. LOVE SURVIVES is my tribute to him.
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14. SMILE FOR ME ONE MORE TIME - I'm SURE you know that I wrote this one for Daryl. I have lived with him for 37 years and I can tell you for certain that Daryl is not a "smiler". He hardly ever smiles, let alone break out in a great big grin. That's probably why he has a lot less wrinkles than I do! This song was my way of encouraging him to smile once in a while.
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15. THE WAY I WANT TO TOUCH YOU - I wrote this song in the early 70s in a boring, brown, dismal businessman's hotel at the airport in Passaic, New Jersey. I was on my first Beach Boy tour as the only "Beach Girl". Daryl had convinced Carl Wilson that I could handle the acoustic piano parts and Carl hired me sight unseen (and piano-playing ability unheard). I thought it was pretty darned incredible that he would trust Daryl's judgement in that way... .especially since I was not a "boy"! . Daryl taught me all the parts, and I must say that I was well-prepared musically. Of course, I was falling madly in love with Daryl at the time. I was trying to think of a way to express my feelings to him, and music seemed to be the way to do it. While I was staying at this uninspiring airport hotel, the song began to come to me. I went to the front desk and asked the desk clerk if there was a piano anywhere on the premises. He told me there was one in one of the conference rooms, but that he thought it might not be a very good one. Total understatement!!!! It was horribly out of tune. But it was all I needed. I wrote THE WAY I WANT TO TOUCH YOU on that terrible piano in about an hour. It became our second million-selling single.
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Thank you all so much for reading TONI'S TAKE. I hope you will continue to do so, and I will try to be better about writing more often. Until next time...
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.




Mar 23, 2009
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NOTES ON TONI'S SONGS | GENERAL UPDATE FOR TONI AND DARYL AND SMOKY

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A couple of weeks ago Daryl showed me that he had found a way to post some of our recordings to our website so fans could listen to the songs and purchase them if they wished to. I asked him if it would be possible to post the songs I have written over the years in the same type of format so our fans could listen to them as a collection. I thought Daryl would just pull the songs I have written for each of our albums/CDs and put them all together in one place.
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Instead, he went through the C&T archives, and pulled out songs I hadn't heard in years! Some are only in demo form. Some I wrote with other artists in mind. Others I wrote for various projects, including a couple of songs for a Mattel Toy Company promotion, and a song I had hoped would become a special "seventh inning" sing-along (along with TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME) for the Los Angeles Dodgers fans. That song ,THE DODGER STADIUM SONG, still makes me laugh every time I hear it. Some songs I wrote for fun for a "girl group", and others for a concept CD I had in mind that would feature a different guy's name in each song title.
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I think you will find, as you listen to these songs, that my songwriting is pretty versatile and eclectic. Most of you know my basic musical background is classical , jazz and standards, but I also enjoy and appreciate all kinds of music, including soul, classic country, rhythm and blues, classic rock, and even folk music. If you listened to BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE, BUT I THINK IT'S A DREAM, PETE WON'T DANCE, and THE GOOD SONGS one after the other, without knowing who had written them, I doubt if you would have believed they were all written by the same composer.
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I thought you would enjoy reading some comments and notes for each of the compositions. I find that I do my best writing when I write alone.... both lyrics and music. I did try writing with the late Howie Greenfield, lyricist for LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER and the inspiration for LOVE SURVIVES, and we came up with a classic country-type tune, YOU NEVER STAYED AWAY THIS LONG. But Howie is really the only writer I have ever collaborated with (besides Daryl). I just find it easier and freer to write alone. I don't even let Daryl hear the songs I write until I have completely finished them!
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One more thing..... when I write my songs, I don't feel like I actually "write" them. They just seem to come through me somehow..... almost like I am taking dictation. It is hard to describe, but other songwriters have told me they experience the same thing. It seems that the songs I have to work the hardest on are never the best ones. The best ones just "come through" easily.
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So here are some notes and comments on the "TONI TENNILLE SONGBOOK". Enjoy!

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1. BABY YOU STILL GOT IT - This song was inspired, of course, by my long relationship with Daryl. Actually, the first lyric that "came" to me was the first line of the chorus... "Baby, you still got it, you've got everything I need...." I wrote the chorus first, and then wrote the rest of the song. I do that quite often when I write.... first comes "the hook" (usually the chorus) and the rest of the song then falls into place.
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2. CIRCLES - Those of you who have been fans of ours for a long time know the story behind CIRCLES. It was one of the first songs I wrote about Daryl. When we first met, I was instantly interested in him, but he had just come out of a very bad relationship and had shut himself off from entering into a new one. Somehow I just knew I would be good for him, and he for me, and I was trying to think of how to help him see the possibilities. I remembered a short poem by Edwin Markham that I memorized when I was in high school. It is called...

OUTWITTED:

"He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in."

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3. DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME - Once again, long time fans will know the story behind this song, which hit #1 song in the country in 1979 and became the second best-selling single we ever had. Daryl and I were putting together the songs for our first project for our new label, Casablanca. DO THAT came out of a thought I had about the first time Daryl ever kissed me..... I wish he would do that again right now! Now, many people have their own interpretations of what the lyrics mean, but that is why I specifically wrote "Do THAT to me once more time"..... not "Do IT to me one more time!" It took a very short time to write the song once I had the first line.... maybe half an hour. I thought it was just a little "filler" tune, but Daryl insisted I play it for the president of Casablanca, Neil Bogart. The minute I finished singing it for Neil at our home in Pacific Palisades, he jumped up and shouted, "That's a SMASH!!!!" And he was right! That experience showed me that sometimes the songs that you don't have to work quite as hard on..... the ones that just seem to almost write themselves..... are often your most successful songs.
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4. DON'T FORGET ME - I found it difficult to be a songwriter who was expected to write only songs about my relationship with my husband. Daryl and our long and thankfully happy marriage have been an endless source of inspiration for me. But I always wanted to write for other artists, too. I am, however, a terrible salesperson for my own work. I just can't bring myself to ask other artists to listen to my songs as prospective candidates for their own repertoire. I guess I've always been afraid I would put them.... especially a singer I knew personally.... in an embarrassing position if they didn't like my song. I don't like to make other people uncomfortable! The few times I have submitted my songs to others, the response has been pretty much..."Well, if it is such a great song, why didn't Captain and Tennille record it?" Songs have often "come into my head" that had nothing to do with my relationship with Daryl, and it was frustrating that many of our fans might think there was something wrong with our marriage if I recorded a "sad" song. DON'T FORGET ME is a sad and touching song about a relationship that didn't work out........ two people who meant well, but were just wrong for each other. I was inspired to write it after seeing the 1979 film, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. Rent the DVD and you will see exactly where the idea for the song came from. I always thought Dolly Parton would sing DON'T FORGET ME beautifully (but, of course, I never sent it to her).
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5. FREE - Back in 1980 I hosted a syndicated television talk show called THE TONI TENNILLE TALK/VARIETY SHOW. It was produced by Bob (The Newlywed Game) Eubanks. Later, Bob produced a small, independent film and asked Daryl to do the score. Daryl, of course, turned to me to write a closing theme song for the film to run under the credits. I don't remember the title of the film. It had no stars in it and I think it went straight to video. I do remember that it had something to do with a couple running from the law for some reason. They were inlove and unjustly accused of some wrong-doing. Anyhow, by the end of the movie everything turns out fine and they are "free". It is fun and challenging to write for films and I'd love to do more, but haven't had another chance to do it.
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6. GENTLE STRANGER - I wrote this well over 30 years ago about someone I met before I knew Daryl. It is interesting to me that some of my Christian friends have inferred that the "Gentle Stranger" is Jesus. He isn't, but I can see how they would interpret it that way. Certain songs may have different meanings to different people. That, to me, is one of the wonderful things about music, and why it is so important in our lives.
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7. THE GOOD SONGS - I wrote this one back in the early 70's, when Daryl and I were working at The Smokehouse restaurant and bar in Encino, CA. We performed there off and on.... mostly on.... or two years, from 1972-1974. True to its name, the Smokehouse was SMOKY!!!!! And since I have a serious allergy to smoke, by the time we quit for the night, I could hardly talk, much less sing. This went on night after night. I'd manage to recover my voice before we started the next night, but would pretty much lose it by the end of the evening. As time went on, we developed quite a following and people would often line up to get the best seats in the bar area where we performed. When my smoke allergies made it difficult for me to sing, I felt terrible for the people who came to hear us. Sometimes when we were on our way to the Smokehouse I would be filled with dread, worrying about whether or not I could make it through the four hours of sets and give the fans what they wanted to hear. "Lord I just can't make it tonight... and I just can't get that glow on, I just don't think I can go on tonight." Those words first came to me as we drove to work and the rest of the song followed easily. THE GOOD SONGS became my "theme" throughout my career as I struggled with the smoke allergy that threatened to knock me out of many concerts we had scheduled. I would say that vocal anxiety due to circumstances beyond my control has been a constant problem throughout my career. This is probably one of the reasons it is such a relief not to have to worry about it anymore.
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8. HONEY COME LOVE ME - One of the first songs I ever wrote.... way back in the early 70s. It is a sweet, loving song about a young wife who wants to cajole her husband into staying in bed just a little longer to continue the lovemaking they enjoyed during the night.
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9. I'LL NEVER BE THE ONE TO LEAVE - This is just a demo with me accompanying myself on piano. I fooled around with this song, trying many different approaches to the tune, but decided to let it rest since it was never going to be a "Captain and Tennille" song. In my mind it was never a tune for my particular voice anyway. It "came though me" as almost a classical piece. It just wanted to be written... hard to explain. I don't always have control of what comes through when I sit down to write. Anyhow, I would love to hear this song sung by a classically trained voice.... actually, a beautiful voice like my sister Melissa is blessed with. The lyrics of this song express a woman's unease as she realizes that her lover's affection may be cooling toward her. She wants to let him know that she will never be the one to leave the relationship, implying that it will have to be his decision. It is a sad song, but some of them turn out that way. I am particularly happy with the melody and chord structure of this one.
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10. YOU NEVER STAYED AWAY THIS LONG - You know, I really love this song, but it has one big lyric difficulty. First of all, this is the one song I wrote with the late Howie Greenfield, Neil Sedaka's long-time friend and writing partner. Howie was a bit older than I was at the time, and he and I remembered back in the early 50s when television channels only had enough programming for 16 hours or so. The stations would sign off completely in the early morning hours with the playing of THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER. In our song, Howie and I imagined the girl's sadness after she has had another disagreement with her lover. He walks out the door, and she is too proud to call him back. As the night drags on, she realizes she made a horrible mistake by letting him go. The lyric "....and the Star Spangled Banner is such a sad and lonely song...." is her reaction to hearing the television closing down for the night in the wee hours of the morning. Since that doesn't happen anymore in this age of 24 hour programming, I'd have to rewrite that lyric if anyone should happen to want to sing or record the song.

Since I have 29 more songs to write about, I'll stop for now and write about the next ten songs on the list by next week. I promise!!!


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GENERAL UPDATE FOR TONI AND DARYL AND SMOKY
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Another quick note..... I have recovered beautifully from my hip fracture (Femoral Neck Fracture, Garden I Type). Three and a half months after the accident I am back running canine agility with Smoky. Also, Smoky passed the Delta Society Pet Therapy Team evaluation (NOTE: Smoky's painting at this link is by Toni's niece, CAROLINE ST. CLAIR - Jane's daughter - see more of her art at: www.flickr.com/photos/shepaintspets ) with top honors. He received a "Complex" rating, which means that, in addition to visiting patients and their families in their hospital rooms and in waiting rooms (and also hospital staff... they need doggy love, too), he is certified to visit ICU patients and IV Therapy patients as well. He won't be two years old until June, but his big, mellow boy is doing the work he was born to do. He and I visit Yavapai Regional Medical Center every Thursday, and it has been a wonderful experience for both of us. And you may ask, do people recognize me as we make our rounds? Actually, even though my hospital name tag clearly says TONI TENNILLE, most people only concentrate on Smoky. I'm just the person who brings him into the room. I love it!
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It has been five months since Daryl's bi-lateral knee replacement surgery. He has yet to reach the point where he "trusts" his knees. He says the swelling bothers him and makes him feel unstable. He will recover fully, but it will take him longer. He keeps reminding me that he has two titanium knees that he has to get used to, and I just had "a little crack" in my femur that was repaired with three titanium screws. I guess he will set off the metal detector more times than I will!!!
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Until next time..........
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.


Dec 18 , 2008
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OUT OF THE DARKNESS

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November 5, 2008 -The politics of hate, fear and division has been pushed back into the dark cave from which it came. It will still rear its ugly head from time to time, but we have a fine young man as our president, who, I believe, will lead us with a calm, steady, compassionate hand. This country that we all love so much is now lit by the pure white light of hope. Last night we came out of the darkness and into this beautiful light. I am grateful to have lived long enough to see this.
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I wrote the above thoughts the morning after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. I am sure that some of you were disheartened, sad, and fearful when it became clear that he had won. I can only say to you that now you understand what I felt after the elections of 2000 and 2004. However, this great country will go on because our founders were very wise men. Although our nation is going through some very hard times right now, her people are strong and resilient. We are “can do” Americans and we will rise again to our respected place in the world. I can only ask that you give this young president a chance..... give him a chance to lead. If, after offering him a “grace period”, you still feel he was the wrong choice, you have the opportunity to vote him out of office in 2012. We are a most fortunate people indeed to be Americans.



TONI'S TAKE.... AGAIN

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Some of you have written many times asking when I would start writing TONI’S TAKE again. I have been known to be a procrastinator, but this is ridiculous! Actually, I have been having a very long talk with myself about why I have not written in such a long time, and here is what I have finally decided is the reason..... my life now would not be particularly interesting to most of you. Daryl and I are, for all intents and purposes, retired from performing and recording.
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Retiring wasn’t so much a deliberate decision as it was something that just seemed to happen. After the VICTOR/VICTORIA tour, I was emotionally bruised and battered.... no one’s fault but my own. I made a decision without thinking about how it would actually affect me and my family. I loved the show, and couldn’t wait to tackle the part..... I really felt I would be great in the role. However, I didn’t think it through well enough as to what the tour would actually entail. Once I got out there and started the tour, the bottom fell out of my heart because of homesickness..... I missed my home, my dogs and cats...... and I ached for Daryl’s constant reassuring presence. Lying in bed in one of the hotel rooms in a big city, listening to the sirens and the trash trucks, I missed the sound of silence at night in rural northern Nevada, a quiet occasionally broken by the sound of the wind or a coyote’s manic laughter.
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Well..... I’ve discussed all of this in previous posts. Let’s just say that was the beginning of the end of touring for me. And it’s funny that now, THAT life...... the one I had on television and on radio.... seems like a dream.... like Toni Tennille isn’t me. I see her on YouTube, and admire her energy and singing, but she seems unreal and totally unconnected to me.
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I now have a much simpler life, and it suits me and Daryl just fine. But I doubt it will be that interesting to most of you. But so many of you have written to ask how we are doing, let me take some time to catch you up on what has been going on since I last wrote TONI'S TAKE.



OUR NEW PRESCOTT HOME

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Daryl and I moved into our beautiful new home in Prescott AZ in June. We lived in the guest house for about 2 1/2 weeks until the main house was completely finished. I must say I am so proud of Daryl's work on the design of this home..... the fourth house we have built from the"ground up." We essentially copied the house we had in northern Nevada but made some changes we thought would improve the original design. Daryl had the vision to design exactly what was needed. The house is sturdily built, gracious, open and welcoming.... exactly what we wanted.



DARYL'S KNEES
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We have been going through some rather difficult times physically. Daryl had bi-lateral knee replacement surgery on October 13th. That means he had BOTH knees surgically replaced at the same time. His knees have been horrible since his 40s, but he put off having surgery until he just couldn't stand it any more. We are extremely fortunate to have a couple of wonderful orthopaedic surgeons here in town. Daryl's surgery was done by Dr. Bertrand Kaper (pronounced "copper"), and he did a spectacular job. Daryl was in the hospital here in Prescott for five days, and then came home to begin recuperating along with help from my brother-in-law Frank, who is a nurse. Frank flew out here from Florida and stayed with us for 18 days, eliminating any necessity for Daryl to go to a rehab facility, thank goodness.
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Daryl is now walking on his own, using a cane occasionally. He is going through post-op rehab three days a week, and drives himself to the rehab facility. His tremor is still quite bothersome and embarrassing to him, so he is really uncomfortable in social situations...... even more than usual. The most difficult thing for Daryl has been re-training his leg muscles to support his perfect, new knees. He was using those muscles incorrectly for decades, compensating for his bad knees. Now they have to learn to work with his new ones. It is truly amazing.... where Daryl used to be slightly knock-kneed, his legs are now perfectly straight. Thank God for the skill of a fine surgeon.
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I foresee Daryl's struggling with his recovery and rehab for another couple of months, but there will come a time when he will be able to hike with me again.... hopefully soon.



MY LEFT HIP

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Actually....it will take ME a couple of months before I can go hiking again. A week ago Sunday, I broke my left hip running agility with our dog, Smoky. He and I were running a pattern of three jumps leading to "c" shaped tunnel, with both ends pointing towards the jumps. The object was for the dogs to go over the jumps, enter the tunnel on the right side, come out of the tunnel on the left, and go back over the jumps. I put Smoky in a sit/stay, walked halfway down the jumps, and then called him to jump and "go tunnel". After he went over the jumps, he headed for the left entrance to the tunnel, instead of the right side I was indicating. I called, "Smoky.... here! Here!" He turned on a dime and headed for the correct entrance, but I didn't move fast enough to get out his way, and he knocked my feet out from under me. I landed with my full body weight on my left hip.
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Actually, I was most fortunate.... I didn't BREAK the hip, I cracked the femur. Luckily I have big, strong, dense bones, so I didn't need a hip replacement, just three titanium screws to hold the crack in place until the bone heals. The only trouble is I am not allowed to put any weight on my left leg for at least four more weeks, so I am limping around the house using a walker or crutches. The walker is good because it has a basket to carry things around, but it really slows me up! The crutches are faster, but I have to be very careful while I'm using them. If I re-injure the hip, I will have to have hip replacement surgery...... YIKES. So I am being VERY careful and patient so the bone will heal good as new.
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So, here we are...two injured people.... recuperating with the help of my wonderful younger sisters and nieces, who have been here since I got out of the hospital, and will be here, in shifts, until January 3rd. After that, my terrific neighbors will help out a bit until I can throw way the crutches... hopefully by January 11th.



OUR CREATIVE LIVES IN PRESCOTT

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I am doing some creative things, but nothing big. I took part as an actress in an "old fashioned radio show" at the Prescott Fine Arts Theatre on Prescott Ghost Walk night during Halloween. Although the show was presented live on stage, we acted an original mystery script, written by a local writer. It was lots of fun and was great to be part of an ensemble again. The experience took me right back to my days of community theatre, and I will probably do more of it if asked.
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I also sang (donating my performance) as part of the Prescott Jazz Festival, held in Prescott every August, and presented by Mike Vax, a terrific trumpet player and jazz educator. He brings in top quality jazz artists from all over the country to perform in various venues in the Prescott area. I dug out some of my great Sammy Nestico Big Band arrangements and performed with the big band here in town. It was great, because I was just part of the show...I sang five songs, I think. It was kind of a relief not to have the entire show depend on me.
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I have been doing a lot of dog agility with our 18 month old blue merle Australian Shepherd, Smoky. I always wanted to do agility with Adelaide, but we were on the road all the time, and I never had the time to work with her. Now she is almost 12 years old..... feisty as ever, but a bit too old to be learning agility.
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Smoky and I are also in training to pass the Delta Society Hospital Therapy Dog test in late January. Once we are certified, he and I will become part of the therapy dog volunteer teams who visit patients and their families once a week at our local hospital. His father, Moon, was a beloved therapy dog who worked at the hospital for six years. Sadly, Moon died of a virulent cancer just two months after Hubble died. He was only eight years old. Smoky has his daddy's sweetness and gentle nature, so I know he will carry on Moon's legacy with honor.
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I have just started working on a theme song for our agility club, TOP DOG. I'm really doing it for fun, and to keep myself creative. I am at a stopping point now, because I need Daryl to do a track for me based on what I've written. Unfortunately, Daryl doesn't have his recording area set up yet, and now that he has had knee surgery, he won't be able to do it until he can get up and down from the floor easily (all the plugs and outlets are down low to the ground).
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I can honestly tell you that our touring days are over. Neither of us can stand to fly, especially as things are now. Daryl's tremor embarrasses him so much, I doubt if he will ever appear onstage in public again, which really puts an end to Captain and Tennille, since I will never do those songs without him. He has always been the sound of C&T. There is no one quite like him.
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Now I have brought you up to date. Our lives, I'm sure, are not that interesting to you now. We've gone back to being just regular people...kind of like we were before all the hits. I plan to contribute my talents in smaller ways, but hopefully meaningful ones. I hope to always be creative in some way. My deepest thanks to all of you who have been such great fans over the years. We have loved hearing from you. If you like, I will try to write a TONI'S TAKE every now and then. Mostly I will just write about what's going on here in Prescott.
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I hope some of you are enjoying our Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS. You aren't likely to find it in stores, but all of the online stores (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, CD Universe.com) have it available. In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season, and..... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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Read the LATEST Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2010
Read the LATEST Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2009
Read the ARCHIVED Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2008
Read the ARCHIVED Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2007
Read the ARCHIVED Blogs of "Toni's Take"
Toni's Take / 2006

 


Contact / Fans / other C&T-oriented Information:
Frank Draggonnii
Moonlight & Magnolias / Arizona, Prod.

Prescott, AZ

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This Page Last Updated: November 29, 2013

 


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