// by Larry Delaney //
(born: August 2, 1944 – Toronto)
(#67 in the Ontario Pioneers Series)
BLAKE EMMONS is likely best known for hosting the TV series “Funny Farm”, a short-lived (one season-1974) Canadian-produced answer to the long-running Nashville TV show “Hee Haw”.
For diehard country music fans, Blake Emmons will also be remembered for a pair of albums – I Wish You Love, released in 1976, and First Flight, a 1983 album on Columbia Records.
The debut album, released on Canadian label Condor Records, contained five songs written by Blake Emmons, including his two biggest chart hits: “Let Me Do Something Lord”, which peaked at #9 on the RPM Charts, and the follow-up single “Sunchild”, a Top 30 hit. The album also contained Blake Emmons’ co-written song (with Jimmy Wolfe) “Scotia Sunshine”, a tune which was later covered by Johnny Burke & Eastwind.
The 1983 First Flight album also contained five original songs penned by Blake Emmons, including “69 With A Bullet”, “Annie”, “A Small Motel”, “Sweet Revenge”, and “Your Love In My Life”. He released singles on the ShowBiz, MGB, Condor and Columbia labels.
Blake Emmons was born Bruce MacKenzie, August 2, 1944, in Toronto. While living in British Columbia, Blake first started in music writing commercial jingles. His early-stage work included stints at the famous Bunkhouse Club in Vancouver. Blake then took to the road in the mid-1970s heading-up his first tour band which included bass player Valdemir Horsdal, who later went on to fame as Canadian folk/country star Valdy.
After a move to Nashville, Blake earned a spot as a guest host with Nashville’s Jim Ed Brown on the TV series “Nashville On The Road”. Later, he appeared as a contestant on the TV game show “The Joker’s Wild”, and that spot opened the doors for Blake to host the TV game show “Chain Reaction”. He also guested in several episodes of the 1977 TV series “Nashville 99”, starring Jerry Reed.
Thanks to a close friendship with Hollywood actress Bea Arthur, Blake was cast in minor roles in several episodes of the popular TV shows “Golden Girls”, “Alice”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Alan Hamel Show”, etc.
Showing impressive versatility, Blake Emmons was also the Canadian Reporter during the late 1960s for the Nashville magazine Country Song Roundup; he hosted a celebrity fishing TV series “Fish ‘N Stars”; he played the male lead role in the Broadway production “The Best Little Whore House In Texas”, and toured with the show for a year. He was also the author of the children’s book, If You Think…You Can Do It.
During the 1970s, Blake Emmons hosted the ACT Telethon in Edmonton, and later became the founding host and occasional performer on the annual Kinsmen Telemiracle fund-raising programs in Saskatchewan.
After a long hiatus from the recording scene, Blake Emmons returned to the recording studio with a new album, I Can Be, featuring the lead single release “Ring A Southern Belle”. He has also released the album Dear Uncle Sam, in support of his efforts in the “Wounded Warriors” program for war veterans suffering disabilities.
Blake Emmons was inducted into the North American Country Music International Hall of Fame in 2016. He continues to make his home in Nashville and remains active at various levels on the Canadian entertainment scene. He also hosts a weekly podcast, “My Good Ole Country”.