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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Flatd7 on November 05, 2007, 01:37:40 PM

Title: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Flatd7 on November 05, 2007, 01:37:40 PM
Hey, I got a call about doing a baseball tune for a film project. I could think of a tune in the Country Blues vein that was on the subject. I'm sure there's got to be one. I found an old thread that mentioned a Brownie McGhee song called "Robbie Dobbie Blues" about Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby. However the writer's email had changed.

Can anyone suggest a few tunes I could investigate?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Johnm on November 05, 2007, 02:05:31 PM
Hi Jon,
Chuck Berry's "Brown-eyed Handsome Man" has a verse that alludes to baseball, but I don't know of any songs with lyrics 100% pertaining to baseball.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: uncle bud on November 05, 2007, 02:40:56 PM
Tricky one. Only thing I can think of right now is Willie McTell mentioning baseball in Razor Ball, but it's not what you'd call a baseball song.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: unezrider on November 05, 2007, 03:44:43 PM
hey flat d7,
for what its worth, the brownie mcghee 'robbie dobbie' was w/ a full (i think jump blues style band) recorded in the early 50's (or very late 40's.) i heard it before on the xm radio program 'harlem' on their 50's channel, hosted by matt the cat. they had a baseball themed program around opening week this past year. none of it was 'country blues', though. bob dylan's theme time radio had a baseball themed show once. perhaps you can find the set list for these on the internet?
there's a song by the cowboy copas called, 'three strikes and you're out' - but it's more of a country 'bop' or 'boogie' song. also there' a tune called 'sand mountain drag' by dilly & his dill pickels, that has a spoken monologue about baseball. again not country blues, but oldtimey, at least ;D
it seems i'm forgetting some. but really i don't think there were many baseball songs in the black comunity till jackie robinson took the field in '47. so the country blues may be hard to find an example in.  plenty of examples from the late forties to early 50's, though.
this is just a hunch, but check out the catolgue of big bill broonzy(?)
chris
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: markm on November 05, 2007, 03:51:29 PM
Well it ain't Country Blues but you got Centerfield by John Fogarty and Glory Days by Bruce Springstein

In the early 50's Sister Wynona Carr recorded "The Ball Game" which was a minor hit so you might look into that.

Then of course you have the fantastic Steve Goodman's Dying Cub Fans Last Wish.

That's about all I can come up with for now.

Mark
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: dj on November 05, 2007, 03:55:18 PM
Back 10 years or so ago, someone at the Society For American Baseball Research was collecting lists of songs about baseball.  I remember his first name was Jeff, but I can't for the life of me recall his last name.  SABR has a website - sabr.org - with contact information.  I'm sure someone there would be able to put you in contact with him.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: unezrider on November 05, 2007, 03:57:55 PM
oh ...
& for some reason i've always thought i heard the mississippi sheiks playing a verse or so of 'take me out to the ballpark' in one of their instrumentals, but this may be more wishful thinking, than fact. (i don't have their complete recordings to check.) i only have their yazoo & columbia releases. maybe worth a look - or maybe someone else would know if it's true or not before you waste your time ^-^
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Rivers on November 05, 2007, 05:26:24 PM
Right, markm, just what I was thinking.

Very loosely based on McTell's 'Dyin' Crapshooter' is the brilliant Steve Goodman's 'A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request'. I've embedded it here for everyone's entertainment, live at Wrigley Field. Steve knew he was terminally ill with leukemia when this was shot. If you like this, get the DVD, which has an extended chat before the song and much better sound to do justice to that pearly Martin and Steve's voice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xBxZGQ1dJk

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: unezrider on November 05, 2007, 08:01:07 PM
allow me to correct myself..
the mississippi sheik song i was thinking of is 'the sheik waltz', which does not have a snippit of 'take me out to the ball game' in it, but it does have a part that is reminiscent of the '1,2,3 strikes...' - so save yourself some time, there. it's not what i thought it was.
another thing to bear in mind while looking for a country blues song about baseball, other than what i mentioned before, is the history of the negro leagues. if any baseball fans think of the stars from that league, they are thinking of players from the mid-30's to the late 40's. prior to that organized NNL & ANL, didn't really exist. there were leagues run w/ some degrees of success, but they would usually fall apart due to poor organization, shady officiating, poor facility's & the economics of the time. plus the press coverage of these games was minimal, to say the least. the teens & 20's had some very good teams, the chicago american giants,the cuban all-stars, among them. but the majority of the teams were based in the north, & north east. (which, if memory serves, is where most of the barnstorming teams would play, also). not in the south. - where the blues men of the 20's would have been from.
just something to be aware of, i guess...
chris (he gone!!!) ;)
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Bunker Hill on November 06, 2007, 10:02:04 AM
Back 10 years or so ago, someone at the Society For American Baseball Research was collecting lists of songs about baseball.  I remember his first name was Jeff, but I can't for the life of me recall his last name.  SABR has a website - sabr.org - with contact information.  I'm sure someone there would be able to put you in contact with him.
I remember that too wasn't a link to it posted on blues-l, or some such group, by one of its participants?

Whilst here the Brownie McGhee song was recorded in Spring 1948 for Savoy (5550) and its first appearance on LP was in 1988. Pete Lowry in the album notes quotes from a Billboard review and BB reviewer graded it 85 (out of 100) with the comment: "Blues for Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby comes off better than most of this sort of thing. Lusty McGhee shout, solid rhythm backing". Apparently the 78 label of the side bearing the song has printed on it "Dedicated to Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby".
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: dave stott on November 06, 2007, 04:44:28 PM
don't forget about Big Bill Broonzy's tune: You've got to hit the right lick..

it has 2 verses about baseball and Babe Ruth,...

One version is on the Big Bill CD Good Time Tonight


BTW.. it also mentions John Henry and Joe Louis

Dave
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Rivers on November 06, 2007, 04:56:20 PM
I scoured the song index in B&GR and surprise surprise...

Base Ball Blues, Palmetto Jazz Quartet, 1921! Unaccompanied vocal quartet, Okeh. Good luck!

I looked up other baseball type names, nothing.

If you want to get real creative how about a montage of Jackie Robinson shots with a contemporary version of Jack O'Diamonds? 
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: waxwing on November 06, 2007, 06:21:44 PM
Well, Andrew posted this on the Humor thread, but Furry surely is talking about baseball (unless I'm reading too much meaning into it?!?-G-)
Furry Lewis cracks me up frequently. His Creeper Blues is a hoot:

I woke up this morning, I looked up against the wall (2)
   Roaches and the bedbugs playing a game of ball

   Score was twenty--nothing, the roaches was ahead (2)
   Roaches got to fightin' and kicked me out of bed

   Bedbugs so bad, pulled the pillow from under my head (2)
   They got a Winchester rifle and try to kill me dead

   When I woke up this morning, I looked down on the floor (2)
   Bedbug had been in my pocket and pulled out all my dough

   Mama, get your hatchet, kill the fly on your baby's head (2)
   Mama, get your hatchet and run here to my bed

   Please, bedbug, please, I done begged you twice (2)
   You done taken all my money now you want to take my life


My alltime fav use of baseball imagery in song (non-blues) would be the trilogy by Meatloaf (By the Dashboard Light, maybe?) In which a notable baseball announcer commentates a hot player getting on base and stealing his way home as Loaf and the great female singer with him (?) do a killer vocal duet theatricalizing teen attempts at car seat sex.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Doug on November 06, 2007, 07:23:02 PM
Venerable Radio (http://www.venerablemusic.com/samphpweb/playing.php) has a song by Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson that is called "The Bases were Loaded".  It's from 1949-1952, piano based, and the performer is somewhere between nine and twelve years old. 
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Bricktown Bob on November 07, 2007, 07:46:00 PM
Very loosely based on McTell's 'Dyin' Crapshooter' is the brilliant Steve Goodman's 'A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request'.
To be thoroughly pedantic, it's much less loosely based on "St. James Infirmary" (to which family "Dying Crapshooter" also belongs).
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Rivers on November 08, 2007, 05:02:07 AM
Musically, yes I agree, for a start McTell starts the rap phase with a Dm position, not a C. The general lyrical idea and title are a thorough cop from McTell though. To be pedantic though  ;) it's not St James Infirmary, since that is usually a minor song as well.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: lindy on November 08, 2007, 08:02:41 AM

When Ken Burns was putting together his nine-hour (get it?) documentary on Baseball, he said he was amazed that he couldn't find any other songs on the topic that everyone could relate to besides "Take Me Out To the Ball Game." He said all of the others were novelty tunes about topics of the day, such as Les Brown's swing tune, "Joltin' Joe Dimaggio," which was a big hit when Joe was in his 56-game hitting streak. 56 games, still can't believe it. For that reason, the Burns' documentary has something like 50 or 60 different renditions of "Take Me Out" playing in the background. One version, done in a Merle Travis style, still sticks in my mind. Here's your chance to write a classic CB version of the song.

Lindy
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: lindy on November 08, 2007, 08:10:50 AM

Found this after I posted my last message, the lyrics to Joltin' Joe Dimaggio (1941):

Hello Joe, whatta you know?
We need a hit so here I go.
Ball one (Yea!)
Ball two (Yea!)
Strike one (Booo!)
Strike two (Kill that umpire!)
A case of Wheaties

He started baseball's famous streak
That's got us all aglow
He's just a man and not a freak,
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio.

Joe, Joe DiMaggio
We want you on our side

He tied the mark at forty-four
July the 1st you know
Since then he's hit a good twelve more
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio

Joe, Joe DiMaggio
We want you on our side

From coast to coast that's all you'll hear
Of Joe the one man show
He's glorified the horsehide sphere
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio

Joe, Joe DiMaggio
We want you on our side

He'll live in baseball's Hall of Fame
He got there blow by blow
Our kids will tell their kids his name
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio

We dream of Joey with the light brown plaque
Joe, Joe DiMaggio
We want you on our side

And now they speak in whispers low
Of how they stopped our Joe
One night in Cleveland Oh Oh Oh
Goodbye streak DiMaggio


And get this, kids: the name of one of the two writers of the song was -- I am not making this up -- Ben Homer. Gotta love it.

Lindy

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Bunker Hill on November 10, 2007, 10:22:27 AM
ARGH SOMEBODY DONE MOVED THE TOPIC WHILST I WAS COMPOSING A REPLY. I'M GOING TO THE PUB!
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Johnm on November 10, 2007, 10:32:47 AM
Oops, sorry Bunker Hill!  I moved your post over to the new thread so that it addresses what it was attended to address.  I was pretty hasty with that split-off.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: longboardsurfing on November 10, 2007, 12:58:10 PM
While not blues, Chuck Brodsky has a great collection of baseball tunes on his cd Baseball Ballads.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: outfidel on November 10, 2007, 02:17:59 PM
Hey Jon -

Check out Baseball's Greatest Hits (http://www.amazon.com/Baseballs-Greatest-Hits-Various-Artists/dp/samples/B0000032LO/ref=dp_tracks_all_1/104-7953745-8855116#disc_1) and have a listen to "The Ball Game" by Sister Wynona Carr as well as "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" by Count Basie.

Also, Bob Dylan's "Catfish" (about Catfish Hunter) is acoustic & bluesy, but imho it's neither his best song nor the best song about baseball.
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: dj on November 10, 2007, 02:32:46 PM
Of course, we're all proceeding under the assumption that you have to perform an existing song.  The other option is to write one of your own.  Grab a melody and start setting down some lyrics, like:

When Satchel Paige is on the mound, he will make the batters dance
Satchel Paige is on the mound, he will make those batters dance
When he gets two strikes on 'em, they won't even stand a chance

He'll walk the bases loaded but he'll take it all in stride
He will walk the bases loaded and he'll take it all in stride
He'll just rear back with his fastball and he'll strike out the side

And on and on...

Just google Negro League Baseball for players and biographical details.

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Flatd7 on November 12, 2007, 07:15:28 PM
Thanks everyone. Great suggestions as always. I'll keep you posted if this comes to be. Really dug the old Brownie Roby-Doby number. More of a Wynonie Harris sort of Jump Blues, but some fun lyrics and subject matter.

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Richard on November 13, 2007, 12:26:46 AM
Memphis Minnie sings of going on the game in Hustlin' Woman Blues 1935

I'm goin' to the quarter bowl, see what I can find
I'm goin' to the quarter bowl, see what I can find
And if I make a hundred dollors I will bring my daddy ninety-nine
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: Bob B on November 13, 2007, 01:21:27 AM
Pat Donohue does a tune called "Touch 'em all" that is a tribute tothe late Kirby Puckett.
Again, this is not a country blues, but is worth listing.

Bob
Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: uncle bud on February 02, 2008, 12:35:13 PM
Hey Jon, too late I suppose, but I found a baseball song by Minnie Mathes called Ball Game Blues. It's a slightly jazzy sounding 12-bar blues and can be found on the Document CD Blue Ladies 1934-1941. She's accompanied by Buster Bennett on alto sax, Charlie McCoy on mando, Willie Bee James, gtr. Not a particularly interesting song, but it's about baseball. At least, I think it's about baseball:

Ball Game Blues - Minnie Mathes

Today is a rough day (our off day?), let's play a game of ball
Today is a rough day (our off day?), let's play a game of ball
Now, pitch to me, daddy, so I can catch them all

I'll be your catcher, I'd like to see you wind and throw
I'll be your catcher, I'd like to see you wind and throw
[    ][      ] daddy and don't throw the ball too low

Throw in my mitt, daddy, now throw to the one you love
Throw in my mitt, daddy, now throw to the one you love
Now throw it in the name of the good Lord up above

When it come [    ] daddy, let me wipe your bat for you
When it come [    ] daddy, let me wipe your bat for you
So when you knock your line driver, you won't break your bat in two

You are my pinch hitter now we got all the bases full
You are my pinch hitter now we got all the bases full
If you strike out you don't mean me no good

Title: Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
Post by: rjtwangs on February 02, 2008, 01:16:08 PM
There is a cd of all baseball related songs from Bob Dylan's radio shows on XM, his Theme Time Radio Hour. Tracks like 'Baseball Boogie' by Mabel Scott, 'Home Run' by Chance Halladay, 'Baseball Baby' by Johnny Darling, 'The Ball Game' by Sister Wynona Carr and my favorite, 'Say Hey(the Willie Mays song) by the Treniers With Willie Mays!!!

RJ 
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