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Author Topic: Country Blues about Baseball?  (Read 7560 times)

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Offline Flatd7

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Country Blues about Baseball?
« 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.


Offline Johnm

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #1 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

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #2 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.

Offline unezrider

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #3 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
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline markm

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #4 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

Offline dj

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #5 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.

Offline unezrider

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #6 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 ^-^
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Rivers

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #7 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.



« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 05:40:42 PM by Rivers »

Offline unezrider

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #8 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!!!) ;)
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #9 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".

Offline dave stott

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #10 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

Offline Rivers

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #11 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? 

Offline waxwing

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #12 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.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Doug

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #13 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. 
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 07:25:50 PM by Doug »

Offline Bricktown Bob

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Re: Country Blues about Baseball?
« Reply #14 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).

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