Back when I was a boy I spent a dusky night or two at Gerdes Folk City in NY’s Greenwich Village, in its dying days, totally crazy for a LA band called the Dream Syndicate. (I also saw there an amazing Levon Helm/Rick Danko show that I count among the best I ever saw anywhere.) Folk City had once been a hangout of the nascent Bob Dylan, who among other things went on to write a song about Catfish Hunter, and who also wrote about his love for baseball in Chronicle. (Dylan has been touring in recent summers in minor league baseball parks, though I’m not sure he’s been taking in many games.)
About this same time I was also a little crazy for Jonathan Richman (wait, I still am), who was famous then for his awesome band the Modern Lovers, but who ended up being known most famously as the troubadour in the excellent hair-gel movie There’s Something About Mary. Jonathan, back in the old days, wrote an amazing song about Walter Johnson, and some other baseball songs as well.
So now, Steve Wynn, the lead guy of the Dream Syndicate, has made an album of baseball songs that have the same love for the game that Dylan and Richman have shown before. Wynn has a partner who I don’t know, so consider the credit shared, but these are rock songs about baseball in every good sense of the phrase.
Illustrative song title: “Ted Fucking Williams.”
Geek’s love: “Harvey Haddix,” which makes the case that losing a perfect game in the 13th inning shouldn’t have cost Harvey his status as a no-hitter pitcher.
There’s also a song about Curt Flood and the reserve clause! Sexy! And rockin’.
I’ve only listened once, but I like these songs, and I like these people. Play ball!
I bought the Baseball Project LP at www.emusic.com, by the way, which is a pretty good service for finding mp3 songs in a wide range of genres for a pretty fair price.