In honor of the Pirates’ Home Opener today, I’m going to fill this post with a few songs about baseball.
First up, a song from 70 years ago honoring one of the greatest legends and most important figures in baseball history: “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?” written by Buddy Johnson then recorded by Count Basie & his orchestra in 1949.
Let’s fast forward 36 years to a very different kind of song. I couldn’t write a post about baseball songs without including a classic like “Centerfield.” I can hear you all groan from here.
This last song really has nothing to do with baseball, but I will forever associate “Runaround Sue” with baseball because of this “Little Big League” montage. It is a completely inexplicable montage, even by kids’ baseball movie standards (and yes, that is a pre-“Gilmore Girls” Scott Patterson aka Luke Danes at 1:35 of the video).
No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
There’s a little something inside that won’t let me
It’s been a minute since I’ve written a Song of the Day post, so to make up for it, I’m going to post two songs today.
In honor of one my favorite rock goddesses releasing her first album in five years this past Friday, today is going to feature a double shot of Jenny Lewis.
The first song is “Wasted Youth” off of her new album, On The Line. It immediately stuck out to me when I first listened to it. This video is her performing it live on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week.
I was lucky enough to get to see to her live at Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis when she was touring for The Voyager, and was blown away by her performance. The Voyager was also one of my favorite albums of the last decade, so I had to include a song from it.
Today’s song choice is easily one of my top ten favorite songs of all-time. So much so that I played at it my wedding, even though it’s definitely not a song one would expect to hear at a wedding.
Found on one of the greatest albums of all-time, London Calling, “Rudie Can’t Fail” is an underrated masterpiece. A duet of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones backed with horns with a heavy reggae influence is truly something to behold.
I first heard this song in the movie Grosse Pointe Blank, which has a killer soundtrack and a score composed by Strummer himself. The horns really caught my attention, and I made sure I got the soundtrack as one of those seven CDs for a penny deal that was always being ran back in the ’90s. (The soundtrack also features Faith No More, the Violent Femmes, and a Guns ‘n Roses cover of “Live and Let Die,” but “Rudie Can’t Fail” stood out to me more than any of the other songs in the movie.
I first heard Curtis Harding in the summer of 2014. His album first solo album, Soul Power, had found its way into my listening rotation. I enjoyed the mix of soul and R&B present on the album.
In fall of 2017, Harding released his second solo album, Face Your Fear. When I first heard it, I was blown away. His combination of classic soul, Motown, and some psychedelic elements worked, and worked well. I listened to the album from start to finish countless times. It is one of my favorite albums in recent years.
When I heard Harding was coming to Pittsburgh, I immediately got tickets for his show on Easter night in 2018. The crowd at the Rex Theater was on the smaller side, which only made me feel bad for all the people missing out on such a talented artist. Curtis took the stage and announced that he had become ill with laryngitis, and his manager had wanted to cancel the show. “I said, ‘fuck that,'” he announced to applause. He said some songs would sound a little different and he’d have to cut some entirely, but the crowd was appreciative he was going to perform, period.
Even with laryngitis, he did not disappoint.
Occasionally, he would turn his face away from the microphone and cough. While he had to sing songs a little differently than they were performed on the album, he still managed to sound great. What he lacked in vocal range that evening, he made up for with the sheer energy of his performance as he alternated playing electric and acoustic guitars and picked up a tambourine on quite a few tunes. His backing band was incredible, too.
Curtis Harding is a true talent and I doubt this will be the last time he’ll be featured in one of my Song of the Day posts. Today’s selection is the song that marks the midpoint of Face Your Fear, “Need Your Love.” I never listen to this song just once when it comes on; I listen to it at least three or four times in a row. It’s so infectious and upbeat, I can’t help but put it on repeat. Over the course of writing this post, I’ve listened to it five times.
The video features shots of Curtis singing intermittently between scenes of real people (meaning, not models or actors) dancing to the song–people of every age, shape, size, color, and sexual orientation just enjoying the music (the kid dancing at 2:15 of the video is particularly awesome). It’s impossible to watch the video and not find yourself smiling; it’s so refreshing to watch people being happy and enjoying life.
(All photos in this post by Amanda Filipcic-Godsey)
Over the last week or so, I watched Season 3 of True Detective (and yes, it lived up to the hype). I quickly recognized the theme song was a cover of Son House’s “Death Letter” performed by Cassandra Wilson. “Death Letter” is one of my favorite songs of all-time–and Son House is one of my favorite musicians of all-time–so I was thrilled to hear another version of such a great song.
First, by the man himself, Son House:
Live version from The White Stripes:
The cover and artist that inspired this post, Cassandra Wilson: