Thursday, April 8, 2010

Talking Yogi Talk

"This may be the greatest music that's never been heard."

Ok, so that may not be quite up to Yogi Berra's standards, but I took a shot.

Today's Baseball Song of the Day comes from six time grammy award winner, John McCutcheon.

Born in Wisconsin (and a Milwaukee Braves fan), McCutcheon has produced over 30 albums during his career and has received some high praise from such artists as Johnny Cash who called him, "The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.” Mainly a folk singer, McCutcheon plays a variety of instruments including a 12-String Guitar, Fancy Banjo, Fiddle, Hammered Dulcimer, Nyckelharpa, and something called a Piano too.

(photo by Gary Harrison, May 6, 2001 at the Baseball Hall of Fame)

From his biography on his web site:, one of McCutcheon's greatest gifts are to bring all types of people together through his music, which ranges from political, to the everyday (a child's haircut) to one of my favorite subjects, Baseball.

“Some of them know me through my albums for children,” he explains. “Some know me as a hammered dulcimer player. Some know me for writing topical songs. Yet all of these people find themselves sitting next to one another at my shows. They laugh and cry. They get nostalgic and they think about the future. They think about their kids and their ancestors. They get inspired and energized. And this inspires and energizes me too."

In 2008 McCutcheon recorded an album dedicated to the subject of baseball called "Sermon On the Mound" in which he honored a few of the games heroes (Cal Ripken Jr., Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson), discusses the dark side of the game (John Rocker and the steroids issue) and catches many bittersweet moments.

From an article by Mike Tierney on the Atlanta Journal Constitution web site, McCutcheon explains about a few of the songs meanings...

"Doin' My Job" recognizes Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak while equating it to common people going to work every day.

"One More Mountaintop" relives Mark McGwire's record-breaking home run from the perspective of the groundskeeper who retrieved the ball and honorably gave it to McGwire rather than sell it to a collector.

"Cross That Line" revisits pioneer Jackie Robinson's integration of the major leagues made easier with a simple but profound gesture by teammate Pee Wee Reese. Its message: Seize the moment when one arises for a positive impact.

Not every McCutcheon number is wrapped in warm nostalgia. He bemoans the infiltration of steroids in "Big." He tosses melodious beanballs at the former Braves pitcher/sociopolitical observer in "John Rocker." ("You want him in the bullpen, you want him in the zone, but you want him far away from a microphone.")


Another song on the album; "Sermon on the Mound" is today's Baseball Song of the Day, "Talking Yogi Talk" which highlights many of the New York Yankee and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra's famous sayings.

The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi BerraBSOD 4/8/2010: Talking Yogi Talk
Artist: John McCutcheon
Released: 2008

A sampling of the lyrics from Talking Yogi Talk by John McCutcheon

"I wanna tell you a little story
about a hero of mine
I was six or seven
at the time
learned to catch behind the plate
when up steps the yankees number 8

one of the best to ever play the game
enshrined in baseball's hall of fame
Yogi Berra could hit, he could throw
but when he opened his mouth
(laughs) just never know

he hits from both sides of the plate
heeee's ammmmmmmmphibious

the future ain't what it used to be
i won't buy encylodpedia for my kids
let them walk to school like i did

sometimes he said things that actually sounded profound theory there is no difference between theory and practice
in practice, there is

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