Posts Tagged ‘Motown’

Part of the charm of baseball for me are its mythic elements, the stories that captured my imagination as a kid.  For instance, Babe Ruth allegedly pointing to the centerfield fence to call his home run. Or Satchel Paige supposedly throwing strikes using a single gum wrapper laid on home plate as the strike zone.  Willie Mays’ fabled but very real over the shoulder catch. And Jackie Robinson stealing home in the World Series. Too many more to mention here.

This year has brought a player who may enter into that pantheon of mythic baseball lore.  Rookie Aaron Judge of the Yankees combines a physique that seems right out of tall tales with Paul Bunyan size and strength. He’s 6′ 8″ tall and weighs in the 275 pound range, the largest player by sheer body mass to ever play the game. But it is not a lumbering, heavy mass.  He is athletic and quick with a powerful and accurate throwing arm.

But it is his potent bat that has made him the big news of NY and the rest of the major leagues. He leads the American League in home runs, runs batted in, runs, batting average and walks.

All are amazing stats but it is the way in which he strikes his homers that has thrilled the crowds and made his every at bat must see viewing. His pregame batting practices are already legendary with balls flying to the deepest parts of the park where they have scattered bartenders and shattered television screens. The excitement has people coming to the games wearing costume powdered wigs and he even has a section of the stands named in his honor– the Judge’s Chambers.

He hits the ball with incredible power and the crack of the bat is startlingly sharp, with a thunderclap to it unlike almost any other player. His home runs leave the park at ultra high velocity and go ridiculous distances. Yesterday, he hit a ball at Yankee Stadium close to 500 foot that had the other players as well as the announcers in sheer awe.  He is simply hitting balls to places where they have never been hit before, even in batting practice. As Paul O’Neill said, it’s like he’s a big man playing in a Little League field.

I have to say that he has ignited that excitement in the game that I had as a kid where every game, every at bat has the possibility of the amazing or the transcendent taking place. Something that would tie your experience of it to the great myths of the game.

Now, the realistic part of me, that awful adult part, knows that the odds are that someday soon this torrid pace may slow and he will return to the ranks of the merely good ball players. Baseball is a humbling game for players and fans alike. But for know, Aaron Judge is playing the game like he’s in a comic book, like he’s King Kong swinging Thor’s Hammer at the plate. And that makes this middle-aged boy very happy. It’s a great diversion away from these troubling times.

Whenever he comes to the plate, I always think of this song from the 60’s. It was a minor hit in 1968 from Motown’s Shorty Long, who died the following year in a boating accident. I was just a kid at the time, idolizing Cardinal pitcher Bob Gibson, himself a mythic character, but I remember this song well. Can’t go wrong here, Motown soul with the Funk Brothers laying down a great backing track. Courts in session, here come the Judge…


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Ball of Confusion- Artist Jerry Thompson

Ball of Confusion- Artist Jerry Thompson

Hard to believe it’s March first.  With the snow falling and the cold temperatures, it definitely looks to be following the old adage where it comes in like a lion.  I am hoping the lamb is not too far away but this year, who knows?  We might be saying the same thing for April.

Crazy world.  Which brings me to this Sunday’s musical interlude.  I’ve been doing this blog for about 6 1/2 years now (which is hard to believe, as well) and have played a lot of different music over that time.  But for some unknown reason, the one and only Temptations have never made an appearance.  How I could have waited so long is beyond me but I will fix it today.

For many folks, the music of the Temptations could well be the soundtrack of the 60’s and 70’s.  Motown at its very best.  If you grew up in that time frame, their music most likely was part of your life in some way.   My Girl, Just My Imagination, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, and on and on.  I mean, come on!

So today, with another blast of winter weather confusing this corner of the world and the rest of the world in a constant state of chaos, I thought I’d share the tempting Temptations’ Ball of Confusion.  If the world is indeed going to hell as some fear, at least let it go with a beat laid down by the Funk Brothers, Motown’s incredible band of  musicians who performed the music on this and so many other immortal hits.  Have a great Sunday!

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GC Myers- All We Cannot Know smHad a really nice Gallery Talk yesterday at the West End Gallery.  A wonderful crowd of folks turned out, a mix of  many new faces and those who I have seen before.  Made for a very comfortable setting and their warmth and interest made me feel at home.

Sort of the theme of the talk.

I had two different people, both from my hometown of  Horseheads,  remark afterward how proud they were that I was from and creating this work there.  It caught me off guard.  I had never looked at my work from that perspective, as being a source of civic pride.  I had never seen it as being of one place but it is, being from where I live.  My home.  There’s a power in that phrase that can’t be underestimated.

Many, many thank you’s to everyone who took time from a summer day with perfect weather to spend an hour with me, especially to those who traveled distances to do so.  I cannot fully express my gratitude for your warmth, your attention and your participation.  And, as always, many thanks to Linda and Jesse Gardner at the gallery.  Sticking to the theme, the West End is my home gallery and they have always made me feel at home there.  Thanks so much for the opportunity you gave me nearly twenty years ago.  My life is much changed as a result.

So, since I usually have some music on a Sunday morning, let’s stick with the theme of home.  Here’s 25 Miles , performed by the late Edwin Starr, the Motown artist who is best known for his 1970 #1 hit, War .  You know the song– War– good god y’all– what is it good for, absolutely nothing.  25 Miles was from a couple of years earlier, in 1968, and reached #6 on the pop charts.  It’s an indicator of what was to come with War.

Enjoy and have great Sunday.

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