Sunday, January 22, 2017

Countdown to 2017 Topps #10: Who Ya Dig? VIDA BLUE

We have a listener-supported, independent community radio station in the Boise area that I try to listen to every Sunday (late) morning and (early) afternoon. The two programs I'm referring to are called Spoonful, which features "vintage rock 'n roll, heavy blues, twangy rockabilly, righteous surf, classic country and early gospel", and Sunday Soul Party, which features "a cross section of lesser heard Soul, R&B, Funk, and Jazz". One of the songs on today's playlist was the Honey Dripper's Impeach the President, which I found quite humorous, having just witnessed Donald J. Trump being sworn in as President just two days ago. Anyway, we're now 10 days away from the release of 2017 Topps Series 1 Baseball...

One thing I love about the internet is the ability to discover new music. This is especially important to a guy like me who's stuck in (for the most part) classic rock from the late 60s-70s and 80s rock, metal and new wave. I do like other genres of music, although I'm far less-versed in the area of funk, soul and r&b, and so apps like Spotify, Pandora and Youtube are a godsend for a change in my consumption and appreciation of music. One genre I've been listening to more of recently is funk.

I can't help but think how appropriate it is that it would be a couple of soul and funk artists who would be the ones to pay homage to a pitcher like Vida Blue. Not rock; not country- but soul and funk.

Born out of soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues music, funk music places an emphasis on a strong groove and less on melody. It's percussive style is very similar to Blue's pitching style: power pitcher who worked fast and pounded the zone with his heater. You want melody? Try Greg Maddux. Blue was all funk.

James Brown introduced us to the genre aound the time Vida was nearing the end of high school and saw the genre reach its high point during the late '60s and early '70s- the same time that Blue began his career and ascended to stardom. The artists of this time period were a colorful, flashy bunch (much like Blue's '75 Topps card) and often wore crazy outfits. While I know nothing about the two artists that paid tribute to the pitcher, I do know that they could lay down a groove.

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