Rawer Than Raw
I'm a couple of months late, but I do want to give a belated shout-out to blues great Bobby Rush who won his second Grammy on March 14 for "Rawer Than Raw," the Best Traditional Blues Album of 2020.
The 87 year-old bluesman wrote about half the songs for the album, while adding his own unique interpretations of a few old standards by Skip James ("Hard Times"), Howlin' Wolf ("Smokestack Lightning"), Willie Dixon ("Shake It For Me"), Sonny Boy Williamson ("Don't Start Me Talkin"), and Robert Johnson ("Dust My Broom"). It's a fun package that the veteran singer delivers with award-winning panache!
The Battered Bastards of Baseball
Sam and Jacob Farley, adhering to the time-honored Fenway Park tradition, signing Pesky Pole.
Last year, my April 1, 2020 blog listed my all-time favorite baseball movies, but, thanks to the magic of Netflix, I have to add another one: the 2014 documentary "The Battered Bastards of Baseball," that I enjoyed the other night after having watched the first place Red Sox pummel the Tigers at Fenway Park last week and, a few days later, the Rocket City Trash Pandas (Single A Affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels) thrash the Tennessee Smokies 12-8 in a 13-inning slugfest that included not one, but two grand slam homeruns by the home team at their new digs at Toyota Field in Madison, Alabama:
Almost as uplifting as "The Battered Bastards of Baseball," an inspiring film about the 1973-1977 Portland Mavericks, an independent minor league team in the Class A--Short Season Northwest League. Founded and owned by the bit actor and lifelong baseball enthusiast Bing Russell (best known for his 13-year role as Deputy Clem on "Bonanza"), the Mavericks held open tryouts that resulted in a team of motley misfits, retreads, and ragtag rejects, including local bar owner Frank "Flash" Peters as team manager, Bing's own son Kurt (of famous actor fame) as V-P and designated hitter, and ex-Yankee pariah Jim Bouton, who, together with a colorful cast of cast-offs, ended up becoming one of the best teams in the minor leagues, beating major league affiliated teams with million dollar bonus babies and former college stars, while packing the Portland ballpark and creating one of the coolest, underdog rags to riches stories in baseball history.
If you care about baseball or just true tales of the little guys besting the big boys, you gotta check this out.
Charles Farley is an author who lives and writes in Huntsville, Alabama.