Headphones are a haven to hear “Rains down in Africa” by Toto. I can walk anywhere and no one knows. I can even turn the volume down a little and hold a conversation with a music critic and pretend to be smart about wah wah pedals, beethoven, and intervals. And when the conversation comes round to Denny McLain, I just grit my teeth and hold back the pink…emotion that is.
Denny McLain was the last pitcher to win 30 games. He also got busted for gambling, drugs, alcohol, did some prison time…yadda yadda yadda fall from grace story, but before all that happened, McLain moonlighted as a musician.
He recorded two albums in 1969; “Denny McLain at the Organ” and “Denny Mclain in Las Vegas.” It’s lounge music or elevator muzak or hotel lobby music or whatever you want to call it “girl from ipanema” and I must be brave or crazy or both to confess my love of McLain to a music critic, but I do it anyway.
And as expected, the coolest man in the world looks away in disgust….
“McLain is a staggeringly incompetent musician and the only reason Capitol made this record was because he was a baseball player. This is not even jazz. This is worth keeping only because it’s so screwed up.”
See what I mean.. But still, I see no point in carrying on without a little dose of McLain.
The sound of Hammond organ is the smell of beer and hot dogs at old County Stadium which is impossible because it’s 2013 and County Stadium was imploded years and years ago, but I still smell it. I walk through this jungle with “Extra Innings” on my brain. My shoes blush in Lawrence Welk, but I’m ready to raid the barrel and roll beers to a damn world three more times. Let it be the 12th inning.