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Beyond ‘Dirty Water’

Red Sox songs that don't suck
By MIKE MILIARD  |  July 18, 2006

Warren Zevon
You cringe when the pink-hat bandwagoneers ba-ba-ba and so-good!-so-good!-so-good! along to “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth. You stomp and howl when “Dirty Water” blares loud after the ninth. You know all about “Tessie” — both the Royal Rooters’ version that helped us win the World Series in 1903, and the Dropkick Murphys’ version that did the same in 2004. (Maybe the Dropkicks can repurpose “Pipebomb on Lansdowne Street” to be played after every Manny home run?) You bought Bronson Arroyo’s CD the day it came out — and haven’t listened to it since. And you’ve been sending good vibes to Peter Gammons every time you spin his new disc. You are a Red Sox fan. You are a music snob. Here are a few more to add to your iPod.

Earth Opera, "The Red Sox Are Winning" (1968)
Back in the heady days of the “Bosstown Sound,” the year after the Impossible Dream team had captured the hearts of blue-collar joes and the Hub’s longhaired youth (witness the photo in Glenn Stout’s Red Sox Century of the flower child toting a sign proclaiming THE RED SOX ARE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE), this languorous, trippy nugget, flitting between psychedelia and vaudeville, used the Sox as a prism through which to view counterculture. A Fenway crowd cheers as the singer screams: “Let’s make Boston America’s number one baseball city!/ Kill the hippies!/ Kill the hippies!”

Warren Zevon, "Bill Lee" (1980)
“You’re supposed to sit on your ass and nod at stupid things/ Man, that’s hard to do/ And if you don’t, they’ll screw you/ And if you do, they’ll screw you too.” Poor Spaceman. With a guy like the Gerbil as his manager, the loquacious lefty never stood a chance. But he had cool friends and a home at the Eliot Lounge. (See also, “The Ballad of Bill Lee” by the Karl Hendricks Trio.)

Akrobatik, "Red Sox Free Style" (1999)
“Off the top of the dome, here’s my first offerin’/ MCs are slow on the defense like Offerman/ Check the lyrics out I’m balancin’/ I snatch your girl and take her to third base like John Valentin/ And then I’ll have you looking in the mirror/ I’ll throw you on the disabled list like Nomar Garciaparra/ And keep the shit sooo strong/ You’ll be like, ‘That’s the big man, like Mo Vaughn!’ ”

Styles P, "Good Times (I Get High)" (2002)
“I get high as a kite/ I’m in the zone all alone, muthafucka ’cause I’m dyin’ tonight/ So I roll ’em up back to back, fat as I could/ You got beef with Styles P, I come to slide to the ’hood.” Now why, oh why, did family-friendly Fenway not let Manny use this as his at-bat song?

The Farmhands, "Red Sox Fever" (2005)
A lo-fi trio consisting of a Sox fan, a Mets fan, and — gasp! — a Yankees fan, these dudes released a sprawling double-album this April, American League/National League, featuring 30 songs for all 30 major-league squads. If for no other reason, the Olde Towne Team’s folky entry scores points for the exquisitely evocative couplet, “Chewed-up sunflower seeds/ Blow a seven-run lead.”

  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Warren Zevon , Bill Lee , Styles P ,  More more >
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