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Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball

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Uploaded on Apr 21, 2008

Today I recorded Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball. It was written and recorded in 1948 by Buddy Johnson, and released again in 1949 by the Count Basie orchestra.

This is the first of the Go Get Your Voice songs from and about the early civil rights movement. For the Dodgers to sign an African-American man to play on their major league team took courage and foresight. The color walls were slowly beginning to come down and the Dodgers, along with Jackie Robinson were pioneers in much the same was as other courageous individuals like Rosa Parks.

I love this song, and I love baseball. Its so far off the map of music I do, I thought it might be fun! It works for the theme, so what the heck.

I wrote a new verse for the second bridge 'cuz I thought of one, and it seems to work with the goals of the project.

He stepped up to the plate
Some thought he tempted fate
Others saw the new day
History showed it mattered
The color line was shattered
But Jackie just came to play!

(©April 1, 2008 Paul B. Svenson/Dad's Songbook Music)

On this song I played my 1944 Gibson ES150. Its a full sized hollow body jazz-style arch-top, F-hole guitar. It has a single coil P90 pickup located toward the neck, and a simple volume and tone control. It simply has the right sound for this song - mellow, jazzy. 2 tracks of rhythm guitar, 1 little lead track, and of course the string bass. I managed not to get a blister today, even after a few takes. Progress!

I tried to make the recording sound old-school. Back in the big-band era it was not uncommon for the band members to join in singing parts of the song in unison from a distance. So I got me and all my clones together and tried it out. One of us played a cowbell and another played a slide-whistle just to be wise-guys. [less]

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