Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Catfish played baseball
And struck everybody out.
He whooped the Yankees.

I don't like songs about baseball. Well, I don't like most songs about baseball. There are exceptions, but songs about sports generally leave me cold. "Catfish," a Jacques Levy-Bob Dylan collaboration that was recorded for the 1976 album "Desire," but ultimately left off, is no exception. The song is basic. Catfish Hunter is a great baseball player, nobody can play like he can, and so on. That's all very nice. The Dylan touches that make it a little more sly deal with Billy Martin grinning, Catfish's pinstripe suit and cigar and alligator boots, and that kind of thing. Best of all is the line about striking out Reggie Jackson on the Yankees:

Reggie Jackson at the plate Seein’ nothin’ but the curve Swing too early or too late Got to eat what Catfish serve

That's pretty good writing.

The song, meanwhile, appeared on the first installment of the Bootleg Series in 1991. And here is Joe Cocker's version from the "Stingray" album.

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