Tuesday, April 21, 2015

... THIS is the best part


At some point, probably during early high school years, my half-assed dream of playing baseball for a living died between wind sprints.

"Do I really want to be doing this? I can't be doing this. I don't want to be doing this!" was basically the thought process behind the labored breathing.

Not only did I realize that I wasn't good enough to play baseball -- too short and no arm in comparison to my peers -- but I simply didn't have the desire to go through the physical demands of playing a sport on a regular basis. Coach wasn't buying "but, but, but I already run during the game!"

Sadly, I was only good enough and interested enough for the schoolyard.

But so what? I had other interests.

Those interests, unlike baseball, were substantial enough to find a career. I could write, or at least people told me I could. And that led to a career in writing. I could also play music, and although that never led to a career, the combination of the two -- writing and music -- has been the fantasy of my adult life. Baseball was the fantasy of my childhood life, but making music, well, damn, I think I could do that to this day.

This is why, when I think about it, music cards are more in line with my realistic interests than baseball cards. It's just that baseball cards are so much more available.

Several posts ago, I whined about how there weren't any music card sets around these days. That's when Stubby decided I needed some cards. He sent the baseball cards that you saw in the last post, but the best part of the package was definitely the music cards.

Did you see the George Clinton Funkadelic trading card? Do you promise to funk? The whole funk? Definitely the best part.

We'll get to exactly what that wonderful item is in a moment. But first this:



Stubby sent three packs of each. They are the ubiquitous Rock Cards and Pro Set MusiCards from the dawn of the 1990s.

I opened them and I am still weak from the hairspray fumes.

I don't recall opening any Rock Cards back in the day. They were devoted to the heavy rockers of the time, which in 1990 means hair bands.

There is definite repetition and favoritism in this set, which is why I pulled:


Six different AC/DC cards


Five different Slaughter cards



Five different Poison cards



And four different Skid Row cards

It's the usual glam rock assortment from the period: Motley Crue, Winger, Cinderella, plus more hardcore Anthrax and Megadeth, and tributes to the oldies like Grateful Dead.

I like the cards because they're simple and colorful. I'm a little too lighthearted for some of the music, but, yeah, I wish they had cards like this again.

The other packs of cards, I did open back in 1991. Pro Set Musicards covered a wide assortment of music, which is why you got:


Rock and pop rock.



Pop princesses.



Early '90s rap.



And my favorite part of the set, the Legends.

The set numbered and color-coded the cards by genre, which is both helpful and annoying. It'd be nice if it was a random mix of anything.

The part that was a surprise were the famous concert cards.


For whatever reason, I didn't pull any of those back then, but these are great.

The problem with both the Rock Cards and the MusiCards is although they hold great nostalgic value, they're like typical junk wax of the period: they're everywhere.

Which is why I fell in love with the other cards that Stubby sent. Let's see Mr. Clinton again:


This is a promotional card produced by Warner Brothers, apparently sent to radio stations with records that WB wanted stations to play.

The set harks from 1979 and features WB artists of the time. Here is Stubby's take on the set, which he wrote in a comment on my post about my love for music cards:

There WAS such a set. Its out there. And it's "vintage". And by "vintage", I don't mean the 1940s or something like that. I mean "right in your wheelhouse vintage", as in 1979. It included such artists as the B-52s, Chick Corea, Donna Fargo, Sly & The Family Stone, Deodato, The Sanford Townsend Band, Ashford and Simpson, Nicolette Larson, Ry Cooder, Fleetwood Mac, T.G. Sheppard, Pat Metheny, Maureen McGovern, ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix and on and on and on. And it's got beautiful color borders (not quite '75 Topps beautiful color borders; more like Star Co. color borders). I've never seen a checklist for the full set, though one must exist, so I don't have any idea how many cards are in the set. Nicolette Larson is #75, so there were at least that many. If you look at the names I mentioned, you might be able to figure out the common denominator. They were all Warner Brothers artists of the era. And, somewhat sadly, it was a "promotional only" set. I was working in radio at the time and what WB would do was send a small pack (like the see-through packs you used to get in some food products) with 5 or 10 cards (or however many it was) along with whatever records they were pushing at the time. They were random; it wasn't like the Rock stations only got Rock cards or the Jazz stations only got Jazz artists, etc. And most radio stations did what mine did--Kept the records and tossed the cards right in the garbage.



And there's the card back. Look, there's even baseball analogies in it! (Not all the cards read like that). The cards are numbered, are your typical 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 size, and are about as thick as a 2015 Topps base card, although not slick at all.

These cards are awesome, both because of their rare, vintage quality, but also because of the wide variety of artists and the fact that these people were making music when I was first getting acquainted with what was popular.







That's most of them, not all. They span quite a few genres from funk to Brazilian jazz to country to pop, folk, R&B and, of course, comedy.

And if you don't know the names, you probably know their music (a Lauren Wood song is featured prominently in the movie "Pretty Woman"), which is the point of me collecting music cards like this.

For all of the timeless traits baseball features -- and it's a major reason why I love the game so much -- it's not music. Music has the lasting power to remain long after the baseball memories fade, and music shapes itself into so many situations that baseball can't. It is an everlasting gift to humanity.

Often, when I dream, music plays during the dreams, and when I wake up, it's not a song I have ever heard before. The music is always different. Sometimes, I go downstairs in a sleepy state and force myself to try to play it on my daughter's keyboard.

I don't know how common that is, but that's how in tune with music I am. Songwriting would not be a stretch at all.

That doesn't mean I'm going to chuck baseball card collecting and start songwriting. Not right away anyway.

But I will be looking for more of these cards. Because the older I get, it's music that's in my wheelhouse, not baseball.

10 comments:

  1. Music has been much more my constant companion than baseball has ever been. Sad to say it, but I still get far more excited about a great song than watching some 6-foot-5 behemoth launching a home run.

    Great post, Night Owl!

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  2. https://youtu.be/B9z_qlIlZPY

    We all need it.

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  3. Funny,although not quite music, the reason I came across baseball cards in the first place was because I had every Star Wars, Kiss and Grease card out there. So on a whim I bought a bunch of baseball cards and became enthralled with baseball and then football. i remember I pulled a Jack Clark, who was having a good year in 78, from those early packs. To this day when I look at that card I'm instantly 9 years old again, falling in love with the nation's pastime.

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  4. Music is definitely a major interest of mine as well. My first blog, before either of my baseball blogs, was my heavy metal blog.

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  5. Those WB cards are awesome! Might need to find a few for my collection.

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  6. Well, the obvious thought to me was, you need to compose a song about baseball cards.

    Good stuff. I've seen those music promo cards mentioned on blogs a few times, but I don't have any of them. I just got some of the Pro Set cards in a RAOK earlier this year.

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  7. Great post.. Foghat. Memories of 1980 cruising around in my buddy's Mustang and poppin Foghat into the 8 track player. I'm going to have to find a few WB cards

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  8. I saw a very old and rough looking Eddie Money play at a local casino a few years back. It was entertaining for all the wrong reason.

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  9. I'm a metal head from way back, so I've filtered the checklist for the MusicCards for all the hard rock bands, plus a few guilty pleasures. I've got all the Brockum RockCards too. Bought a box of them a couple years ago. Still need a few holograms.
    Then there are the autographs from 2008 Spectrum and the UD (guitar) heroes from a couple years.
    One thing about the RockCards ~ BEST WRAPPER EVER.

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  10. Just the other day I had a song (that wasn't "real") popping in and out of my dreams. Tried to play it on acoustic guitar when I woke up but couldn't really do it justice. Seems to happen every once in a while, like you. Pretty cool.

    I think all of us card bloggers who play music should collaborate on a song or two over the web. How crazy would that be? I'd have to add some subtle "beat LA! beat LA!" backing vocals just barely too faint to hear. haha

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