Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where’s That Hit?

Photo taken from the Hoodoo Gurus Facebook page.

Note to WXRT fans: This year the station’s Cubs Opening Day celebration falls on the first of April. Since XRT is notorious for its April Fools Day pranks, you have to wonder if the people who gather for the live broadcast this Friday at YakZies on Clark Street will somehow be involved in a large scale scam. It should be interesting to see what happens.

Now that spring training has wrapped up and we’re on the verge of the 2011 baseball season, it seems like a good time to contemplate the Hoodoo Gurus’ “Where’s That Hit?” from their 1989 LP Magnum Cum Louder. Back then, head Hoodoo Dave Faulkner was rumored to be an avid follower of America’s favorite pastime, and he certainly had the lingo down pat on this fun and catchy track.

After playing a few notes from “Take Me Out To The Ball Park” on the organ, Faulkner sets the stage for a rookie’s first challenge in the big leagues. “Bases are loaded, two out and you’re at the plate.” As the song progresses, we get a little background info on the batter. “Just up from the minors/A kid with potential, they said.” The tension mounts. “Here you are at Shea, your heart’s in your throat/Will you make the grade? Will you miss the boat?” The energetic arrangement also features some spirited harmonica playing, and Faulkner winds things up by repeatedly belting out the title with the fervor of a gospel singer.

It’s tempting to think that Faulkner conceived “Where’s That Hit?” as a metaphorical response to pressure from his record label to score a chart topping single. But I think he really just meant it to be a song about baseball. Besides, Magnum Cum Louder already had a potential hit with “Come Anytime,” a melodic gem that featured The Bangles on backup vocals

I saw the Hoodoo Gurus at The Metro in Chicago when they were touring in support of this album. Surprisingly, they didn’t play “Where’s That Hit?” even though they were in walking distance of Wrigley Field.

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