News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Equalizer: NFL Music Draft
BY JONAS BEALS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
With the National Football League’s season set to start in about a week, and fantasy football players the world over spending their hard-earned time drafting fictional football teams, it’s important not to lose sight of what makes a truly great NFL player: a questionable foray into the music business.
As a service to you, I will don my black plastic Mel Kiper Jr.-brand hair helmet and mock-draft the NFL’s all-time music team. If you intend to defeat your co-workers in your NFL music league this year, do not deviate from this list.
FIRST ROUND: ROSEY GRIER
Not only was Grier a fearsome all-pro defensive lineman for the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams in the ’50s and ’60s, he was also a needlepoint advocate and served as Robert Kennedy’s bodyguard. He also has a hell of a voice, and recorded what I believe to be the greatest children’s song of all time: “It’s All Right to Cry.”
SECOND ROUND: THE 1986 LOS ANGELES RAMS
In an effort to match the 1985 Chicago Bears (more on them later), the Rams took to the recording studio. They surpassed every known record mankind has ever made by waxing “Ram It,” a novelty “rap” song that has been described as “Chaucerian” by no one. Lyrics like “I learned long ago, if you Ram it just right, you can Ram it all day and Ram it all night,” were about football, I guess.
THIRD ROUND: TERRY BRADSHAW
I see some Pittsburgh Steelers fans cringing. Don’t. Actually, you should be proud—Bradshaw isn’t (or wasn’t) a bad singer. Ignore his regrettable 1996 Christmas album, but do spend some time with his 1976 album of country covers, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” It’s surprisingly good, he sounds (and sort of looks) like Woody Harrelson pretending to be a country singer, and he still managed to win two more Super Bowls after it was released. An argument could be made that the album ensured those subsequent victories. Anything is possible.
FOURTH ROUND: THE 1985 CHICAGO BEARS
As I mentioned above, the Bears ignited an unfortunate trend when they recorded “Super Bowl Shuffle”—the first and only hit song by a professional sports organization. Some other teams, like the Rams, followed the Bears’ lead, but the real Pandora’s box was unleashed upon unwitting children, who spent years enduring assemblies featuring the Bears-inspired “rap” stylings of middle-aged school administrators. Those are atrocities you can never unsee.
FIFTH ROUND: DEION SANDERS
Most Redskins fans probably remember Sanders for not winning any Super Bowls with their team, but there is a good reason to see him as a steal at this point in the draft—the 1994 album “Prime Time.” Released on M.C. Hammer’s record label, it reached No. 70 on the R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. His Mike-Tyson-meets-Michael-Jackson vocals added authenticity to lines like “My liberry cards gon change into credit cards” on the not-so-hit single “Must Be the Money.”
Ben Utecht, former tight end for the Indianapolis Colts, current breathy Christian pop singer; Free Reign, a metal band that includes NFL player Leonard Davis and former players Marc Colombo and Cory Procter; Mike Reid, a Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman who became a Grammy-winning country singer and songwriter in the ’80s.
JONAS’ IN-TOWN PICK: Bluegrass Jam with Ed Dickerson at the Colonial Tavern. A weekly acoustic gathering led by a fantastic picker. Tuesday at 9 p.m.
OUT-OF-TOWN PICK: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville. One of the better soul revival acts, sure to make you boogie. Monday at 7 p.m.
LISTENING TO: “The Width of a Circle” by David Bowie. The best of metal-influenced Bowie, with great bass licks by Tony Visconti.
Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036