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Ten for the books.

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Ten for the books.

A jag doesn’t go away until it comes out through the fingertips. And so we continue …

The “Stairway to Heaven” yearbook I linked to the other day will probably always be the standard-bearer for Seventies high school yearbook covers. It’s just so thoroughly of its time.

But as I continue to browse the online collection at archive.org, I find so many more that deserve to be brought out and recognized.

Sure, if you search the archive for “yearbook,” you’ll find lots of obvious cover photos of changing leaves, seagulls and sunsets. (Or are they sunrises? We discussed that the other day.)

But you’ll also find plenty of schools willing to stretch the boundaries of imagination — sometimes good taste, too — to do something new and catch the spirit of the time and place.

And that’s really what it’s about, no? A yearbook isn’t supposed to be timeless; it’s supposed to be carved out of a moment, or a collection of them, and it’s supposed to take you there when you look at it.

Anyway, here are 10 classic Seventies high school yearbook covers you need to see, because they’ll take you there. Or they’ll take you someplace interesting, anyway.

I put numbers on ’em, but I wouldn’t really argue that No. 2 is better than No. 9. It’s all good:

10. Belmont High School “Reflections,” Belmont, Mass., 1973.

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You’ll find all sorts of freaky-deaky photo effects on Seventies yearbook covers. Fisheye lenses. Redscale film. Photos that have been given that posterized treatment — I think that’s what it’s called — when an image is boiled down to only two or three colors, producing a garish outline that hints at the real thing.

Choosing a “best” in this category is highly subjective. But if you know the kind of photo treatments I’m thinking of, I think you’ll agree the ’73 Belmont Reflections cover is a fine example. It waves the flag of the genre high and proud.

(“High” perhaps being the operative word. Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

9. Minnechaug Regional High School “Falcon,” Wilbraham, Mass., 1977.

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If you are of a certain age — too young to have received any of these yearbooks, certainly — you may remember the opening credits of The Electric Company. You’d see a clip of a character on the show doing something; then the actor who played that character would saunter into view and wave, or grimace, or curtsy, or something.

(Ringing no bells? Here you go:)

Anyway, I’m having a hard time putting a finger on why I like the Minnechaug High ’77 yearbook cover.

But I think it’s because the concept — separating the moments from the people behind them — subconsciously reminds me of these opening credits.

(Minnechaug also gets mention for its 1975 yearbook, which looks like Poor Richard laid it out, and its 1978 annual, which looks like Pedro Bell, of Funkadelic fame, laid it out.)

8. Johnston High School “Johnston High Fever,” Johnston, Iowa, 1979.

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Remember when I was waxing eloquent about how the “Stairway to Heaven” yearbook cover was the quintessential expression of its time and place?

Yeah, I mighta just been talking out the side of my neck on that.

7. Bishop Fenwick High School “Lance,” Peabody, Mass., 1975.

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Somebody’s grandma did this one, and don’t tell me otherwise.

(If you’re wondering why there are so many Massachusetts high schools in this post, it’s not because of my love for the Bay State; it’s just because Massachusetts is overrepresented in the archive.org collection. A year from now, perhaps fresh goodness from elsewhere will have been added.)

6. Highland High School “Shield,” Highland, Indiana, 1974.

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There’s really nothing identifiably Seventies about this shot. I just think it’s colorful and charming and whimsical and kicky and fresh.

Who would expect to see an old-fashioned gumball machine on a yearbook cover? And who could be crabby enough not to smile at the sight of it?

5. (tie) Port Huron High “Student,” Port Huron, Mich., 1976; and Longmeadow High School “Masacksic,” Longmeadow, Mass., 1976.

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As you can imagine, all kinds of schools went in on the Bicentennial for yearbook inspiration.

If you like Bicentennial designs — and, really, who doesn’t? — you could easily build a top 10 list just from those. I’ve chosen to bundle two together and count them as one.

Port Huron gets the nod for patriotic simplicity. Conversely, Longmeadow gets points for using distinctive art and not using the obvious red, white and blue.

A Bicentennial special mention goes to Fermi High School of Enfield, Conn. Their art wasn’t great, but the cover incorporates “76” in an unexpected way.

4. (tie) Warren Central High School “Wigwam,” Indianapolis, Ind., 1973; and Southeastern Regional Technical Vocational High School “Invictus,” South Easton, Mass., 1973.

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Blue jeans were a great Seventies look (just ask David Dundas) and several covers in the archive.org collection feature denim-themed riffs.

The Warren Central Wigwam shot brings to mind the kind of homespun, faded, super-patched jeans worn by Neil Young on the After the Gold Rush cover, while the much cleaner look of the Southeastern Invictus cover almost anticipates the coming trend for designer denim.

Wonder if anybody at Southeastern even realized they were putting a big closeup of an arse on their yearbook cover until it was too late?

3. Turners Falls High School “Peske-Tuk,” Montague, Mass., 1978.

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The Seventies may have been a time of wild excess, but a fortunate few still found genius in simplicity.

I love the typeface these western Massachusetts kids used for “1978.” And the exclamation point is perfect. Without belaboring the point (like the kids at Liberty High in Brentwood, Calif., did), it says: “Now, wasn’t that one hell of a year we just finished? And aren’t you glad to be in this moment?”

(White yearbook covers probably don’t wear well, but we’ll not get bogged down in practical concerns like that.)

Edit: After looking at this one for the tenth time, I discerned the outline of the words “HERE COMES” above the big blue “1978!” This kinda deflates, or at least redirects, my interpretation above … and I kinda liked it better when all I could see was the year. But I’m just gonna leave the post the way I wrote it.

2. Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, Va., 1977.

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Veering wildly one last time into fantasyland, we have … this design, which looks like an album cover Nektar rejected.

It’s so audacious that it’s won me over. It bears no connection or relevance at all to the day-to-day lives and dreams of teenagers, but whoever designed and approved it seems to have been fine with that. And I guess I am too.

1. Sutton High School “Exitus,” Sutton, Mass., 1973.

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What this one lacks in art it makes up for in pure high-school attitude. (Although the “handwritten” typeface is a nice artistic touch. Makes it look like a teenage girl’s journal or something. Starkly personal.)

In high school, you don’t realize that everyone has your problems, and that none of them really matter. Your passage through the grades, trials and tribulations seems like an epic journey to you.

And when the door slams behind you, you perceive it as the end of an era … because you don’t have the perspective to know it’s just one step along the way.

To be fair: When you open the ’73 Exitus and read a little bit, the “end of an era” mentioned on the cover turns out to be the end of six years of double sessions at Sutton High. The kids who came up with this cover phrase didn’t (entirely) do it because they were in love with their own personal journey-myth; they were referring to real-life events.

But my purpose does not require me to consider context. I’m just looking at covers. And this one, absent context, delivers loads of that sort of unique, endearing self-importance that comes as part of the high school experience.

Really, every one of these covers marks the end of an era for a certain collection of people.

Even the cover with the arse on it.

A few more honorable mentions I couldn’t find room for:

They too have their story.

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The yearbook I linked to in yesterday’s post is still the ne plus ultra of Seventies yearbook covers. (Go see it if you haven’t.)

But when I found this one, I thought it deserved sharing as well, for the way it evoked that uniquely Seventies collision of deep, profound thought (or what was perceived as deep, profound thought) with the mass market.

I give the Stoneham High Class of ’74 credit: Their reproduction of the work in question, inside the front cover, is accurately credited. None of that 1692 nonsense, or whatever canard it was that was going around back in the day.

It had been a few years since the recording of this work had been on Top 40 radio; the members of the Class of ’74 were mere wet-behind-the-ears sophomores when it was a hit. I guess it made a lasting impression in Stoneham.

Finally, while I’m thinking about it: I have always perceived the sun-photos on the covers of yearbooks (including this one) as sunsets. It has only hit me just now that they’re probably supposed to be sunrises — representative of the dawn of a new day, and like that.

I accept whatever that particular Rorschach test says about me.

(Beyond a wholesome discipline, I am being gentle with myself.)

The piper will lead us to reason.

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Seventies yearbooks are an intermittent jag of mine, and I’ve been cruising a bunch of them over at the Internet Archive — to the point where I’m starting to develop a Seventies Yearbook Bingo game based on my favorite themes.

(One favorite game: Guess how many pages you have to get into each yearbook before you find a picture of somebody playing a guitar. When you find one, it will almost certainly be an acoustic guitar, the tool of pained, earnest troubadors everywhere. Give yourself five extra points if it’s not.)

But this is a digression. The real kernel in tonight’s post:

If you like Seventies culture, you simply have to see the front cover of the Weymouth South High School 1979 yearbook, from Weymouth, Massachusetts.

I’m not gonna give you any hints as to what’s on it. But once you’ve seen it, you will not forget it, because a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Seriously. I’m not trolling or rick-rolling you; I’m not linking to a Playboy centerfold or a gore-shot from some ungodly horror movie. I’m steering you to the distilled essence of Teenage Seventies, or part of it anyway.

Odds are, you won’t even notice the howling spelling error at top right.

Well, OK, now you will.

(If by chance you click the link and you get the inside cover of the yearbook, just click on the left-hand page to get to the front cover.)

Dude.

Larks’ tongues.

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I was just thinking about King Crimson the other day … they’re the sort of band where every so often, I nod my head to myself and think, “Y’know, I don’t put them on much any more, but their better stuff still holds up. I should get back to them sometime.”

Well, in about four months, I’ll be seeing them live.

The music writer at the local paper, who’s pretty dreadful at everything except announcing upcoming shows, happened to mention on Twitter that King Crimson was coming to Miller Symphony Hall in downtown Allentown.

I happened to see his tweet. And about five minutes after that, I happened to have purchased a ticket.

(It’s in the back row of the balcony. But Miller Symphony Hall is a pretty intimate place — it’s where I saw Robert Hunter a couple of years ago. And, the current edition of Crimson has no fewer than four drummer/percussionists. So I’m pretty confident the noise will reach me.)

The band’s current lineup has been together since 2014 and has put out a couple of albums, all of which I am totally unfamiliar with.

I’m still up for the show, though. I don’t imagine King Crimson, of all bands, has sold out; I’m confident the newer stuff is as angular and weird and delightful as the best of the old (see below).

And Robert Fripp has brought me a whole bunch of pleasure over the years. He richly deserves to have a couple more of my nickels in his pocket.

Unity and pathways unknown.

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Time for me to tell you again what new-to-me stuff I’ve been putting in my ears lately.

(The old-to-me stuff getting spun lately includes Jandek, the Jerry Garcia Band and John Coltrane — a playlist brought to you by the letter J. On a whim, I also put on my Gerald-Ford-plus-theremin Bandcamp album. I’m pleased to report it is only getting better with age.)

For the new discoveries, I’ll start with the lesser pleasures and build to a big finale:

Larry Young, Unity: My biggest prior exposure to the artist came via the Tony Williams Lifetime’s Emergency!, on which Young’s overdriven Hammond organ slops, sweats, sizzles and smokes.

So I was a little underwhelmed by Unity at first. It was straight, mannerly bop (or post-bop, or something — I’m not up on my jazz-critic labels), not nearly as messy or electric as the rock-fueled Emergency!

But I did a little reading, and revised my outlook, and have come back for a second listen, and found much to like. This one, I think, will grow on me.

Sun Ra and the Astro Infinity Arkestra, Pathways to Unknown Worlds/Friendly Love: This is terrific, and sounds in places like what would happen if you locked pandas in a high-school band room for 500 years. (You’d have to equip the room with a couple of Moogs, too, I guess.)

This re-release combines an album issued in 1975 with a series of previously unreleased recordings made two years before.

Bizarre, muddy, unpredictable free-jazz improvisation abounds throughout; sax and bass clarinet outbursts periodically die down so bandleader Ra can play weird interstellar keyboard interludes in the key of Pluto.

I have selected bass clarinetist Eloe Omoe as my favorite Arkestra member, since he upholds a long-running standard of weirdness on his instrument. From Bennie Maupin on Bitches Brew to the Mascara Snake on Trout Mask Replica, bass clarinetists always seem to sound like they’re in a different room from the rest of the band. Maybe I need to start playing bass clarinet. It might change my entire perspective.

The only drag about this reissue is the newly created album cover, which is dreadful and clip-arty and so poorly done that it misspells the album title (never seen that before.)

Inside the booklet, though, are two informative essays about the Arkestra’s members, the band’s activities around the time of recording, and the challenge of transferring Ra’s often amateurish recordings into the digital realm.

This stuff is three times as much as fun as Night In The Ruts, anyway. Be the first one on your block, etc.

And now the big kahuna:

Radio broadcasts of old baseball games.

I’ve long dreamed of a library that would hold broadcasts of average baseball games. Not the World Series — I know how those come out — but just some typical Tuesday night in 1966 in Atlanta, times 10,000. It would make my collection of Grateful Dead shows look like a 10-minute punk EP by comparison.

I don’t quite have that yet. But I do have the 306 vintage radio broadcasts collected here, and that’s a damned nice first step.

These kinds of old recordings have circulated for years, and usually, the people who collect them make money by selling copies.

But one brave user of the Internet Archive seems to have decided to liberate them all. (He — I’m betting it’s a he — also claims to have cleaned some of them up sonically, and maybe that’s so.)

Some of these are postseason and All-Star games, and thus not quite what I had in mind — though I’m planning to listen to some of those anyway, because I’ve never actually heard the play-by-play even though I know the final score.

Lots and lots of others are the average ordinary games I’ve been longing for. And I plan to dive into them and roll around in them and smother myself with them. Not sure exactly how I can do that and still fulfill my obligations to society, but I’m working on figuring it out.

Vin Scully is here. So are Red Barber, Phil Rizzuto, the Seattle Pilots, the Philadelphia A’s, and more old-timey, gusto-choked beer commercials than I can shake a fungo bat at. (The oldest games posted here are old enough that Babe Ruth could be in them, though I haven’t listened to find out if he is.)

The dude who posted these games appears to have done so on the understanding that MLB radio broadcasts from 1973 and earlier are in the public domain.

I have no idea whether there’s any truth to that … so if this collection interests you the way it interests me, don’t sleep on it.

Indeed, I may stop sleeping altogether.

Pictures of kids playing baseball.

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Just got back from the Finger Lakes. I was going to visit a ballpark with some interesting history, and then do the usual pix-and-lines writeup that I do when I go to a new (to me) ballpark.

But then my plans shifted and I ended up going to a much less interesting place — from a historical standpoint, and from a photographic standpoint as well.

Still, you gets the writeup and the pictures anyway, because that’s how I do.

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This is Maple City Park in Hornell, New York, a city-owned and -run park that’s home to the Hornell Dodgers of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. (This is a summer league for college-age players, financially supported by Major League Baseball.)

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The small (pop. 8,563) city of Hornell hosted affiliated minor-league ballclubs from 1942 to 1957. The best-known and best-remembered of them were part of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ massive minor-league network, though the city also hosted teams linked to the Reds, Red Sox and Pirates.

Tommy Davis, a sure-shot member of baseball’s Hall of Very Good, spent a season in Hornell in 1956. Charlie Neal and Don Zimmer — who both won World Series titles with the Dodgers, only to wash up with the ’62 Mets — played there in 1950.

Dick Tracewski, a two-time Series winner as a player and later one of Sparky Anderson’s trusted coaches, passed through in ’54.

And Frank Oceak played his last minor-league ball in Hornell in 1943. He never made the bigs as a player, but you might remember him as the Pirates third-base coach congratulating Bill Mazeroski after his Series-winning home run in 1960.

Those players and their teams also played at a ballpark called Maple City Park. But it ain’t the same one; that one was torn down in the early 1960s to make way for a new high school.

The school isn’t far from today’s Maple City Park — just up Seneca Street — but it seems likely that today’s park isn’t on the same site as the old one. Which kinda cuts down on the historical interest, compared to cities like Elmira and Geneva, which still have their old ballparks in play on their original sites.

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City-owned + next door to a school = no beer with your baseball.

To add insult to injury, the one set of fixed stands at Maple City Park is (a) set back from the field some, and (b) is fronted by a screen that completely covers the view. I understand why it’s there, but I don’t like watching baseball from behind a screen — especially at a little local field — so that cost the park a couple of points.

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That said, you can always bring your own chair and sit in foul territory, as a fair number of people do …

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… or if you’re too cheap to pay the $4 adult fee to get in, you can always pitch a seat right outside the chain-link fence and watch for free.

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While it’s not my favorite park in the world — or even in the Southern Tier — Maple City Park has a few things going for it.

If you don’t bother anybody, you can watch the game from small unscreened areas next to each dugout, which brings you a little closer to the action.

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The field is also surrounded by a residential neighborhood, a factor shared by some of my favorite college ballparks. There’s something great about seeing houses all around the field, especially when the houses are modest (though well-kept). Beats being at a ballpark that’s surrounded by acres of parking lots.

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I left in the fourth inning with the Wellsville Nitros ahead of the Dodgers 5-2. I didn’t much care who won, and I had to run a 5K early the next morning.

I probably won’t be back … but I’ll end with a couple more pictures, anyway.

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I wonder what the Los Angeles Dodgers think of the Hornell Dodgers. The Hornell team doesn’t use the familiar “Dodgers” script on its uniforms or website; this is as close as I remember coming to it at Maple City Park.

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Pregame stretch for the starting pitcher.

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A random passer-by offered to sell me this scoreboard; apparently it’s been down for two years and they still don’t know what to do with it.

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Bless the guys who umpire these games. I wonder what they get paid; I don’t imagine it’s much.

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Painting the batter’s box. It’s common for players at this level to do the groundskeeping as well.

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I’ve never been the Duke of Action Shots but this one tells the story: An errant throw pulls the first baseman off the bag while the runner scores from third.

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The two guys in the background at right played hoop for pretty much the whole time I was there.

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Well-used mounds in the bullpen. I believe the building in the background is the junior high (not the senior high that was built on the site of the old Maple City Park). Didn’t know they still put decorative windows like those into schools.

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3 BR, 1 1/2 baths, cozy charmer, walk to park.

’72.

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Exhibit No. 7,665,893 that proves the Seventies were awesome:

The weekly airplay chart from Seattle’s KNHC 89.5 for the week ending May 5, 1972, with one of the all-time great train wrecks at Nos. 1 and 2.

(Not to spoil it, but just in case the link doesn’t work or something: That’s “Nights in White Satin” at No. 2 and “Hot Rod Lincoln” at Number One. Like a lottery ticket, they get full credit for getting it in the right order.)

Lots of other great ’72 stuff on that chart, too, including two solo Beatles and Badfinger in the Top Ten, plus Todd Rundgren, Aretha, Dennis Coffey and more.

The Past Daily website put up its own excellent slice of May ’72 not too long ago, featuring an untelescoped 74-minute dose of The Real Don Steele on L.A.’s KHJ.

Some of the songs on the KHJ clip are on the KNHC chart; some aren’t (“Tumbling Dice” and “I Need You” come to mind). Either way, most are great.

1972 was a lousy year for Phillies fans, Clifford Irving, Michelangelo’s Pieta, and fans of the American democratic process … but the best year of Seventies hit radio? Yeah, quite possibly.