porky ball.jpg

My dear Uncle Porky had a way with song. He brought us the world of barbershop quartet singing, demonstrating it at family picnics and as a member and director of the Duluth HarborMasters Barbershop chorus. (a chartered choir of SPEBSQSA – if you have to ask, look it up.)
I know. Uncle Porky? Yes, that’s what my generation called him. The generation before called him Uncle Sonny. His real name was Alex Strand, but I don’t think I ever heard anyone call him that. And in actuality, he was my GREAT uncle, brother of my grandmother.
Uncle Porky knew how to perform, how to entertain. He could scat sing as well as anyone I knew. Heck, I’m convinced he sang everywhere, with a twinkle in his eye and a chuckle of joy at the end of every song. He even sang for weddings and funerals.
One of the most amazing musical feats I ever learned came from Uncle Porky. He (by way of his barbershop singing experiences) could sing TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME exactly one word off, so at the end of the song, he’d run out of notes. Hilarious? You bet. To this day, when I go to a TWINS game, especially with my sisters, that’s how we do the seventh inning stretch. I even did it for my elementary music classes when I was teaching.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Uncle Porky could also sing it by ADDING a word so he’d run out of words before he ran out of melody – equally entertaining and joyous.
So here it is. Try it yourself. All you need do is leave off “TAKE” at the beginning of the song and put it at the end where the extra note is. If you want to try it the other way, start with an OH on the first note, and you will be one word too much.

ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME TAKE
ME OUT TO THE CROWD BUY
ME SOME PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS I
DON’T CARE IF I EVER GET BACK FOR ITS ROOT ROOT
ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM IF THEY
DON’T WIN IT’S A SHAME FOR
ITS ONE TWO THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT A THE OLD BALL GAME
TAKE.

And to show you it CAN be done …. Copy this into your browser and listen.

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