Dave Frishberg: Van Lingle Mungo
Van Lingle Mungo
Dave Frishberg (piano, vocals)
Classics (Concord Jazz 4462)
Composed by Dave Frishberg.
Recorded: Stroudsburg, PA, April 1981
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
“Van Lingle Mungo” is one of Dave Frishberg’s most famous songs, primarily because of its lyric, which consists entirely of the names of baseball players. Not the Joe DiMaggios, Lou Gehrigs or Babe Ruths, mind you, but rather Johnny Pesky, Roy Campanella, and Bob Estellella, players unknown to all but the most fervent baseball fans. What elevates this song beyond a mere catalog of unusual names is Frishberg’s heartfelt delivery. He makes them sound like heroes, and one feels that if they were to ask Frishberg, he could tell you something about every player he mentions in the lyric. But before thinking of this song as a walk through the baseball Hall of Fame, note that Frishberg once said that when he sings this song softly over a bossa beat, the audience thinks he singing in Portuguese! So are there any great Portuguese baseball players?
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe