From walk-up songs to seventh-inning stretches, music and baseball are inextricably interwoven. The Spin Rate is a weekly look at the stories behind the bands and artists who share a love for the sport, and the songs that draw inspiration from the annals of baseball lore.
Field of Dreams Soundtrack
“If you press it, they will come.”
Okay. So maybe the unseen voice of Shoeless Joe Jackson didn’t communicate with Gordon Anderson of Real Gone Music about bringing the Field of Dreams soundtrack back to vinyl after a limited original release. And maybe Anderson didn’t have to seek out Moonlight Graham to secure the reissue rights. But Anderson’s record label’s effort to repress James Horner’s classic score for a new generation of listeners is, in parallel with the film, a love letter to baseball by a fan of the game himself.
An Ohio native, Anderson rose through the ranks of organized baseball—from tee-ball to Little League, to his high school team, pitching and playing first base with an outfielder’s glove. He grew up a Reds fan, which proved to be an easier viewing experience in his youth than at present.
“I got to watch the team during the Big Red Machine era,” Anderson said in a phone call. “Times are tougher now.”
Living in the Buckeye State brought Anderson in close proximity to some Cincinnati greats. He vividly recalls being at a game where infielder and Reds lifer David Concepción swatted a game-winning double against the Phillies, and attending a baseball clinic where César Gerónimo (he of back-to-back-to-back-to-back Gold Glove fame) displayed his defensive prowess for an audience of young baseballers.
“He just had a cannon for an arm,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s admiration for the game wasn’t limited to his Reds loyalty. Growing up in Columbus offered fertile ground for a young fan—the city was home to a Pittsburgh Pirates farm team, and Anderson had the chance to catch a glimpse of Willie Stargell in action before his meteoric rise to the big leagues.
It was when Anderson was in fourth grade that music started gaining a foothold in his life, especially through the discovery of pop music as escapism from his family’s more classical leanings.
“My parents would listen to opera around the house,” Anderson said. “For me, pop music was an act of rebellion.”
That embrace of music—Anderson plays, too, starting out on bass and picking up the guitar—grew into veteran status in the industry and more than 30 years of reissuing albums on vinyl. In 2011, Anderson and co-founder Gabby Castellana started Real Gone Music, a label that scouts out records that live up to its namesake: Out-of-print, elusive, occasionally lost to time.
“There’s a populist element to the label, and we entertain suggestions.” Anderson said. “But I also indulge personal taste when I can.”
The Field of Dreams soundtrack, which only had a short run in 1989, fit the bill. (Anderson credits staff member Jeremy Sobotor for first suggesting the repress.)
“The soundtrack is such a big part of the movie,” Anderson said.
One of the joys of vinyl is the variance in available colors, and Anderson said a lot of thought went into how to present the album for the movie’s score. Anderson and crew considered an off-white evocative of a baseball, but instead drew inspiration from the film’s setting, and pressed the record on a shade of “cornstalk green.”
Anderson said the label faced an “arduous process” to get the reissue cleared, only coming through late last year. But, like the circuitous route Ray Kinsella’s vision for building a baseball field on his Dyersville corn farm brought him on an odyssey of America’s pastime, there’s almost a sense of fate in Real Gone Music bringing the Field of Dreams soundtrack back into the spotlight the same summer that Anderson’s Reds will field a squad on that hallowed diamond in Iowa.
Of course, it’s not a team that will feature David Concepción heroics or César Gerónimo’s electrifying defense, but for a film score that’s partly about reliving childhood innocence, the timing couldn’t be better.
“It’s an iconic movie, and as someone who bonded with my dad over baseball, it made me cry,” Anderson said.
The Field of Dreams Soundtrack LP is out now on Real Gone Music.
Photos by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire & Dorien Monnens on Unsplash | Adapted by Michael Packard (@artbyMikeP on Twitter & IG)