With a piano tripping lightly after her, the familiar voice begins its maple syrup slide over the verse — “Kitty Casey was baseball mad. She had the fever and she had it bad,” and then launches into the chorus, “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd.”
Carly Simon’s three-song CD (it includes “I Gave My Love a Cherry,” and “Scarborough Fair”) is packaged in a new children’s book, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” with the lyrics written in 1908 by Jack Norworth, and — all brightly colored animals — illustrated by Amiko Hirao.
The book and CD are published by Imagine, the publishing company of Ms. Simon’s longtime friend Peter Yarrow (of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary fame).
Ms. Simon will be at Bunch of Grapes Saturday, May 28, from 2 to 4 pm, signing the books. She makes it sound as if it’s something she enjoys doing, especially when someone comes up with a child they tell her has been named Carly after her. “It makes me feel like Cher,” she says laughing.
And although she is only responsible for the CD that’s included, this book strikes a special chord. A baseball fan since childhood because of her family’s close friendship with the legendary Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player to break through the game’s segregation when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
“I would catch a ride with Jackie to Ebbets Field for the home games,” she remembers. “I was told I was the official team mascot.”
It’s an easy, middle-of-the-day conversation with Ms. Simon, who chats about her long friendship with Mr. Yarrow, about her last indie CD, “Never Been Gone,” an acoustic collection of her hits that she made with her son Ben, and her various benefit concerts coming up in Nantucket in August, in Long Island, and then in Washington D.C.
“I’m going to be rehearsing here with Sally and Ben [her daughter and son], putting a new band together, and being with old friends. It should be fun,” she says.
Her warm animated voice sounds relaxed and she pauses often to laugh at a thought and offer a quip.
“Working with my kids is like water,” she says, “like water that occasionally goes over pebbles. It’s so easy, but we are so sensitive to each other’s remarks. If your mother says something, it’s different from when other band members say something.”
Is she busy? “Very busy,” she responds, running through a list of her diverse projects including writing a play, working on music for a stage production of “On Golden Pond,” and projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (“I want to get involved with my inner dolphin”), helping children with autism, and with a stuttering problem (she was a severe stutterer as a child).
Ms. Simon is also working on plans to bringing established songwriters from Nashville to the Vineyard at the end of the summer for a writing camp for professionals who want to experience the influence of writers from different regions.
“Everyday that I wake up is a new life for me,” she says brightly. “I explore new things and have new challenges and try to meet them with as positive an outlook as I can. I’ve been through a lot,” she says, “but so have a lot of people.”
On Saturday, May 28, from 2 to 4 pm, Carly Simon will be signing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven.