Texas Vs. San Francisco: the World Series of Music

The World Series is about much more than baseball. It's a clash of two cities, two regional cultures, two rabid groups of fans, two color schemes, two outlooks on drug policy, and much more. (We ain't even gonna go into politics.)

Starting right now, we're also making the World Series about music. To see how Texas and San Francisco match up in terms we music nerds understand, we've selected a few key aspects for comparison. Just like the real World Series, it's a formidable competition in the form of seven games. Here we go:

Game 1: Important Local Genres
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Bob Wills, titan of Texas music
With legends like Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, and Buck Owens (who is probably more associated with Bakersfield), Texas hits out of the park when it comes to country music. It also has a powerful lineup in blues -- see Lightning Hopkins, Albert Collins, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others. But San Francisco has Texas beat when it comes to rock, metal, punk, and hip-hop. We'll see your ZZ Top, Pantera, and Geto Boys, Texans, and raise you a Grateful Dead, Green Day, Metallica, Too Short, Hieroglyphics, and Tupac. And you thought you'd take this one easily.
Score: Texas, 3; San Francisco, 3

Game 2: Hilarious Has-Been Rappers
It's Texas native Vanilla Ice versus Bay hip-hop figurehead MC Hammer here, folks, and just like a 9-0 shutout, it's no contest. Hammer's still rappin' for the kiddies at Hardly Strictly, battling with Jay-Z, and making his devout presence felt (although sadly not in Hammer pants.) Now, what's Vanilla Ice (we mean Robert Van Winkle) doing? Oh yeah -- trying to destroy all evidence of who he used to be.
Score: Texas, 0; San Francisco, 3

Hammer-sm.jpg
"Hammer Time," indeed
Game 3: Music Festivals
Since Texas is a whole state, and San Francisco is but one music-festival-saturated city, it seems like we should get to include Burning Man, Coachella, the FYF fest, and a few other California events in our dugout. If not, it's Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Treasure Island, Noise Pop, SF Jazz, and a zillion other smaller events versus every music festival in Texas. Even if we just count Austin's South by Southwest and Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Lone Star State comes out strong here.
Score: Texas, 6; San Francisco, 5

Game 4: Mind-bending Psychedelic Rock
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Trippier than Texas
Yeah, Texas' 13th Floor Elevators might be the Nolan Ryan of psychedelic bands, but San Francisco's '60s scene had the equivalent of Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, and, like, Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron or somebody really, really good. (Hey, we're music nerds, not baseball nerds). When comes to psych-rock, Texas is only pretty good at a game San Francisco perfected. We're just usually too high to notice.
Score: Texas, 2; San Francisco, 7

Game 5: Most Influential (Popular) Musician Ever
Texas gave birth to Buddy Holly, a figure far more important to modern music than anyone San Francisco has fostered. Even with this city's '60s greats, its punk progenitors, its metal monarchs, its hip-hop heads, we can't find anyone as influential as ol' Buddy. Now, if we could include offspring from the rest of our state and throw in folks like the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, that would make for a more even match-up. You get this one, Texas.
Score: Texas, 5; San Francisco, 3 


Game 6: Contribution to Radio
Top-40 radio was invented in Texas (yuck). But early free-form FM radio -- which played the non-commercial genres our fair city specialized in -- was arguably perfected here in San Francisco by KSAN's Ton Donohue in the late '60s. FM radio may have turned mostly lame, but Top 40 is a genuine scourge upon the earth.
Score: Texas, 0; San Francisco, 2



Game 7: Best Song About Each Place
For clarity, we're only counting songs with a location in the title here. Ranking authorities on Texas music have Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys' "New San Antonio Rose" as a leader in this round; frankly, though, we think the classic "T for Texas" (love the Waylon Jennings version) is the strongest competition from the Lone Star State. We can't count Otis Redding's "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" because of our own stupid rules, which is the musical equivalent of 47 sequential grand-slams. But even if we leave out the famous contributions of Tony Bennett and Scott MacKenzie, we've still got Eric Burdon & the Animals' "San Franciscan Nights," the classic "San Francisco Bay Blues," and the excellent-if-dubiously-named blues standard, "Frisco Blues," along with plenty others to thrust us toward victory. It's almost like the Texans can't get even get their songs over the plate.
Score: Texas, 5; San Francisco, 8



Totally Unbiased Final Score: Texas, 21; San Francisco, 31 (!)
Take that, Texas.

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