“Christmas Morning” by Jim Fusco – FREE mp3 Download! – Day 14 of 14

By Jim Fusco:

And here it is- the end of the line.  I can’t believe we’re already through all 14 days of my Rock’n’Roll Christmas celebration!  Remind me to never do this again. :-)

Today’s song is my original Christmas tune, “Christmas Morning”, that I wrote back in high school!  I personally think every artist has ONE good Christmas song in them.  And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure that I’d ever be able to come up with another one as catchy as this one, so I don’t think I’m going to try!

I recorded this song for the first time back in 2004 for our Christmas album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”.  At the time, I was just getting used to playing the guitar and recording with my digital 24-track.  I had basic microphones, too.  Now, I have a Cab Clone to record my guitars, various tube amps, high quality mics, compressors, preamps, and…the same 24 track mixer.  But, if you’ve heard both versions, you can really tell a big difference.  I’ll probably end-up recording this again in the future after my equipment gets even better!

My wife Becky helps me sing on this tune, too.  I was going to have my brother Mike help out, but he was sick when he came home for Thanksgiving, so he couldn’t sing on it.  Next time, though!

I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and listening to these Christmas songs as I have making them.  It’s a pretty big accomplishment for me to do all of this while being so busy otherwise.  I hope I can maybe just do one song a year from now on, just to keep me into the recording process.  Enjoy “Christmas Morning” and have a Merry Christmas!

“This Wheel’s on Fire” (Bob Dylan/Byrds Cover)

Originally posted 2008-10-07 11:28:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

I’ve been so excited recently to see what new bands Jim is going to introduce to the blog — I mean, you really have no idea from one day to the next which band he’ll tap in to.  At this point, he’s done so many different bands that it would actually be just as much a surprise to see him break out a classic standby, such as the Beach Boys.  And, to prove how excited I am about these new bands…

…I’m going to contribute a Bob Dylan song!

Big surprise, I realize.  (For those of you who don’t watch regularly, I’m a big Dylan fan and have recorded more Dylan covers than any other band!)  But I have my reasons, I promise.  First and foremost, today is the official release date of The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Rare and Unreleased: 1989-2006.  I’ve only had time to listen to the first two thirds of the first disc, but already I’m really enjoying it.  I’ve been concentrating so much on the new Ben Folds album, Way to Normal, that I was loath to take it out of my CD player.  But I’ve already fallen in love with Dylan’s work, even after hearing the first four tracks.  The version of “Mississippi,” one of my favorite songs of all time, is entirely different.  Then, the version of “Most of the Time” sounds less like the 1989 track I know and love and more like a track out of 1963; it’s entirely different, and yet in typical Dylan fashion, it’s entirely amazing.  Following an interesting little piano demo of “Dignity,” Dylan’s first take of “Born in Time” is — as the liner notes suggest — really the definitive version.

To be honest, I think the set might be worth the purchase if only for the “Born in Time” take and the new single “Dreamin’ of You,” an unreleased song from the Time Out of Mind sessions.  When I got home from a meeting late tonight, my first inclination was to record a song that was (a) comfortable for me to play, so I could get to bed on time, and (b) a Dylan song.

This fits both criteria!

That’s all for me for now, but you can fill your Laptop Sessions cavity with Jeff Copperthite’s offering tomorrow, Jim Fusco’s video on Thursday, and then I’ll be back.

See you next session!

Together Through Life: A Look Back at Ten (Officially Released) Bob Dylan Rarities – PART TWO

Originally posted 2009-04-11 22:07:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

With just over three weeks to go before the release of Bob Dylan’s thirty-third studio album, Together Through Life, anticipation is high.  A couple weeks ago, a free download of the lead track “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” was released as a temporary free download at bobdylan.com.  In typical Dylan fashion, his music remains enigmatic, even in the age of digital music and online samples.

Even iTunes does not provide the standard 30-second preview tracks for any of the songs on Together Through Life — aside from the aforementioned first song, of course.

What we do have — and what is somewhat surprising — is Dylan’s own words about the upcoming release.  In Bill Flanagan’s ten page interview, Dylan reflected on some of the new songs and upon the overall ideas and themes of the upcoming album.  When asking about the lack of guitar solos, Flanagan referred to the integral aspect of solos in Aerosmith recordings.  I had to laugh at Dylan’s response.  He said, “What can I say?  If I had Joe Perry with me, everything would obviously be different. As it is though, he wasn’t there. Soloing is not a big part of my records anyway. Nobody buys them to hear solos. What I try to do is to make sure that the instrumental sections are dynamic and are extensions of the overall feeling of the song.”

While this was an interesting response, I most enjoyed reading about his take on dreams.  He said, “Dreams can lead us up a blind alley. Everybody has dreams. We go to sleep and we dream. I’ve always thought of them as coming out of the subconscious. I guess you can interpret them. Dreams can tell us a lot about ourselves, if we can remember them. We can see what’s coming around the corner sometimes without actually going to the corner.”

In a lot of ways, that’s what Dylan’s songs have always done for me and what they seem to have done for many of his fans — lead us to corners that we couldn’t even dream of and take us around them, if only for the duration of the performance.

So, what is a person to do while waiting for this new release?  In my case, I decided to listen to all 678 Bob Dylan tracks on my iPod.  This included all seven tracks of Dylan and the Dead, so you know I’m serious!  The only rules to this little game are that I couldn’t skip any tracks, even if I ended up listening to fifteen versions of “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” in one day.

Three weeks ago, I brought you the first five in my list of ten Bob Dylan rarities that I had either forgotten about or hadn’t listened to in a long time.  Today, I bring you the final five in my list.  I hope you enjoy this trip down Obscurity Lane, and I hope this helps you cope with the wait until April 28th…

Ten (Officially Released) Bob Dylan Rarities:

6) “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking” (with Mavis Staples) – Okay, I know what you may be thinking.  Yes, this is the version from the compilation album Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan.  While I’m not a gospel enthusiast, I had to hear this new recording by the man himself.  I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t what I got.  This version of “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking” is no more gospel than it is hip hop.  It is 100%, pure rock’n roll with a driving beat, ragged vocals from Dylan, and a heavy-handed drum beat from George Receli. The most soulful part of the song is the guitar solo.  Not only is it an amazing track, but it has an unprecedented breakd0wn 30 seconds in, complete with Dylan inviting Mavis Staples onto the recording, admitting to her that he’s been reading “Snooze-Week” with the blues, and Mavis telling him that he’s got to sing!  Then, they proceed to duet for the remainder of the track.  (Some may disagree with me on this choice, but it has a soft spot in my heart — what a great rarity!)

7) “Goin’ to Acapulco” – I hadn’t listened to The Basement Tapes in full for a few years.  I had sort of forgotten about this simple, but wonderful track.  “Goin’ to Acapulco” is one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar.  I always loved how it (along with many other songs from the sessions) appeared non-sensical at first and yet offered so much after a close listening.  I mean, come on.  There is certainly a double meaning to lines like “She gives it to me for a song” and “Rose Marie, she likes to go to big places and just set there waitin’ for me to come…”  Classic Dylan.

8 ) “Country Pie” (Live) Bob Dylan Live 1961-2000: Thirty-nine years of great concert performances, the compilation from which this track hails, was my initiation into the world of Bob Dylan bootlegs.  Or, so I thought at the time.  It turns out it’s just an import and therefore a semi-official release…  Regardless, this is a great track for anyone who enjoys seeing Dylan play live these days.  Recorded in 2000 in Portsmouth, England, this track is a nice example of why I’ve been anxiously waiting for a live Dylan release based in the new millennium.  And, of all tracks to dust off, “Country Pie” is an interesting choice.  As per usual, Dylan reinvents and reinvigorates this Nashville Skyline classic and made me love it all over again.

9) “I Was Young When I Left Home” – A traditional song that Dylan recorded on the “Minnesota Hotel Tape” in December 1961, I first heard this track when it was released in the limited edition packaging of Love & Theft.  Aside from presenting such a stark contrast — both vocally and instrumentally — to the material on his 2001 album, this song immediately stood out to me.  It has a warm quality, probably due to the fact that the recording quality is limited.  There is something fitting about releasing this early track so late in his career.  The main focus of the song is leaving home and heading out to the world at large, only to find that things are not going well at home.  Still, the singer is broke and feels he “can’t go home this a-way.”  There are some great lines, such as the double meaning in “I’m playin’ on a track…” (he means a railroad track, but it also carries the musical reference of recording a song).  Fortunately, this song was released on the No Direction Home soundtrack, so much more of Dylan’s fanbase has been able to hear this little gem.

10) “Maggie’s Farm” (Live at the Newport Folk Festival, July 1965) – Last but certainly not least — and also from the No Direction Home “Bootleg Series” release — this version of “Maggie’s Farm” finally, officially presented we latter-day Dylan fans with a primary document of sorts.  From all the stories that have been told about that year’s Newport Folk Festival (the Pete Seeger ax story being my personal favorite legend), I think I honestly expected more.  This performance is fairly straightforward, complete with a Tennessee Three-esque static bass line.  And yet, I can understand from hearing this track what a shock it must have been to have the typically solo Dylan appear with a full band and with amplifiers cranked to the maximum to boot.  This is truly a historic track that I was thrilled to finally hear — and in those terms, it’s really second only to the “Judas!” 1966 Royal Albert Hall performance of “Like A Rolling Stone.”

** Even as I type the final words of this post, I realize just how many other amazing tracks that I have omitted from this list.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices, and please feel free to share any other tracks you think should have made the cut! **

“Keep On Going” (Original Wednesday Acoustic Song)

Originally posted 2009-04-29 20:32:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

And welcome one, welcome all to my Laptop Session for this very special Original Wednesday here at your source for the best acoustic cover and original song music videos available on the internet today!  (That’s a mouthful…)

You may be wondering, why is this day so special?

Well, for one, this is the birthday of Laptop Sessions series creator Jim Fusco.  On behalf of the other contributors and the loyal viewers of this blog, I’d like to wish him a very happy 25th birthday!  Only a quarter century in, and he’s accumulated quite a back catalog of music, writing, and side projects.  If you haven’t already, you should head on over to jimfusco.com.

Take it from me: the best gift you can get Jim this year is to spend a measely $10 on his brand new album Halfway There.  Go ahead, check out the album in streaming audio at his official website, or use the search function at the top of this page to listen to Laptop Sessions of many of the Halfway There tracks, read a full review (another one from Jeff coming soon…), and see the beautiful, custom artwork he used for the cover.

Okay, that’s enough plugging for one post.

Tonight’s session is based on a song that I never recorded for an album.  “Keep On Going” is an early track, as you will most likely be able to tell!  Although the words are straightforward and the chord progression is simple, I’ve always liked this little tune.  I originally wrote this song as a direct statement to my best friend (Jim, if you haven’t made the connection yet), assuring him after a rough week that things really will turn out all right, even though people — particularly high school aged people — can be cruel.  I hope he’s seen that to be true, as he’s moved on to college, made many lifelong friends, and become engaged to Becky Daly.  For all you former Pine Loft faithfuls: yes, this is indeed the same Becky Daly of Chris, Jim, and Becky fame!

I still sing “Keep On Going” when I feel stressed out or begin to think something — a relationship, a professional endeavor, etc. — won’t work out.  I hope you like it.

As a final note, stepping back into the present, I just started listening to the new Bob Dylan album, Together Through Life.  In case you’re questioning my devotion, there’s only one reason why I didn’t start listening yesterday: I pre-ordered the album on Amazon.com and didn’t spring for any more than Free Super Saver Shipping.  So, I’m cheap.  What do you want???  :-)

Did I mention I’m loving the album?  As I type, it’s blaring through my room and probably throughout the condo complex.  I may even get a letter in the mail from the condo association condemning me for noise pollution or disturbing the peace or some other such nonsense, but it will be worth it!  I spent the day at school today wearing the Best Buy exclusive Together Through Life t-shirt that Mike so graciously passed along to me from his purchase of the album (thanks again, Fusc!!).  I made certain to wear a white button down shirt today and a narrow tie, so as to have the Dylan t-shirt show through.  Thanks to at least one inquisitive student in each class I taught, I got to talk about the new album at least once every 82 minutes today!

I’ll save my commentary on Together Through Life for the review that will most certainly come, but allow me to share a couple comments.  First, this is not what I was expecting after Love & Theft and Modern Times.  Then again, that’s pretty much what Dylan himself suggested, so I’m not really surprised.  My favorite line thus far is the chorus to track three: “Hell is my wife’s home town.”  As if there’s any question as to whether Dylan’s dry sense of humor is still intact, just listen for his chuckling — yes, his chuckling — in the outro of that song.  Finally, although it’s a slow album to start, just wait for “Jolene” and “Shake Shake Mama” to really get your foot tapping.

And, with that taste of this new Dylan album, I’ll emphatically suggest you need to buy both Halfway There and Together Through Life and be on my merry way.

See you next session!