“Friend of the Devil” (Grateful Dead Cover)

Originally posted 2010-02-11 00:10:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, as promised, I’m back with your Wednesday edition of Jim Fusco Tuesdays!  Don’t understand that?  Then you should be visiting the blog more often! :-)  Tuesdays are my usual day to post, but unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera last night, so I had to put-off doing the video until today.  I also recorded another video for next week that you’re going to LOVE.  It’s from a guy you probably haven’t heard of, but he’s new to the blog and he’s a well-respected musician.  I guess you’ll have to wait in suspense until then!

I can’t believe it- this blog has been up for well over two years and there hasn’t been a Grateful Dead song done yet!  Late last year, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Grateful Dead.  Back in high school and early college, I used to work at the now defunct Cheshire Video and Disc (a local video store).  I used to work with this hippy girl named Karen.  She was cool- we used to work on Sunday mornings together and always had a nice time.  She used to play this Grateful Dead VHS tape during our shift every week.  It was from the 80’s.  It was a trippy kind of concert- crazy 80’s video effects and extended drum solos.  But, I really enjoyed the songs.

Fast-forward about seven years to the present-day.  I finally got my Grateful Dead “Best Of” for Christmas from my mother in law and I was so excited to play it for the first time.  My boss had re-ignited my interest for the band, as he put a few of their songs on a mix CD for me.  So, I got the CD and played it at work for the first time.  I LOVED IT!!

It’s 17 songs and, believe me, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better overall “Best Of”.  It has all of my favorite elements: harmonies, good guitar, everyone plays their own instruments, and (my personal favorite) multiple band members writing songs!!  Actually, my favorite song on the whole “Best Of” CD (which I will definitely cover in the future) is “Box Of Rain”, written by bassist Phil Lesh.  (On another note, I hear he and former Dead member Bob Weir are now touring as “Furthur”, but the show in my hometown of Wallingford, CT is SOLD OUT!  Grrr….)

Anyway, there are so many great songs on this disc- from the ones you’ve heard of (and probably didn’t know they did them) like “Truckin'”, “Casey Jones”,  and “Touch of Grey” to the ones that you haven’t heard of yet, this is a top-to-bottom rare “Best Of” find.  The last times I felt this great about a “Best Of” was when I purchased the America and Doobie Brothers’ discs.  So, what I’m saying is, if you haven’t purchased the Grateful Dead “Best Of” (the one with 17 tracks- NOT the cheap 10-track version), then you should really give it a try.

Tonight’s song is “Friend of the Devil”.  At first, this wasn’t one of my favorites, but it’s catchy and the story is pretty cool, so it grew on me quickly.  I love singing it in that Jerry Garcia drawl.  Plus, this was an easy one to convert to acoustic.  Most of their songs aren’t so easy because of their great harmonies.  I’ve wanted to do so many of their songs, but it just won’t sound right without someone else singing with me (who knows the song really well, too).

So, whatever idea you had of the Dead (I thought it was just a stupid stoner band that jammed nonsensical songs for hours on end…which may be true for the live sets, as I’ve heard), throw it away!  They’re a tight band that last quite a while and came up with some great songs.  And now I’m even more excited that I can build my vinyl record collection with some of their interesting albums, such as their lone 60’s record (from 1967, which I’m INCREDIBLY interested in hearing) and their all-time classic from 1970, American Beauty.

Enjoy tonight’s LSHD video and make sure to come back next week for my newest obsession in music!



“Ripple” by Grateful Dead (Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to an all-new season of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  This time around, I’m bringing you a mix of cover songs and a selection of original music.  There will be original songs from my past albums, as well as my upcoming album, “Those Around Us”.  The whole album is mixed and pre-mastered…at least my first crack at it.  After that, I need to secure the album cover (hopefully another painting like “Halfway There”) and get the album professionally mastered.  It’s very exciting and I can’t help but draw parallels to the creativity and experimental style that I used on my second album, “My Other Half”.  If you haven’t heard “My Other Half”, you can listen to the whole album on my website for free!  Just click here to listen.

“Those Around Us” is not really a concept album like “My Other Half”.  With “My Other Half”, I wrote the album around the concept.  With “Those Around Us”, I just realized that I wasn’t writing about me, for a change.  I was writing about the people around me- the people I know and care about- and my interactions and feelings about them.  I’m convinced that this is my best effort yet- the best production value, songwriting quality, lyrics, vocals, and most of all- musicianship.  Plus, my brother Mike plays the drums on a few tracks, just like the old days.

I will try to update the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog as often as I can with new updates, but for the most part, I just update my official Twitter account @jimfuscomusic.  Remember, if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll send you a link where you can download five of my songs for free!

One more thing- you’ll notice the new “set” for my acoustic cover song music videos.  Since my new home studio is complete, I wanted to record my videos in front of my guitar collecxion, which proudly hangs on the wall behind me. :-)

Onto tonight’s video- the first video this season!

Grateful Dead (or “The Grateful Dead”, as most people call them) have really become one of my mainstay bands.  I look forward to getting the rest of their studio stuff.  I know it’s weird- most Dead Heads love the band for their versatility on stage over thousands of concerts and bootlegs.  But, my love for the band started after getting a Best Of CD with all of their studio tracks.  They combine my favorite elements of a band- harmonies, guitar solos, and most of all: multiple songwriting band members!  I’m so happy my friend Bill turned me on to Grateful Dead a couple years ago.  I’m so excited to have another band I can explore.

Tonight’s video, “Ripple”, was written by Jerry Garcia (and a lyricist, as you can tell these aren’t the poetic words of Jerry…).  I’ve always liked this song, though it seemed out of place as the last track on that Best Of CD I have.  I guess this song was a mild hit (they never really had any big chart hits- they must’ve played these songs on early FM radio, where the Moody Blues and ELO would dominate the airwaves).  In fact, my father, who always has strong opinions of music, says this is his favorite Grateful Dead song, and I can see why.

It’s a nice melody and the lyrics instantly take you to the shores of a southern US river- I can see myself sitting on a rock with my Martin, gently playing this song.  I thought of doing this video when I heard it again at my sister-in-law’s wedding a couple weekends ago.  Both my wife and I were part of the wedding, as my (now) brother-in-law and I have become very good friends over the past few years.  Instantly, I thought doing “Ripple” would be a great tribute video to do for their new marriage and I hope I did the song (and their marriage, for that matter) justice.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s video, too!  I’ll be back every other Thursday for at least the next three or four months, as I’m really dedicated to making new music online while finishing my album.  I want everyone to listen to “Those Around Us” and (if the ambition carries me) I’ll stop at nothing to make that happen.  I’d love to hear your opinion of this song, my performance, and what your favorite Grateful Dead songs are in the comments section or on YouTube.  Thanks to all for your support as I begin my fifth year of the Laptop Sessions!