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Well, a year sure did go by quickly! Here I am with my girlfriend, Nicole, at what has become an important and fun annual event – the local Bob Dylan concert!
This year, Dylan’s summer 2009 tour has stopped at Rock Cats Stadium in New Britain as part of his ballpark series with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.
Somewhat surprisingly, Nelson is opening and is playing as I type — songs like “On the Road Again” and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” Why so soon for the veteran country western singer? Earliest bed time of the bunch? Somehow, I doubt it! Anyway, I’m not a big fan, but his band is very solid and he sounds fantastic!
Okay, it’s back to the music for me, but I’ll be back with up to the minute Dylan set list updates as they come. I may need Nicole’s help to decipher the arrangements of the older songs, but I think she’s up to the task.
Mellencamp’s out now, and thanks to the graciousness of a somewhat tipsy fellow fan, we have much better seats (see above). The outdoor ballpark concerts really are nice, but you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature; thankfully, she was kind today.
Mellencamp opened with a song that we both know – “Ain’t That America.” I find his lyrical content a bit campy for my style, but I plan to reserve judgement until the concert is over. So far, so rockin’!
Upcoming: The Dylan Set List
BOB DYLAN SET LIST – 7/15/2009:
1.) “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
2.) “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”
3.) “The Levee’s Gonna Break”
4.) “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” – LAPTOP SESSION – CLICK HERE! 5.) “High Water (For Charley Patton)” – LAPTOP SESSION – CLICK HERE!
6.) “I Feel a Change Comin’ On”
7.) “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum”
8.) “When the Deal Goes Down”
9.) “Highway 61 Revisited”
10.) “Ballad of a Thin Man”
11.) “Thunder on the Mountain”
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.
Now, this is truly a day of firsts for me. Three firsts, if I count them accurately. In order of occurrence: (1) I woke up on my own, on a Saturday, at a decent hour, and got right out of bed. Anyone who knows me on any personal level to any degree knows how amazing that truly is. (2) Then, I recorded my Saturday cover video in one take, including rehearsals. When it comes to these cover song sessions, I am probably more of a perfectionist than I should be. Thus, I repeatedly practice and record the music videos until I’m satisfied I could not do any better. Suffice it to say that usually takes anywhere between five and twenty-five takes. Today, one!! And, finally (3) I came upstairs from FMP Studios to find Jim, having just woken up, in an excellent mood. This is nothing against Jim — and I’m admittedly a bear (not one of those friendly, cuddly ones you might see at a show with a trainer, but one of those angry, blood thirsty ones that attack campers and hikers without provocation ala the John Candy movie The Great Outdoors) if you try to wake me from nodding off during a movie, etc. — but Jim’s just not a morning person. We sat and talked about the music blog, brainstormed some new ways to improve our views and content, and then laughed quite heartily about bathroom humor, the details of which I’ll spare you.
All told, really not a bad way to start a beautiful, sunny summer day!
But let’s get down to business. My acoustic cover song for today is Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Ironically, you are probably more familiar with the Jimi Henrix’s cover version than you are of Dylan’s original music. And, even as a HUGE Dylan fan, I have to admit that Hendrix’s cover song is the definitive version. Even Dylan admitted as much — his live performances of the song still reflect Hendrix’s arrangement. That being said, Dylan’s original is heavily acoustic, so I felt that would be a better version for this acoustic guitar music video. So, I grabbed my acoustic guitar, dusted off my harmonica rack, and gave it my all. One take. Could it have been better, more polished? Yes, I suppose. But this is what the Laptop Sessions are all about — this is a snapshot in time, as though you sat down with me in my living room and I just played it for you, on a whim. I hope you enjoy it!
And, of course, don’t miss the unveiling of an all-new acoustic cover song from Jeff Copperthite — his next quality cover video will be posted here tomorrow…
See you next session!
**EDITOR’S NOTE: This video is no longer on YouTube, but please check out our other Bob Dylan cover songs here on the music video blog!
Unplugged cover of Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain Of Sand” (from the Shot Of Love album – 1981), with acoustic guitar and harmonica. I changed the two harmonica solos to fit my harmonica skills (I have a lot to learn before I can play exactly what Dylan plays) and the possibilities of my G tuned harmonica.
** EDITOR’S NOTE: **
In his first contribution to the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video blog, Federico has chosen a beautiful little number. I wonder if he was aware of my love for Bob Dylan when he decided to submit this video…
He certainly couldn’t have been aware of how much I love this underrated gem of an album, Shot of Love. Often considered the third in his “born-again Christian trilogy” of studio albums, Shot of Love is actually more of a transition album. Critics tore this release apart, often with the exception of “Every Grain of Sand.” And, truly, Federico couldn’t have chosen a better song to translate into an acoustic cover. Although his harmonica is not spot-on, it is clearly because of the key the harmonica is in. He has a knack for matching the fingerpicking pattern as well as the harmonica tabs — any Dylan fan will be able to hear how close his solo is to the original, all except for the key, that is.
And, again, I’m thrilled at his choice of album. Shot of Love may have been panned by fans and critics alike, but there are some excellent tracks. Consider “Heart of Mine,” percussion by none other than Ringo Starr. Then, there’s the striking “Lenny Bruce.” “Property of Jesus” may be dismissed as just another “Christian song,” but it’s a catchy and effective one. And, although it wasn’t included on pressings until four years later, “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” is a phenomenal Dylan track.
So, listen to Federico’s first session, and get out there and listen to Shot of Love if you’ve been missing out all these years!