“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!



The Wallflowers Live – Foxwoods, April 25th, 2008 (Set List & Review) – Songwriters on Vacation

Originally posted 2008-05-03 10:16:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Set List:

1. Up From Under

2. Three Marlenas – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

3. Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette)

4. Letters from the Wasteland

5. 6th Avenue Heartache – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

6. When You’re On Top

7. Mourning Train

8. Invisible City

9. Sleepwalker – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

10. If You Never Got Sick – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

11. Closer to You

12. How Good It Can Get – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

13. One Headlight – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

14. God Don’t Make Lonely Girls

15. Everything I Need – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSIONS!

16. How Far We’ve Come – FALSE START

17. Josephine

18. Empire in My Mind – Click HERE for the LAPTOP SESSION!

19. Nearly Beloved

By Chris Moore:

The Wallflowers have long been one of my favorite bands. So, my first question as the curtains came up at Friday night’s Foxwoods concert was, where is Rami Jaffee? Aside from Jakob Dylan, he’s the only original Wallflower still with the band. Instead of the four-member crew I expected, there were only three — Dylan, bassist Greg Richling, and drummer Fred Eltringham. This set the tone for the night, as I was laughing and enjoying myself before they even played a song.

Actually, the tone was set before the curtain even went up, as the pre-concert background music (usually played at a reduced volume) was turned up for an Edgar Jones song called “Oh Man That’s Some Shit.” This title refrain was repeated with intermittent additions such as, “Oh, yes it is!” When the song finished, it was played again. By the third time it was played, Jim, Mike, and I began to wonder if they were stalling for time. It was now 9:15, and the show was scheduled for 9 sharp. More likely, this was Dylan’s sense of humor showing through. The three of us couldn’t keep from laughing and singing along with the layered harmonies of Jones’ “Oh Man That’s Some Shit.” Even as I write this, I’m singing it in my head…

Once I got over the initial shock of Jaffee’s absence, I was struck by the song selection. Opening with the Breach track “Up From Under,” continuing with “Three Marlenas,” and then playing “Here He Comes,” Dylan kicked off the show with three really great songs from three different albums. Still, he hadn’t quite rocked out yet…

…which changed as soon as he tore into “Letters from the Wasteland.” For “Letters,” Dylan really seemed to get into it, putting emotion and a sense of foreboding into the performance.

The highlights of the show for me were really when they played “When You’re On Top” — aside from changing the tune on the chorus, it was a great version and done acoustically to boot! — and the fact that they chose six tracks out of eighteen from the Red Letter Days album, one of my all-time favorite (and terribly underappreciated) albums. Other songs, such as “One Headlight” and “If You Never Got Sick” would have made the highlights, if not for Dylan forgetting the words and singing the first verses and chorus a bit oddly, respectively.

This was how the show went — one exciting moment followed by an odd or off moment. For instance, Dylan forgot the words to several tracks, including all but the first line to “How Far We’ve Come.” The most disappointing aspect of the concert really was the fact that the band lacked a soloing musician. There was no lead guitarist and no keyboard player, so instrumental sections were filled with Dylan’s fingerpicking or Richling’s bass playing. Having a fourth musician on stage probably would have taken this concert to the next level and made it perhaps one of my favorite concerts ever.

Actually, the most disappointing moment of the experience was learning from Fusco-Moore labelmate Jeff Copperthite that one of his friends at work had actually met Jakob Dylan! Not only did he meet him, but he met him before the concert while having dinner at the buffet… that we had been at an hour earlier! I’m also pretty sure I walked past Greg Richling while looking for a bathroom, but I wasn’t sure and just stood there staring at him until he was out of sight…

In the end, I had a great time at this show. After their two-year absence from touring, I had begun to believe I would never see the Wallflowers in concert. But now I have seen them, and Dylan’s voice was in great form, the song selection was incredible (and even a bit surprising, considering previous years), and I won’t soon forget the experience. It was interesting to see Greg Richling, who has been a Wallflower since the days of “One Headlight,” and Fred Eltringham, who I was initially uncertain about, but who really warmed up and earned my respect over the hour and a half he was on stage.

Back at home, I learned that Jaffee left the band late last year and is currently on the road with the Foo Fighters. What does this mean? I don’t mean to blow his exit from the band out of proportion, but it marks for me a new era for the Wallflowers. With new concert dates planned for the Wallflowers and the imminent release of Jakob Dylan’s solo album, Seeing Things, the future is promising.

I suppose I’ll just have to be patient about the next Wallflowers album — whatever and whenever it will be…

Photos from TNA Wrestling Live in Wallingford, CT

Originally posted 2008-08-25 12:05:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, it’s been months since the show, but I’ve finally gotten around to posting the photos from our amazing “trip” (five minutes down the road) to see TNA wrestling live in Wallingford, CT at the Chevrolet (formerly Oakdale) Theater.

Obviously, my favorite part of the night was climbing in the actual six-sided ring and getting a photo taken with Kurt Angle.  He was a nice guy and I even made him laugh!  And, no, he wasn’t just laughing at how weak I look…I think…

Well, here are some great photos from that night:

Music Review: “Together Through Life” by Bob Dylan

Originally posted 2009-05-04 23:29:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

RATING:  3.5 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

For many avid music listeners, it feels as though Bob Dylan has indeed been together with us through life.

He started out simple in the sixties — just an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and his aged-before-its-time voice.  By the end of the decade, he had gone electric, gone back to acoustic, and gone to Nashville to aid in the popularization of country rock.

Before the seventies were out, he recorded covers, rediscovered rock, discovered female background singers, and found God.  The next two decades were hit and miss — although any true Dylan fan will tell you that even Knocked Out Loaded has its charms…

Since 1997, Dylan has released what many refer to as his comeback trilogy (Time Out of Mind, Love & Theft, and Modern Times), although he has cryptically referred to Love & Theft as the first in a trilogy.

Now, less than a year away from a new decade and one more than that from his 50th anniversary in the recording business, Dylan has released his most fun and accessible album in years.  “Together Through Life” may have the nostalgic sound and rusted, creaky voice that has been characteristic of Dylan’s recent work, but the subject matter and the tone of the songs is refreshingly light…

…for Dylan, that is.

Upon first glance, the title of the third track – “My Wife’s Home Town” – suggests a song of fond recollection about a spouse’s origins.  And yet that is not the case at all.  As Dylan repeats in the chorus, “I just want to say that hell is my wife’s home town…”

The song concludes with a chuckling sound from Dylan that is reminiscent of the gutteral laugh in Elvis Presley’s Christmas classic “Santa Claus is Back in Town.”  This song is a prime example of the alteration in tone on this most recent Dylan release.  As the cover would suggest, love is a recurring topic that is approached with directness and a sense of humor that wasn’t evident on Modern Times.

For many reasons, Modern Times is a technically superior album — lyrically, instrumentally, and in terms of overall progression.  That being said, Together Through Life is perhaps the most accessible of Dylan’s post-millenium recordings.  The songs are short — most are in the 3-4 minute range — and the album only gets better as you listen, track after track.

“Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” the album starter, is a nice opening that lyrically toys with the listener, seeming at its face to be a song about a dedicated relationship.  Dylan sings, “As long as you stay with me, the whole world is my throne.”

“Beyond here lies nothin’,” he continues, “Nothin’ we can call our own.”

By the end of the song, you are left to wonder whether the narrator is staying in his relationship for love — the kind of love that reduces all outside elements to “nothin'” — or because there is simply nowhere else, nowhere better, to go.

The true highlights come during the second half of the album (side B, for those of you who purchased the vinyl edition).

“Jolene” fits firmly into my long list of favorite songs with a girl’s first name for a title — BnL’s “Maybe Katie,” the Beach Boys’ “Wendy,” and Fountains of Wayne’s “Hey Julie” to name a few.

Likewise, “Shake Shake Mama” is perhaps the most rockin’ number on the album, although it is a fairly standard blues progression.

Finally, “I Feel a Change Comin’ On” is the best song on the album.  Lyrically, instrumentally, and compositionally (a middle AND a solo!), this song has a catchy chorus and comes as a bit of a surprise as the ninth and penultimate track.

“Life is Hard” and “It’s All Good” act as bookends of sorts to the album as a whole, the former setting the theme early on and the latter bringing it all to a conclusion.  As is typical of the album, Dylan plants his tongue at least lightly in his cheek and turns a cliched phrase into the perfect chorus.

At the end of the day, Together Through Life will not be remembered as one of his best albums.  In a sense, though, it was never intended to be.  It came on quickly, surprising even me when its existence was announced a month before its release in Rolling Stone.  Apparently, Dylan hit upon inspiration after co-writing “Life is Hard” with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter for the Olivier Dahan film My Own Love Song.

Dylan’s spacing between album releases has been 4-5 years for as long as I can recall, and this one came a mere three years after its predecessor.

While the time between releases is a unexpectedly brief and the fact that he collaborated on all but one song (“This Dream of You”) is surprising, it was perhaps not a shock that Hunter is the collaborator.  After all, Dylan and the Dead have a longstanding relationship and mutual respect.  Truly, according to Dylan, his tour with the Dead in the eighties revitalized his passion for performing at a time when he was losing that particular spark.

Now, like an all-star pitcher who is starting on fewer days’ rest than usual, Dylan’s performance on Together Through Life may not be epic, but it is still amazing.