“The Jolly Banker” (Wilco / Woody Guthrie Acoustic & Lap Steel Cover)

Originally posted 2009-05-25 23:17:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Wilco/Woody Guthrie chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

This is quite the story for a session.  It seems that, in order to outdo my previous “new release” Laptop Sessions, I needed to call in some outside help…

In the form of one Jim Fusco on his brand-new metallic blue lap steel guitar!

Oh, and if you’re a Wilco fan, then I hope you can appreciate how exciting it was for me to host the first Lap-(steel)-top Session.  Throughout their catalog, they have incorporated country tinges with instruments such as this.  Most recently, even as they continue to play around with more experimental forms, Nels Cline plays beautifully on the lap steel in several of their concert set list mainstays, from the older deep track “It’s Just That Simple” to more recent material off of Sky Blue Sky, their 2007 album.

This track, “The Jolly Banker,” was written by Woody Guthrie and originally recorded on March 22, 1940 (as reported in the Library of Congress records for these sessions with folk music expert Alan Lomax).  Nearly seventy years later, Wilco has recorded their own version of this song — which is eerily relevant as of its release on April 30th, 2009 — and released it as a free download online.  Technically, they suggest/request that you donate at least $2 to the Woody Guthrie Foundation — this is quite funny, as one of the three options for downloading states “I am/was a banker/hedge fund manager/credit default swap trader. I know times are tough, but I’m just fine thank you. (Suggested minimum donation $100.00).”

Tonight, I jokingly challenged Jim to not only play this song as his debut performance on his new guitar, but to actually record a Laptop Session on the spot.  He must have taken me seriously or at least had the urge to give the Rogue brand lap steel an official test run, because he didn’t skip a beat when we set up downstairs.  As you’ll hear — and I hope you’ll agree — this is a great, loyal rendition of Wilco’s cover version, right down to the tapping opening count and the aforementioned lap steel.  I was initially thinking that this would be just another session with me recording just another version of a simple song.  Instead, I am proud to say that this is one of my favorite sessions I’ve recorded in a long time.

Unfortunately, although the actual playing of the song with Jim was very fun and relaxed, the events around the recording were frustrating.  As I’m sure Jim will explain in “tomorrow’s” post (don’t forget that I forgot to remember to record on “Memorial” day… there’s some irony for you), he just got his new HD video camera in the mail.  We tried to record the session with the camera — and the video quality was amazing — but the audio quality was terrible.  Jim finally gave up for the night, but I’m sure he’ll come up with some plan to augment and/or jury rig the setup before next week’s Jim Fusco Tuesday.

Maybe then I’ll bug him to record a saxophone solo for a Bruce Springsteen cover…  (Kidding!)  :-)

On a side note, today started off sadly, as I awoke to find the news of former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett’s death on my iPhone AP News app.  While I haven’t followed his work outside of Wilco, I was sad to hear this, especially as I read a quote from Bennett from a couple weeks ago about how excited he was for his new album and the future in general.  It all came in a burst for me, as I also just learned yesterday of the lawsuit Bennett had filed against Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy calling for $50,001.00 in back royalties he felt he was owed, citing the YHF documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart as a film for which he did not sign a proper release form.

Some say Bennett was being unreasonable.  Others say he was instrumental (no pun intended… okay, maybe a little) in Wilco’s mainstream breakthrough and that he deserved additional money.  (Apparently he couldn’t even afford a hip replacement that he badly needed.)

Regardless of which side you take, the bottom line is that he has passed away, and at least for the moment, no one is exactly sure what happened.

I also learned today that our oldies/rock acquaintance, Tony Persia, also passed away recently.  I was saddened to learn about this loss, as he has really set the tone at the annual Carbutti Christmas parties that both Jim and I attend.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he was probably best known as the piano player for the classic Danny & the Juniors single “At the Hop.”  He was an incredibly kind, charming man who met many great music stars in his life and played lots and lots of music — I know I speak for Jim, Mike, and I when I say he will be sorely missed, particularly this December…

On a happy note, I just downloaded the Wilco iPhone app, and it’s great fun.  You can access all the latest band news, photos, and listen in full(!) to every song from their official catalog, including both Mermaid Avenue releases and their live Kicking Television concert album.  If only my other favorite bands would jump on the iPhone application train…  (cough, nudge – “Dylan, Beach Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Moody Blues, Pearl Jam” – cough, nudge)

Without further ado, I will leave you to watch this collaborative session.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it…

See you next session!

“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” by Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

Originally posted 2009-04-06 20:06:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For a Guthrie/Bragg/Wilco cover video, CLICK HERE!

“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again”
Woody Guthrie – words (1949) / Billy Bragg – music (1995)

G                                                D                          D7
Joe Deemaggyo done it again!  Joe Deemaggyo done it again!
Clackin’ that bat, gone with the wind!
D                                 G
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again.

Some folks thot Big Joe was done!  Some jus figgered Joe was gone!
Steps to the platter with a great big grin;
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!

I’ma gonna tele ya jist th’ way I feel; man cain’t run without his heel.
Watch that raggypill split the wind!
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!

All three fielders jumped their best; tryin’ ta climb that highboard fence.
They all growed whiskers on their chins!
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!

Up along them clouds where the eagle roams: Joe cracked that ball to whine and moaann.
His buddies laugh as they trot on in.
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!


Grandmaw’s home by the radio on the telleyevizzion awatchin’ Joe;
She jerks the beard offa grandpaw’s chin.
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!

The puppydog barked at the pooseye kat; how does it look from where you set?
Looks like a cyclone slidin’ in…
Joe Deemaggyo’s done it again!

“The Jolly Banker” by Wilco (A Woody Guthrie Cover) – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

Originally posted 2009-05-25 20:03:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For the music video of this Wilco/Woody Guthrie cover, CLICK HERE!

“The Jolly Banker”
Wilco (a Woody Guthrie cover)

G                                            C
My name is Tom Cranker, and I’m a jolly banker,
G                                                  D
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
C                                            G
I safeguard the farmers and widows and orphans,
G                                             D               G
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

When dust storms are sailing, and crops they are failing,
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I check up your shortage and bring down your mortgage,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

When money you’re needing, and mouths you are feeding,
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I’ll plaster your home with a furniture loan,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

If you show me you need it, I’ll let you have credit;
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
Just bring me back two for the one I lend you,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

When your car you’re losin’ and sadly your cruisin’,
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I’ll come and foreclose, get your car and your clothes,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

When the bugs get your cotton, the times they are rotten,
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I’ll come down and help you, I’ll rape you and scalp you,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

When the landlords abuse you or sadly misuse you,
I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I’ll send down the police to keep you from mischief,
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” (Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Wilco Cover) – OPENING DAY DOUBLE HEADER 2 of 2

For Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, & Wilco chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As promised, I’m up to the plate for the second time this evening, as I sonically celebrate New York Mets baseball opening day 2009!

For my next trick, I picked my familiar acoustic guitar up and learned a song from Mermaid Avenue, Volume II.  This album is comprised of songs whose lyrics were composed by Woody Guthrie, predominantly in the 1940s.  Then, in the mid to late 1990s, Billy Bragg and the boys of Wilco (Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Jay Bennett, and Ken Coomer) teamed up to write music to the words.  The result was Mermaid Avenue.  The first album is, in my opinion, a masterpiece.  In both individual tracks and the sequence of songs as a whole, the first album is amazing.  There’s something about the production quality and the combination of vocals — alternating between Bragg’s deep clarity and Tweedy’s roughness — and instrumentation is masterful.

The second collaboration is essentially a compilation of tracks left off the first release.  As Bragg and Wilco had had a falling out, I can’t imagine that there was much in the way of actual collaboration on the second album.  This is evident, and it perhaps accounts for why I have never really gotten into the second album as much as the first.  Still, there are some standout tracks, such as “Airline to Heaven” and “Someday Some Morning Sometime.”

Admittedly, “Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” is not a song I would, under normal circumstances, choose to record for a Laptop Session.  (And it’s a bit of an anomaly, as the music is written by Bragg, yet Tweedy sings it — a good decision, in my personal opinion!)  That being said, I couldn’t think of a more perfect track for today.  Although Joe DiMaggio was a player for the Yankees (and I’m a Mets fan!), I think DiMaggio belongs to an era of baseball history that is timeless.  There are certain players — Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, and others — that fans of all teams can appreciate.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mets won 2-1 over Cincinnati, led by the strong starting pitching of Johan Santana and a home run by Daniel Murphy to name a couple.  Even though I wasn’t home to watch the game, I was able to watch via live phone feed — um, I mean the internet connection to the Mets homepage on my iPhone.  As Mike texted today, “We’re back to iPhone scoreboard watching!”

As a final note, today is special for another reason…

It’s fellow Laptop Sessions contributor Mike Fusco’s birthday!  Here’s to the big 2-3, Fusc!  His birthday seems to come at the best time of the year for him — just as the weather is starting to turn warmer (not that you could tell from today’s weather!).  For those of you who don’t know, one of Mike’s favorite pastimes is going to the beach.  I was there this weekend, and let me tell you… it’s just about time!

Well, that’s about enough for one post.  I mean, two posts.  :-)  Have a great week and don’t forget to stop back regularly this week for more all-new cover song music videos and posts; the second installment of my “Together Through Life” article is coming this weekend…

See you next session!