By Jim Fusco:
I kick off the year with a new Beach Boys acoustic cover song. I bribed Chris (by making clams and spaghetti for dinner) tonight to do this video with me. He was a welcome addition and really helped to fill-out this song.
Carl Wilson wasn’t the most prolific songwriter, but when he did come out with a new tune, he made it count. He really took over the role as “leader” of the Beach Boys in the 70s and 80s. When “Keepin’ the Summer Alive” came out in 1980, he had to juggle his brother Brian’s worsening condition and his brother Dennis’ increasingly tragic lifestyle.
It’s no surprise that I love this album. Something about it… The Boys just knew what they were doing. Yes, it’s really cheesy at points, but it’s a really diverse album. The only true disappointment for me is the lack of ANY Dennis contribution at all. Oh, wait, I take that back- I think he plays the tambourine on one song… That’s especially disappointing because Denny had such an amazing contribution to LA (Light Album). Those songs were supposed to be for his ill-fated (until recently) Bambu album, but even his vocals on Carl’s amazing “Angel Come Home” made the album that much better. “Love Surrounds Me” is also an incredible song- to me, it just sounds EXACTLY like a song from 1979 should- with elements of rock, blues, disco and mostly funk. Of course, Bruce Johnston took the “disco” part waaaaaayyyy too far on the horrible (and horribly long) rendition of “Here Comes the Night”.
Anyway, Carl’s best “albums” (meaning albums where he contributed the most) were “The Beach Boys (1985)” and this one, “Keepin’ the Summer Alive”. These albums will forever remind me of the last day of school each year, as my father would pick us (my brother and me) up from school in the Camaro and we would go have fun on our first day out.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love “Livin’ With A Heartache” more and more. At times, Carl had a bit of a tendency to sound a bit over-dramatic and kind of like a lounge singer (“It’s Over Now” comes to mind), but that may have been just a style of the time. In this song, Carl sounds angrier and his voice is in perfect form. I love the country-tinge to this song- another trait I’ve gotten to like more and more as time’s gone on.
I hope you enjoy my first entry for the year. I hope to bring you a very special duet next week with a new guest to the Laptop Sessions. We’ll be doing a great Beatles tune, so make sure to come back each and every Tuesday for Jim Fusco Tuesdays! Oh, and by the way- make sure to check out all the great new sections on the site. As Chris mentioned yesterday, we have a new homepage design that makes all of the important information and links easier to find. I hope that the site in its current form will welcome new viewers to the blog better than ever before.