The Other Half: A Look Back at Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities – PART TWO

By Chris Moore:

Last week, I brought you the first five in a list of ten Jim Fusco rarities in preparation for the release of his new album Halfway There this “new music Tuesday,” April 7th, 2009.  After all, there’s no better way to anticipate an upcoming release than to go back and enjoy all previous releases in a series.

In the case of Fusco, there has been quite a variety of musical projects over the course of the past eight years.  There have been six solo studio albums, three band albums, four releases (of 20 tracks each) in the Laptop Sessions acoustic mp3 series, a single, a greatest hits disc (with accompanying music video DVD compilation), and assorted demos, covers, and other tracks.  Now that I’ve officially finished listening to all the Bob Dylan tracks in my collection (almost 700!), I’ve embarked on my “Jim Fusco Catalog” playlist.

Clocking in at “only” eleven hours or so, this should be much easier to tackle than my Bob Dylan playlist!

For those of you Jim Fusco faithfuls, I hope you’ll enjoy the final five tracks on this second installment of “A Look Back at Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities” worth remembering…

A Look Back at Five More (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities…

6)  “The Red, White, and Blues” – This is yet another album starter that I love.  It is Fusco’s first foray into direct protest songwriting.  Indeed, his March 2008 Laptop Sessions version stirred up some controversy in the form of comments left on the site.  It was nice to see that at least some people listen to the lyrics, even if they misread and/or disagreed with their message.  As he wrote in the blog post, this was the first and last “protest” type song of its kind.

7)  “The Second Time” – All I have to say is: this better be at the wedding reception!  In 2003, Jim recorded and released Formula, an album whose material was clearly inspired by his now-fiance Becky Daly.  She joins him near the end of this track, offering up a preview of 2/3 of the Chris, Jim, and Becky trio that would go on to perform around the state and release a “live in the studio” album.  While this isn’t necessarily one of my favorite Jim Fusco songs, it’s always been one of my favorites from Formula and — if it’s not “best of” material, then — it’s “top ten rarities” material.

8)  “Sideshow” – There are so many different tracks that were up for inclusion on this list of rarities — there’s the simple, piano-based vulnerability of “My Angel” or the folky storytelling style of “Vision of Cobblestone Town,” to name just a couple.  “Sideshow” earns a spot in the top ten for its unique sound.  There’s something about this track that is controlled and yet sort of wild; it’s one of those songs whose sound truly meshes with and contributes to the meaning conveyed by the lyrics.  In addition, as the penultimate track on What About Today?, it’s truly the point at which the recurring instrumental section comes to a climax before the first chords of “Harmony” and the close of this concept album.

9)  “Never Taking Your Chances” – This is one of those songs that benefits from my memories surrounding its conception, recording, and release.  I vividly recall my conversations with Jim about the situation that resulted in the writing of this song, and I recall the then-groundbreaking recording methods that he was pioneering.  This is a clear example of early blending between vocals and distortion guitar.  With each album, Jim’s use of guitar effects has become more effective and more interesting, and I can’t wait to hear his latest leap forward on Halfway There.

10)  “Another Backwards Day” – Speaking of guitar effects, “Another Backwards Day” is a track that I always felt was left forgotten about, sandwiched between the live favorites “Can’t Count on Words” and “Sometimes.”  This song is every bit as upbeat and rocking as the other songs around it, and it boasts a Frampton-esque series of guitar solos and riffing.  If “She Waits” (another favorite and one that ALMOST made the list!) demonstrates Jim’s softer, piano-driven side, then “Another Backwards Day” pulls out the stops and allows him to flex his electric muscle.

“Forever Young” (Bob Dylan Cover)

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to my second to last Laptop Session of 2008!  For my selection tonight, I’ve gone back to the formidable catalog of Bob Dylan.  Specifically, I’ve chosen a song that I think everyone should hear — around this time of the year, especially.

“Forever Young” is a fairly simple and straightforward song, one about wishing someone health, happiness, self-confidence, and an overall high quality of life.  I think it’s really interesting that Dylan recorded two versions of this song.  Now, you may be wondering why this is out of the ordinary, as Dylan is well-known for recording multiple versions of the same song, often with various arrangements and different lyrics.  However, in this case, both versions (each very unique) were included on the same album, 1974’s Planet Waves…  Back to back!

I hope you enjoy my cover of this great song, and I hope you’ll accept it as a blessing extended from me to each one of you, each of you that has taken and continues to take the time to listen to my cover songs.  It’s been quite a year with some great videos, some mediocre videos, and a few that stretched the range of what I’m able to do.  And, at the end of this noble experiment we like to call “session-a-day,” I find myself being able to sing a song — this one, “Forever Young,” — that I wasn’t able to sing and play comfortably as recently as a year ago.

Before I leave you to watch the music video I’ve posted on YouTube for today, I’d like to thank Jim’s cousin Sarah for having us over tonight.  Jim, Becky, Sarah, and I went to see Jim Carrey in Yes Man (and it was excellent fun!), eat at Luigi’s (where I had delicious scallops over ziti), and even got to play Wii tennis, dodgeball, and volleyball.  Sarah and I were an unstoppable team, but Jim did beat me mercilessly in the gladiator event.  It was good to get out.

And, as a final note, I just finished reading Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was a Christmas present from my sister Jaime.  It was an excellent book, and as I mentioned to her, I wish I had read it in high school, as I was trying to figure out some essential things about myself.  That was in large part what the novel was all about — learning to understand and be confident about yourself before you can properly fit other people into your life.  Now, I’m 25 pages into Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and really enjoying it.  Vonnegut is great; his final novel, Timequake, really impressed me, and I have no doubts that I’ll be equally amazed with this one by the time I’ve finished reading it.

Okay, but this is enough for now.  You should go watch my video, and I’m going to go back to watching episodes from the eighth season of ER, one of my favorite shows of all time.  I forgot how much I cared about these characters — Greene, Carter, Lewis, and others.

Hurry on back, now, for Jeff’s video tomorrow.  Then, it’s one last time through the batting order before 2009!!

See you next and last (for 2008) session!

“Zombie” (Cranberries Cover

By Jeff Copperthite:

Good (late) evening to you!  It’s Jeff tonight posting (a bit late) with another…yes, another!…brand new band to the Sessions.  Lately all 3 of us have been on an unofficial New Bands 3.0 binge.

Tonight’s new band is The Cranberries, an Irish band (with another female lead singer – score another one for the Jeffster) and a song from their debut album (deep breath) “Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”  That is the last time I write that album title by the way.

This album produced quite a few successful singles including the song covered tonight.  The song is “Zombie”, which as far as song difficulty goes this is probably the easiest of all the songs I’ve covered to play.  The challenge was singing like Dolores O’Riordan who has multiple octave range.  I decided to sing the verses in key, but drop an octave to sing the chorus parts.  It allowed me to get a little more emotional with the song as well.

I would’ve posted earlier but our Sunday Nyzul Isle runs failed miserably – not because we didn’t succeed, but in 4 boss fights we won all 4, but were awarded absolutely nothing in drops.  Oh well, there’s always next week.

I hope you enjoy today’s cover, and come back tomorrow for another great acoustic cover song by Jim!

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and origianal music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!

“Good Thing” (Fine Young Cannibals Cover)

By Jeff:

Historian Note (originally posted August 6, 2009) This cover song has been re-uploaded to my new Youtube account. It got stuck in my head earlier today after hearing it again, and I figured it should be the next update to my expanding video history!

Welcome to Thumpin’ Thursday!  And tonight, I’ve got a song that will have you tapping your feet and thumping along!

It occured to me today that, wow there’ s a lot of music that I know and have heard, but never knew either the band or the name of the song (or both).  This song falls into both of these never knew categories.  I have heard this song in the past and liked it.  I never bothered to figure out who it was by or what the name of it was (although I had a hunch it was “Good Thing”).  So when I learned who performed the song, I immediately looked it up and learned it.

As you can see in this video, playing this song and singing it is quite a challenge.  The strumming pattern is unique, and the lyrics are not easy to follow, or have a set rhythm (as in the other song that i’ve covered by this band “She Drives Me Crazy”).  Couple that with a rather rigid pattern and you have a song that’s trickier than it looks.

I could’ve also gone with open position chords, but I felt the song was easier to play in the barre position, and sounded better too.  It also complemented the strum style.

Just to let you know ahead of time, but I will be on vacation next week, and will have a scheduled post go up on Thursday @ 6 p.m.

Until then, enjoy this thumpin’ hit from FYC!