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.