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.

“To Be Alone With You” (Bob Dylan Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Just to prove that Chris isn’t the only one that listens to Bob Dylan, I give you one of my favorites of his, “To Be Alone With You” from “Nashville Skyline”.

I did this song originally on my “That’s All Folks” album, but couldn’t keep on the version I sold because of royalties.

I hope you enjoy my Laptop Session version! Coming up next week is my Original Wednesday, and I’ve already got my next two planned out. Make sure to check back every day!


“The Red, White, and Blues” (by Indie Music Songwriter Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to the Laptop Sessions’ Original Wednesday. I’m guessing some people will be new to the Laptop Sessions because of this original song video, and we welcome you aboard!

This song, a pun on the “Red, White, and Blue”, is my first and only “protest” type of song.

The song was written in early 2002 after 9/11 about the hypocritical actions of Americans automatically becoming “patriotic” as soon as a disaster hit. This original song is just me wondering why people weren’t just ALWAYS patriotic!

This song is still as relevant today, six years later, as it was when I wrote it. I even talk about Easter in the song (it was that time of year), and I thought this would be the perfect week to bust it out again.

Basically, I’m giving the point of view of an 18 year old kid (at the time) from Connecticut because all the hardship and fear seemed so distant from my everyday life at the time.

To say this song is still relevant today shows how stagnant the country’s been lately.  We still are fighting a never-ending war on terror and the patriotism of the country is waning once again.

Oh, and the verse about California: it’s in reference to when they didn’t have the Red-Carpet festivities for a big award show that year. I didn’t think that was helping anyone. Letting the terrorists know we’re scared? That’ll really help…

“The Red, White, and Blues” is from my double-album set, “That’s All…” that I released in 2003.  I say “double album” in a different way than you would normally think of it.  For instance, the Beatles came out with a double album with their “White Album” (simply titled, “The Beatles”) in 1968.  That album consisted of over 20 original songs and couldn’t fit on just one vinyl record.  For “That’s All…”, it’s a bit different.  You see, I had just gotten a guitar- my first real acoustic guitar, an Ibanez Artcore.  I instantly wanted to play everything on the acoustic guitar and quickly went to playing folk songs.  I even came up with a bunch of my own.  I thought a blues song like “The Red, White, and Blues” would be a perfect way to start off an album of folk songs.

But, I also had a bunch of original songs that I’d written in my normal rock’n’roll style, too.  So, I decided to record everything at once and split up the whole project into two original albums: “That’s All Folks”, which featured all of the folk songs I’d written, and “That’s All Jim” that featured all of my songwriting efforts in my normal style.  I put both albums on one CD, but each album had it’s own cover.  Plus, the combo-pack of both albums called “That’s All…” had it’s unique album cover!

I hope you all enjoy this original song music video. If you want to hear the original recorded version and buy the double-album online, you can go to my website: http://jimfusco.com/albums/thats_all.html

“Looking To You” (Indie Music – by songwriter Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:

Thanks again to Jeff for coming up with “Original Wednesday”, as I think it’s a great way to work some of our own material in here!

Today, I’m doing one of my songs from an album I made back in late 2003 called “That’s All…”. I couldn’t stop listening to this song (yes, I listen to my own music quite a bit- I think I should be making music I actually like listening to!) so I decided to make it my first non-Christmas original here on the Laptop Sessions.

I like the way the verse isn’t very “standard”. I don’t exactly know what prompted my creation of it, but it’s always stuck out as both unique and meaningful.

Problem is that I don’t really remember the meaning, either! Actually, I can take a pretty educated guess: Basically, the song says, “I gave you everything. You could’ve had anything. But when I ask for a little something in return, you tell me I’m greedy and hold it against me.”

I must’ve felt this way, as most people do in a relationship at one time or another. I think it made for great song material!

Well, as they say, a Laptop Session a day keeps the doctor away! They don’t? Well, anyway, here’s your daily dose of great music from Jim, Chris, and Jeff!