Ranking every Beach Boys album and song: “Surfin’ USA” LP (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:


Farmer’s Daughter – 6 (early promising song)
Surfin’ USA – 6 (catchy, but also a stolen melody, so it loses some points)
Lana – 5
Lonely Sea – 7
Shut Down – 7
(this is a great bluesy song)
Finders Keepers – 6 (endearing)
Let’s Go Trippin’ – 4 (filler)
Stoked – 3 (see last song)
Misirlou – 2 (because at this point in the album, I am sick of instrumentals!)
Noble Surfer – 6
Honky Tonk – 1 (why all the instrumentals!!)
*The Baker Man – 1 (probably the most ridiculous song they did next to Ding Dang)
Surf Jam – 1 (we get the idea)

** Here’s another album I like, but I think it’s a step back from their first. I know they were trying to make music people could dance to at parties, but the instrumentals don’t stand up now. They come across as a lack of effort. They have so much vocal talent- it’s a shame there’s not more songs with vocals! **

“This Land is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie Cover)

By Chris Moore:

In the political spirit we’ve all been in recently, I thought you might enjoy this one…

You know, this is one of those songs that first came to me in elementary school, as part of a string of patriotic songs that I had to learn and sing for one of our big assemblies.  What I cared about then was more learning the words, and less what they meant.  What I most cared about was putting on a good show for my parents and grandparents.  But now, a decade and a half later, I’ve come back to this song and found more depth than I remember previously.

For instance, the final verse of the song (which was conspicuously absent from the version my classmates and I sang for our parents) refers to the narrator seeing “his people” in the line outside the relief office.  The final line of the final verse deals with those people asking “Is this land still made for you and me?”

Wow.  I can see why my elementary teachers stuck to the parts about the “redwood forests and gulf stream waters.”  Much less controversial to deal strictly with geography.  Once you start to deal with the issues taking place between “California and the New York islands” — now, that gets sticky.

And, in my opinion, much more interesting!  I definitely like Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” much more after learning the full version.  It’s not even so much that I like it more, but I find it much more interesting.  And I can’t believe I haven’t introduced Guthrie — one of the classic American acoustic guitar players and songwriters — to the Laptop Sessions.  I realize that we focus more heavily on the sixties and forward (and on rock), but Guthrie is the original hero of my own musical hero, Bob Dylan.  Anyway, I’m glad I could fill that gap.

I don’t think there’s much of a market for replica Woody Guthrie acoustics — unlike, say, the Eric Clapton Fenders… [drool…] — but I always liked how Guthrie’s guitar bore the slogan, “This machine kills fascists.”  You never know…

Well, that’s about it for me for now.  If you haven’t done so already, you need to listen to Jim’s Original Wednesday for this week.  I usually try to hold my tongue, as there are only so many times a close friend and collaborator can say “Awesome song, man” before the credibility wears off.  But I’m not holding my tongue this time.  I didn’t really know what to expect, since it seems it was written in a quick burst and recorded directly after.  But it’s catchy and has some interesting lyrics.  So, go ahead, get over to that post and join the latest conversation starter at the greatest acoustic rock cover song music blog on the Internet!

See you next session!

“The Red, White, and Blues” (original Jim Fusco song)

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