“Christmas Morning” by Jim Fusco – FREE mp3 Download! – Day 14 of 14

By Jim Fusco:

And here it is- the end of the line.  I can’t believe we’re already through all 14 days of my Rock’n’Roll Christmas celebration!  Remind me to never do this again. 🙂

Today’s song is my original Christmas tune, “Christmas Morning”, that I wrote back in high school!  I personally think every artist has ONE good Christmas song in them.  And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure that I’d ever be able to come up with another one as catchy as this one, so I don’t think I’m going to try!

I recorded this song for the first time back in 2004 for our Christmas album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”.  At the time, I was just getting used to playing the guitar and recording with my digital 24-track.  I had basic microphones, too.  Now, I have a Cab Clone to record my guitars, various tube amps, high quality mics, compressors, preamps, and…the same 24 track mixer.  But, if you’ve heard both versions, you can really tell a big difference.  I’ll probably end-up recording this again in the future after my equipment gets even better!

My wife Becky helps me sing on this tune, too.  I was going to have my brother Mike help out, but he was sick when he came home for Thanksgiving, so he couldn’t sing on it.  Next time, though!

I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and listening to these Christmas songs as I have making them.  It’s a pretty big accomplishment for me to do all of this while being so busy otherwise.  I hope I can maybe just do one song a year from now on, just to keep me into the recording process.  Enjoy “Christmas Morning” and have a Merry Christmas!

Weezer’s “Hurley” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-10-18 21:57:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  3.5 / 5 stars

Simply put, Hurley is Weezer’s return to high energy rock music.

And it’s good.

Okay, so I’ll admit that it is difficult to take an album like Hurley seriously, given the ostensibly random title and accompanying cover photo that is apropos of nothing contained within.  And yet, you should endeavor to get past the cover, the pathetic excuse for CD packaging, and the bad press the album has received from those who, on the heels of Raditude, understandably won’t give it a chance, including — perhaps most notably — one James Burns, a man currently engaged in a campaign to raise $10 million as incentive for Weezer to break up.

I would suggest that he give this album a chance, but it turns out he not only is not but also has never been a fan of the band.

This is such a pity, as Hurley is an album so true to classic Weezer that it makes more sense to compare it to The Green Album (2001) than any of the four subsequent releases.  Aside from the echoes of Raditude on “Smart Girls,” the rock sensibility of Hurley extends past the experimental aura of The Red Album, doesn’t quite match the tone of Make Believe, and is certainly not cut out of the same carefully orchestrated hard rock fabric that defined Maladroit.

Musically, the track listing conjures those early albums: a total running time that barely cracks the half hour mark across ten songs with concise titles, all upbeat rock tracks with distorted guitars that play like a mix between garage rock and clean studio sounds.

As for the cover, I have never understood the criticism lobbed at The Red Album and Raditude.  Because a man who looks like a doll reading a newspaper wasn’t weird.  Neither, apparently, was several depressed looking cartoons wearing the traditional garb of the Orient wandering aimlessly around a snowy mountainside.  And four guys standing in front of a bright blue screen looking like they’d forgotten it was picture day wasn’t odd; that was somehow classic.

Hurley (Weezer, 2010)

Hurley (Weezer, 2010)

Weezer has always been quirky, and that has always been a large part of their appeal.  In a manner that should be palatable to the average rock fan, they have assembled Hurley as a return to that form, with a couple worthwhile variations thrown in for good measure.

The opening track and lead single “Memories” is honest, in-your-face rock music that begins with reminiscences that would have fit in comfortably on The Red Album, but quickly transitions to a catchy chorus and a middle stirred to perfection with a shredded vocal delivery by Rivers Cuomo.

He loosens the reigns vocally on several other occasions, not the least of which is that pinnacle of quirkiness “Where’s My Sex?,” the shtick here being that the word “sex” replaces the word “socks” throughout the song.  The result is a rocking, if somewhat ridiculous, track.

“Unspoken” is an acoustic gem, but even this song can’t help but rock out in the latter half, just as “Time Flies” wants to be the pensive closer, yet is so steady in beat as to evade the classification as a “slow song.”

Although many of the strongest tracks are placed early on the record — “Trainwrecks” being one, if not the, standout song — even the potentially mediocre numbers, like “Smart Girls” and “Brave New World,” achieve cohesion and momentum.  “Ruling Me,” “Run Away,” and “Hang On” are similarly impressive in their focus and balance between simplicity and interesting vocal and instrumental hooks.

This isn’t the new Weezer classic.  It shouldn’t be interpreted as the new Green Album, nor should it be compared to the heights of their career, in 1994 and 2002.  And yet, as much as Make Believe was underrated (and sadly oversimplified as “the one with ‘Beverly Hills’ on it”)  and as much as The Red Album grew on me and quickly became a favorite of mine in 2008, Hurley is arguably the best rock album Weezer has produced in eight years.

If nothing else, it provides proof positive that this band has not gone off the deep end (band-led hootenannies and Rivers Cuomo’s train conductor’s uniform notwithstanding). Hurley can be read as a nod to fans of their rock mentality, and the message is clear: this is a band that can still rock…. when they want to.

“Things We Said Today” (The Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-03 22:13:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Thursday edition of The Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog with me, Jim Fusco! I just reached 100 subscribers and I know it’ll only grow faster from here! I hope you’ll tell your friends about the music blog, too.

Anyway, now to today’s cover song video. Today, I give you another in our series of Beatles cover songs that I’ve loved for a long time, “Things We Said Today”.

Paul McCartney said that this song was about a girlfriend of his he met while in another country. They had such a great time together and made all those crazy young promises of “always waiting for you”, etc. So, he’s singing about remembering the things they said to each other while feeling alone and far away. What a great, heartfelt idea for a song!

One of the things I’ve always liked about “Things We Said Today” is the cool strumming pattern of the A-minor chord that starts the song.  For a song about such a melancholy feeling, the opening chords are so harsh.  Of course, that harsh feeling comes up again in the bridge of the song, where Paul gets a bit rougher with his singing style.  I think the middle-8 is one of the best that Paul McCartney ever wrote.  He flawlessly transitions his voice from sweet and mellow to biting.  It’s very impressive.

I guess the duality in “Things We Said Today” between the verses and middle sections is reflected in the lyrics of the song.  On the surface, you’ll notice that Paul is first saying how they’ve promised to “be the only one” for each other.  But, if you read into it a little bit, you’ll hear what he really means.  He knew, because of the distance between him and the girl he’s talking about, that the promises of “being the only one” were empty and could never be true.  He knew it was only a passing fling.  In the middle section, he says, “And though we may be blind, love is here to stay.”  He’s saying that in a new relationship like that, people tend to overlook obvious challenges like, you know, living thousands of miles away from each other.  And, in the minds of these naive folks that are newly in love, it’ll stay great forever!  Those of us who have been through that situation know the real eventual outcome.

On a funnier note, I had to relocate to my room for this song (good thing I have a Laptop!) because my parakeets would not stop chattering downstairs! But, I’m glad they’re getting along, even if it is to the detriment of my acoustic cover song videos.

I hope you enjoy today’s Beatles acoustic video- I’ll catch you on Sunday with an all-new Beach Boys song!

We have a NEW album out called Homestead’s Revenge (by Masters of the Universe- the band I’m in). You can buy the high quality mp3s or the CD version. Here’s the web address: http://jimfusco.com/albums.html.  PLEASE check it out and let me know what you think!  I hope you all enjoy today’s Session, and REALLY enjoy the new album- it’s two years in the making!

The Gershwin Brian Wilson Reimagined – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-09-18 12:24:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

When Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (2010) was released, I instantly enjoyed the former Beach Boy’s interpretations of what I have read about as being classic tunes.  However, I had no way to really judge them, as I had never heard any of the originals, save for the bonus track “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”

The more I listened to these cover versions, and despite how much I enjoy Brian Wilson’s current sound with his formidable bandmates, the more I became curious about the original versions.  Thus, I embarked on a full afternoon of internet research and listening to samples via the iTunes store.  My mission: to compile a playlist of the best original versions of these songs that Wilson chose to cover.

And that is exactly what follows below.

In each case, I determined which version is considered the earliest, best recording of the song.  Of course, as I soon discovered, the Gershwin brothers didn’t record the songs themselves.  In the custom of the time, they were the songwriters and there were others, performers, that would translate their writing to record.

Most of the performers below are people I have heard of, legendary performers in their time.  However, I didn’t have music from any of them on my iPod.  So, I downloaded these tracks from iTunes and have been listening to them as I prepare to write my review of Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin.

After all, it is difficult to comment on the reimagined cover versions when you haven’t heard the original imaginings of such musical greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Etta James.

So, for those who are interested, these are the songs that I would recommend you pick up if you’d like some insight into the mind of Brian Wilson.  These are, most likely, some of the many versions that Wilson had heard before he added his touch to them.  So, enjoy them, and tune in soon for my review of the covers, to be posted appropriately here on the best acoustic cover song music video blog in the universe.

1)  “Summertime” – Billy Stewart (1989)

2)  “I Loves You, Porgy” – Billie Holiday (1967)

3)  “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” – Frank Sinatra (1957)

4)  “It Ain’t Necessarily So” – Bobby Darin (1959)

5)  “‘S Wonderful” – Gene Kelly (1951)

6)  “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” – Fred Astaire (1937)

7)  “Love Is Here to Stay” – Gene Kelly (1951)

8)  “I’ve Got a Crush on You” – Ella Fitzgerald (1950)

9)  “I Got Rhythm” – The Happenings (1969)

10) “Someone to Watch Over Me” – Etta James (1962)

11) “Rhapsody in Blue” – George Gershwin