“A Winter’s Tale” (Moody Blues)

Originally posted 2009-12-08 00:06:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Moody Blues chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another all-new edition of the Laptop Sessions.  To kick off another full week of new material, I’ve reached into the Moody Blues catalog of songs — specifically from their 2003 album December — to bring you a cover song version of their cover of the Mike Blatt and Tim Rice song “A Winter’s Tale.”

Now, although I am an English teacher, this is not to be confused with the William Shakespeare play “The Winter’s Tale.”  Not only is there a notable difference in parts of speech (namely the indefinite – “a” – versus the definite – “the” – articles), but there is also a big difference in tone.  Still, “The Winter’s Tale” is quite a trip.  Consider, for instance, that this play contains one of Shakespeare’s most infamous stage directions: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”  What I find the most interesting is that there is contention over whether he used an actual bear for the original productions, or simply a man dressed in a bear costume.

I would assume the latter, but the former is just so much more fascinating…

But this is all beside the point.

“A Winter’s Tale” is one of those songs that is indisputably beautiful, sung perfectly by Justin Hayward.  For those who have seen them in concert recently, you may have noticed my apparel is a nod to Hayward’s typical onstage wardrobe.  That wasn’t too difficult to arrange, as I simply removed my tie and jacket and voila!  Of course, this is also one of those songs that, upon playback, forces me to remember I’m a rhythm guitarist hammering away at what is such a subtle, pretty song at heart.  During our MoU Christmas concerts, Mike would front the band on this one, fingerpicking and taking the lead — and for good reason!

The reason I’m standing up is because the song simply didn’t sound right when I played it sitting down.  I found I was having trouble getting comfortable as I played it.

Of course, the majority of the song being played on barre chords didn’t help either…

Several takes and several strained ligaments in my hands later, you’ve got yourself a new Laptop Session.

As a final note about the song, I found it very interesting that this song, originally written by songwriters Mike Batt and Tim Rice, hit #2 on the UK charts back in 1982.  Batt teamed up with Rice to write the song for performer David Essex.  Another interesting bit of trivia is that Batt went on to produce Justin Hayward’s solo album Classic Blue between 1988 and 1989 at Abbey Road Studios in London.  Classic Blue, ironically, is an album of covers.  The track listing includes three songs written by Batt, as well as classics from Brian Wilson, Lennon/McCartney, and Led Zeppelin.

I hope that you enjoy this installment of the Laptop Sessions, and I encourage you to hurry back for more very soon.  In addition to your regularly scheduled (yuletide?) cover song music video tomorrow, there may be a brand new Guest Session on Friday, as well as another edition of the Weekend Review.  If you missed last weekend’s music review, you should know that I just kicked off a top five albums of the decade countdown.  Each weekend between now and January 2nd, 2009, I will reveal another album on the list, as well as a full review.  Then, on January 2nd, I will post my full “Top Thirty Rock Albums of the Decade” list, along with my review for the number one rock album of the decade.

Thus far, the Barenaked Ladies’ Maroon (2000) has cinched the #5 slot.  Which album will rank as the fourth best album of the decade?

You’ll have to tune in to the Weekend Review to find out…

See you next session!

“Living Well is the Best Revenge” by R.E.M. – Chords & How to Play

Originally posted 2010-07-14 23:30:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Living Well is the Best Revenge”
R.E.M.

B
It’s only when your poison spins into the life you’d hoped to live
and suddenly you wake up in a shaken panic
B            A         B
now…

You had set me up like a lamb to slaughter,
Garbo as a farmer’s daughter.
Unbelievable.  The gospel according to… who?
I lay right down.

F#
All your sad and lost apostles
A                             E
hum my name and flare their nostrils,
F#                                                     A
choking on the bones you tossed to them.
F#
Now I’m not one to sit and spin because
A                       E
living well is the best revenge, and
D               A                    E
baby, I am calling you on that.

Don’t turn your talking points on me.
History will set me free.
The future is ours and you don’t even rate a footnote.
now…

So who’s chasing you?
Where did you go, you disappear mid-sentence in a judgement crisis…
I see my in and go for it.  You weakened shill.

All your sad and lost apostles
hum my name and flare their nostrils,
choking on the bones you tossed to them.
Now I’m not one to sit and spin
because living well is the best revenge,
and baby, I am calling you on that.

You, savor your dying breath.
I forgive but I don’t forget.
You work it out.  Let’s hear that argument again.  Camera 3.  Go.  Now.

All your sad and lost apostles
hum my name and flare their nostrils,
choking on the bones you tossed to them.
Now I’m not one to sit and spin
because living well is the best revenge,
and baby, I am calling you on that.
baby, I am calling you on that.
baby, I am calling you on that.

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s).  They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

“Set You Free This Time” (Byrds Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-11 19:59:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Well, after all the fun we had last time, the boys of The Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog are back for another Triple Tuesday Special on LaptopSessions.com. Jeff, the innovator for this event, called me up this weekend and I couldn’t resist!

Here’s my version of a great Byrds tune, “Set You Free This Time.” It’s from their 1965 album Turn! Turn! Turn! and it’s another Gene Clark original. He’s such an underrated songwriter, and I like him more and more every time I listen to his material. And “Set You Free This Time” is such a great song, it deserves to have all three of us give it a shot. The song is very introspective- I wonder if he was writing it about a specific someone, or if it’s just a feeling he had (or was thinking about). For 1965, it was pretty innovative- pop music really didn’t take that turn (turn, turn) until a little while later. Gene Clark always struck me as the same kind of guy that played the lead songwriter (Jimmy) in “That Thing You Do”. He wrote these sad, introspective songs. Then, they were turned into pop hits. But some were just meant to be slow and sad. I’m sure Gene Clark fought with his producers, as well. This song was featured on the second and last Byrds album Gene would appear on (in the 60s, at least).

Jim and Jeff posted their versions below mine so you’ll be able to take your pick…or, hopefully, listen to all three!

As a side note, I would like to thank everyone who frequents my videos. Just yesterday, I accepted my 50th subscriber on YouTube (who, of course, received a coupon, as promised by Jim), and today I’m up to 55. I really appreciate your watching and especially commenting both here and on YouTube!

I hope you’ll continue to check out LaptopSessions.com as we update the site with new videos every day in 2008!





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.