“California Callling” (The Beach Boys cover)

Originally posted 2014-09-10 22:00:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  Today I go back to my ol’ stomping grounds to give you another Beach Boys cover song.

“California Calling” is from their self-titled album from 1985.  It’s the only track on the whole album that features real drums…and as an added bonus, they’re played by Ringo Starr!  Of course, Dennis Wilson, the band’s drummer since they began, passed away in 1983.  I think Ringo is just about the only drummer fitting enough to be the first person to play drums on a Beach Boys song after Dennis’ passing.  And the drumming on “California Calling” is very similar to what Dennis would’ve played.  I like to think they did that as a tribute to Dennis.  Supposedly, the sequenced drum track on the hit “Getcha Back” was done in the style of Dennis Wilson as a tribute.  I hope that’s true because it would be a great tribute.

To be honest, this really wasn’t one of my favorite songs on the album for many years.  I think I was just irked by the fact that it’s another Love/Jardine “Don’t F with the formula” song that didn’t fit in with the rest of the album.  But I’ve changed my mind on that recently.  I mean, when you’re looking for a Beach Boys song, you’re looking for a song just like “California Calling”!  Plus, it’s a good tune and I’m a sucker for that classic Beach Boys sound.

Onto some personal business: “The Easy Ways”, my new album, is coming out very, very soon- on September 20th, in fact!  It’s an album full of 16 original songs that are assembled into a true “album” instead of just a collection of songs.  You’ll just have to check back soon and grab a copy of the album on CD or digitally to hear what I mean!  I’ve been practicing non-stop for my album release party, so I hope everyone in the Connecticut area will come check it out!  It’s at 5:30 on Saturday, September 20th at Silver City Restaurant in Meriden, CT.

I’ll be back next week with another original song in anticipation of my new album’s release.  I hope everyone enjoys tonight’s Laptop Sessions cover song music video of The Beach Boys’ “California Calling”!

“Livin’ With A Heartache” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2009-01-06 22:03:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

I kick off the year with a new Beach Boys acoustic cover song.  I bribed Chris (by making clams and spaghetti for dinner) tonight to do this video with me.  He was a welcome addition and really helped to fill-out this song.

Carl Wilson wasn’t the most prolific songwriter, but when he did come out with a new tune, he made it count.  He really took over the role as “leader” of the Beach Boys in the 70s and 80s.  When “Keepin’ the Summer Alive” came out in 1980, he had to juggle his brother Brian’s worsening condition and his brother Dennis’ increasingly tragic lifestyle.

It’s no surprise that I love this album.  Something about it… The Boys just knew what they were doing.  Yes, it’s really cheesy at points, but it’s a really diverse album.  The only true disappointment for me is the lack of ANY Dennis contribution at all.  Oh, wait, I take that back- I think he plays the tambourine on one song…  That’s especially disappointing because Denny had such an amazing contribution to LA (Light Album).  Those songs were supposed to be for his ill-fated (until recently) Bambu album, but even his vocals on Carl’s amazing “Angel Come Home” made the album that much better.  “Love Surrounds Me” is also an incredible song- to me, it just sounds EXACTLY like a song from 1979 should- with elements of rock, blues, disco and mostly funk.  Of course, Bruce Johnston took the “disco” part waaaaaayyyy too far on the horrible (and horribly long) rendition of “Here Comes the Night”.

Anyway, Carl’s best “albums” (meaning albums where he contributed the most) were “The Beach Boys (1985)” and this one, “Keepin’ the Summer Alive”.  These albums will forever remind me of the last day of school each year, as my father would pick us (my brother and me) up from school in the Camaro and we would go have fun on our first day out.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love “Livin’ With A Heartache” more and more.  At times, Carl had a bit of a tendency to sound a bit over-dramatic and kind of like a lounge singer (“It’s Over Now” comes to mind), but that may have been just a style of the time.  In this song, Carl sounds angrier and his voice is in perfect form.  I love the country-tinge to this song- another trait I’ve gotten to like more and more as time’s gone on.

I hope you enjoy my first entry for the year.  I hope to bring you a very special duet next week with a new guest to the Laptop Sessions.  We’ll be doing a great Beatles tune, so make sure to come back each and every Tuesday for Jim Fusco Tuesdays!  Oh, and by the way- make sure to check out all the great new sections on the site.  As Chris mentioned yesterday, we have a new homepage design that makes all of the important information and links easier to find.  I hope that the site in its current form will welcome new viewers to the blog better than ever before.

“Girl Don’t Tell Me” (A Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2007-10-22 01:10:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Well, another day and another installment of the “Laptop Sessions.” This is one that I learned a long time ago and forgot about playing until tonight. Anyone that knows me will know that I admire Brian Wilson’s songwriting the most. His song, “Girl Don’t Tell Me” is truly one of his finest works. Plus, his brother Carl sings an amazing lead vocal that I can only hope to emulate in my version.  This is one of Carl’s earliest lead vocals and I’m glad Brian gave Carl the opportunity to sing it.  Carl knocked it out of the park and had a voice much more suited to this style of music.

I think my Laptop Session acoustic version of this song actually sounds a lot like the original because it was done with acoustic guitars. “But,” you say, “many songs are done with just acoustics!” Well, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys really used piano as their driving instrument, plus Al Jardine and Carl Wilson took the rhythm and lead guitars (respectively) on electrics almost all the time. Of course, I’m talking about the early records when the Boys recorded the instruments themselves. After a while, Brian and the others decided to have studio musicians come in, which allowed Brian to experiment more while the others were on tour.  I think one of the last vestiges of the Beach Boys playing on their own music (in the earlier years, at least) was their Christmas album.  One the first side (the original songs), you can hear the Beach Boys playing all of the instruments.  Those songs represent some of my favorite recordings of all time.  They’re simply perfect (to me).

But, enough of the Beach Boys history for the time being. But, I will say that you’ll notice how this song sounds more like a Beatles song than a Beach Boys song. Well, with the production done the way it was on the original (like I mentioned before, with acoustic guitars rather than a piano), one can only assume that this Beatle-esque sound was done purposely!  Of course, this acoustic video flies in the face of the logic I was trying to explain regarding the Laptop Sessions cover songs series.  You see, my idea is to strip-away the various instruments in a song to get to the simplest form.  That way, you can hear the song for what it is.  So, songs that you might not necessarily have liked can be given new life here on the music blog.  With “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, however, that’s not really the case.  I just did a straight-up cover of an acoustic song.  My defense?  It’s a great song- shut up and listen! :-)  But seriously, another function of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog is to introduce you (or even re-introduce you) to songs you’ve never heard before (or forgot you knew).  And that’s just as important.

This song is really a favorite of mine and I know a certain group of people are going to go, “Oh, wow!” when they see I did a version of this forgotten song! I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more from The Laptop Sessions!

“The Night Was So Young” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-06 22:22:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco.

I promised a new Beach Boys video today, and even though it took me until 10:30 to do it, it’s finally here. Actually, this is one of the rare Sessions that was recorded the same day I’m posting it.

I’ve been practicing this song for weeks now, as I needed to make sure it was perfect before I did a video. “The Night Was So Young” is my favorite track off the Beach Boys “Love You” album and shows the great songwriting skills of Brian Wilson coupled with the singing of Carl Wilson.

I love the minimalist approach to the recorded version of this song- it’s great in contrast to the terribly-dated synth-sounds of most of the tracks. This song also doesn’t have that cheesiness factor that some of the others have. Although, this song does tell of Brian Wilson’s lonely trip to the sink to pour some milk at 3 am…

I hope you like this toned-down Session. We’re still chugging-along at one-a-day here in 2008. I’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to my brother, Mike, who’s 22 today. Hope you had a great one!!