“When Love Comes to Town” (U2 & B.B. King Cover)

Originally posted 2009-03-02 21:36:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For U2 chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!   /   For B.B. King chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to a brand new week.  Thanks for spending a little bit of it here on the Laptop Sessions music video blog with the latest edition of “Chris Moore Monday.”  No one understands the pressure I’m under!  I mean, there’s a lot riding on this video — if I’m good, I’m helping your week get off on the right foot.  If I’m not so good, then…  Well, let’s not even consider that option.

For tonight’s selection, I’m doing something that I’ve only done once before…

…make an enjoyable recording!  No, I’m just kidding.  (Not about the “enjoyable” part, I hope…)

This is only the second time that I’ve recorded a song by not only one but two artists whose work I’ve never played before.  Tonight’s subjects?  U2 and B.B. King.  (Jeff has already recorded U2, but B.B. King is a new addition to the blog.)  Why, you may ask?  Well, the big “New Music Tuesday” release of tomorrow, March 3rd, is No Line on the Horizon, U2’s first new studio album in five years.  It’s already making waves, having received a five-star rating from Rolling Stone magazine.  Now, I’m not often one to agree with Rolling Stone, but I am very curious about this album.  After all, Rolling Stone has never given U2 the five star salute.  Bono and company have come close, earning 4.5 stars for 1991’s Achtung, Baby, but this is the first time they’ve received 5 stars for an original studio release.

To be fair, this isn’t their first 5 out of 5 star experience — the band’s re-release of The Joshua Tree was granted 5 stars.  I just listened to that album last night for the first time, and although I wouldn’t give it five stars, I very much enjoyed it.  The first three tracks are a veritable U2 greatest hits, and there are several deep cuts that are great songs.

So, tomorrow is a new music Tuesday to look forward to.  To hold you over, I’ve gone back into the U2 catalog and hauled out an oldie but goodie.  “When Love Comes to Town” was originally released in 1988 on Rattle and Hum (a title that is taken from lyrics in the song “Bullet the Blue Sky,” from The Joshua Tree).  This is a song I have always loved — there’s such an energy between Bono and King’s vocals and the addition of King’s guitar to the instrumental mix.  I have always felt that the song had a timeless feel, and I would have loved to hear someone like Johnny Cash record a version of it.  So, for my cover song music video version tonight, I’ve slowed it down a bit and taken it down an octave (which is convenient, since my vocal chords are no match for Bono’s typical soaring range!).

The result?

Just like I thought, this song has such a classic feel to it that it lends itself to a stripped-down acoustic arrangement.  Still, my version is no match for the energy, emotion, and rocking presence of the studio version!  (And I can’t quite figure out what “catch that flame” means…  I sing “catch that plane,” which is what I’ve always thought he said, but the official U2 lyrics page says “flame.”  Oh, well…)

I hope you enjoy this U2 cover, and I hope it tides you over until tomorrow’s release of No Line on the Horizon.  Until then and until an all-new Jim Fusco Tuesday…

See you next session!

“No More” (Original Song by Indie Music Songwriter Chris Moore)

Originally posted 2008-10-22 23:32:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

And welcome once again, one and all, to the most recent installment of new, original music here at the Laptop Sessions music blog.  We like to call this “Original Wednesday,” as we take a break from our daily acoustic covers to air a song written by one of us.

Today’s selection is the second in my “New Album Preview Project.”  Each time I post an original song, I will record the next song in order of my preliminary track listing for my new album.  From now until I’ve posted them all, I’ll be continuing this project, and hopefully it won’t be long after I finish this little side project that I will finish recording the actual album.

Probably the most difficult part of this project is that I needed to come up with a track listing now, as opposed to when I usually do — after I’ve recorded the principal tracks for an album.  To be honest, this order may change by the time I actually release the album, but it’ll be interesting to see how close I came to estimating what the final product will look like.

“No More” is going to be the second track on the album — one with strong guitars up in the mix and an energetic, driving beat.  The song is fairly self-explanatory, particularly in the first verse or so.  What I like about the song (and another reason why I like having the track so early on the album) is that the second half can be interpreted in a few different ways.  This works, as I hope you will see when it is released, for the album concept as a whole.

On the heels of Jim’s big announcement today, I’m definitely getting the itch to see my numbers going more quickly in an upwards direction, so I hope to come back with good news and milestones in the weeks and months ahead, to join him in these exciting times for the music blog.

Thank you, as always, to our loyal viewers (and, if you aren’t one, I hope you will be one starting now!).  This is really only the second or third time I’ve played this song in full since I finished writing it, so it’s just a starting poing.  I hope you enjoy it and see the potential in it.  That’ll be it for me for now, but stay tuned for Jeff and then Jim and then I’ll be back on Saturday.

See you next session!

“Transitions” (Original Wednesday Acoustic Song by Chris Moore)

Originally posted 2009-02-18 23:41:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to my first Original Wednesday since Christmas Eve!  This is an exciting week for me, as I’m off from work.  There have been plenty of things to keep me busy — really, too many to list — but I woke up this morning and, despite the work I should be doing, I decided to work out this song and record it for tonight’s session.

The song is called “Transitions” and this is a Laptop Sessions world premiere.  It may make it to my next album, it may not…  Only time will tell!  I hope you like it.  This is the first fully recorded version of it, so it’s a demo of sorts.  It’s not perfectly arranged yet, to be sure, but I’m pretty happy with the overall structure of it.  Some of the words may change, some of the rough edges will be smoothed out, but this is your sneak peak at the first complete version of it.  I messed around with the harmonica even after I finished recording this video, and I have to say that this song has (and/or will have) one of my favorite harmonica parts that I’ve written in a very long time.  It’s a very deliberate aspect, but not so note-for-note that it sounds scripted.

Outside of writing and recording this song, I’ve been busy during my February break with some grading for my classes, jury duty yesterday (I was released after “a day’s service”), preparing logs for my BEST portfolio, reading three things (Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pro Wrestling, and the 40-page booklet to the Sam Jones film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart), and listening to several albums, including MoU’s Homestead’s Revenge (I think “Worlds Apart” is my favorite song we’ve ever done!), Pearl Jam’s Binaural, and Dan Auerbach’s Keep It Hid.  Oh, and I can’t forget to mention my favorite playlist that I referred to in Monday’s post — the “Albums of 2008” iTunes playlist.  Good stuff all around…

We’ve gotten a decent number of views to the blog for the chords and cover video of Dan Auerbach’s “My Last Mistake.”  That’s exciting because I wasn’t sure what to expect with this fairly obscure song choice.  It’s all the more incentive for me to keep on top of new rock music, bringing whatever I can to the blog as my contribution to this, the best acoustic cover song blog in the universe!  No kidding!

Okay, that’s it for me for this week.  But, even as I write that, I’ll be back to choose and post a Guest Session for Friday.  We’re accepting submissions every day, so don’t wait — record a video on YouTube and send the link to us today with an interesting description.

See you next session!

Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart” (2009) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2009-11-29 02:28:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Throughout Christmas in the Heart, Bob Dylan and his band are clearly enjoying themselves, embracing the timelessness of the Christmas music genre.  More specifically, Dylan and company are transporting themselves and their listeners back to a simpler time of deceptively simple songs and sentiments.

Still, not every nostalgia-inducing feature is practiced or purposeful.  For instance, that’s not static you hear on your compact disc or mp3 copy — that’s just Dylan’s voice.

Over the fifteen songs that comprise this new album, Dylan moves fluidly between the religious and the imaginative, from solemn, sacred hymns describing the birth of Jesus Christ to classic tunes about jolly old Saint Nicholas himself, Santa Claus.

Interestingly, this is the first time Dylan has included more than thirteen tracks on a studio release since 1970’s Self Portrait, the runner up being 1992’s Good As I Been To You, clocking in at thirteen tracks.  Granted, these are not the most positive comparisons in his considerable catalog, but fortunately, the comparisons end at the track count.

Christmas in the Heart is a unified collection of songs that are unlike anything Dylan has recorded before, and yet they somehow fit perfectly with the material he has released in the past decade or so.  Ever since the two albums of covers he released in 1992 and 1993, Dylan has seemingly been drawn to the sounds and styles of the past.  2001’s Love and Theft saw a wide variety of styles, and the songs on both Modern Times (2006) and this year’s Together Through Life have progressively relied on mid-20th century styles and arrangements.

In many ways, this is the most logical time for Dylan to contribute to the very American tradition of popular Christmas music.

Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" (2009)

Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" (2009)

I will admit that, upon a first listen, I was unimpressed.  Bob Dylan fanatic that I am, the deterioration of his voice initially alienated me and I felt distanced from these classic compositions, most of which I had heard before in at least one or more arrangements.

“The Christmas Blues” is perhaps the most Dylan-esque of the tracks, especially when considering the predominance of recent Dylan tunes with blues structures, the harmonica solo, and the more serious, even downtrodden tone.  In this song, his vocals are stretched and utilized to heartfelt effect.

As I listened a second and third time, the subtlety of these tracks began to set in.  The lead guitar in “Do You Hear What I Hear?” that more than adequately takes the place of the typical “answer” vocal components, the choral background singers with spot-on, traditional harmonies, and the variations in Dylan’s vocals — the rough edges in “Little Drummer Boy” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the softened edges in “Christmas Island” — all contribute to what is largely a relaxing and entertaining record.

Is there a better description for a Christmas album?

What strikes me about Christmas in the Heart is the proof which it provides for the argument that this time of year is a special season, one which captivates the hearts and souls of men and women and inspires us to be better people.  Certainly, if Bob Dylan put this much effort into not only a holiday album, but also a specifically Christmas-themed release, then there must be something to be said about the power of music influenced by the Christmas spirit.

Dylan, known for turning around and surprising even his most loyal fanbase, has done it again.  It may not be as revolutionary as going electric, or as polarizing as songwriting from an explicitly born-again Christian perspective, but it is at least as dramatic a development in his career.  Rarely has Dylan prepared such well-known cover songs for a studio release, much less songs with such a concrete set of lyrics and straightforward message.

If nothing else, this album will provide some interesting fodder for the ongoing “Is he Christian?/Is he Jewish?” debate that continues to rage on…

For me, Christmas in the Heart is a clear reminder of the universal qualities of the Christmas spirit.  It is an album that further diversifies Dylan’s hand in American popular music, and likewise carries the torch for another generation to hear and appreciate a style that originated almost six decades ago.

All in all, Christmas in the Heart would make for a strong addition to any pop/rock music fan’s Christmas album collection.