“Sister Golden Hair” (America Cover)

Originally posted 2008-02-15 23:16:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

I’m pretty excited today, as I give you a new band to the Laptop Sessions: America!

I got into this band because of today’s cover song, Sister Golden Hair.  I used to hear it on the radio many times growing up and decided that it would be perfect for a cover song.  I’ve now seen the band America in concert at least ten times, meeting them and getting their autographs on many occasions. They’re great guys and that only helped make them one of my favorite bands.

Jim and Chris with the band America.

I love their album “Homecoming” and will be doing most of the songs off it in the future. But, for now, I give you the tune that started it all for me. Once I found out that this song was from the same guys that did “Horse With No Name”, I had to get the “Best Of” CD. After that, I scoured CT (this was before eBay was huge) for any America CDs I could find. I even bought some of the LPs. The band was surprised to see such a young guy asking to get those signed.  My gravitation towards America was probably due to the fact that I could tell they were influenced by the Beach Boys- their harmonies and melodic songs drew me in.  And, they put a classic rock spin on things- kind of like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but even more mellow.

“Sister Golden Hair” is really one of my favorite songs.  The chorus is so catchy, but Gerry Beckley (the singer and songwriter for this song) didn’t stop there- he began the song with a great acoustic guitar part and some really cool slide guitar.  One of the reasons why the original recording of “Sister Golden Hair” sounds so good is because Beatles producer George Martin actually produced it!  Yes, that’s right- he even produced a few other albums for America in the mid 70s.  The first song he produced for them was the big hit “Tin Man”.

America had two #1 Billboard hits- “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair”.  It’s a shame they didn’t have a third, because then each member would’ve had their shot at having a Number One Hit.  “A Horse With No Name” was written by Dewey Bunnell, but original member Dan Peek (left in the late 70s, but is now deceased) never got a song up to Number One.  He did have a popular song, though, in “Lonely People”, which is instantly recognizable.  So, I guess all of the band members had their chances to shine.

Like many of my acoustic cover song videos, I’m using my nylon string guitar here.  Sure, it doesn’t sound exactly like the original, but I thought it allowed me to sing over the guitar without shouting.  On the verses, I found that I needed a softer sounding guitar because the tone is so “conversational” and not soaring above the music (like a Beach Boys song would be, for instance).

I hope you all enjoy this America acoustic cover song- truly one of my favorites. Stay tuned for more cover song music videos from the musicians here at the Laptop Sessions video blog!


“Slip On Through” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-05-12 11:43:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to day two of “Track 1” week here at the Laptop Sessions! This week, Chris, Jeff, and I (plus a possible new special guest) will be bringing you our favorite album-starters! This is the second in a series of specialty weeks to come. We’ll be doing “Title Track Week” soon, plus an album closer week, and another new bands week very soon!

This particular week is pretty big for me- but to find out why, you’ll have to visit the Blog at http://laptopsessions.com and read my entry that will appear in the next few days- trust me, it’s worth the click!

Today, I bring you the first of TWO Beach Boys songs because I haven’t done one for a couple weeks. Actually, this just kinda fell into place- I was going to do “Slip On Through” anyway (track 1 off of my favorite album, “Sunflower”), and it just fit into this week, so here it is!

I’m also happy to finally be doing a Dennis Wilson song here on the Sessions. We’re all anxiously awaiting Dennis’ “Pacific Ocean Blue” and “Bambu” collection to come out next month, and you better believe there will be Sessions done from those albums! We’ve had POB for years now and I’ve been itching to do a song from it.

Like I said, “Sunflower” is probably my favorite Beach Boys album (besides my guilty pleasure: the 1985 album), so ANY requests from this one will be fulfilled.

I’ll be back on Thursday with yet another amazing Beach Boys album starter: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” from everyone’s favorite, “Pet Sounds”!! It’ll be my first Pet Sounds Session and I’m very proud of how it came out. See you then, but make sure to check out Chris’ first entry for “Track 1 Week” on http://laptopsessions.com!

“Goin’ Up The Country” (Canned Heat Cover)

Originally posted 2008-11-24 23:45:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Well, tonight I’m bringing you yet another piece of archival evidence to prove that I have no shame.  I am apparently not interested in impressing anyone, or if I am, then it’s impressing them with how willing I am to make a fool of myself… :-)

But, seriously, I bring you this video tonight — another all-new cover by an all-new band to the sessions — in the hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it and remembering it as much as I have enjoyed learning to play it.

I actually heard it this weekend, as my friends and I watched the film Into the Wild.  This song came on during one of the scenes.  Instantly, I was reminded of my father’s tape collection again, as I had been for “Dead Skunk” and other cover songs that I’ve done.  One of his old tapes has this Canned Heat single, “Goin’ Up the Country,” on it.

Of course,  the first aspect that you’ll most likely notice is my falsetto delivery.  You may even think it sounds goofy.  Well, even though I wouldn’t classify the original vocal as goofy, it is certainly in a distinct voice.  If you don’t know the song, then you should most likely search YouTube or iTunes for it as a companion to my Laptop Session.  Or, just take my word that there is a good reason for the otherwise ridiculous vocals I have recorded here…

“Goin’ Up The Country” is how my night ends.  Allow me to share the rest of the evening, which was interesting and indeed, I hope, a kickstart to a relaxing, fun, and productive Thanksgiving week.  First of al, I stayed at school until six, entering grades and reading college essays.  By the time I got home and changed, Becky was napping, and Jim and Dana were in the kitchen getting ready for the first Fusco-Moore Pre-Turkey Day Celebration!  The best part of this story is that, as I went into the kitchen this morning to get my lunch, I found that Jim had stayed up late to prepare as much as he could.  Dishes were portioned out, sealed with cellophane, post-it noted with directions, and the counter was covered with an array of foods and utensils.  Now, the oven was working overtime, and the smells were tantalizing.

Before long, we ate dinner — which was amazing, by the way, and a definite home run for Jim.  We broke open the bottle of wine that Jim and Becky had bought for me a couple weeks ago in the Berkshires.  We watched the episode of The Office that we had DVR’ed from last week.

How much better could it get?

After dinner, we still had Two and a Half Men, Worst Week (which I regretfully missed in order to record my video), and Boston Legal (which was a wild and predictaby crazy Thanksgiving episode!).  Boston Legal was actually sobering for a number of reasons, such as the fact that it is drawing ever nearer to the final episode (don’t even get me started on how disappointing that is, being that it is my absolute favorite show on TV next to, perhaps, The Office), Denny was showing signs of progressing Alzheimers’, and Katie and Jerry were having a spat.  Jerry announced to her that he loved her… it’s about time!  He added that she need not feel awkward; he would find her friendship to be more than an adequate consolation prize.  I thought, particularly for a man with a social disorder, that Jerry handled the talk extraordinarily well.  Katie didn’t respond in any certain terms, but did mention that they are a couple, if not in a romantic way, and may be in need of couples therapy.

I have a bit of a crush on the Katie character, so I’m rooting for Jerry here so I can live vicariously through him, if only until the show ends in December!  :-)

And with that, the night was over.  A big thanks should be extended to Jim for cooking and to Dana and Becky for filling the house with great company.  Now, I’m off to sleep and school and then a night of hanging out, talking about music, and watching an Office mini-marathon with my sister, Jaime.  I can’t wait!

And I’m sure you can’t wait until the next acoustic rock cover song is posted here on the blog — but, have no fear, Jeff will be here tomorrow for Tuesday’s edition, and then Jim will bring you a fresh new Original Wednesday…

See you next session!

“Evil Woman” (ELO Electric Light Orchestra Cover)

Originally posted 2008-02-24 22:52:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, “New Bands Week” is over, but I have a hard time letting go…so I bring you yet another new band to the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!

Tonight I give you a band fronted by a great producer, songwriter, and singer: Jeff Lynne. The band is Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.) and the song is “Evil Woman”, a favorite of mine for a long time.

This song is originally done on piano, but I’ve adapted it for acoustic guitar. It’s got great vocals and a great chord progression. I love the way the drums come in- it’s what I miss the most when I play it solo.  Many say that Jeff Lynne, as a producer, kind of “over-produces” his music.  I actually kind of like it.  I love a large chorus of vocals, plus Lynne always throws in some interesting instruments (like a violin) into his songs.  And, sure, when he was with the Traveling Wilburys, he had all five members play acoustic guitar.  But, to me, that just showed how everyone was participating.

Jeff Lynne not only had a ton of hits with E.L.O., he produced many hit albums.  Roy Orbison’s “Mystery Girl” is a stand-out and brought the Lynne co-written song “You Got It” to the world.  He even produced the mega-smash album “Full Moon Fever” for Tom Petty, which had classic songs like “Running Down A Dream”, “Free Fallin'”, and “Won’t Back Down”.  I think I like Jeff Lynne’s producing style because it’s the style of music I grew up with.  I mean, both of the albums I mentioned were from the late 80s.  And one of my other favorite albums, “Cloud 9” by George Harrion, is also produced by Jeff Lynne…and also from the late 80s!  You can’t go wrong with any of these albums and I have to give a little credit to Jeff Lynne on that.

I hope tonight’s Electric Light Orchestra cover song will be the start of many other E.L.O. songs for the Laptop Sessions music blog. I can’t wait to do “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, too.  That’s another one that’s a bit over-produced, but when it was recorded in the 70s, people were pushing the envelope with the sounds they could create.  In the 60s, you only had four or eight tracks to work with.  And in the 70s, the technology leaped forward, allowing many more tracks to be used without a reduction in sound quality.  Jeff Lynne has always struck me as a technical musician of sorts- he knows the craft of recording a song and applies it to the music he makes and the music he produces for other bands.

“Evil Woman” is also a fun song to do a cover of because of the cool falsetto parts in the chorus.  It’s that kind of range that made E.L.O. stand out to me and I’m happy to present my stripped-down version here on the music video blog!

Enjoy tonight’s acoustic cover song music video, and make sure to come back on Wednesday to see my Original Wednesday cover song tribute to Jeff Copperthite’s great new album, “Greenlight”. Aw, heck, why don’t you just come back on Monday and Tuesday, too?