“Good Timin” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2007-11-13 22:09:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Here’s a great tune from the Beach Boys, originally sung by the legendary Carl Wilson (written mostly by Brian).  Good Timin’ is one of those gems that clocks in at just over 2 minutes.  But, so do many of the Beach Boys’ hit songs.  Of course, most of those I’m talking about came out in the early 60s.  “Good Timin'” is from 1980, off of the “Keepin’ the Summer Alive”.  It’s not the best album of all time, but it holds some serious sentimental value with me.

You see, every year on the last day of school, we would get picked up from school in my dad’s 1990 Camaro.  He’d pull up to the school, blasting “Keeping the Summer Alive”.  It was the sure-fire way to know that summer was here!  So, I associate this album with being extremely happy and that great times were ahead.  So, even though I know “Keeping the Summer Alive” isn’t the Beach Boys’ best album, I still love it.  I’ll be doing many acoustic cover songs off of that album in the future.

“Good Timin'” just sounds like a classic Beach Boys song.  I can imagine that they were all very proud of this track when they were finished.  Plus, the song has a great message.  I end up singing “Good Timin'” to myself quite often.  And nothing feels better than when you’ve got good timing on something- it could even be a well-timed joke.  When the timing clicks, you can’t help but feel good about yourself.

One note about “Keepin’ the Summer Alive”- it’s the last album Dennis Wilson appeared on for the Beach Boys, but he’s hardly on it.  In fact, the credits only say he played percussion on the song “Endless Harmony”!  I always thought he had the line, “Goin’ on!” in the raspy voice (in the song with the same name), but it turns out it was just a 350 pound Brian that sang that line.  It’s such a shame that Dennis didn’t get to contribute, whether it was his fault or not.  He had such a great contribution to “L.A. (Light Album)” the year before with songs like “Baby Blue” and “Love Surrounds Me”, plus an amazing lead vocal on “Angel Come Home”, written by his brother, Carl.  I’ll probably be recording acoustic versions of those songs, too, as they could use the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song treatment!

I love this period in Beach Boys history, as they were making great music from every one of the band members, not just Brian.  I hope you’ll agree and that you’ll enjoy tonight’s Beach Boys cover song.


“The Voice” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-27 23:00:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

And now, pinch-hitting for an under-the-weather Jeff, is Jim Fusco!  I’m sitting in to bring you yet another great acoustic cover song music video here on the best music blog around: The Laptop Sessions!  Tonight, I bring you one of my favorite songs from the Moody Blues, “The Voice”, from their #1 album, “Long Distance Voyager”.

Actually, this tune is climbing up my all-time favorites list as it has all the criteria for a song I would love: a catchy tune, faster paced, that glorious late 70’s, early 80s sound that’s not too overdone, and a great guitar solo.  Of course, I’ve stripped all of that out in my version here, except for the tune and the tempo, but I think it gives a different take on the song as a whole.  And that’s what you should expect from all of my cover songs- a different take on my favorite songs of all time.  And, if you like the same songs I like, you’re sure to love my original music, as well!  Visit my website at http://jimfusco.com and take a listen!

I actually recorded a full version of this song a few weeks ago, complete with synthesizers! I think it sounds just like the original and was a lot of fun to try recreating the sounds.  There’s something about that synthesizer sound that the Moody Blues used.  They hired Yes keyboardist Pat Moraz and updated their sound for the late 70s.  Of course, they didn’t have Mike Pinder’s mellotron anymore, so they had to have something to replace it.  I know the songs probably sound very “80s” to everyone now (“The Voice” is very heavily based on synthesizers), but to me, the music has worn pretty well.  There are some 80s songs that I can’t even listen to.  The synthesizers sound so fake and dated.  But, the music of the Moody Blues during the Pat Moraz years doesn’t sound embarrassing like those other songs from the same time period (like the synths the Beach Boys used on “Love You”).

But, again, my acoustic cover song versions take away the synthesizers (and everything else, for that matter) and give you the song in its raw form.  I want people to know what the song really sounds like.  It’s interesting, though- you’ll actually hear all of the other parts in your head as you listen to my cover video.

By the way- if you haven’t heard “Long Distance Voyager” yet, please get a copy!  It’s an amazing album and features some of my favorite songs of all time in “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream”.  Plus, there are great contributions from drummer Graeme Edge (“22,000 Days”) and Ray Thomas (“Veteran Cosmic Rocker”).

Okay, look for a new cover song music video from Jeff tomorrow and again on “Original Wednesday”, as no matter the circumstance- you’re getting a Session a Day in ’08!


“The Man With All the Toys” (Beach Boys Christmas cover song)

Originally posted 2007-12-20 03:21:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By MoU:

Back again for another edition of the Laptop Sessions, this time a first: with a band! Here with me are Chris Moore, Mike Fusco, and Cliff Huizenga- all members of the band Masters of the Universe (or MoU, as we call it). You can check out all of our original music on our website at http://jimfusco.com/albums.html!  There, you’ll find everything we’ve ever recorded.  And, it’s all free to listen to online before you buy.  I can personally guarantee that the original songs you hear on MoU’s website are top-notch.  There’s just something magical that happens when five creative people get together and make music.  It’s like when the Traveling Wilburys were formed.  They just all wanted to make music together and had a good time doing it.

Speaking of “good times”, you can clearly tell we’re having a ball singing “The Man With All The Toys”, originally played by the Beach Boys.  MoU did a great live version in concert last year, so we wanted to reprise that with this live acoustic version in my basement studio.  Cliff normally plays bass, but decided to provide only vocals for these sessions. But, you’ll hear his great bass playing abilities (plus Mike’s full drum set and guitar work) on MoU’s normal studio and live efforts.  One interesting thing is that the live version MoU did of “The Man with All the Toys” for our Christmas album was actually in the wrong key!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were actually singing the song a half-step higher than the Beach Boys did in 1964.  We rectified that problem for this music video.

I’ve said it a million times before, but the Beach Boys Christmas Album is one of my favorite albums (Christmas or otherwise) of all time.  It’s got such a great style and charm to it.  The members of the Beach Boys sound so young and happy- it’s just a great album if you want to put a smile on your face.  And, for the first side of the album, the Beach Boys themselves play all the instruments.  So, you get a really special sound.  The original songs, with the likes of “The Little Saint Nick” and “Santa’s Beard” have become hits, and “The Man With All The Toys” is no exception.  It’s such a short song- it wasn’t until about 40 years later when Brian Wilson re-recorded this song (I guess a self-cover song of sorts) for his solo Christmas album, “What I Really Want for Christmas”, that he extended the tune by adding a rocking instrumental break.  But, I’m happy with the sub-two minute original version, as well.  It’s a little slice of musical heaven.  Their voices were perfect on the vocal breaks and it’s really just a great holiday song.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s Beach Boys cover song and over the years, we’ll be bringing you many more Christmas songs here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!

Insight on acoustic video covers for the Laptop Sessions

Originally posted 2008-05-24 22:10:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

When the idea came across to do The Laptop Sessions as a free video series, Jim started it all off by watching a video of Let It Be that was covered highly incorrectly, and Jim recorded himself playing it correctly. He wanted to put a good name to music covers on Youtube – especially covers of one of his favorite bands The Beatles. Also, in spirit of “The Bathroom Sessions”, which was a free music video series by two members of Barenaked Ladies, I helped coin the term “Laptop Sessions”, since Jim was using the camera on his laptop to record the video.

After the positive response to sessions that Jim put out, Chris and I decided to help Jim with the “Session a day” project starting in 2008. Initially, Jim enlisted Chris to put up one video between each of them, so that the site had a new music video each day. I had tried ten sessions in late 2007, but I had stopped doing them due to the low quality web camera I owned. In general, I was still new to the realm of video as well.

After nearly 60 new video sessions recorded for The Laptop Sessions this year, I have recording videos down to a science. Here is a typical rundown of what it takes for me to make each session.

1) Practice the song

This is the obvious one. As a songwriter, I know the more comfortable I am with the song, the better the video will come out. I grew up hearing a lot of music in the 90’s, so I tend to be most comfortable when I decide to do a song by bands such as Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Radiohead. However we do try to diversify our recordings across the years, and I know I cannot limit myself to alternative music bands. Therefore, some songs require up to a week of practice. Others I can learn and play comfortably in an hour or two. I will usually begin practicing the song regularly up to two-three days before I record it.

2) Set up the video recording station

Lately I have four common locations for my videos. The biggest problem I have is that I do not have a tripod for my camera (yet – I do plan to buy one). Therefore, I have to rest my camera on a makeshift stand. I also have to make sure there is enough light. Even during the day, I have to have at least one lamp on so the video doesn’t come out dark. After that, I position the camera, set the zoom, tune the guitar, and do a practice run of the song on the acoustic. Music tends to be easy for me – it’s singing and remembering lyrics that is the most difficult. For this reason, I have to put a small sheet of “notes” that remind me what verse or line to sing next. Sometimes, I have to include the entire lyric sheet, but that is rare. “Round Here” comes to mind as a song I just needed that entire lyric sheet by the camera for.

3) Record the video

When I am satisfied that I can record the song, I psych up for the performance. Lately, I have been able to record the song in about three or four takes. I don’t worry about what happens before or after the performance, since I can edit that out in the next step. As you have seen on our site, recording acoustic guitar video covers is real easy some days, other days you want to throw your guitar against the wall because something minor keeps messing takes up. “Jane” comes to mind with this (despite it being a piano cover). I had played it on the first take and was very happy to have satisfactorily made it through the song. That is, until I discovered the battery had died in the middle of the recording. I charged the battery, and then it took me another 20 or so takes to get it again. Other times, the performance comes so naturally you wonder why you practiced the song so much beforehand.

4) Edit the Video

This is probably the easiest step, despite it taking up to 30 minutes. I transfer the video to my laptop (as you can tell, I don’t own a laptop with a built-in camera, so technically I should be doing “The Powershot Sessions”). Once the video is transferred, I split the clip to the parts I want (usually this involves trimming out the beginning and end of the clip), then add on two title screens and a credit roll. Then, depending on the length of the performance, I render the video, which can take up to 12 minutes for long songs.

5) Write the description, and upload the video.

While the video renders, I write the Youtube description and tags. Usually I will comment on the song I chose, why I chose it, the album it is from, and any comments on the performance itself. I will also usually throw in some current news and other tidbits of info. My descriptions tend to be at least 100 words long. I can usually get both descriptions on the blog and Youtube before the video finishes rendering. Then I upload the video, copy the embedding information onto the blog, and publish!

What keeps me fresh for the sessions is when I try to listen to new music that I may like to cover. I found on Chris and Jim to introduce me to bands and songs I’d otherwise not know, but some people I know also help me out in that department. It is also fun to use this as a springboard to get people to hear our independent music. That is why we do “Original Wednesday”, and slowly we are building up some excitement from our subscribers when that day rolls around. At least we know everyone watching will be listening to something they’ve never heard before.

I hope you enjoyed getting some insight on the process on my end. As always, if you have questions please email [email protected], and direct your questions to me, Jeff Copperthite. Have a great evening!