“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!


“Here Without You” (The Byrds acoustic and 12-string electric cover song)

Originally posted 2009-05-19 22:54:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, welcome to yet another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  Actually, tonight, you get two for the price of one: I have Chris Moore with me to record this session!  And boy, did it come out great.  If your connection can handle it, click the “HQ” button and listen to the better audio feed of this one.  It’s in full stereo (I LOVE my microphone) and the levels are perfect!

And tonight debuts my brand new 12-string electric guitar!  And what a way to bring it in.  I knew I had to do a Byrds song.  No, it’s not a Rickenbacher.  Who can justify spending literally 8 times more for the same essential thing.  My version is from Dean and I love it.  It looks great and plays even better.  The sound is there, too- just like all my favorite 12-string songs.  Look for more in the future.  I can’t wait to bust out my new lap steel guitar, as well.  In a couple weeks, I’ll be getting an HD cam, so all my Laptop Sessions will be in high definition.  How cool is that?  At that point, I’ll be able to start my new mini-series entitled “Jim’s Guitars”- stay tuned.

Gene Clark wrote tonight’s song and it was off of the Byrds first album, “Mr. Tambourine Man.”  Now, this isn’t the greatest album, but it really could have been.  That is, if half the album weren’t Bob Dylan covers and other cover songs.  Not to knock cover songs, but the songwriting of Gene Clark (and in the future, the rest of the band) was so far ahead of its time and his songs are simply timeless.  This song takes me back to when I was at Wesleyan for 5 weeks in the summer of 2000.  I was at a program called “CCY”, the Center for Creative Youth.  Good fit, eh? :-)

Anyway, those five weeks seemed like a whole lifetime at the time- everything that happened in one day seemed like a year.  So, even not seeing someone for two days made it seem like you were living “here without you”.  Needless to say, this song was all I listened to when I got back that summer.

I have to keep tonight’s post short because of my marathon video editing job last night.  I need to catch up and this is my only opportunity.  So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy the great effort put out by Chris and myself tonight on the Byrds’ classic song, “Here Without You”.  You won’t be here without us for too long, as Jeff will be back on Thursday for another great cover song music video.  Until next week!!



Reflections on Rock Music: The Subtleties of the Playlist

Originally posted 2009-06-22 23:50:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

For those who don’t know me, it can safely be said I’m a music dork for the ages.  And so, with that distinction clearly in place, it is with great honor that I present to you an article for the Laptop Sessions new music blog dedicated to what is perhaps my favorite digital innovation:

The playlist.

For anyone that owns an mp3 player and certainly anyone that uses iTunes, playlists offer new and unique ways to group your songs.  Whether you’re making one for yourself, a friend, or significant other, there are countless formats you can use.  Here are the major categories:

1.)  The Artist Compilation

This is the ultimate test of your knowledge and love for a given artist:  Can you create a compilation of a band or artist’s best songs?  Here’s the added twist:  In my personal opinion, I think compilations should adhere either to the length of a CD (about 74 minutes) maximum, or 20 songs at most.  Giving yourself a boundary to work within forces you to nix some songs that just shouldn’t make the cut, even if they do remind you of the first time you kissed your significant other, or whatever.

The trick here is to compile a set of tracks that are both comprehensive and satisfying in one grouping, taking care to order them in an interesting manner that gives the compilation a life of its own.  Sometimes, chronological is okay.  But if you’re just going to choose tracks and throw them randomly into a playlist, then please don’t even try.

These are valuable playlists to have, particularly for more under-the-radar bands like Ben Folds and (until last week’s “Best of” release) the Wallflowers, as well as artists whose greatest hits come in multiple and/or unsatisfying formats, like R.E.M. and (until recently) Bob Dylan.  Even when you love albums like I do, you may just want to hear a mix from time to time.

2.) The Artist Catalog Playlist

Similar to the artist compilation, the artist catalog playlist focuses on one band or artist.  However, this is for true fans only.  The playlist comprises a chronological collection of any and all tracks you can get your hands on.  Oh yeah, I’m talking about all those demos, live tracks, and soundtrack cuts you’ve accumulated over your long career as a fan.

Personally, I drop all the studio albums into the playlist first, ordering them by release date, and then I add all other tracks around those mainstays.  Even when a track has technically come out previous to a studio album during the same year, I put the tracks after the album.  My reasoning?  Hey, the albums are — hopefully — the first, best source for great tracks and provide some great structure to what could be an exhaustive (and exhausting) playlist.

This works very well for bands with popular, lengthy careers — like Pearl Jam — or more under-the-radar artists, such as Wilco (I spent more time than I should have compiling my “Wilco, etc.” playlist, which includes a ton of Jeff Tweedy solo work, Golden Smog, Loose Fur, and more) and Jim Fusco (don’t even ask — of course I included such great rareties as “Parody Writer” and all the bonus tracks on releases like My Other Half and the enhanced CD section of Formula).

3.)  The Themed Playlist

Perhaps the most popular of all playlists, I think anyone who considers him/herself a fan of music or of life in general should have to make at least one themed playlist for someone special, or at least for personal use.  Just last night, my friend Dana Camp was describing the track listing of a “Date Playlist” that he has.

Recently, I’ve made playlists for the drive to the beach, rush hour traffic, the unfortunate bank overdraft/identity theft crisis of a friend, and you better believe that I had a downright melancholy compilation prepared and put to good use while I was broken up from my girlfriend last year.  These sorts of playlists are the most versatile, and the degree to which you take the song choice and track order into consideration say at least as much about you as the tracks say about the artist/band.

4.)  Long Format Playlists

Last but not least we come to the long format playlist.  Similar to the artist catalog playlist (which can be played straight through in chronological order if you prefer), this list is most often played while your iPod or other mp3 device is in shuffle mode.

My favorite examples of this type are the “Albums by Year” compilations I put together recently.  On my iPod, I have playlists titled “Albums – 1990,” “Albums – 1991,” and so on up to the still-expanding “Albums – 2009.”  Because I’ve been spending a lot of time working recently, each day I choose a year and just let it play.  This is fun and fascinating because you can laugh and say, “Wow, I haven’t heard that song in FOREVER!,” as well as begin to appreciate in retrospect the songs and albums that came out during the same years.  For instance, I didn’t really fall in love with albums and music in general until the turn of the millennium.  Now that I’m listening to the 1991 playlist, I’m coming to appreciate the juxtapositon of Tom Petty’s more straightforward Into the Great Wide Open with the more alternative Ten (Pearl Jam) or Temple of the Dog (by the one-off band of the same name), as well as the atypical acoustic format and vocal clarity of R.E.M.’s Out of Time.  What will it be today?  Maybe I’ll go back to the hey day of my early musical roots, circa 1997 or 1998…

…and then remember why I came to love the Sixties music of bands like Bob Dylan and the Beatles!

Seriously, though, I hope you have enjoyed my breakdown of playlist formats.  If you have any of your own, please comment — I would LOVE to be able to think of more ways to effectively utilize the playlist functions of my iPod.

Ranking every Beach Boys album and song: “Surfer Girl” LP (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2008-02-08 10:59:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

ALBUM – SURFER GIRL

Hawaii – 7
Surfer Girl – 9
In My Room – 9
Catch A Wave – 8
Little Deuce Coupe – 8
(great blues song)
Surfer Moon – 8
Surfers Rule – 5

Our Car Club – 6 (I like it better on the Little Deuce Coupe album!)
Boogie Woodie – 3
Your Summer Dream – 7

The Rocking Surfer – 2
South Bay Surfer – 1 (ugh)

** Other than a little flakiness at the end of the album, this is a GREAT one- some classics on Side One and the songs I like, I like a LOT. **