“Farmer’s Daughter” (Cover by Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2007-10-30 00:27:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello all! Here’s another song for the Laptop Sessions! This one is by request for an early Beach Boys tune called “Farmer’s Daughter”.  It’s a pretty cute little song (only four chords!) made exponentially harder because of the fact that it’s ALL sung in falsetto!  But, as Brian Wilson was about when he recorded this, I’m in my early 20s, so I think I hit the notes!  I, for one, love the songs from the very early Beach Boys albums.  It was definitely a different time.  It was before the Beatles made it big in America and there was an innocence to the music.  Of course, that’s why I love the music I love- I try not to listen to too many depressing songs.  For instance, I was starting to get in to Elliot Smith’s music.  But, as anyone who has heard of Elliot Smith knows, his songs are almost always dark and with an overtone of suicidal thoughts.  Elliot was a great musician and songwriter.  But, I could never become a huge fan because of the songs’ subject matter.  Listing to music has always been a source of joy for me, so I’ve decided to stay in my happy pre-Vietnam music world, smiling all the way. :-)

Although, I will admit, “Farmer’s Daughter” is a bit too “vanilla”, even for me.  But, Brian Wilson sings it so sweetly and it works.  In fact, many of the songs from their early albums are a bit embarrassing to listen to now.  Remember “Chug a Lug”?  Probably not- it’s not that memorable.  But, basically, it’s about drinking beer…root beer!  I’ve played that song for people over the years and it’s embarrassing every time I do.  But for some reason, I really like that song.  It’s just a song a bunch of teenage friends, brothers, and cousins wrote and sang together for fun.  And their voices are so “cute” that you can’t help but smile while singing.

Speaking of SMiLE, I wonder if these early songs gave Brian Wilson some influence over his most notable work.  He wanted SMiLE to be something fun- something that was brilliant, but also made you not take the music so seriously.  He always seemed stuck in a child-like state.  I wonder if he looked back on these early songs and thought, “Yeah, I’d like to get back to that fun again.  How do I do that while still sounding cool, complex, and relevant?”

One other album I love so much (which you’ll see plenty of videos from here on the music blog) is the Beach Boys Christmas Album from 1964.  It’s one of my absolute favorite albums of all time.  Why?  Well, it fits all the criteria I listed above!  It’s great music with the wonderful innocence and happiness of Christmas built right in.  Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face (musically) than their Christmas songs.

I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for many more updates to the Laptop Sessions Acoustic Cover Songs Music Video Blog in the coming days.


The Weekend Review: November 2011

Originally posted 2012-01-02 14:00:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

The SMiLE Sessions (The Beach Boys)

Producer: Brian Wilson, Mark Linett, Alan Boyd, and Dennis Wolfe

Released: November 1, 2011

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “Surf’s Up” & “Our Prayer ‘Dialog’”

I’ll keep this one brief, as there’s already been so, so, so much written about SMiLE, that infamous, legendary album that almost was, then wasn’t, then in 2004 pretty much was, and finally in 2011 finally is.  Well, it “is” in the best, closest manner it could ever have been, as The SMiLE Sessions are compiled from what Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys managed to finish before it all fell apart, nothing new added.  So, the Sessions lack the polish and finality of 2004’s Brian Wilson Presents… SMiLE!, afforded it by modern recording equipment and, no less significantly, Wilson’s healthier state of mind.  Inversely, the 2004 version lacked the spark, the elusive x factor presented by the Beach Boys’ voices.  When blended, there simply has never been another group quite like Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston.  Accordingly, I would first recommend you hear Pet Sounds (1966).  If you’ve already heard that, you might be ready for SMiLE.  If you are, judge the version of the Sessions you’ll buy relative to how hardcore a fan you are (I had to go for the full 5-disc boxset, but you might not).  If you’re not, try out Sunflower (1970) or The Beach Boys Today! (1965) first.  But don’t forget to make it back to the greatest album that never was.  And also don’t forget to check back for more Beach Boys cover songs here on the music blog!

 

Camp (Childish Gambino)

Producer: Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson

Released: November 15, 2011

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “Fire Fly” & “Hold You Down”

Camp is an imperfect album, with flares of talent and inspiration tempered with stretches of less notable work.  Being that this is Childish Gambino’s first studio album proper, this is all to be expected, particularly of an up and coming talent, and there is much evidence here to suggest that he is.  His attitude toward achieving success, especially in light of past experiences being ignored by girls and others, is explored across multiple tracks, the best of which is “Fire Fly,” truly the standout track for its incisive catchiness.  Childish Gambino has all the necessary bravado, as well as a unique personality and willingness to let his guard down; although I’ve heard it argued that his beats are derivative (I’m far from an authority on this front), his lyrics have an interesting blend between those typical of contemporary rap and those drastically different from the normal.

“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 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!