“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!


“Question” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-19 01:25:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Okay, request time here at the Laptop Sessions. This one’s going out to my longtime friend Drew Kingsley.

“Question” is a great tune by the Moody Blues off of their (you guessed it) “Question Of Balance” album.

I hope you’ll all like my acoustic-ized version of the song. Of course the strumming isn’t as insane as Justin Hayward’s is- I can actually play it at that speed, but have a bit of trouble keeping time when I do. So, I chose the safe route for this version. I think the effect is still there because of the dynamics used.

There will be many more Moodies songs to come, as well as many request fulfillments in the coming weeks- I’m loving this every third day schedule, as it really allows me to pick some tougher songs and practice them until they’re perfect for internet posting!



“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?