Welcome to another video blog in the Laptop Sessions music video series! Today, I bring you a cover song that was written in the 1950s and was covered on two separate occasions by two of my favorite artists — Johnny Cash and the Band. Cash recorded it most famously on his Folsom Prison concert and the Band included it on their 1968 album Music from Big Pink. Both are great albums, and this is a fun song. I hope you like it…
As the Mamas and the Papas would say: “Monday, Monday!”
Welcome to the first acoustic cover song music video of a brand new week here at the Laptop Sessions. Tonight, I’m bringing you my second cover from Johnny Cash’s first posthumous release, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways. Yes, that’s right… I specified “first” posthumous release, because I just read that American VI is scheduled for release later this year. Apparently, Cash was working on V up until he passed away. I was under the impression that V was a collection of material that was still unreleased, but that’s more along the lines of what VI will be. Even so, I am very excited to hear this final collection when it is released.
What brought on this sudden return to Johnny Cash’s recent work, you might ask? Well, I found the first American Recordings CD on sale at Newbury’s last week and decided to pick it up. Truly good new albums have been far and few between this summer, with the exception of the Fruit Bats’ The Ruminant Band earlier this month — a very pleasant surprise to say the least!
I’ve been enjoying American Recordings thus far; it clearly displayed a lot of potential, which was explored on the four — and soon to be five — subsequent editions of the series. The only one I have yet to hear is American Recordings II, which includes the classic “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which Jim worked into my version of “Folsom Prison Blues” way back when for my second Laptop Session cover song video ever.
The song I chose for tonight is “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” one of my favorites from American Recordings V. It is a traditional song that Cash truly made his own, a song that has the ability to be simultaneously catchy/rockin’, and yet haunting/foreboding. I had a fun time playing and practicing it the past few days, and I hope you’ll enjoy watching it. As I mentioned earlier, this is the second song I’ve covered from this album, if you count Johnny Cash’s cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
In other music news, I spent some time tonight reading about R.E.M.’s forthcoming double-CD live album that will include 39 tracks culled from their 2007 shows at the Olympia. To be more specific, they played five shows in a row as they tried out new material for their 2008 album Accelerate. In addition, they also played their hits and deep tracks. I’ve wanted to hear these performances since I heard their new album, and I’m truly thrilled to hear this concert when it comes out in a couple months. If you’re an R.E.M. fan, too, you should check out the videos for the two songs — the excellent “Living Well is the Best Revenge,” for which I recorded a Laptop Session, and Automatic for the People opening track “Drive — that have debuted on RollingStone.com.
And if you’re someone who has lost interest in Michael Stipe and company since they went through what can only be called a boring streak recently, then you need to give Accelerate a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
I’ll leave you with one final, music-related note. I added to Paste Magazine‘s trending topic on Twitter.com about the best albums of the 00’s, and shortly thereafter learned that I am the only person in the universe to have ever tweeted about the Wallflowers’ Red Letter Days, much less mention the album as one of the best during the decade.
Thanks for stopping by for your Tuesday edition of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!
Today, I bring you a song written by Neil Young, “Cowgirl in the Sand”. Not only is this song one of his most famous, but it’s also generally well-known among country-rock music fans.
The version I’m doing is derivative of the version the Byrds did on their reunion album from 1975. That album isn’t wonderful by any means, but Gene Clark’s contributions are, of course, superb. He sings a great lead on this song, too. Gene Clark just had a great timbre to his voice. He could sing rock’n’roll music and country/western music with the best of them. Of course, Gene Clark was a great songwriter, too, both with the Byrds and on his own solo recordings. While searching around here on the music blog, be sure to click on Gene Clark’s category to see the other cover songs I’ve done written by him. If you’re not a fan now (or haven’t heard of him), I guarantee his original songs will get your attention.
This is one song that I never planned on doing, but came into my head one night, so I just sat down and did it! I think some people were a bit surprised that I busted this one out at our first live show as a trio the other day. My favorite aspect of the Byrds’ version of “Cowgirl In The Sand” is the harmonies on the chorus. I really hope that we can get those harmonies right in future performances, as I think that’s the flare the Byrds added to make the version their own.
Considering how the Byrds first started, it’s a bit surprising that they gravitated over to country rock like they did. They were initially marketed as a folk group, electrifying Bob Dylan songs like “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”. But, the band members of the Byrds, especially Chris Hillman, started out loving folk music in a different way- the classic, down-home country style. Chris Hillman is actually an accomplished mandolin player, and there is no better country guitarist than Roger McGuinn. Basically, they just threw an electric bass in Hillman’s hands and a 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitar in McGuinn’s hands, and they had a big hit band. In later albums, the band members of the Byrds would write original songs that had a country flare to them, including Chris Hillman’s “The Girl With No Name”, which I’ve also done a cover song music video of here on the music blog.
You may also notice the “incredible fluctuating hairdo” of myself- I recorded this song before getting a haircut, as you saw in the “Aware” cover video (of an original song) from last week.
I hope to do more Neil Young songs in the future and I hope this cover song video attracts some new viewers and music lovers to the Laptop Sessions live acoustic music video series!
Hello and welcome to this Easter Sunday edition of the Laptop Sessions! Yes, that’s right, during 2008 we’re playing a song a day, even on the holidays…
I thought it would be fitting to play Johnny Cash’s “I Hung My Head” for Easter — it involves death and the idea of moving on to heaven (or hell, depending on how you interpret his lyrics). This is from the same album as his final hit, his cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.” I’ll be recording that one in the future, as well.
On a side note, I should reach my 100th subscriber by my next session on Wednesday, and I’ll be giving him/her a $10 coupon to the Fusco-Moore Store, as promised! To think that, at the beginning of February, I only had 10 subscribers and I wasn’t planning on 50 until the end of the year…
I hope you enjoy this video, and I hope you’ll comment or rate it!