“Please, Mrs. Henry” (Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-04-27 21:13:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Bob Dylan chords / tabs / lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

And, just like that, I’m back with my second session of the night!

As a follow-up to my previous music video, this is “Please, Mrs. Henry,” also from Bob Dylan’s 1975 release The Basement Tapes.  Generally, I am most impressed with complete, clean studio recordings of songs from my favorite bands, yet there are many instances of great music being created when an artist has stripped away at all the usual standards and practices of studio recording.  A most recent — and admittedly weird — instance of this is the re-release of Beck’s early nineties indie rock release One Foot in the Grave.  While this album really isn’t the kind of music I’ll be showing off to my friends, there is this really raw and unique sound to it.  One of the benefits to these types of recordings is the quantity of music usually available — i.e. 24 Basement Tapes tracks and 32 tracks on the aforementioned Beck album.  In the first 16 album tracks, songs like “Cyanide Breath Mint,” “Asshole” (later covered by Tom Petty for the She’s the One soundtrack!), and “Painted Eyelids” would never make it anywhere near the radio.  I love the lyrics and sound to some of the bonus tracks, as well — “Favorite Nerve,” “Burning Boyfriend,” and, “Feather in Your Cap” to name a few.

Of course, with these types of recordings, there are always going to be throwaway tracks and songs that will make you want to say, “What was he thinking?!”  But that’s to be expected…

Getting back to the Laptop Session at hand, “Please, Mrs. Henry” is one of the songs I initially disliked from this album.  More specifically, I found it kind of plain.  Now that I’ve gone back to it — specifically during my Bob Dylan mp3 marathon earlier this month — I have a newfound appreciation for the lyrics as well as the music.  Where else can you get the perspective of a singer/narrator who is not only telling you he is drunk, but actuallly sounds drunk while he’s doing it?  Dylan’s inflection aside, how else can you read lyrics like “I’ve been sniffin’ too many eggs…Drinkin’ too many kegs” or “I’m groanin’ in a hallway; pretty soon, I’ll be mad” or, who could forget, “Why don’t you look my way and pump me a few?”

Great stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you to watch my interpretation of one of the many songs on The Basement Tapes that have been capturing the attention of fans since it was recorded in 1968.  Even before the album was officially released, these tracks became some of the most bootlegged songs in rock music history.  (Think: Great White Wonder.)  And now you have my version to add to the mix.  It certainly doesn’t approach the level that Dylan’s on, but it was a lot of fun to try!  (Check out the chords, linked at the top of this post, so you can play, too…)

See you next session!

“Will It Grow” (Jakob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2010-03-15 19:24:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Jakob Dylan chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

I hope you enjoy seeing me with hair tonight, because as of Wednesday evening, it’s gone!  That’s right — I’ve decided to shave it all off.  Well, maybe “decided” is a strong word.  One of my colleagues, one who offered a great deal of useful advice during my first year teaching, asked me if I would join an English department team for this year’s “St. Baldrick’s” event.  I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to join in with my fellow English teachers, and as you may know, it isn’t all that often that someone asks me to join a team!  So, off goes the hair in the name of raising money to fight children’s cancer.  I’m currently at the bottom of the list of fundraisers on my team (listed online as $0, although I have raised about $65 from staff and students at school that will be added tomorrow).

If you’re interested in supporting this excellent cause, just CLICK HERE!

So, you may be wondering: what does this have to do with the Laptop Sessions?  Well, the answer should be clear if you read the title of my song choice tonight.  I thought “Will It Grow” would be a fitting question to ask on the eve of my head being shaved.  Of course, Jakob Dylan isn’t referring to hair, but I was able to add a bit more emotion to my interpretation of this track all the same.

“Will It Grow” was released in 2008 on Dylan’s solo album Seeing Things.  Since Jeff recorded “Something Good This Way Comes” prior to its release, I never felt the need to record a track from the album.  To be honest, I wasn’t as impressed with this album as I could have been.  Of all people, I should be able to appreciate a set of good acoustic performances.  That being said, it’s difficult to listen to an all-acoustic album from the front man for the Wallflowers — they’re such an incredible rock band!

Now, almost two years removed, I came back to Seeing Things by chance and thought it was a shame that I had never covered one of the tracks.  Not surprisingly, I found a set of chords online riddled with errors and transcribed for a capo.  I love capos as much as the next guy — and probably more! — but if it’s not necessary, I can’t see a good reason to use the capo.  Thus, I posted the chords here at the Laptop Sessions for those interested in a more straightforward, accurate description of how to play the song.  I can certainly understand how the errors may have been made, as I found it a bit difficult to pick up all the chord changes over the intricate fingerpicking.  Eventually though, I think I came to a fairly solid version of what Dylan originally intended.  I hope so — Jakob Dylan is one of my all-time favorite songwriters, so I took it very seriously.

In other Laptop Sessions news, I recently went through all the music reviews I posted previous to “The Weekend Review” series and added a rating out of five stars.  Why did I take the time to do this?  Well, initially I felt that ratings were arbitrary and that I really wasn’t qualified to make those sorts of judgments on music.  After all, I wouldn’t want someone assigning a low rating to the music I poured my heart into.  Still, the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I realize how important the rating is to the review as a whole.  After all, half the fun of reading reviews is agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s rating.  Thus, how can I deny my readers (however few of them there are ;- ) the opportunity to think I’m right on, far off, or somewhere in between?  It was fun going back to these albums; most reviews I wrote before the Weekend Review were based on albums I loved, so that didn’t hurt.  And it reminded me of how much I enjoy holding to a weekly writing schedule.  It may be difficult at the time to carve out an hour or so on a Sunday to write, but it gives me a good reason to skim through my CD rack on Friday or Saturday to choose an album to listen to throughout the weekend.

Other than shaving my head, this week should be pretty normal.  I still have to get used to TNA Impact! being on Mondays.  It’s a great way to kick off the week, a relaxing night with friends and comfort food and wonderfully mindless television entertainment, but I do miss being able to look forward to Thursday nights.

Finally, I thought the new Locksley album was supposed to be out tomorrow, but it wasn’t listed on the Newbury Comics newsletter today.  Luckily, the White Stripes are releasing their first live CD this week — more and more, I’ve been growing fond of Jack White’s work, particularly with his side projects.  So, I’ll give it a shot and let you know…

See you next session!

Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart” (2009) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2009-11-29 02:28:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Throughout Christmas in the Heart, Bob Dylan and his band are clearly enjoying themselves, embracing the timelessness of the Christmas music genre.  More specifically, Dylan and company are transporting themselves and their listeners back to a simpler time of deceptively simple songs and sentiments.

Still, not every nostalgia-inducing feature is practiced or purposeful.  For instance, that’s not static you hear on your compact disc or mp3 copy — that’s just Dylan’s voice.

Over the fifteen songs that comprise this new album, Dylan moves fluidly between the religious and the imaginative, from solemn, sacred hymns describing the birth of Jesus Christ to classic tunes about jolly old Saint Nicholas himself, Santa Claus.

Interestingly, this is the first time Dylan has included more than thirteen tracks on a studio release since 1970’s Self Portrait, the runner up being 1992’s Good As I Been To You, clocking in at thirteen tracks.  Granted, these are not the most positive comparisons in his considerable catalog, but fortunately, the comparisons end at the track count.

Christmas in the Heart is a unified collection of songs that are unlike anything Dylan has recorded before, and yet they somehow fit perfectly with the material he has released in the past decade or so.  Ever since the two albums of covers he released in 1992 and 1993, Dylan has seemingly been drawn to the sounds and styles of the past.  2001’s Love and Theft saw a wide variety of styles, and the songs on both Modern Times (2006) and this year’s Together Through Life have progressively relied on mid-20th century styles and arrangements.

In many ways, this is the most logical time for Dylan to contribute to the very American tradition of popular Christmas music.

Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" (2009)

Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" (2009)

I will admit that, upon a first listen, I was unimpressed.  Bob Dylan fanatic that I am, the deterioration of his voice initially alienated me and I felt distanced from these classic compositions, most of which I had heard before in at least one or more arrangements.

“The Christmas Blues” is perhaps the most Dylan-esque of the tracks, especially when considering the predominance of recent Dylan tunes with blues structures, the harmonica solo, and the more serious, even downtrodden tone.  In this song, his vocals are stretched and utilized to heartfelt effect.

As I listened a second and third time, the subtlety of these tracks began to set in.  The lead guitar in “Do You Hear What I Hear?” that more than adequately takes the place of the typical “answer” vocal components, the choral background singers with spot-on, traditional harmonies, and the variations in Dylan’s vocals — the rough edges in “Little Drummer Boy” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the softened edges in “Christmas Island” — all contribute to what is largely a relaxing and entertaining record.

Is there a better description for a Christmas album?

What strikes me about Christmas in the Heart is the proof which it provides for the argument that this time of year is a special season, one which captivates the hearts and souls of men and women and inspires us to be better people.  Certainly, if Bob Dylan put this much effort into not only a holiday album, but also a specifically Christmas-themed release, then there must be something to be said about the power of music influenced by the Christmas spirit.

Dylan, known for turning around and surprising even his most loyal fanbase, has done it again.  It may not be as revolutionary as going electric, or as polarizing as songwriting from an explicitly born-again Christian perspective, but it is at least as dramatic a development in his career.  Rarely has Dylan prepared such well-known cover songs for a studio release, much less songs with such a concrete set of lyrics and straightforward message.

If nothing else, this album will provide some interesting fodder for the ongoing “Is he Christian?/Is he Jewish?” debate that continues to rage on…

For me, Christmas in the Heart is a clear reminder of the universal qualities of the Christmas spirit.  It is an album that further diversifies Dylan’s hand in American popular music, and likewise carries the torch for another generation to hear and appreciate a style that originated almost six decades ago.

All in all, Christmas in the Heart would make for a strong addition to any pop/rock music fan’s Christmas album collection.

“Some Flowers Bloom Dead” (Wallflowers Cover)

Originally posted 2008-08-18 23:26:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

 By Jeff Copperthite:

Welcome to your Monday Night Football….er, edition of The Laptop Sessions!  It’s the man, myth, and legend Jeff Copperthite tonight with your latest acoustic cover video for the series.  I hope this song is familiar to you, because it is a good one.

The song is another one from The Wallflowers called “Some Flowers Bloom Dead” from their album “(Breach)”.  I think the album as a whole is one of the most underrated of their albums.  It has some really awesome tunes on it and I know that my friend Rory would belt out the tracklisting in order.  I’d put down $40 that he could do it.  Before session-a-day ends in a mere 4 months and 13 days (almost 2/3 done), I will do another song from this album called “Murder 101” because I think the tune is that good.

You may notice I enjoy covering this band a lot.  It has something to do with the fact I haven’t had to filter many (if any) negative comments about ANY of their covers here or on Youtube.  Maybe my singing style is similar to Jakob Dylan, or you can tell that I’m a huge fan when you watch me play their tunes.  Regardless, I love bringing you more videos of their songs.  However, I had to include a little text after my title in the video.  I must admit that I was getting a little tired in this recording session.  I’m have to sit down and record some videos this week so this doesn’t happen in the future.  My guitar playing isn’t as clean as usual, but I was trying my hardest to not ruin another take.  I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, but when it comes to recording these videos, sometimes I just have to relax and just play the song.

Terrific Tuesday is next, and Jim Fusco is on deck for that.  I hope you checked out his video from Saturday.  What a great, great video and great song.  You’re really missing out if you haven’t seen it.  Here, I’ll even give you the direct link: Ben Folds “Time”.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and origianal music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!