Here again with another Laptop Session for Christmas! This song, originally made famous by the supergroup Band-Aid, has been a favorite of mine since I was little.
I got 4/5 of MoU together and we did this tune in Fusco-Moore Studios a couple days ago. We had a lot of fun with it- a bit too much fun, considering the subject matter of the song. Please note that we don’t take the subject of starvation in third-world countries lightly- we just had a lot of fun getting together and singing Christmas songs!
I hope you’ve enjoyed The Laptop Sessions’ tribute to Christmas over these past few weeks. I’m already looking forward to next year! I hope everyone gets what they’re hoping for this Christmas- and the Laptop Sessions will be back again in a couple days!
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Hello everyone! Continuing with our last couple days of Christmas, we give you “Elf’s Lament”, a great song by Barenaked Ladies. We’ve always been happy with the way our live version came out, so I got the guys together to do a special acoustic version for the Laptop Sessions! This song was perfect for the band to do because it features vocal parts for three members of the band. Well, in this version, Mike isn’t sitting behind a large (and loud) drum set, so he got to sing the lead parts with the other three of us. I’ve always been a fan of songs where two or three members of the band get a chance to sing. Songs like “Two of Us” by the Beatles and “Walking On Air” by the Moody Blues (off of their amazing 1999 album, Strange Times) are great examples where you can hear all of the band members. And, my favorite bands are ones where each member gets a chance to shine.
Which brings me to the band that we covered tonight: Barenaked Ladies. Their Christmas album, “Barenaked for the Holidays’ is awesome. Four of the five (at the time) members wrote and sang lead vocals on songs throughout the album. That, to me, is the mark of a truly great band. You get so much variety in an album and that’s probably why I’m such a big fan of the Moody Blues, the Byrds, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys (after 1967). “Barenaked for the Holidays” features such classic songs as “Green Christmas” and Steven Page’s “Hanukkah Blessings”.
“Elf’s Lament” was originally done by Ed Robertson, Steven Page, and Michael Bublé. I’m not a huge fan of Bublé’s voice in this song- it just has an odd sound to it. And, saying his voice sounds odd next to Steven Page’s voice is really saying something. So, we stuck Cliff with that part to sing. I got the Steven Page part. This song was so much fun to sing. It was a big hit on our Christmas concert CD and DVD set. For that show, we performed in front of over 60 people, including the mayor of our hometown of Wallingford, CT. It was one of the highlights of my musical career. We just had so much fun playing this song- I wish there were more songs like this that give everyone a chance to shine. I think everyone else in the band would’ve stayed more interested. Knowing you have a starring role makes you pay more attention for sure!
To learn more about our music, please visit http://jimfusco.com/albums.html. You can purchase our Christmas concert on either CD or DVD there. It’s jam-packed with 30 (yes, 30!) original and cover songs. I personally think it’s the best Christmas album you can buy for the money. I hope you enjoy tonight’s Barenaked Ladies cover song and hope you’ll come back for more great Christmas songs from the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!
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.
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!