“Handle With Care” (Traveling Wilburys Cover)

Originally posted 2012-09-26 14:26:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog! We’re back again with a cover song video from the Traveling Wilburys- their most famous song,  “Handle With Care”. When I was four years old, this song came out and it’s one of my first musical memories. Plus, it’s been one of my favorite songs for 20 years.

We’ve been playing this song live for years. It’s usually the full electric set, but we’ve done it live and acoustically here for the Laptop Sessions music blog.  As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, the goal of the Laptop Sessions cover songs blog is twofold.  First, we want to put an end to bad YouTube cover song videos forever.  And second?  We want to give a different take on our favorite songs.  This track, though mostly acoustically based in the original recording, is still not the same without George Harrison’s amazing lead guitar part.  But, we figured it would make the song sound different to only break out the acoustic guitars and the bongos for this cover song video.

One thing I love about this performance is the energy our band, Masters of the Universe (or MoU), puts into “Handle With Care”.  From the video, you can tell that we’re all having a good time singing one of our favorite Traveling Wilburys songs.  The harmonies, though not perfect (or complete, without band member Becky), are still pretty good.  And sure, the bongos are a bit louder than we would’ve liked.  But again, this was a fun acoustic live performance.  I think that having more energy in a video recording is even better than getting it note-perfect.  That’s one of the reasons why Masters of the Universe earned a nomination for Best Album of the Year by the New Haven Advocate in 2006.  We made an album that consisted mostly of our live set of original songs.  The songs sound great, but if we recorded everything separately, it probably would’ve come out much cleaner.  But, the thing that made MoU’s album stand out from the rest was the energy we had.  The songs would start out slowly and gradually get faster as it went on.  You can tell that the band is having a good time when something like that happens.  Plenty of people can play music in a technically correct manner.  But, it’s something special when you’ve got a band firing on all cylinders, playing music together in a circle.  You can really feel the energy in that album.

I know this has been requested before, so I hope you enjoy tonight’s Traveling Wilburys cover song! It’s my tribute to both George Harrison and Roy Orbison, and you know I’ll be doing more songs from George, Roy, and the Wilburys in the weeks to come!

To hear MoU’s original music, visit http://jimfusco.com/albums.html. To hear my original music, visit http://jimfusco.com.

“Honey Don’t” (Beatles and Carl Perkins Cover)

Originally posted 2010-09-30 20:02:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, everyone, to another new edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!  I’m sorry the post is a bit later today- I was busy yesterday training for an upcoming 5k race with my Traveling Acai Berries member, Steve.  It’s tough motivating myself to run every other day, but I know it’s healthy for me to do so, and I’m using that as extra motivation.

The other day, I was searching online for Beatles covers and Beatles cover songs, but The Laptop Sessions page didn’t come up in my searches!  Well, that has to change.  I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to get the Beatles category page up in the search engine rankings!

Tonight, I bring you a Beatles song that Ringo got to sing.  All the members of the Beatles (especially George and Ringo) were big Carl Perkins fans.  So, they took this song, “Honey Don’t”, and gave it the Beatles treatment.  I’m glad they let Ringo sing it, as his voice is perfectly suited for it.  Something about the chords on the verses gets me every time.  This song is pretty easy to play, but it’s got such a great tune.  And hearing Ringo sing it in a way only Ringo Starr can, it makes for a great combination.

Apparently, Carl Perkin’s brother even initially refused to play the song, citing its odd chord progression (for a blues song) in the verses.  I’m glad he finally came around!  The song has such a driving beat, too- I’d love to play this live with a band someday.  One of my favorite parts is the guitar solo.  I actually got to play it pretty spot-on even though it’s a solo acoustic version.  The guitar solo in the Beatles version is basically the E and C chords played as barre chords higher on the neck.  I never get to solo during these videos- it was fun!

I’ve wanted to play this song for the Laptop Sessions ever since I heard Ringo singing the song during his concert at the Mohegan Sun this past June.  He sounds exactly the same and they do such a good job of reproducing the energy and the sound of the recording live.  Actually, if I had my way about it, this would be “The Ringo Sessions with Jim Fusco”- I can’t exactly explain it, but I LOVE Ringo’s music.  I especially like his solo albums starting with 1992’s “Time Takes Time”, but there’s something about Ringo’s songs in general that really resonate with me.  Heck, he even makes “Honey Don’t”, a sad song when you think about it, into a jolly good time. :-)

I hope you enjoy tonight’s video and stay-tuned next week for a very, very special Jim Fusco announcement!  I think you’re going to love it, but you’ll have to keep checking back to see what it is.  See you then!



Music Review: The Beatles’ “Let It Be… Naked” (2003 Remix)

Originally posted 2009-09-14 23:50:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

The chart-topping success of Let It Be is truly a testament to both the heights of Beatlemania and also to the abilities of the four Beatles to consistently top themselves in their songwriting and musicianship.  Even by 1970, amid tensions that caused all four to at least threaten to quit the band, they managed to come together (no pun intended) to finish the principal tracks for a new album.

This was made easier, of course, by the fact that this new album was based primarily on material that had been written and recorded before their previous record, Abbey Road, was released.

The true complication in this process arose when Phil Spector was somehow given the “okay” to add his signature studio treatment to the tracks.  Perhaps with the disagreements between the Fab Four obscuring their collective vision, Spector was allowed to turn these songs — many of them little gems — into overblown, overproduced testaments to the capabilities of a mixing board.  Orchestras aside, the original concept of this album (at least, when it was begun in January 1969) was that there would be no overdubs of any kind.  How the leap was taken from “no overdubs” to “here’s Phil Spector” is a subject of some debate.  The result?  An album that made many fans and sources close to the band wonder what it would have been like without all the accessorizing.

Let It Be… Naked puts an end to that inquiry.

The cover of the 2003 remix of "Let It Be"

The cover of the 2003 remix of “Let It Be”

As the title implies, Naked is a stripped-down, bare bones version of Let It Be that highlights the instruments and original vocals of the four Beatles which, not surprisingly, is more than enough to excite and entertain.  Ringo once pointed out that, despite all their issues and arguments, when the count began and a song was performed live, they transformed back into those four boys from Liverpool who just loved to play music together.  For anyone who thought that may have been an overstatement, this new take on their final album is the proof of its veracity.

Throughout Let It Be… Naked, the Beatles’ harmonies are tight and their instrumentation is simple yet impressive.  The drums and bass are particularly fun to focus on, perhaps imagining Ringo and Paul falling perfectly into the rhythm and putting all their combined experience, personal talent, and emotion into what would be these final released tracks.  Of course, John and George are just as much fun to listen to.  George’s guitar work, for instance, clearly never needed to be and never should have been buried beneath layers of production and overdubs.

Even the track listing is rearranged on this 2003 remix of the album, tossing out “Dig It” and “Maggie Mae,” as well as adding “Don’t Let Me Down,” a track that had made the cut on the earlier Glyn Johns mix of the album, before the project was shelved.  This is hardly a revelation — I don’t imagine many will miss the two deleted tracks and the album is certainly much better for the inclusion of the latter.

In every conceivable way, Let It Be… Naked is a success and finally presents the album as originally intended, making it a must-listen for any Beatles fan as well as any fan of rock music who is interested in hearing the real story of the final album of this legendary band.

COMING LATER THIS WEEK:  In addition to our regular Beatles cover songs, a review of the new Let It Be 2009 remaster.  How does it compare?…

“This Is Love” (George Harrison Cover)

Originally posted 2008-02-12 19:37:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello all, and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog! It’s me, Jim Fusco, back here again with another cover song video.

This one is from one of my favorite albums ever- “Cloud 9” by George Harrison. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but something about the albums from this late-80s period is just so great to me. It’s probably because I grew up listening to them and it’s nice to think of a time I was alive AND people like George Harrison were still really popular. Plus, I think listening to rock music at such an early age (I was three years old when “Cloud Nine” came out) like this really sticks with you. There have been some songs that I heard back in the late 80s and I haven’t really listened to since. When I finally hear them again, somehow I know all the words! It’s really incredible to think that those lyrics stuck with me over all those years and that I learned them when I was so young. I guess that’s why they try to teach a second language to kids that are under ten years old- it really does stay with you! Of course, instead of a foreign language, I learned a ton of rock music lyrics. :-)

For my iTunes, I have a song rating system I devised. Basically, it’s a way of sorting through all of my music and categorizing the ones I truly love. It also helps me weed-out all the songs I don’t like but have in my music library just to complete an album. Anyway, my 5-star songs are my favorite songs of all time- these are the classics like “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys and “You Just May Be the One” by the Monkees that I just can’t live without. The next category down, 4-stars, is for songs that, when they come on, I say to myself, “Oh man, I love this song.” This category is reserved for songs that make my eyes widen and my ears perk up as soon as the first chords kick in. “This Is Love” by George Harrison is one of those songs. As soon as the song starts, you’re hooked in- the great chord progression and the wonderful late-80s guitar sound get me every time. I can only hope that my acoustic cover song version I’ve done here for the music video blog does the song justice.

This song, “This Is Love”, is a classic. It’s got that unmistakable George Harrison sound. If you don’t know it, get ready to have a new favorite song, because this song has a great melody and, of course, great chords and style- George all the way! Of course, there will be many more George Harrison songs done here for the music blog in the future. I recently got into listening to all of his solo albums and was blown-away…no pun to another George Harrison song… In the meantime, I hope you enjoy today’s video and will come back for more great cover songs from The Laptop Sessions music blog!