“The Jolly Banker” (Wilco / Woody Guthrie Acoustic & Lap Steel Cover)

Originally posted 2009-05-25 23:17:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Wilco/Woody Guthrie chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

This is quite the story for a session.  It seems that, in order to outdo my previous “new release” Laptop Sessions, I needed to call in some outside help…

In the form of one Jim Fusco on his brand-new metallic blue lap steel guitar!

Oh, and if you’re a Wilco fan, then I hope you can appreciate how exciting it was for me to host the first Lap-(steel)-top Session.  Throughout their catalog, they have incorporated country tinges with instruments such as this.  Most recently, even as they continue to play around with more experimental forms, Nels Cline plays beautifully on the lap steel in several of their concert set list mainstays, from the older deep track “It’s Just That Simple” to more recent material off of Sky Blue Sky, their 2007 album.

This track, “The Jolly Banker,” was written by Woody Guthrie and originally recorded on March 22, 1940 (as reported in the Library of Congress records for these sessions with folk music expert Alan Lomax).  Nearly seventy years later, Wilco has recorded their own version of this song — which is eerily relevant as of its release on April 30th, 2009 — and released it as a free download online.  Technically, they suggest/request that you donate at least $2 to the Woody Guthrie Foundation — this is quite funny, as one of the three options for downloading states “I am/was a banker/hedge fund manager/credit default swap trader. I know times are tough, but I’m just fine thank you. (Suggested minimum donation $100.00).”

Tonight, I jokingly challenged Jim to not only play this song as his debut performance on his new guitar, but to actually record a Laptop Session on the spot.  He must have taken me seriously or at least had the urge to give the Rogue brand lap steel an official test run, because he didn’t skip a beat when we set up downstairs.  As you’ll hear — and I hope you’ll agree — this is a great, loyal rendition of Wilco’s cover version, right down to the tapping opening count and the aforementioned lap steel.  I was initially thinking that this would be just another session with me recording just another version of a simple song.  Instead, I am proud to say that this is one of my favorite sessions I’ve recorded in a long time.

Unfortunately, although the actual playing of the song with Jim was very fun and relaxed, the events around the recording were frustrating.  As I’m sure Jim will explain in “tomorrow’s” post (don’t forget that I forgot to remember to record on “Memorial” day… there’s some irony for you), he just got his new HD video camera in the mail.  We tried to record the session with the camera — and the video quality was amazing — but the audio quality was terrible.  Jim finally gave up for the night, but I’m sure he’ll come up with some plan to augment and/or jury rig the setup before next week’s Jim Fusco Tuesday.

Maybe then I’ll bug him to record a saxophone solo for a Bruce Springsteen cover…  (Kidding!)  🙂

On a side note, today started off sadly, as I awoke to find the news of former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett’s death on my iPhone AP News app.  While I haven’t followed his work outside of Wilco, I was sad to hear this, especially as I read a quote from Bennett from a couple weeks ago about how excited he was for his new album and the future in general.  It all came in a burst for me, as I also just learned yesterday of the lawsuit Bennett had filed against Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy calling for $50,001.00 in back royalties he felt he was owed, citing the YHF documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart as a film for which he did not sign a proper release form.

Some say Bennett was being unreasonable.  Others say he was instrumental (no pun intended… okay, maybe a little) in Wilco’s mainstream breakthrough and that he deserved additional money.  (Apparently he couldn’t even afford a hip replacement that he badly needed.)

Regardless of which side you take, the bottom line is that he has passed away, and at least for the moment, no one is exactly sure what happened.

I also learned today that our oldies/rock acquaintance, Tony Persia, also passed away recently.  I was saddened to learn about this loss, as he has really set the tone at the annual Carbutti Christmas parties that both Jim and I attend.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he was probably best known as the piano player for the classic Danny & the Juniors single “At the Hop.”  He was an incredibly kind, charming man who met many great music stars in his life and played lots and lots of music — I know I speak for Jim, Mike, and I when I say he will be sorely missed, particularly this December…

On a happy note, I just downloaded the Wilco iPhone app, and it’s great fun.  You can access all the latest band news, photos, and listen in full(!) to every song from their official catalog, including both Mermaid Avenue releases and their live Kicking Television concert album.  If only my other favorite bands would jump on the iPhone application train…  (cough, nudge – “Dylan, Beach Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Moody Blues, Pearl Jam” – cough, nudge)

Without further ado, I will leave you to watch this collaborative session.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it…

See you next session!

“Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd Cover)

Originally posted 2008-08-09 21:37:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

Welcome to your Saturday edition of The Laptop Sessions!  I promised a hat trick of Pink Floyd Acoustic Cover videos, and today I deliver the third in my mini-series.  This song is by request of our own Jim Fusco, but as I mentioned before this was in my potential song list for a while.  Maybe by the end of our session-a-day project I will get to the 4th and 5th songs I was considering.

Today’s song is “Wish You Were Here” from the album of the same name.  This is among the simpler songs to play, and the soft acoustic guitar riff that is constant in the song comes out nicely in this video.  I did freestyle the lyric timing a bit here and there, but it works quite well in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy my last video before I go on vacation #2 of the summer.  I will be doing my next two or more videos from our hotel room this upcoming week.

Oh, and as far as the homerun derby mentioned Wednesday…let’s just say my new sponsor is Hoover vacuums…because I sucked.

Stay tuned tomorrow to your Super Sunday edition where Jim will break out his latest and greatest acoustic cover song.  See you then!

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 original 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!

“Waitress” (Live Cover)

Originally posted 2009-08-15 21:31:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff:

Welcome to your super special Saturday edition of The Laptop Sessions!  Tonight I bring you a song from the 90’s – and just in time for my return from vacation!

This song is somehow appropriate.  The song is “Waitress” from the band Live, and it is from their album “Throwing Copper”.  I have covered a song from this album previously (Lightning Crashes) and I do have a few more songs on my list to cover from this band.  The album is a terrific one and it is unique in it’s song selection.  You get quite a few types of songs on it such as the fast and angry “White, Discussion”, the commercially appealing “I Alone”, and one of the best song titles of all time “Sh*t Towne”.

This one I decided to post this time because we just came back from vacation and I have to lodge a complaint.  We stayed at a wonderful resort for 4 nights and had terrific food in the main dining room of this hotel.  We were told multiple times that tip is included in the price we pay.  I even went ahead and asked “how much of a tip do the waiter and busboy each get?”, and for our calculations, the waiter gets $32 and the busboy $16, for $48 total.  Now look, my wife and I very restaurant friendly people.  We don’t have too many special requests, and we smile an awful lot when we are eating (especially here – holy crap the food was delicious), so i’d say that this is a sufficient tip for both.  So why is it that when we eat our last meal and we thank our waiter and busboy we get a disappointed look?  Come on, seriously.  The tip that these people get PER MEAL to the people they serve is easily in the $300+ range.  And w/ two meals per day, they’re raking in a really solid amount.  Me deciding not to give you an extra $10 or $20 is not the end of the world.  We were told tip is included.  If there’s  a problem, tell the hotel to not include tip if you really enjoy receiving it directly from the customer.

Ok, as I said the song is about what seems like a very seedy waitress, but the singer decides to implore they give her a tip anyway.  I did omit one of the main curse words in the song, but the song isn’t the same without the other one.  If you’re really turned off my bad words, pretend i’m talking about a female dog ok?

So I hope you enjoy this song – see you in 5 days for another throwback!

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 original 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!

“Wishful Thinking” (Wilco Cover)

Originally posted 2009-01-20 00:35:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Wilco chords, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Welcome back for another installment of “Chris Moore Monday” here at the Laptop Sessions.  I’m excited to bring you another installment in my little Wilco project.  I decided a couple months ago that I would like to record one song from each of their albums — since there are six, I figured that would be a reasonable goal.

I’ve already recorded from their first album (“Box of Letters” from A.M.), third album (“How to Fight Loneliness” from Summerteeth), fourth album (“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), and now I’m happy to present “Wishful Thinking,” a track from their fifth album, A Ghost is Born.

This album took me a little time to get into, but once I did, I really grew to love the songs.  There aren’t really any songs on the album that stand out as single-worthy; in fact, I don’t believe they even released a single.  But, as you become more and more familiar with the songs, you begin to pick up on the subtle nuances in both the instrumentation and the vocals.  Considering the album’s twelve tracks, I thought this one would work best as a solo acoustic number.  In addition, I think the vocals are a particularly good match for my range and style, so I’m always excited when that happens…

Although I chose this song, my instant favorite track on the album was “Company In My Back.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at first, but I loved the song, so I had to do some research so I could fully understand what I was singing along to!  I may yet record that track (coincidentally the song that follows “Wishful Thinking”) for a future “Members Only” video or a surprise non-Monday video.  After all, with so many great bands and songs that we haven’t covered, I don’t feel like I can spend too much time on any one artist, even if they’re one of my favorites…

So, I’ll hold myself back from recording my final two Wilco songs of this little “project” at least for a while.  I did finally buy the second Wilco studio album today with a Best Buy gift card from Christmas.  That was exciting, if a bit sad, since that’s the final gap in my Wilco collection.  But, it’s a double album, so it’s a sizeable gap and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.  I’ve only had time to listen to the first disc, and I was distracted for part of it, so I think I’ll put it on as I get ready for bed.

I should share that the second CD I bought with the gift card today is Warren Zevon’s 1991 album Mr. Bad Example.  Apparently, this is the “Encore: Back in Print Imprint” version.  If I recall properly, this album was such a flop when it came out that it went out of print until recently.  I couldn’t be more excited, as my second favorite Zevon album of all time is The Envoy, his eighties album that was so poorly received that his record label dropped him.  And I love that one!  What a shame.

On a personal note, outside of my DVD player temporarily going haywire last night, I had a really relaxing weekend.  For those of you who don’t teach and/or have work that you bring home, that’s also code for “I didn’t really get much work done.”  Oh, well.  The week will begin soon enough, and as good ole T.S. Eliot wrote, “There will be time.  There will be time.”  I hope so, because I’m going into midterms with a slightly larger pile of work than I hoped for and my BEST portfolio on the horizon…

Oh, and I almost forgot.  If you haven’t already, you should check out my review of Meade Skelton’s new single “My Loudoun County Home,” which I posted yesterday.  Jim and I are quite excited to have our music reviews section expanding, so go ahead and read them all!  Or, if you don’t have time for that, then just get yourself back here tomorrow night for another awesome “Jim Fusco Tuesday.”

See you next session!