Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco! Today I go back to my ol’ stomping grounds to give you another Beach Boys cover song.
“California Calling” is from their self-titled album from 1985. It’s the only track on the whole album that features real drums…and as an added bonus, they’re played by Ringo Starr! Of course, Dennis Wilson, the band’s drummer since they began, passed away in 1983. I think Ringo is just about the only drummer fitting enough to be the first person to play drums on a Beach Boys song after Dennis’ passing. And the drumming on “California Calling” is very similar to what Dennis would’ve played. I like to think they did that as a tribute to Dennis. Supposedly, the sequenced drum track on the hit “Getcha Back” was done in the style of Dennis Wilson as a tribute. I hope that’s true because it would be a great tribute.
To be honest, this really wasn’t one of my favorite songs on the album for many years. I think I was just irked by the fact that it’s another Love/Jardine “Don’t F with the formula” song that didn’t fit in with the rest of the album. But I’ve changed my mind on that recently. I mean, when you’re looking for a Beach Boys song, you’re looking for a song just like “California Calling”! Plus, it’s a good tune and I’m a sucker for that classic Beach Boys sound.
Onto some personal business: “The Easy Ways”, my new album, is coming out very, very soon- on September 20th, in fact! It’s an album full of 16 original songs that are assembled into a true “album” instead of just a collection of songs. You’ll just have to check back soon and grab a copy of the album on CD or digitally to hear what I mean! I’ve been practicing non-stop for my album release party, so I hope everyone in the Connecticut area will come check it out! It’s at 5:30 on Saturday, September 20th at Silver City Restaurant in Meriden, CT.
I’ll be back next week with another original song in anticipation of my new album’s release. I hope everyone enjoys tonight’s Laptop Sessions cover song music video of The Beach Boys’ “California Calling”!
Welcome, welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco! Tonight, I bring you the classic standard “Stand By Me”, made famous by Ben E. King and then covered by John Lennon years later. And, no, I did not base my pick tonight on the cheesy movie we watched while growing up…
Tonight, as it has been in the past with a couple other songs, the version of “Stand By Me” that plays in my head is a combination of the John Lennon version and the Ben E. King version. I hear the music to the Ben E. King version but John Lennon’s voice. It’s probably because Lennon did such a spot-on cover. Man, watching this video of John performing “Stand By Me” just makes me wish he were still alive to make music today. I know he would’ve still been great today and that he would be coming out with the kind of music that Paul and Ringo are coming out with now (not to mention the great stuff George did before he passed-away).
Anyway, I’ve known this song for as long as I can remember- just listening to the radio growing up. Then, while jamming with the Acai Berries a few weeks ago, we happened upon this tune and were going to do a cover video ourselves. But, I figured I could just do it on my own because it doesn’t require another singer or really any other instrumentation (unless you want to be a purist and have someone play the riff constantly in the background).
As much as I don’t like the fact that my studio is gone, I’m really happy with the acoustics I’ve been getting! You know, it’s terrible to have so much echo and reverb when recording a multi-track song, but it’s the greatest thing ever when recording a solo acoustic video like this. On another note, I’m trying to justify purchasing an HDV video camera for two reasons: to play the high definition video tapes of our wedding into the computer for editing, and the prospect of having the Laptop Sessions in high definition! How cool would that be? We’re getting faster internet next week, too, so my uploads wouldn’t be too painful. I’m watching an auction on eBay- let’s see what the Mrs. has to say…
We just found out this evening that we are CLEAR TO CLOSE on the house this Friday- right on schedule! It was a rough ride getting to this point, but everything is finally ni place and we’re hoping that we’re all moved in and set up by end-of-day Saturday. We bought all new furniture, hired movers, boxed everything up, got the condo rented- what a project. The best part is that we’re doing it all at once and (hopefully) that’ll mean it will be DONE all at once, you know? I hate stringing things out. So, this weekend will be very busy. But, hopefully things will be stable enough that I’ll be back with a fresh new video next Tuesday! Then, the Acai Berries are getting back together to record some more tracks- we’ve got a TON of songs in mind, but we’re ready to do about four of them, so stay-tuned.
Have a great week (make sure to stop back on Thursday for Jeff’s post!) and please, please, please wish us luck with our crazy weekend ahead. It promises to be one of the most important weekends of our lives! Until Tuesday…
Well, since Chris usurped my Thumpin’ Thursday (copyright Jeff Copperthite), it’s been some time since I posted. Well, tonight, I hope to continue my trend of exciting new videos with this one here: ANOTHER “new” band to the Laptop Sessions in Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR).
Also, this is two songs in a row with three main chords to it. This was another one-take job for me and I’m happy to bring a new band to the video blog that a) everyone knows and b) has a song everyone’s heard of.
I don’t have the unique vocal styling of the original going on in this video, but I stayed pretty true to the recording. This song is pretty interesting. If you don’t really listen to the words, it sounds like an upbeat song that you’d probably smile while singing. But, listen to the words, and you’ll hear a very dark story about a man who really sees negativity in most things. He sees hurricanes, lightning, rivers overflowing, and most importantly, a truly bad moon on the rise. I guess it’s about looming negativity on the horizon.
I hope that doesn’t ruin the song for anyone, but then again, that is what the lyrics are saying. I think it’s funny sometimes that record companies don’t even listen to lyrics and just choose singles based on their “sound”. I can see where they’re coming from (from a business standpoint), but think that a little more care should go into the process than just listening for a good overall sound.
Enjoy your Super Sunday edition of the Laptop Sessions today. This will be my last acoustic cover song until next Saturday, as I’ll be coming at you with an original tune on Wednesday. I hope that you got to watch Jeff’s version of my song, “The More You Stay” this past Friday- he did a great job as always! See you Wednesday and don’t forget to come back for your Columbus Day video tomorrow!
I swear we didn’t plan this… I’m sure by now, if you’re a rock music fan, you’ve heard about the Beatles Rock Band game that’s coming out tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/9/09. Everyone in the gaming world is excited about this new release, and you better believe I am, too! You see, it’s very rare we get an official Beatles release (any more “interview” discs floating around?), and it’s great to see the Beatles music brought to a whole new generation of youngsters that are sure to fall in love with it just like the rest of us did. I’m excited about the new Rock Band video game for Playstation 3, but I’m especially excited about the entire Beatles catalog (including the collection of singles in Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2) being remastered and re-released. I’ve wanted the Beatles albums remastered for as long as I remember hearing them. The original tape transfers sound so tinny- the discs they were selling on shelves all the way up until today were made in 1986 and have just been duplicates. Go ahead- check your CDs- they all say 1986 on them! That’s back in the time where they had to tell you the “great sound quality and fidelity” you get with CDs… Anyway, as I am happy that they’ve remastered the original two-track masters of the Beatles albums, I’m a bit disappointed in two things:
First, they’re not remixed. Not to say that they weren’t mixed great for the time, especially because (next to Brian Wilson, in my personal opinion) George Martin was the best producer ever. But, now you listen to these songs and many leave a lot to be desired. Imagine if you heard some of the songs on “HELP!” without all the vocals to the right channel and the music in the left. Imagine if the drums in the early records were panned more towards center so they don’t cut through the mix (especially the tambourine). As tacky as the “Love” CD from Cirque de Soleil is, it’s still pretty cool to hear the songs in such lush stereo, as opposed to the duophonic sound that they achieved before the late 60s.
And second, there are no bonus tracks. My father is quick to point out some key missing tracks that were left off the Anthologies (“The extended version of “Dig It”!”, he always yells) and we’re left with nothing more than the albums that we’ve already bought on LP, 8-track, cassette, and original CD.
So, there’s Beatlemania in the air and I love it. It’s been WAY too long since the fervor of the Anthology series and it feels great to say, “Oh yeah, well I’m only 25 and I’ve been a fan ALL 25 years!”
Which brings me to tonight’s Beatles cover song video. Let me tell you, folks- prepare to be blown away. Along with my mystery guest Steve and other off-camera guest Chris (not Moore) (from my new cover band, the Traveling Acai Berries, also featuring Bill, who couldn’t be at the session), we play a completely effortless version of “Two of Us” from the “Let It Be” album. Chris appears on-camera in the video I’ll be posting next week, but Steve, by request of his college-age daughter who would commit social suicide if her friends found out her father was on YouTube singing Beatles songs with a 25 year old , decided that he would just show his guitar skills on camera. Actually, that’s Steve singing with me on this one, too.
And that way I described the performance: effortless. That’s what makes it different from many of my past collaborations. Whether it be getting the chords right, remembering the words, or remembering harmony parts, past duets have always been troublesome. But Steve, Chris, and I play this like we’ve been playing for years, and that’s what I love about this video. You can barely hear Chris in this video- he’s playing mandolin away from the microphone, but at times, especially late in the chorus, you can hear him plucking away. His sight reading was impressive. On next week’s video, you can definitely hear him, though. Steve’s playing is great, as he took the time to learn all those parts I don’t on guitar, which is just so great knowing that I can just sing and play rhythm. Steve reminds me a lot of my father- not only in his love for the Beatles music, but in how he can sing harmony parts without having to teach him every note. Somehow, he just knows. And that’s where this familiarity comes from- it really shows through in the video.
I sincerely hope you enjoy tonight’s performance- one’s that’s been in the works for months now. It was a lot of fun and I hope they’ll want to do more, especially when they see all the good reviews we’ll get! I’ll be back next week and hopefully I’ll be enjoying the new Beatles Rock Band game, too. I’m going to wait until Christmas for the Beatles remastered albums, though- in stereo, of course. And don’t even get me started on the new “mono” box set… Until next week!!