“Friend of the Devil” (Grateful Dead Cover)

Originally posted 2010-02-11 00:10:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, as promised, I’m back with your Wednesday edition of Jim Fusco Tuesdays!  Don’t understand that?  Then you should be visiting the blog more often! :-)  Tuesdays are my usual day to post, but unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera last night, so I had to put-off doing the video until today.  I also recorded another video for next week that you’re going to LOVE.  It’s from a guy you probably haven’t heard of, but he’s new to the blog and he’s a well-respected musician.  I guess you’ll have to wait in suspense until then!

I can’t believe it- this blog has been up for well over two years and there hasn’t been a Grateful Dead song done yet!  Late last year, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Grateful Dead.  Back in high school and early college, I used to work at the now defunct Cheshire Video and Disc (a local video store).  I used to work with this hippy girl named Karen.  She was cool- we used to work on Sunday mornings together and always had a nice time.  She used to play this Grateful Dead VHS tape during our shift every week.  It was from the 80’s.  It was a trippy kind of concert- crazy 80’s video effects and extended drum solos.  But, I really enjoyed the songs.

Fast-forward about seven years to the present-day.  I finally got my Grateful Dead “Best Of” for Christmas from my mother in law and I was so excited to play it for the first time.  My boss had re-ignited my interest for the band, as he put a few of their songs on a mix CD for me.  So, I got the CD and played it at work for the first time.  I LOVED IT!!

It’s 17 songs and, believe me, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better overall “Best Of”.  It has all of my favorite elements: harmonies, good guitar, everyone plays their own instruments, and (my personal favorite) multiple band members writing songs!!  Actually, my favorite song on the whole “Best Of” CD (which I will definitely cover in the future) is “Box Of Rain”, written by bassist Phil Lesh.  (On another note, I hear he and former Dead member Bob Weir are now touring as “Furthur”, but the show in my hometown of Wallingford, CT is SOLD OUT!  Grrr….)

Anyway, there are so many great songs on this disc- from the ones you’ve heard of (and probably didn’t know they did them) like “Truckin'”, “Casey Jones”,  and “Touch of Grey” to the ones that you haven’t heard of yet, this is a top-to-bottom rare “Best Of” find.  The last times I felt this great about a “Best Of” was when I purchased the America and Doobie Brothers’ discs.  So, what I’m saying is, if you haven’t purchased the Grateful Dead “Best Of” (the one with 17 tracks- NOT the cheap 10-track version), then you should really give it a try.

Tonight’s song is “Friend of the Devil”.  At first, this wasn’t one of my favorites, but it’s catchy and the story is pretty cool, so it grew on me quickly.  I love singing it in that Jerry Garcia drawl.  Plus, this was an easy one to convert to acoustic.  Most of their songs aren’t so easy because of their great harmonies.  I’ve wanted to do so many of their songs, but it just won’t sound right without someone else singing with me (who knows the song really well, too).

So, whatever idea you had of the Dead (I thought it was just a stupid stoner band that jammed nonsensical songs for hours on end…which may be true for the live sets, as I’ve heard), throw it away!  They’re a tight band that last quite a while and came up with some great songs.  And now I’m even more excited that I can build my vinyl record collection with some of their interesting albums, such as their lone 60’s record (from 1967, which I’m INCREDIBLY interested in hearing) and their all-time classic from 1970, American Beauty.

Enjoy tonight’s LSHD video and make sure to come back next week for my newest obsession in music!



“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.

“Step Into Christmas” (Elton John Christmas Cover)

Originally posted 2010-12-18 17:42:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Christmas 2010 edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  I couldn’t let the Christmas Season go by without presenting a cover song music video for you, so I present Elton John’s Christmas classic “Step Into Christmas”.

You know, growing up, I never loved this song.  I think my father wasn’t a huge fan of it, so that tainted my view.  But, as time went on (and I became a bigger Elton John fan) I realized that this is a pretty great tune.  In it, Elton says, “I’d like to thank you for the year.”  Obviously, he’s talking to his many fans and I’d like to do the same: THANK YOU for another great year here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!  In the past year, I’ve seen the term “Laptop Sessions” come up as a search suggestion in Google.  That’s pretty cool and means that plenty of people have been searching for this site!  Also, I’m only a few days away from reaching 800,000 YouTube views- 80% of the way towards my ultimate goal of a million!  I have had renewed ambition lately to promote the Laptop Sessions blog and my YouTube videos, so I hope I keep it going- my goal is to reach a million YouTube views sometime in 2011- hopefully the first half!

A funny note about “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John: the chorus always seemed odd to me.  I, for the first 26 years of my life, always thought he said, “Eat in the evening, come along with me.”  I thought that was such a stupid line!  I mean, Bernie Taupin couldn’t think of anything else you could do at Christmas other than eating in the evening??  Well, I decided that I should find out for sure if that was the line- turns out I was wrong.  He really says, “Eat, drink, and be merry; come along with me.”  Wow- I was WAY off!  Well, to be fair, I don’t think I ever would’ve guessed that- how did they fit those words into that short of a time-span?  Well, I figured it out and included it in my song.  I’m glad I did- there’s been a few Laptop Sessions cover songs videos where I sang incorrect words because I thought I knew them.  They’ve always haunted me.  For instance, on Brian Wilson’s “Live Let Live” video, I sang, “Pure Pacific, just as sure as the sky.”  I had no idea what that meant, but since Van Dyke Parks wrote the lyrics, I figured I shouldn’t ask questions.  Well, I did decide to ask questions, and it turns out the line is, “Blue Pacific, as azure as the sky.”  Ohhhhh, THAT’S what he said!  Brian has gotten a tad bit of a slur in his later years, and “as azure as” is hard enough to say anyway!  So, I botched that line.  I’ve never been proud of that video as a result.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Christmas!!  I’ll be back right before New Year’s with another video, but I happy I got in this Christmas cover song today.  This year, I’m hoping to have one of the most memorable Christmases ever and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it after the big day comes.  I can’t believe it’s just a week away!  Until then- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!



“Nights in White Satin” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-07 16:46:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, in the world of Moody Blues songs, it doesn’t get much more popular than “Nights in White Satin”, written by the great Justin Hayward.

I wanted to do this classic song for the Laptop Sessions music video blog because I thought it would translate well to a solo acoustic performance. I hope you like my whistling flute solo! :-) I wasn’t gonna do it, but Chris and Becky egged me on, and I think I nailed it!!

I love the vocal exercise this song presents and I’ve always thought that Justin Hayward has one of the best singing voices ever.  He’s also one of the greatest songwriters ever and can play an amazing guitar.  As with most of my favorite musicians and songwriters, Justin Hayward doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his incredible talents.  His acoustic guitar work on songs like “Question” haven’t been reproduced since.  And his electric guitar work gets almost no attention, even though it’s amazing.  Have you heard the guitar on “Story in Your Eyes”?  It’s face-meltingly awesome!  The tone he gets and his style of playing belie the calm and proper British personality he portrays.  Well, even if Justin Hayward (or the Moody Blues as a band, for that matter) doesn’t get the credit he/they deserves, I’m still glad I can share some of his greatness with you, my loyal Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song watchers.

So, this is a high bar to rise above, but I’m such a big Moody Blues fan that I know the song backwards and forwards.  It would be great to record a version of this someday, but honestly, how can I improve upon perfection?  I think I’ll stick to classic songs like this on solo acoustic guitar for my posts here on the music blog.

Enjoy today’s Session and make sure to come back for a Super Saturday appearance from Chris!