Well, tonight’s going to be a brief one, and I apologize. But I made up for it by calling in the big guns — aka one Jim Fusco for additional guitar stylings and harmony vocals — to make this video one my favorites that I’ve done. It’s certainly the best Christmas video that I’ve recorded. We had a lot of fun playing it, and I think that comes through on the recording.
I hope you enjoy it!
Oh, yeah, I should probably mention what song it is. This is “Green Christmas,” one of the holiday originals on the Barenaked Ladies’ Barenaked For the Holidays album. Second only to “Elf’s Lament” and maybe “Christmastime (Oh Yeah),” this is one of my favorite original tracks on the album. There’s just the right mix of humor and seriousness on this record, and I think this one leans more toward the serious side. I especially like the middle part — “Green, cause of everything I miss. All this missletoe, no kiss…”
Simply put, this was a lot of fun to record.
And it’s certainly not like we haven’t played it before. It’s been a while, but this song is officially part of our MoU Christmas Chord Book, Part II. That’s right, we needed multiple chord books to contain the number of songs we learned for our Christmas shows.
The reason this post is so brief is that I remembered and recorded my video much later than I would have liked, and then, Jim and I watched the SNL “Best of Christmas Past” DVD while wrapping our gifts for Christmas. It felt good to accomplish that while simultaneously watching some great skits — the Matt Foley “motivational speaker” Santa, Alec Baldwin’s “Shvety balls,” Eddie Murphy’s “Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood, and boy does the list go on… — and laughing (a lot!) together.
And welcome one, welcome all to my Laptop Session for this very special Original Wednesday here at your source for the best acoustic cover and original song music videos available on the internet today! (That’s a mouthful…)
You may be wondering, why is this day so special?
Well, for one, this is the birthday of Laptop Sessions series creator Jim Fusco. On behalf of the other contributors and the loyal viewers of this blog, I’d like to wish him a very happy 25th birthday! Only a quarter century in, and he’s accumulated quite a back catalog of music, writing, and side projects. If you haven’t already, you should head on over to jimfusco.com.
Take it from me: the best gift you can get Jim this year is to spend a measely $10 on his brand new album Halfway There. Go ahead, check out the album in streaming audio at his official website, or use the search function at the top of this page to listen to Laptop Sessions of many of the Halfway There tracks, read a full review (another one from Jeff coming soon…), and see the beautiful, custom artwork he used for the cover.
Okay, that’s enough plugging for one post.
Tonight’s session is based on a song that I never recorded for an album. “Keep On Going” is an early track, as you will most likely be able to tell! Although the words are straightforward and the chord progression is simple, I’ve always liked this little tune. I originally wrote this song as a direct statement to my best friend (Jim, if you haven’t made the connection yet), assuring him after a rough week that things really will turn out all right, even though people — particularly high school aged people — can be cruel. I hope he’s seen that to be true, as he’s moved on to college, made many lifelong friends, and become engaged to Becky Daly. For all you former Pine Loft faithfuls: yes, this is indeed the same Becky Daly of Chris, Jim, and Becky fame!
I still sing “Keep On Going” when I feel stressed out or begin to think something — a relationship, a professional endeavor, etc. — won’t work out. I hope you like it.
As a final note, stepping back into the present, I just started listening to the new Bob Dylan album, Together Through Life. In case you’re questioning my devotion, there’s only one reason why I didn’t start listening yesterday: I pre-ordered the album on Amazon.com and didn’t spring for any more than Free Super Saver Shipping. So, I’m cheap. What do you want???
Did I mention I’m loving the album? As I type, it’s blaring through my room and probably throughout the condo complex. I may even get a letter in the mail from the condo association condemning me for noise pollution or disturbing the peace or some other such nonsense, but it will be worth it! I spent the day at school today wearing the Best Buy exclusive Together Through Life t-shirt that Mike so graciously passed along to me from his purchase of the album (thanks again, Fusc!!). I made certain to wear a white button down shirt today and a narrow tie, so as to have the Dylan t-shirt show through. Thanks to at least one inquisitive student in each class I taught, I got to talk about the new album at least once every 82 minutes today!
I’ll save my commentary on Together Through Life for the review that will most certainly come, but allow me to share a couple comments. First, this is not what I was expecting after Love & Theft and Modern Times. Then again, that’s pretty much what Dylan himself suggested, so I’m not really surprised. My favorite line thus far is the chorus to track three: “Hell is my wife’s home town.” As if there’s any question as to whether Dylan’s dry sense of humor is still intact, just listen for his chuckling — yes, his chuckling — in the outro of that song. Finally, although it’s a slow album to start, just wait for “Jolene” and “Shake Shake Mama” to really get your foot tapping.
And, with that taste of this new Dylan album, I’ll emphatically suggest you need to buy both Halfway There and Together Through Life and be on my merry way.
It wouldn’t be WCJM free Internet radio without a Christmas show. The first show with Alberto Distefano was a Christmas show, and since then, the growing cast had done two other Christmas Morning Shows until the “Best Original Christmas Song” Show in late 2003.
The cast of Chris, Jim, Mike, Alberto, Matt, Jeff, and Becky (the same cast from the Complaining Show) came together on December 23, 2003 to do an exciting Christmas show. Dave couldn’t be at the show- he was spending Christmas in Florida! However, he did have input towards the show and approved of the content after he came back.
Jim wanted to do a show that was different from all the other Christmas shows. After all, pretty much every decent Christmas song ever made was played on the previous three shows! So, there needed to be a theme that would still keep the show interesting. So, Jim decided to make a contest. What is the best original Christmas song ever written and recorded? Why did he specify original? Well, taking classics like “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are in another class by themselves, so to even the playing field, the list was narrowed down to just “rock’n’roll” Christmas songs.
Twenty songs were chosen out of a possible hundred or so, making the final candidates list. Just like the Song for the New Millennium voting, each cast member (plus Stuffy) ranked each song from 1-20. The averages were then taken for each song’s ranking and the songs were placed in order- the lowest (closest to #1) average would become the Best Original Christmas Song!
The show also finally gave Matt and Jeff a chance to vote on the songs, as they were left out of the voting for the Song for the New Millennium Show. Scheduling conflicts almost prevented this show from happening. Each member of the WCJM cast began going his own way, so finding a time everyone could meet for over two hours in a row would be a difficult task. But, Jim was persistent and with the help of the rest of the cast, everyone made it. However, Alberto had to work and didn’t arrive until halfway through the show- hey, at least he got to hear which song won!
The show also featured every cast member in their elements. Alberto and John Daley worked out a segment before the show, making it seem that Alberto was actually there for the time he missed! Also, since Dave’s voted were calculated into the voting, his valuable input made his presence felt. Chris was a superb host for this show- on top of the schedule at every turn. Jim came up with his best comedy segments to date, and Matt and Jeff lived up to their high standards of comedy, as well. Stuffy D. Bear was back with even more to say on this show, completing a well-rounded comedy lineup.
However, the biggest surprise on the show was the long (watch it!) segment with Dr. K. His segment on this show completely overshadows (Another one! Giddy up Keckster!) his appearance on the Complaining Show and makes this show a true Moore Hits in the Morning Classic. The excitement throughout the show makes you always wanting more, whether it’s comedy you love, which song will be #1, or both! I guess this show accomplished what it set out to do: to have another WCJM Christmas get-together and to have a great, exciting WCJM Morning Show!
So sit back, relax, and get in the Christmas spirit with this comedy radio show. See if you can guess which song is Number 1!
And now, pinch-hitting for an under-the-weather Jeff, is Jim Fusco! I’m sitting in to bring you yet another great acoustic cover song music video here on the best music blog around: The Laptop Sessions! Tonight, I bring you one of my favorite songs from the Moody Blues, “The Voice”, from their #1 album, “Long Distance Voyager”.
Actually, this tune is climbing up my all-time favorites list as it has all the criteria for a song I would love: a catchy tune, faster paced, that glorious late 70’s, early 80s sound that’s not too overdone, and a great guitar solo. Of course, I’ve stripped all of that out in my version here, except for the tune and the tempo, but I think it gives a different take on the song as a whole. And that’s what you should expect from all of my cover songs- a different take on my favorite songs of all time. And, if you like the same songs I like, you’re sure to love my original music, as well! Visit my website at http://jimfusco.com and take a listen!
I actually recorded a full version of this song a few weeks ago, complete with synthesizers! I think it sounds just like the original and was a lot of fun to try recreating the sounds. There’s something about that synthesizer sound that the Moody Blues used. They hired Yes keyboardist Pat Moraz and updated their sound for the late 70s. Of course, they didn’t have Mike Pinder’s mellotron anymore, so they had to have something to replace it. I know the songs probably sound very “80s” to everyone now (“The Voice” is very heavily based on synthesizers), but to me, the music has worn pretty well. There are some 80s songs that I can’t even listen to. The synthesizers sound so fake and dated. But, the music of the Moody Blues during the Pat Moraz years doesn’t sound embarrassing like those other songs from the same time period (like the synths the Beach Boys used on “Love You”).
But, again, my acoustic cover song versions take away the synthesizers (and everything else, for that matter) and give you the song in its raw form. I want people to know what the song really sounds like. It’s interesting, though- you’ll actually hear all of the other parts in your head as you listen to my cover video.
By the way- if you haven’t heard “Long Distance Voyager” yet, please get a copy! It’s an amazing album and features some of my favorite songs of all time in “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream”. Plus, there are great contributions from drummer Graeme Edge (“22,000 Days”) and Ray Thomas (“Veteran Cosmic Rocker”).
Okay, look for a new cover song music video from Jeff tomorrow and again on “Original Wednesday”, as no matter the circumstance- you’re getting a Session a Day in ’08!