“Busy Doin’ Nothing” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-22 12:31:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Back into my favorite domain: the obscure Beach Boys cover songs! Today’s song is by request, and I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy.

I always loved the acoustic guitar part in “Busy Doin’ Nothing”, especially because there’s not too many acoustic-guitar driven Brian Wilson songs.

But, this song uses some crazy chords, including some that 99.9% of rock songs never use- kind of like old jazz chords.

Needless to say, I learned all these new chords and practiced it over and over again for this cover song music video. That same night, I made this recording. It was actually pretty easy because I knew the words completely by heart (any Beach Boys songs I can sing in my sleep). That’s always the hardest part of the Laptop Sessions- learning the chords to a cover song is easy, but if you forget the order of the verses (see Jeff’s post yesterday), you’re stuck.

About this song: From the Friends album, this tune (I always thought) kind of shows the state of mind Brian Wilson was in during the late 60s. I think after the craziness of SMiLE, he wanted to be at home. This song describes a “day in the life”. Although, I still don’t know why Brian Wilson had a “pocket book”! Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry had the pocket-book: “It’s European!”  But seriously, “Busy Doin’ Nothing” doesn’t really sound like any other Beach Boys song.  It has it’s own sound, from the acoustic guitars (that I mentioned earlier) to the flutes.  It has the same bossa nova beat The Beach Boys were into during the Friends sessions, though.  I think The Beach Boys were looking for a way to forge their own niche.  After the SMiLE project broke down, the Beach Boys tried doing psychedelic music on “Smiley Smile”, but to me, it just didn’t work.  I can imagine that they didn’t want to always follow in the (large) footsteps of the Beatles.  At that time, they were working on the White Album and were going back to basics with their sound.  The Beach Boys kind of did that in a way, but they also changed their style.  It became more relaxed.  Beach Boy music was always peppy and fast-paced under the tutelage of Murray Wilson, the Wilson brothers’ father.  Under their own management, the Boys decided to take a more mellow approach.  It didn’t gain them much commercial success for quite a while, but I do look back on this period of albums fondly.

This is a big shout-out to all the Blueboarders (fans of Brian Wilson’s message board on his official website) that always give me encouragement and always want more videos! I have so many great cover song music videos up my sleeve, I can’t wait to release them to the world!  Enjoy tonight’s cover song video in the Beach Boys’ “Busy Doin’ Nothing” here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!

“How Good It Can Get” (Wallflowers Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-12 15:44:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Saturday edition of The Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I join the Wallflowers group with Chris and Jeff (who’ve done quite a few already) and do one of my favorite tunes, “How Good It Can Get”.

This song has one of the best hooks I’ve ever heard, plus it was my “anthem” song during my trip to Italy last year. I remember one night, after an amazing Tuscan dinner, walking through the streets back to the hotel. I was singing this song at the top of my lungs. Clearly less-than-level-headed, I kept also yelling out that I was still on key!

Well, this was recorded long after that night and I was STILL on key! I hope you enjoy today’s Session and make sure to keep checking the blog at LaptopSessions.com for exclusive videos from our first ever LIVE concert tonight!

“It Ain’t Me Babe” (Turtles & Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-08-26 00:06:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hey hey, everyone!  Time for another Laptop Session acoustic cover song music video from yours truly, Jim Fusco!

Tonight, I bring you a song that I’ve known for a very long time- “It Ain’t Me Babe” by the Turtles.  Of course, it took until Chris became interested in Bob Dylan (sometime around 2000) for me to realize that he actually wrote this song.  So, why did I come back to it tonight?

Well, I love the Turtles version- it’s a great rock song that has slow parts on the verses and faster rockin’ parts on the choruses.  Plus, it’s short and just has so much energy packed into it’s two minutes.

But, I also thought of covering it because I was just listening to “The Bob Dylan Show”, which is a radio show on our own WCJM Radio.  This really isn’t a great show in terms of execution- Chris and I did it on a whim and Chris just wasn’t on his “A-game” when it came to on-air chatter.  For the most part, the show seems forced and that’s probably why I kept it offline and in the archives since the summer of 2001 when it was recorded.

Actually, an interesting note- Chris talks about looking forward to when Dylan’s new album at the time, “Love and Theft”, would be released- he says he can’t wait for September 11th to get here.  Little did we all know…

But, I digress.

The show actually redeems itself because of the music (which is surprising when talking about a show with all Bob Dylan music).  The covers of his songs from Manfred Mann (“The Mighty Quinn”) and George Harrison (“I’d Have You Anytime” and the co-written “If Not For You”) are great additions.  I actually listened to the show twice this week (putting up with the really poor dialogue- I’ve had better conversations with myself!) because I wanted to hear those great cover versions of Dylan’s songs again from the likes of Eric Clapton (“Born In Time”), Jimi Hendrix (“All Along the Watchtower”) and, of course, the Byrds.

So, after you’re done watching my acoustic cover song music video here today, you should head on over to WCJM Internet Radio and listen to “The Bob Dylan Show” (or any other show there) absolutely free!  There’s nothing to sign up for or anything like that.  Just click “Play” and start listening.  Click HERE to visit the “Jammin’ With Jim Show” page and click on “The Bob Dylan Show”.

I hope you enjoy both forms of entertainment this Tuesday.  I’m very excited for the next few days, as they’re starting to frame our new home and all employees at work were given a surprise free “Appreciation Day” off, so I get to choose any day in the next two weeks and just not go to work!  I love my job. :-)

Have a great one, and to echo Chris’ sentiment yesterday- please make sure to come back for another great acoustic rock cover song music video from our very own Jeff Copperthite on his “Thumpin’ Thursday” post!  See you next week.

New Radicals’ “Maybe you’ve been brainwashed too.” – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-03-14 21:09:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  4 / 5 stars

History will record the New Radicals as a one hit wonder.  At best, their legacy will live on in their hit single “You Only Get What You Give,” which nicked the top 40 in the U.S. and reached #5 in the UK.

Not bad for their first single.

Even Gregg Alexander, the New Radicals’ core member, realized what he had found himself in the middle of, touring in support of the song in the late nineties.  He is on record as saying the business of promoting a one-hit wonder — his words — was just not for him.  To a certain degree, I understand this.  After all, anyone who has spent any time reading about musicians knows what happens to the careers of most bands that top out early.  Some recover, but most are left clinging to their fleeting fame.  Even those who continue to put out excellent music often face a dwindling fanbase, as the masses return to the radio for the next big thing.

And yet I am left wondering what Alexander and company would have produced for a follow-up.  New Radicals is an outstanding debut effort that covers a vast amount of ground lyrically and instrumentally, dipping into several genres for inspiration.  Floating amidst it all, I can’t help but notice the echoes of Mick Jagger and some very Beck-esque inflections in Alexander’s leads.  It isn’t often that a band so masterfully blends influence and originality.  And the New Radicals are an original band, there is no question there.  For one thing, they aren’t shy about pushing the envelope lyrically — theirs was a special blend of catchy, infectious rock and roll that even my younger self, frightened of straying too close to vulgarity and blasphemous ideas, couldn’t resist.

This is, after all, an album that starts with a woman muttering, “Make my nipples hard…”

I didn’t even know what that meant when I first heard the album!

Twelve years and what feels like a lifetime away, New Radicals continues to provide a provocative listening experience.

New Radicals' "Maybe you've been brainwashed too." (1998)

New Radicals' "Maybe you've been brainwashed too." (1998)

Despite the unexplained reference to the female anatomy, the first track unfolds into an upbeat rocker that careens between alternative rock and purposeful homage to the Rolling Stones.  Five minutes does seem a bit lengthy for the somewhat repetitive content of “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough,” but it does lay the groundwork for one of the central themes of the album — disgust directed at greedy institutions.

Next comes the aforementioned single “You Only Get What You Give,” a piano-fueled power pop number that functions as a personal mantra of sorts.  According to Wikipedia, the media was quick to pick up on the celebrity allusions in the bile-spewing rant in the outro, to which Alexander pointed out that they entirely ignored the more significant references to health insurance, the banking system, and Y2K hysteria.

This only confirms his perspectives on the media and corporate America that are expressed across multiple tracks.  (This was further confirmed by the fact that I used to pass shifts at Staples Copy Center singing along to “You Only Get What You Give” when it played once every four hours or so on satellite radio — unedited!  If I needed any confirmation that people, especially groups of people like corporations, don’t listen to lyrics, that was it.)

“I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away the Ending” builds up until Alexander, sounding like he’s out of breath, cusses and stretches out the final line, “I think I just gave away the ending…”  The energy of this track is infectious; on a couple occasions, it seems like he is referring directly to the listener.

The fourth track, “I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” takes the tempo down a notch, but still maintains that same energetic high that started with the opener; the outro here finds Alexander screaming like he’s auditioning for a hair metal band.  Still, the song certainly makes up in emotional resonance what it lacks in subtlety.

As the album stretches out, the instrumental and vocal ranges of the New Radicals become clearer — of course, it doesn’t hurt that Alexander has outstanding musicians like co-guitarist Rusty Anderson (more recently known as Paul McCartney’s guitarist) along for the ride.  “Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You” is a fantastic track, even if I can neither offer an explanation for the lyrics nor entirely forgive boneheaded lines like “She’s into some real deep shit.”

What is perhaps the greatest shame surrounding the mid-tour breakup of the New Radicals is their abandoned second single, “Someday We’ll Know.”  This should have been an instant classic, a beautiful ballad that stretches the songwriting formula previously established on this album.  Instead, the song was forgotten in the aftermath of the band’s dissolution.  Still, it has been revived by several different acts; the Hall and Oates cover on 2003’s Do It For Love is by far the best.

Other songs approach the mastery of “Someday We’ll Know,” including the somber, foot-tapping “In Need of a Miracle” and the deep track gem “Flowers.”  These are the tracks that I first fell in love with in 1998, and they continue to draw me in over a decade later.

“Gotta Stay High” is a pretty song, a nice inclusion on the release that may not reach the heights of the others, but is strong all the same. 

However, there are some low points on this admittedly imperfect release, foremost among them being “Technicolor Lover.”  This is the sole track that doesn’t involve any of the other band members, and it shows.  “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too” may create a hypnotic bed of vocals and music that works with the theme, but that doesn’t make it a great track.

It all wraps up with the heartbreaking “Crying Like A Church on Monday,” a song that involves a religious symbol in a fitting metaphor that doesn’t involve an attack on the institution.  It is a sensitive, vulnerable closing to an album that bursts at the seams with angst, anger, and disgust.  It is yet another reason why I will continue to wonder what that second New Radicals album may have sounded like…

For now, I’ll just have to cling to the most well-known post-New Radicals song that Gregg Alexander wrote but did not perform — “The Game of Love.”  Yup, the same “The Game of Love” skyrocketed to popularity in the form of a Santana and Michelle Branch duet.