“You May Be Right” (Billy Joel Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-21 22:25:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Okay, so here’s a bit of an anomaly. Most of us cast members of WCJM.com Free Internet Radio will be surprised, if they’re not listening to the shows as often as I do, to find me playing a Billy Joel song. I want to take this opportunity to clear the air.

If you listen to the Beach Boys’ music through the ages, you’ll hear a progression in the music. The styles may be different as the years go on, but most of it is just building on what was previously there.

Conversely, you can listen to Paul McCartney or the Moody Blues through the years and notice that their song/music styles change with the TIMES. For instance, in the seventies, songs got longer, then got disco-y, then got electronic once they reached the eighties. Around 2000, you heard drum loops and “new age” production on albums from both McCartney and the Moodies.

But, their SONGS and the general “type” of music (rock or pop) stayed pretty constant. I’m not giving any free passes for horrible disco versions (Beach Boys fans can goan at “Here Comes the Night”) or electronica from the early 80s, but at least you still knew it was a “Paul” song or a “Moodies” song.

Billy Joel, for me, falls into two categories, both of which I’ll briefly address:

1. Overrated:

As you’ll note with the bands I like, I tend to stay away from bands that are generally “overrated”. Yes, the Beatles are lauded all the time, but it’s pretty clear they’re the ONLY band that deserves the accolades they get. But, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys NEVER won a Grammy for their songs (unless you count “Best Instrumental” for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” a few years ago- what an insult). The Moody Blues STILL aren’t in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. I don’t think America’s had a decently reviewed album in Rolling Stone since their first one.

But, look at who gets ALL the attention:

– Bruce Springsteen
– Elton John (who sells concert tickets like Tickle-Me-Elmos did the day after Thanksgiving)
– Bob Dylan, whom I’m convinced can fart on the microphone and earn a Five Star Rolling Stone review. Don’t get me wrong, I love the man, but he is overrated, as well.

Now, Billy Joel is playing TEN, yes TEN shows at Mohegan Sun Casino here in Connecticut and sold them all out. The man hasn’t done an album in like 15 years and is more popular than ever. I swear more people go to his concerts than have EVER bought his music. And THAT’S the kind of crowd that makes someone so overrated. The “Starbucks” crowd that loves what all the other soccer moms love.

The theme here: It’s not Billy Joel’s fault. I really don’t blame HIM for my dislike of his music.

2. He changes the TYPE of music he plays ALL THE TIME.

As I said earlier, bands I like have changed their styles through the years, either through progression, or just keeping up with the times. But, again- a Beach Boys song was a Beach Boys song, you know?

Now, Billy Joel:

Sometimes, he’s the crooner, singing in that horrid “holier than thou” voice about “regular people” from New York and their stories.

Then, out of nowhere, he’s formed a barbershop quartet in “For The Longest Time”.

Then, he’s some teeney-bopper singing “Uptown Girl”.

Then, 80’s rocker while singing “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.

And, finally, he’s a good old fashioned rock’n’roller on tunes like this one, “You May Be Right”.

What style of music IS this man? Epic piano numbers? Guitar-based rockers? Vocals-only diddies? What?

That question, I cannot answer. And maybe I’m being a bit too general here, as since I’ve noticed this trend, I’ve never gotten past the Greatest Hits.

In closing, I love this song, I love the style, and I wish this was the REAL Billy Joel. I hope you enjoy my rip-roarin’ rendition of this Billy Joel song! (What a rant…)


CD Review: Songwriter Sheryl Crow’s New Music is Personal on “Detours”

Originally posted 2008-02-10 21:44:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

RATING:  2 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

As an album, Detours is certainly not what its title would imply. If anything, this is a further return to form for Sheryl Crow – equal parts acoustic and electric, serious and carefree. At every turn, it surprises and engages and, above all, denies the listener the opportunity to get too comfortable. She is concerned about a series of social issues, yet she does not stop there—she shares some advice for getting back on the right track and, of course, some relevant personal tales.

The songs on this album can essentially be divided into three main categories—topical songs, songs about love and peace, and personal songs. The album kicks off with a selection from the first category, the acoustic-only “God Bless This Mess.” With lines like, “The president…led us as a nation into a war based on lies,” Crow establishes early on that she will not be pulling any punches. Then, if there was any question in the listener’s mind as to whether or not this album would be too simple, she thunders into “Shine Over Babylon,” spewing lines about teachers’ hands being “overrun,” cities “drowning under boiling fountains,” and scavengers handing us “all the junk that should have damned” us. Upon a first listen, I was happy to hear that someone else is very much unhappy with the state of affairs in our nation and in our world. She goes on to address, as the title implies, “Gasoline” and the priorities that some place in parties, reality-TV, and the like in “Motivation.”

If this was her only focus, then Detours may have been quite a downer indeed. However, true to form, Crow compliments her darker songs with an equal helping of tunes calling for us to embrace peace and love. In an almost hippie-esque fashion, she declares “Everybody’s making love ‘cause love is free” and later calls upon us to invoke the refrain, “Peace Be Upon Us” At times, these songs can end in a repetitive manner or come across as too simple, but overall they seem sincere and not so out of place on an album that asks us to strip everything down to the surface, from social issues to romantic relationships. And, if the protest song-undertones of songs like “Out of Our Heads” isn’t your cup of tea, then it is hard to ignore a catchy and upbeat rocker like “Love Is All There Is.” Ringo Starr would be proud.

What really brings this album home for me is the final category of songs, namely the personal tales that inhabit this release. Both the title track and “Make It Go Away (The Radiation Song)” come across as deeply personal and, again, very sincere. Coming on the heels of her recent treatments for cancer, these songs translate as authentic glimpses into her mindset as an individual. For instance, as she explained in a recent interview, detours is a term she uses to describe experiences that force us to reevaluate our priorities and our lives. Physical health isn’t her only concern; on the contrary, the emotions of new love shine through on “Drunk With the Thought of You” and the gloom of love gone wrong can be heard in every breath of “Diamond Ring.” I thought it very fitting of her to put “Lullaby for Wyatt” last in the track listing. After an album’s worth of sorting through the world’s problems and both advocating the importance of and considering the realities of love, she ends with the realization that she loves her son, but “love is letting go.”

When she released C’mon, C’mon in 2002, I had difficulty finding merit in its pop-based sound and mentality, and I wondered what her future albums would be like. It only took a few guitar strums and the first line of track one, “I Know Why,” from her subsequent 2005 album Wildflower to put any concerns out of my mind entirely. Now, Detours has reaffirmed my interest in Crow’s music, if only for its ability to cover so much ground—political, social, interpersonal—in such a sincere manner.

** EDITOR’S NOTE **

The 2 star rating (out of five) was added after the review was written.  This is an album that had very little staying power, and I was admittedly much more enthusiastic about the release than I should have been, most likely due to events in my personal life — i.e. the decision to buy more CD’s in 2008 to really experience a broader range of new music.  I hope you enjoy the album, as I did when I first wrote this review.  However, the rating should act as a warning from a wiser listener.  🙂

“The Sound of Settling” (Death Cab for Cutie Cover)

Originally posted 2009-08-11 13:20:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Death Cab for Cutie chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

This one gave me blisters on me fingers and numbness in me thumb (thanks to all the sliding up and down the guitar neck, the barre chords in the progression, and the fact that I didn’t really know the lyrics to the verses before playing it tonight), but it was all worth it, for all two minutes of it.

And, quite a number of takes of this simple little song later, I know the lyrics by heart!

“The Sound of Settling” is the second single from Death Cab for Cutie’s fourth album, Transatlanticism.  This is the album that my sister, Jaime, strongly recommended I hear if I hear nothing else from the band.  Seeing as how this is one of those “I’ve heard of them, but I haven’t heard any of their songs” bands for me, I picked it up on sale and enjoyed it.  Apparently, it was the first album that frontman Ben Gibbard felt was a truly serious, well put together record.

While I like several of the songs on this album very much, I haven’t found myself very interested in picking up their other material, as they seem to have a penchant for EPs and other non-album releases.  Those sorts of releases seem nice if you’re a fan and have new material to look forward to, but they’re really quite expensive over the long run.  Consider Ben Folds’ EPs  Speed Graphic, Sunny 16, and Super D; those added up to a combined total of about $24.00 for 15 songs, about 7 or maybe 8 of which were any good.  This is not a slight to the good songs on these EPs; some were tremendous and among his best ever released.

Then there were the covers and outtakes from previous albums that he re-recorded.  And, as any music fan knows, some songs were never meant to see official release outside of designated bonus track status on another album or collection.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this cover song music video, as it is the first Death Cab for Cutie song to be debuted at the Laptop Sessions blog.  There was so little new music of interest this week as well as last week that even I don’t feel a need to visit Newbury Comics today.  And THAT’S saying something!  So, instead, I went back to my iPod to find a band that we had missed along the way.  There are still a lot of bands that have gone uncovered, as well as classic and/or great songs from artists that we have, so don’t even think about taking us out of your “Favorites” menu.

Instead, be sure to stop by later tonight when our founder makes his triumphant return to the second day of the week as it should be:  Jim Fusco Tuesday!

See you next session!

(The text of my original Monday night post follows below the video…)

Originally titled and posted as:

The Laptop Sessions: “_ _ _   _ _ _ _ _   _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _” (???? Acoustic Rock Cover Song)

By Chris Moore:

Well, my cover song music video for tonight is recorded, rendered, and ready to go…

…and if I actually had Internet (thanks for nothing, Cox!) or even a wireless signal from an unsuspecting, password-phobic neighbor, you’d be reading my post and watching my video. Instead, I’ll be posting both my session and the accompanying chords tomorrow after I get a visit from the cable guy (lower case for any of you Jim Carrey fans thinking the worst!) some time between 10:30 and 12:30.

Until then, I’ll leave you with the following clues about the song I’m playing:

1) The song is from one of my favorite albums to listen to at night in a dark room, sometimes to fall asleep to.

2) The aforementioned album is NOT “Pet Sounds.”

3) My sister recommended this band and album.

4) The band is named for the song performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the 1967 Beatles movie, “Magical Mystery Tour.”

5) The band’s name is comprised of four words – an adjective, a noun, a preposition, and an object of the prep. -in that order.

Okay, that’s all I’ll give you. Check back Tuesday afternoon for the startling conclusion to this post!

“Please, Mrs. Henry” (Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-04-27 21:13:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Bob Dylan chords / tabs / lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

And, just like that, I’m back with my second session of the night!

As a follow-up to my previous music video, this is “Please, Mrs. Henry,” also from Bob Dylan’s 1975 release The Basement Tapes.  Generally, I am most impressed with complete, clean studio recordings of songs from my favorite bands, yet there are many instances of great music being created when an artist has stripped away at all the usual standards and practices of studio recording.  A most recent — and admittedly weird — instance of this is the re-release of Beck’s early nineties indie rock release One Foot in the Grave.  While this album really isn’t the kind of music I’ll be showing off to my friends, there is this really raw and unique sound to it.  One of the benefits to these types of recordings is the quantity of music usually available — i.e. 24 Basement Tapes tracks and 32 tracks on the aforementioned Beck album.  In the first 16 album tracks, songs like “Cyanide Breath Mint,” “Asshole” (later covered by Tom Petty for the She’s the One soundtrack!), and “Painted Eyelids” would never make it anywhere near the radio.  I love the lyrics and sound to some of the bonus tracks, as well — “Favorite Nerve,” “Burning Boyfriend,” and, “Feather in Your Cap” to name a few.

Of course, with these types of recordings, there are always going to be throwaway tracks and songs that will make you want to say, “What was he thinking?!”  But that’s to be expected…

Getting back to the Laptop Session at hand, “Please, Mrs. Henry” is one of the songs I initially disliked from this album.  More specifically, I found it kind of plain.  Now that I’ve gone back to it — specifically during my Bob Dylan mp3 marathon earlier this month — I have a newfound appreciation for the lyrics as well as the music.  Where else can you get the perspective of a singer/narrator who is not only telling you he is drunk, but actuallly sounds drunk while he’s doing it?  Dylan’s inflection aside, how else can you read lyrics like “I’ve been sniffin’ too many eggs…Drinkin’ too many kegs” or “I’m groanin’ in a hallway; pretty soon, I’ll be mad” or, who could forget, “Why don’t you look my way and pump me a few?”

Great stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you to watch my interpretation of one of the many songs on The Basement Tapes that have been capturing the attention of fans since it was recorded in 1968.  Even before the album was officially released, these tracks became some of the most bootlegged songs in rock music history.  (Think: Great White Wonder.)  And now you have my version to add to the mix.  It certainly doesn’t approach the level that Dylan’s on, but it was a lot of fun to try!  (Check out the chords, linked at the top of this post, so you can play, too…)

See you next session!