“Girl Don’t Tell Me” (A Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2007-10-22 01:10:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Well, another day and another installment of the “Laptop Sessions.” This is one that I learned a long time ago and forgot about playing until tonight. Anyone that knows me will know that I admire Brian Wilson’s songwriting the most. His song, “Girl Don’t Tell Me” is truly one of his finest works. Plus, his brother Carl sings an amazing lead vocal that I can only hope to emulate in my version.  This is one of Carl’s earliest lead vocals and I’m glad Brian gave Carl the opportunity to sing it.  Carl knocked it out of the park and had a voice much more suited to this style of music.

I think my Laptop Session acoustic version of this song actually sounds a lot like the original because it was done with acoustic guitars. “But,” you say, “many songs are done with just acoustics!” Well, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys really used piano as their driving instrument, plus Al Jardine and Carl Wilson took the rhythm and lead guitars (respectively) on electrics almost all the time. Of course, I’m talking about the early records when the Boys recorded the instruments themselves. After a while, Brian and the others decided to have studio musicians come in, which allowed Brian to experiment more while the others were on tour.  I think one of the last vestiges of the Beach Boys playing on their own music (in the earlier years, at least) was their Christmas album.  One the first side (the original songs), you can hear the Beach Boys playing all of the instruments.  Those songs represent some of my favorite recordings of all time.  They’re simply perfect (to me).

But, enough of the Beach Boys history for the time being. But, I will say that you’ll notice how this song sounds more like a Beatles song than a Beach Boys song. Well, with the production done the way it was on the original (like I mentioned before, with acoustic guitars rather than a piano), one can only assume that this Beatle-esque sound was done purposely!  Of course, this acoustic video flies in the face of the logic I was trying to explain regarding the Laptop Sessions cover songs series.  You see, my idea is to strip-away the various instruments in a song to get to the simplest form.  That way, you can hear the song for what it is.  So, songs that you might not necessarily have liked can be given new life here on the music blog.  With “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, however, that’s not really the case.  I just did a straight-up cover of an acoustic song.  My defense?  It’s a great song- shut up and listen! :-)  But seriously, another function of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog is to introduce you (or even re-introduce you) to songs you’ve never heard before (or forgot you knew).  And that’s just as important.

This song is really a favorite of mine and I know a certain group of people are going to go, “Oh, wow!” when they see I did a version of this forgotten song! I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more from The Laptop Sessions!


“Back to California” (Wallflowers Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-25 05:32:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Seeing as how the Wallflowers are coming to town tonight, I thought it only appropriate to play one of my favorite tunes off their most recent album, Rebel, Sweetheart. If you are hearing “Back to California” here for the first time, please find and listen to the album version. The real version is one of the most rocking songs I’ve ever heard from Jakob Dylan and the boys.

I recorded more takes of this cover song music video than I should have, in my desire to recreate it acoustically and yet maintain the same spirit of the studio recording. Just like “Everything I Need,” this was certainly a vocal workout–this time, not because of the range but due to the emotion/inflection I tried to achieve while my allergies are in full swing…

Well, I’m really excited about going to see the Wallflowers show at Foxwoods tonight with Jim and Mike. This is one of my all-time favorite bands, and because they tour so infrequently these days, I was afraid I would never get to see them.

We’ll definitely report back on the Wallflowers show. For now, I hope you enjoy the acoustic cover song music video — I hope you’ll rate it and/or leave a comment.

See you next session!

P.S. I can’t wait to hear more new tracks from Jakob Dylan’s upcoming solo album, Seeing Things! Maybe they’ll translate into some new acoustic covers for the Laptop Sessions music video blog soon… :-)


“The Night Was So Young” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-06 22:22:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco.

I promised a new Beach Boys video today, and even though it took me until 10:30 to do it, it’s finally here. Actually, this is one of the rare Sessions that was recorded the same day I’m posting it.

I’ve been practicing this song for weeks now, as I needed to make sure it was perfect before I did a video. “The Night Was So Young” is my favorite track off the Beach Boys “Love You” album and shows the great songwriting skills of Brian Wilson coupled with the singing of Carl Wilson.

I love the minimalist approach to the recorded version of this song- it’s great in contrast to the terribly-dated synth-sounds of most of the tracks. This song also doesn’t have that cheesiness factor that some of the others have. Although, this song does tell of Brian Wilson’s lonely trip to the sink to pour some milk at 3 am…

I hope you like this toned-down Session. We’re still chugging-along at one-a-day here in 2008. I’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to my brother, Mike, who’s 22 today. Hope you had a great one!!



Music Review: Marcy Playground’s “Leaving Wonderland…in a fit of rage”

Originally posted 2009-07-28 01:39:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

RATING:  3 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

To be honest, Marcy Playground is a band I had forgotten about, leaving them behind in a hazy collection of other nineties modern rock one hit wonders.

Out of sheer curiosity, I felt the urge to hear this most recent album from the “Sex and Candy” singer — it was originally slated as a John Wozniak solo project — that I came across on the Newbury Comics new release rack.  (It certainly didn’t hurt that the disc came with a free download of their previous album, the aptly titled third release from the band: MP3.)

I didn’t expect much, considering that over a decade had passed since I had heard a song from the band.  I always liked “Sex and Candy,” but even in 1997 I knew it was a fairly straightforward track made notable only by its provocative lyrics and Wozniak’s low, unique vocal tones.

What I got was a solid album comprised predominantly of an artist’s exploration of the roots of his music.  Throughout Leaving Wonderland…in a fit of rage, Wozniak’s songwriting is simple and the band’s arrangements are as standard as they come.

When I use the term “solid,” I mean that Marcy Playground’s fourth release is comprised of generally enjoyable songs placed in an effective order to not only keep the listener’s attention, but also to contribute to a largely common set of themes.

And, yes, beyond all these qualifications that I am making, there exists the realization that a “solid” album may be listened to and even appreciated, but it is nothing special.

As with their late nineties single, one of the greatest strengths of the album is Wozniak’s signature vocals.  Throughout the album, he weaves tales of sorrow, loss, and reconsideration.  Whatever “Wonderland” represents for Marcy Playground’s John Wozniak — a relationship or fame to name just a couple possibilities — the exit from said Wonderland is indeed a violent one, soaked in booze and drugs and, at times, literally marked by flames.

“Blackbird,” the opening track and the first US single, sets the tone for what is a heavily acoustic record, a notable departure from their previous release.  “Irene” and “Memphis” are so acoustic and rootsy that they sound as though they were snatched from a decades old country/folk record.

Meanwhile, the album is spiced up by tracks like “Devil Woman” and “Good Times” — the first Canadian single — which are predominantly acoustic, and yet endowed with a heavy beat and a set of catchy vocals.

Of course, the album is not without its electric touches.  “I Must Have Been Dreaming” is a clean and catchy cut, but “I Burned the Bed” and “Emperor” are drenched in distortion and lie at the heart of this album, both thematically and musically.  “Gin and Money” offers the complete package — opening with a nearly tribal beat, subtle but integral piano, and acoustic fingerpicking before kicking into high gear with a little feedback and a lot of spirited vocals and electric guitar.

Overall, I score this album as a “Maybe Not.”  I’m glad I bought it, and I’ve listened to it almost twenty times already.  I truly enjoy many of the tracks, and Wozniak has crafted the order to ebb and flow at just the right times.

However, what doesn’t hit home with me is the simplicity of the lyrics — referring to himself directly in “Good Times,” taking the bright and instantly-stuck-in-your-head “Star Baby” and crippling it with cheesiness, and feeding into some middle school-worthy rhymes in “Thank You,” to name a few instances.  This is my most significant criticism; even the largely predictable arrangements fit within the larger context of the album.

This is an album about coming to terms with the universal thematic subject matter of love and youth lost, of having to grow up after having lost something to the ravages of time.  If you can look past the simplicity of many of the thoughts being conveyed, then this album is worth a listen.

If not, then it might be time for you to go back to the classics — Dylan, Beatles, etc.  Or at least to last year’s Counting Crows album.