“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…)

“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!

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (The Monkees Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-28 15:45:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

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

Today, I’m doing a great tune written by Neil Diamond, but performed by the Monkees, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”. Not only does this song have a great message (like “it’s not all my fault, but SOME of it is”), but has a catchy tune and chord progression.

Actually, it’s that classic 3-chord Neil Diamond style, just shifted up a few frets on a capo.

I hope you like my whistling solo in the middle there! :-)

BIG things are happening at Fusco-Moore Productions and I hope you’ll visit the blog (and our newly completed other suite of websites) today!

“Cowgirl in the Sand” (Neil Young & the Byrds Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-15 14:26:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Thanks for stopping by for your Tuesday edition of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!

Today, I bring you a song written by Neil Young, “Cowgirl in the Sand”. Not only is this song one of his most famous, but it’s also generally well-known among country-rock music fans.

The version I’m doing is derivative of the version the Byrds did on their reunion album from 1975. That album isn’t wonderful by any means, but Gene Clark’s contributions are, of course, superb. He sings a great lead on this song, too.  Gene Clark just had a great timbre to his voice.  He could sing rock’n’roll music and country/western music with the best of them.  Of course, Gene Clark was a great songwriter, too, both with the Byrds and on his own solo recordings.  While searching around here on the music blog, be sure to click on Gene Clark’s category to see the other cover songs I’ve done written by him.  If you’re not a fan now (or haven’t heard of him), I guarantee his original songs will get your attention.

This is one song that I never planned on doing, but came into my head one night, so I just sat down and did it! I think some people were a bit surprised that I busted this one out at our first live show as a trio the other day.  My favorite aspect of the Byrds’ version of “Cowgirl In The Sand” is the harmonies on the chorus.  I really hope that we can get those harmonies right in future performances, as I think that’s the flare the Byrds added to make the version their own.

Considering how the Byrds first started, it’s a bit surprising that they gravitated over to country rock like they did.  They were initially marketed as a folk group, electrifying Bob Dylan songs like “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”.  But, the band members of the Byrds, especially Chris Hillman, started out loving folk music in a different way- the classic, down-home country style.  Chris Hillman is actually an accomplished mandolin player, and there is no better country guitarist than Roger McGuinn.  Basically, they just threw an electric bass in Hillman’s hands and a 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitar in McGuinn’s hands, and they had a big hit band.  In later albums, the band members of the Byrds would write original songs that had a country flare to them, including Chris Hillman’s “The Girl With No Name”, which I’ve also done a cover song music video of here on the music blog.

You may also notice the “incredible fluctuating hairdo” of myself- I recorded this song before getting a haircut, as you saw in the “Aware” cover video (of an original song) from last week.

I hope to do more Neil Young songs in the future and I hope this cover song video attracts some new viewers and music lovers to the Laptop Sessions live acoustic music video series!