“Wilted Rose” (Vanity Project Cover)

Originally posted 2010-02-15 23:30:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Vanity Project chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another week of rock’n’roll related intrigue at the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video blog!  This is an exciting time for the blog, as we have consistently been pumping out more quality material for you than any time since the session-a-day project ended.  This week, for instance, you can look forward to your typical Monday and Tuesday excellence in cover song music video form, a final Jimi Hendrix-themed edition of “Yes, No, or Maybe So, Retro,” two more installments in the “Top Five Rock Artists of the Decade, 2000-2009” list, a Guest Session on Friday by an all-new contributor (bringing back an oft-covered band), AND it’ll all be tied up by a full length Weekend Review on Sunday.

Not bad for a free blog…

Tonight, I bring you “Wilted Rose,” a song from the Vanity Project’s 2005 self-titled debut release.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Vanity Project, this is the title of former Barenaked Ladies co-frontman Steven Page’s solo album.  Well, it’s not technically a solo album in the strictest sense of the term, but for all intents and purposes, The Vanity Project is a Page solo album populated mainly by collaborations with Stephen Duffy.  Page and Duffy have been swapping lines and tunes for years, and many of their co-written efforts have been recorded by the Barenaked Ladies.  Here, Page is able to record those songs that simply weren’t a clear fit for the Barenaked Ladies.

I couldn’t believe one of us hadn’t already recorded this song for the blog — after all, it was included in the official MoU chordbook, even though it was only a rare live track.  In addition, this is the right time to have Steven Page on the brain, as the first of two Page solo efforts is due in stores tomorrow.  Now, tomorrow’s release is the less-anticipated A Singer Must Die, a collection of ten cover songs performed with the Art of Time Ensemble.  Although I’m much more interested and excited for his first solo album proper, Page certainly picked out some interesting tunes to cover — the title track from Leonard Cohen and “For We Are the King of the Boudoir” by the Magnetic Fields to name a couple.  Some of his other choices boggle my mind — why re-record “Running Out of Ink” so soon, for example?  Or why attempt an Elvis Costello deep track like “I Want You” when Fiona Apple’s cover version is already the quintessential take on it?

Overall, I can’t imagine quite what this album will sound like, but I’m very excited to hear it.  There’s only one problem: even Newbury Comics didn’t include it on their “new releases” list.

You know your release is under the radar when not even Newbury Comics is aware of its existence.

I honestly would have pre-ordered it to get it complete with Page’s autograph, but I couldn’t see spending the full price of the CD plus a considerable fee for shipping and handling.  Thus, I’ll need to get creative and soon!

Until you get a chance to listen to (or even find)  A Singer Must Die, I hope you enjoy my music video of the night.

See you next session!

Al Jardine’s “A Postcard From California” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-08-01 12:30:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  3.5 / 5 stars

It’s been a long time since anyone recorded an album that so deftly set so many of the motifs characteristic of the Beach Boys’ catalog to such uplifting, beautiful music.

At long last, forty-seven years after he contributed vocals and bass to 1963’s Surfer Girl and twelve years since he split with the Beach Boys, comes Al Jardine’s solo debut.

A Postcard from California is driven by a simple but successful concept: that of traveling through the great state of California.  This concept enables Jardine and company to work with the surfing and automotive lexicon and express concern for the environment; in short, to revisit many of the aspects that the best Beach Boys albums mastered at various times throughout their career.

In a recent interview about A Postcard from California, he reflected, “It dawned on me that it might be the unfinished Beach Boys album everyone has been wishing for, and that in my own mind I also had been wishing for.  I think it evolved out of desire and feeling incomplete.”

If Jardine was feeling incomplete, then he has certainly, in a musical sense, filled the gaps admirably — notably with A-list guest artists and a 50/50 mix of new Jardine-penned tracks and older songs, both Beach Boys standards and unreleased gems.

To his credit, he has kept the covers to a minimum, placing the most recognizable ones in the latter half of the album so as not to overshadow his other work.  (I certainly pursed my lips when I read “Help Me, Rhonda” among the tracks listed, although I have to admit its new arrangement is right at home with the other songs on the album.)

One might question why Jardine isn’t releasing an album entirely composed of original songs after spending the two decades since “Island Girl” without releasing so much as a single or even contributing to a co-written effort.  From this perspective — and it’s a fair one — A Postcard from California can only disappoint.

However, fair as that may be, there are several other factors to consider.

Consider, for instance, that Jardine made a name for himself in a band whose members prided themselves in their various in-house songwriting talents (read: no one member needed to write more than a few songs for any given release) — the format that was at its peak in the seventies, and according to Jardine, contributed to the Brian Wilson/Steve Kalinich number “California Feelin'” being passed over.

Consider, moreover, that no Beach Boy other than Brian Wilson has had any success releasing solo albums in the last thirty years.  The Beach Boys themselves have struggled to release hit records for nearly as long. Why would any surviving band member, other than the perennially in-demand Brian, be in a rush to record an album?

Consider, finally, that A Postcard from California intentionally harkens back to a simpler time, one that can arguably be recaptured in the sights and sounds of the California landscape.  Jardine believes as much — as the Beach Boys always did — so it logically follows that his first solo album would be in the style of, and borrowing tracks from, that tradition.

Al Jardine's "A Postcard from California" (2010)

Al Jardine's "A Postcard from California" (2010)

Is A Postcard from California an unmitigated success on a level with Brian Wilson’s solo albums?  Well, no, but that’s hardly to be expected; Brian was always the most musically and harmonically innovative of the group, although Dennis carved out a tremendous set of solo recordings that were anything but derivative of the Beach Boys style.

What Al Jardine has managed to accomplish is notable for its success where others would have fallen short: going back to the formula, declining to fu– …um, mess with it, and end up with a beautifully organic result.  Asked about his special guests — guys like Neil Young, Steve Miller, Glen Campbell, and Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America — Al says, “People just came to the party.”  This may come across as quite impromptu, but the result is a rich sonic landscape populated by numerous recognizable voices blending subtly into the fabric of the music.

Sounds kind of like the recipe for a Beach Boys record, doesn’t it?

Jardine clearly took to this project with the sensibilities of a Beach Boy.  He told an interviewer that “having been in the Beach Boys for so many years, I could probably spend another year on vocals and vocal arrangements.”  Rather than risk overproducing the harmonies for a perceived audience, he carved his own path.

“Not to overuse a phrase, but less is more,” he continued.

The instrumentation is not overwhelming, and that works to its benefit at almost every turn.  This leaves plenty of room for lush harmonies to accompany the lead vocals.  New tracks like “San Simeon,” “California Feelin’,” and the title track do, indeed, sound at times like “the unfinished Beach Boys [songs] everyone has been wishing for.”  The covers operate on the opposite formula, being arranged and performed to fit on this record rather than to recreate their original sounds.  The best example is “Help Me, Rhonda,” about which Jardine says he wanted it “to feel like a blues classic.”

And it’s been forty-five years since it hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, so I suppose you can’t fault a guy for having another go-round with it…

“Don’t Fight the Sea” is clearly the standout track.  As Brian Wilson did with “Soul Searchin'” in 2004, Jardine went back to recordings from 1978 to allow Carl Wilson to posthumously participate in this track.  Thanks to a temporary cease-fire between former bandmates, “Don’t Fight the Sea” is the first true Beach Boys recording in… well, a long time.  Dennis is, sadly, the only notable absence.

“California Feelin'” is another excellent choice on Jardine’s part, a beautiful interpretation of this unreleased gem.  Likewise, his return to “A California Saga” is complemented nicely by the old but new track “Lookin’ Down the Coast” whose “historical point of view” (as Jardine describes it) conjures “Saga”‘s fellow Holland alum “The Trader.”

Having covered the sea, history, and the environment of California, A Postcard from California returns to one final thread at the end which ties the album together: driving.  “Drivin'” and “Honkin’ Down the Highway” are a nice pair, made nicer by the presence of Brian Wilson and America, the former with a nice crack at gas prices in the fadeout: “BP, you’re killin’ me, man.”  They are followed by “And I Always Will,” an album closer that returns to the stripped down arrangement of the second track; it is a straightforward piano-based love song, but one that resonates after the final note has faded.

Jardine hinted, “I’m going to have to [do a follow-up album].  There are too many things unfinished here.  They’re in progress.”

I’ll be listening.

“My Last Mistake” (Dan Auerbach Cover)

Originally posted 2009-02-16 19:42:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Dan Auerbach chords/lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another installment of “Chris Moore Monday.”  It is my priviledge and responsibility to start off each week right, usually with a selection that is in “new music” news.  I figure this is appropriate, since tomorrow is “New Music Tuesday” – what better role is there than to turn you on to great new music?

Okay, so tonight’s song is technically a week old…

Dan Auerbach is better known as one half of the blues rock music group the Black Keys.  The band formed in Ohio in 2001, and in less than a decade, they have accumulated an impressive resume — including opening for Beck and Radiohead, playing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman, and receiving accolades from Rolling Stone such as one of the “10 best acts of 2003.”  Although the band has not broken up, this year has found Dan Auerbach making a name for himself by releasing his very first solo album titled Keep It Hid.  I almost transcribed and played this, the title track, but I couldn’t resist “My Last Mistake,” the subsequent track.  Auerbach might agree with this choice of songs to record and play, as he performed “My Last Mistake” on the Friday, February 13th episode of Conan O’Brien.

So, you may be wondering how I heard of this release.  Well, aside from receiving a coupon for the first-week purchase in my favorite email each week — the Newbury Comics e-newsletter!! — I was tipped off to the release by someone who has his finger on the pulse of all things modern and alternative rock.  (So, thank you again, Geoff!)  He’s the same person who strongly suggested I check out the 2008 albums of Beck and Cold War Kids, both of which I would never have purchased on my own.

And I would have missed out!

Now, they’re not my favorite records of the year, by any means, but there are some killer songs that would have passed me by entirely.  So, hopefully I’ll continue to receive new rock music insight from Newbury Comics, Geoff, and who knows who else!

Speaking of new music, I constructed a fairly impressive “Albums of 2008” iTunes playlist.  It contains 341 songs, ranging from the Barenaked Ladies children’s album to Ben Folds’ album (which was certainly NOT kid-friendly!).  I hadn’t really listened to the playlist since the New Year, but I just turned it on yesterday and fell in love with it again.  I’m listening to it now, and even now, Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” just faded into Brian Wilson’s “Oxygen to the Brain.”  Where else can you find that sort of variety?!  I cling to my playlists and albums these days, as the popular media has only embraced an extremely small and profoundly unrepresentative sample of what modern rock music has to offer.  Take the aforementioned Coldplay, an overrated and — until recently, in this writer’s opinion — mediocre band.  Chris Martin and his band have received more Grammys than all of my favorite bands combined.  No kidding!  Meanwhile, Brian Wilson got a Rolling Stone article for his amazing 2008 album That Lucky Old Sun, and that was all.  I understand that he is older and there perhaps isn’t a market for his music, but I find it sad that more people couldn’t have been exposed to the bright, brilliant, and uplifting rock tunes that pour forth from that album.

Enough ranting for one day’s post…

As a final note, I finally picked up and watched the Sam Jones documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.  I had planned on watching it with Dana last night, but he hadn’t returned home, so I got ready to watch it alone.  Then, Mike texted and sounded interested.  So, before I knew it, Mike had arrived with apple juice and saltines (food for sick people — my personal choice is G2 and wheat toast!) and we cranked up the volume on the big screen.  What a great documentary — not only is the filmography reminiscent of Don’t Look Back, but Jeff Tweedy is looking very Dylan-esque.  Scruffy, bearing harmonica rack, singing poetic lyrics — what more could I ask for?  Also, he seems like he would be a difficult guy to live and/or work with.  But that being said, I like Jeff Tweedy a great deal, and it was really interesting to see him candidly in the studio.  And thanks to Dana and Mike for making last night an event in and of itself — when Jim returns from vacation, I just may have to join them for their late night sessions that I miss so much since I’ve become an “old man” with a wakeup time of 5 or 5:30am…

And now to tie this ALL together…

Wilco switched to Nonesuch records after the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot fiasco (the situation filmed and described in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart), and Dan Auerbach is also on the Nonesuch label.  So, as you see, it all comes full circle…

Don’t miss an all-new Jim Fusco Tuesday tomorrow.  Until then…

See you next session!

“Will It Grow” by Jakob Dylan – Chords, Lyrics, & How to Play

Originally posted 2010-03-13 23:20:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Will It Grow”
Jakob Dylan

Intro:  C#m

C#m                         A         E
I made a promise to not let go;
E              C#m                              B             A
Our tug of war has only made me want you more.
A               B                     E                 A
Steeped in hard luck and doomed to roam;
A               B                       C#m
My love is braver than you know.

My forefathers, they worked this land,
And I was schooled in the tyranny of nature’s plans.
Dressed in thunder, a cloud came round;
A                          B        E                C#m
In the shape of a lion, a hand came down.

A               E         A              E
Damn this valley, damn this cold.
E             B         A        C#m
Takes so long to let me know…
A                   E             A             E
It’s plant and reap and plow and sow,
E                        C#m
But tell me will it grow?

Dig my ditches in the golden sun;
I’d be robbing these trains if I could catch me one.
Sunday, Monday, now Tuesday’s gone…
Got me stone cold sober in a drought so long.

Boarded mansions and ghost filled yards;
There’s a boy in a water tower counting cars.
Steel traps open and empty stalls;
There’s a well-worn saddle, but the horse is gone.

Damn this valley, damn this cold.
Takes so long to let me know…
It’s plant and reap and plow and sow,
But tell me will it grow?

Jet black starlit midnight rolls;
I am down in the garden where I let you go.
Here on the surface, the earth looks round,
But it’s a Godless city of cold flat ground.

Damn this valley, damn this cold.
Takes so long to let me know…
It’s plant and reap and plow and sow,
But tell me will it grow?

C#m  C#m – B – E – B – A
Will it grow?…
A       C#m – B – E – B – A
Will it grow?…
A       C#m – B – E – B – A
Will it grow?…

Outro:  C#m