Hello everyone! We begin week number two of free Christmas songs with another favorite of mine: “The Man With All The Toys” by the Beach Boys. It sounds like a simple song on the surface, but there are some cool changes that Brian Wilson created for the chords. The vocals, especially the cool “low harmonies” on the bridges, are difficult and really cool.
I tried to stay as close as possible to the original with the instruments, too. I used my Fender Stratocaster on the neck pickup, just like Carl and Al did on the original recording. For the lead guitar part, I actually had to re-record it because I didn’t originally put the echo effect on it, like the original had. I also ended up recording two bass lines with slightly different sounds. If you listen on headphones, you can hear one in each ear. I never knew that there were two bass lines recorded for this song, but that’s how they got that cool “oomph” to the recording. As always, the more I find out about the Beach Boys, the more I love them!
I hope this track adds to your enjoyment of the holidays (paraphrased from Christmas Vacation) and that you’ve taken the time to download the other seven tracks so far. Stay tuned, because tomorrow I bring you Day 9!
Back again for another edition of the Laptop Sessions, this time a first: with a band! Here with me are Chris Moore, Mike Fusco, and Cliff Huizenga- all members of the band Masters of the Universe (or MoU, as we call it). You can check out all of our original music on our website at http://jimfusco.com/albums.html! There, you’ll find everything we’ve ever recorded. And, it’s all free to listen to online before you buy. I can personally guarantee that the original songs you hear on MoU’s website are top-notch. There’s just something magical that happens when five creative people get together and make music. It’s like when the Traveling Wilburys were formed. They just all wanted to make music together and had a good time doing it.
Speaking of “good times”, you can clearly tell we’re having a ball singing “The Man With All The Toys”, originally played by the Beach Boys. MoU did a great live version in concert last year, so we wanted to reprise that with this live acoustic version in my basement studio. Cliff normally plays bass, but decided to provide only vocals for these sessions. But, you’ll hear his great bass playing abilities (plus Mike’s full drum set and guitar work) on MoU’s normal studio and live efforts. One interesting thing is that the live version MoU did of “The Man with All the Toys” for our Christmas album was actually in the wrong key! I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were actually singing the song a half-step higher than the Beach Boys did in 1964. We rectified that problem for this music video.
I’ve said it a million times before, but the Beach Boys Christmas Album is one of my favorite albums (Christmas or otherwise) of all time. It’s got such a great style and charm to it. The members of the Beach Boys sound so young and happy- it’s just a great album if you want to put a smile on your face. And, for the first side of the album, the Beach Boys themselves play all the instruments. So, you get a really special sound. The original songs, with the likes of “The Little Saint Nick” and “Santa’s Beard” have become hits, and “The Man With All The Toys” is no exception. It’s such a short song- it wasn’t until about 40 years later when Brian Wilson re-recorded this song (I guess a self-cover song of sorts) for his solo Christmas album, “What I Really Want for Christmas”, that he extended the tune by adding a rocking instrumental break. But, I’m happy with the sub-two minute original version, as well. It’s a little slice of musical heaven. Their voices were perfect on the vocal breaks and it’s really just a great holiday song.
I hope you enjoy tonight’s Beach Boys cover song and over the years, we’ll be bringing you many more Christmas songs here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!