“You Can Do Magic” (America Cover) – The Traveling Acai Berries

Originally posted 2009-10-07 00:58:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

I was so disappointed to find that Monday’s video wasn’t a Beatles song- myself and my fellow Acai Berries had an all-new Beatles video ready to go to keep the streak alive, but now I guess I’ll save it until next week.  It’s a cool one, too, so be sure to check back!

Onto tonight’s video:

“You Can Do Magic” is one of those songs that I didn’t need to convince Becky to like.  This was a Top 5 Billboard hit for America in the mid eighties and was their last big hit to date.  Of course, they didn’t write this song and, if my memory serves me from reading the America Box Set liner notes like seven years ago, they didn’t play any of the instruments on it, either.  The writer of the song basically wrote it for the members of America (namely Gerry Beckley, whose “unique” voice actually works pretty great on this song) to sing and had the whole thing ready.  All Beckley and Bunnell had to do was overdub some vocals.  The guitar solo part in the beginning does sound like Beckley’s style, so maybe it’s him on that part…

That first guitar part was something I tinkered with before going to our recording session last week.  But then Steve came in and said, “Hey Jim, how about this over the beginning chords,” and busted out a great part on the 12-string Gibson that blew me away.  So, out went my dinky solo on regular acoustic and in came Steve’s jangly solo on the 12-string.  You can even hear Chris C. playing in the background (he’s actually on camera during next week’s video) if you turn it up, as he was picking the bass parts (an octave higher) on his mandolin.

Let me take this opportunity to say that I’ll finally admit that a Martin guitar is probably worth the extra money.  Every time I pick up Steve’s guitar, I’m just in awe of how clean and clear it sounds.  The low strings are especially crisp and it stays in near-perfect tune, too.  They make a new all-wood version for around $999 (the company cited the recession as a reason to make an “affordable” guitar), but it’s probably going to be quite some time before I can justify purchasing that.  Could be a nice Christmas present from Becky…for the next ten years…

And how about Steve’s vocals?  He did a great job backing me up on this song- again, it’s like singing with my father or my brother.  They already know the parts and just sometimes ask for me to clarify something.  It’s not like I have to teach them the part- it just sorta comes naturally.  What a breath of fresh air.  It’s one of the big reasons (besides his ability to pick up chord changes by ear) why we can bust-out two videos during a recording session.  And Chris C. can sight-read.  One take and he’s ready to go.  My vocals, even though I don’t like to point these things out, were a bit weak, as this take was done after two solid hours of playing and singing.  Earlier takes (done in the first half-hour) were much stronger on my part- my voice was just tired at this point.

And, we get a rare glimpse of Steve on camera this week!!  Don’t get used to it- you don’t see him at all in next week’s video! :-)

I hope you enjoy this classic America tune.  Of course, I’ll be back next week with another Traveling Acai Berries video, so come on back.  But, while you’re at it, remember that we post every Monday and Thursday, as well!  I, for one, love to keep up with the posts and I’ve read every single one.  It’s great to check your email (remember to subscribe to the blog- click the links on the sidebar to the left) and get a fresh new post/video three times a week!  Plus, check out our past videos, as they’re just as good as the new ones (I sound like one of those annoying AT&T Rollover Minutes commercials) and even if you started today, you’d have well over a year of quality entertainment at your fingertips.

On the personal front, this has been a good week of getting stuff done- painting over the weekend and securing a renter for our place (!!!!) was followed by delivering the lighting to our new house, which we got a mini tour of today.  It looks amazing (we have trim around the windows, which is a novelty that we didn’t have in the condo) and it’s really coming together.  I can’t believe it’s about three weeks away…

Until next week, enjoy tonight’s video and enjoy Jeff’s video on Thursday!  It’s sure to please- talk to you then!

“A Day in the Life” (Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2009-09-29 23:44:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Actually posting on Tuesday night for once!  Well, there’s only one word to describe tonight’s acoustic cover song music video: ambitious!

Tonight, myself and my fellow Traveling Acai Berries, Steve and Chris, bring you another Beatles cover song, “A Day in the Life”, the masterpiece final song off of the masterpiece album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.  This song is filled with great piano playing, wonderfully crafted lyrics, and a multi-part structure that rivaled the type of “three minute masterpieces” Brian Wilson was producing at the time.

But, we give you the song in its purest form- myself singing John and Paul’s lead vocals, Steve backing my (actually his) acoustic 6-string up with our colleague Noreen’s wonderful 1967 Gibson 12-string guitar, and Chris on his signature mandolin.  Steve and I couldn’t believe how great this sounded acoustically- we just know the songs so well that we remember the little nuances.  Steve plays some stuff on guitar that I always leave out because I think, “Eh, no one remembers that little thing”- and now we finally have those parts!  And, this is only the second time Chris ever took a look at the music to this song- incredible.

I was lucky enough to sing both sections of the song.  Isn’t it great how you get a typical “day in the life” of both John and Paul?  Very interesting how they looked at a typical day.  I prefer John’s method of telling the story, as he puts such an interesting humor on reading bad news in the paper, seeing a war movie, etc.  Paul, on the other hand, gives glimpses as to what songwriting subjects he would touch-upon after leaving the Beatles (doesn’t the middle section of “A Day in the Life” remind you of “Another Day”?).

Now, since Chris Moore beat us to the punch on “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”, which we were preparing an AWESOME version of (complete with recorder solo at the end), we’ll have to save that potential video as a “bonus” video one of these days.  Why?  Because every day is another cover song you haven’t heard before on the Laptop Sessions blog!

Tonight is a very, very important night for the blog and one that I’ve personally longed for over these past two years.  Tonight, we FINALLY match the number of “Wallflowers” posts with Beatles posts!!!  Can you even believe that?  20 posts about the Wallflowers (that had two mild radio hits) and it took us this long (and basically a whole month’s worth of Beatles posts) to match it.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy our rendition of “A Day in the Life”.  Hopefully, we can get the band together this Friday for some recording again- Steve and I have perfected an America song (I’ll let you ponder which one) and we’ve been practicing some more Beatles tunes (like “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl”, which could really use another vocalist, DAD, hint, hint…) and other ones from the Eagles and Rod Stewart.

So, stay tuned to the blog- we’ve got some exciting times ahead.  One more month ’till move-in date for us, as long as everything goes smoothly!  Have a great week and make sure to stop-back for Jeff’s Thumpin’ Thursday in just a couple days!