“Stand By Me” (Ben E. King and/or John Lennon Cover)

Originally posted 2009-10-27 22:20:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!  Tonight, I bring you the classic standard “Stand By Me”, made famous by Ben E. King and then covered by John Lennon years later.  And, no, I did not base my pick tonight on the cheesy movie we watched while growing up…

Tonight, as it has been in the past with a couple other songs, the version of “Stand By Me” that plays in my head is a combination of the John Lennon version and the Ben E. King version.  I hear the music to the Ben E. King version but John Lennon’s voice.  It’s probably because Lennon did such a spot-on cover.  Man, watching this video of John performing “Stand By Me” just makes me wish he were still alive to make music today.  I know he would’ve still been great today and that he would be coming out with the kind of music that Paul and Ringo are coming out with now (not to mention the great stuff George did before he passed-away).

Anyway, I’ve known this song for as long as I can remember- just listening to the radio growing up.  Then, while jamming with the Acai Berries a few weeks ago, we happened upon this tune and were going to do a cover video ourselves.  But, I figured I could just do it on my own because it doesn’t require another singer or really any other instrumentation (unless you want to be a purist and have someone play the riff constantly in the background).

As much as I don’t like the fact that my studio is gone, I’m really happy with the acoustics I’ve been getting!  You know, it’s terrible to have so much echo and reverb when recording a multi-track song, but it’s the greatest thing ever when recording a solo acoustic video like this.  On another note, I’m trying to justify purchasing an HDV video camera for two reasons: to play the high definition video tapes of our wedding into the computer for editing, and the prospect of having the Laptop Sessions in high definition!  How cool would that be?  We’re getting faster internet next week, too, so my uploads wouldn’t be too painful.  I’m watching an auction on eBay- let’s see what the Mrs. has to say…

We just found out this evening that we are CLEAR TO CLOSE on the house this Friday- right on schedule!  It was a rough ride getting to this point, but everything is finally ni place and we’re hoping that we’re all moved in and set up by end-of-day Saturday.  We bought all new furniture, hired movers, boxed everything up, got the condo rented- what a project.  The best part is that we’re doing it all at once and (hopefully) that’ll mean it will be DONE all at once, you know?  I hate stringing things out.  So, this weekend will be very busy.  But, hopefully things will be stable enough that I’ll be back with a fresh new video next Tuesday!  Then, the Acai Berries are getting back together to record some more tracks- we’ve got a TON of songs in mind, but we’re ready to do about four of them, so stay-tuned.

Have a great week (make sure to stop back on Thursday for Jeff’s post!) and please, please, please wish us luck with our crazy weekend ahead.  It promises to be one of the most important weekends of our lives!  Until Tuesday…



Ask the Musician: “Do You Record Video & Audio Together on Your Acoustic Music Videos?”

Originally posted 2009-01-30 01:07:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, back earlier than expected for another edition of “Ask the Musician” with me, Jim Fusco!  If you’ve never seen this column before, let me give you a brief introduction.  I’m Jim Fusco of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs and original music video series on YouTube and on our blog here at LaptopSessions.com.  Every day, I get thousands of views on my cover songs and original music videos on YouTube.  With that popularity comes some great questions from people all around the world.  They want to know technical questions, music theory, and other great general music tidbits.  I’ve completely submerged myself into making music these past few years and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned- hundreds and hundreds of hours reading, researching, playing, writing, singing, and recording.  I’m glad to answer these questions here on “Ask the Musician”!

Tonight, we have an email from christianamagic on YouTube.  She writes:

Hi.  Just wanna ask. So when you record song, do you only record the audio? or record both audio and video??
and what did you use to edit it all together? Thanks

Well, that’s a good question.  She’s asking about the acoustic music videos I perform on YouTube.  You know, sometimes I’ve considered going back and recording the audio over the video to make a better take, but I can never bring myself to do it.  To answer your question: I record the audio and video at the same time!

That’s not to say that I don’t have to tinker with it sometimes.  I remember on a Ben Folds song, “Time”, I recorded the video with the microphone facing backwards!  So, you could hear a LOT of piano and a little of my voice.  Well, I had recorded this in a remote location, so I couldn’t go back and re-record the video.  My solution was to work some EQ magic.  I brought out the vocals in the mix.  It’s not perfect, but it made due for the video.  I guess I could’ve gone back and re-did the audio, but believe me, that would be much more of a burden than it seems.  Imagine syncing the vocals up perfectly to a live performance like that?

For hardware, I use a ZOOM H2 microphone that plugs into USB.  This thing is great.  I used to use the built-in microphone on my Macbook laptop.  It’s actually a pretty decent condenser microphone, but my computer’s fan would run so much (and SO loudly), that I had to think of a better solution.  Sometimes, you’d hear more fan than song!  So now, I keep the microphone close to me (and only turn the front mics on as to not hear the fan noise behind it) and record on the laptop.  For ease of production, I use iMovie to edit the video and audio.  If I didn’t do so many videos, I might use Final Cut Pro, but even still, it’s nice to have a simple solution to get the song out there in a nice neat package.

I hope this helps and answers your question.  Just like Peter Griffin’s advice on Family Guy is “To grow a beard,” my advice to you here is, “To get a Mac!”  It’ll make your life a lot easier when putting music videos on YouTube.

Submit your question to [email protected] and comment below to tell us how you record your videos!


“Searching For A Heart” (Warren Zevon Cover)

Originally posted 2008-10-18 23:47:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

**I hit 120,000 YouTube video views today!  It’s another milestone and another testament to the popularity and success of the Laptop Sessions!**

Sorry for the late post tonight, but the video has been up on YouTube now for over 24 hours.  I had to record the video late last night and publish it because I had a very, very busy day today.  At least it wasn’t work!  I had my usual “Luncho Marx”, followed by a trip to Becky’s house, a trip to my cousin Louie’s house, a trip to get my cousin Sarah (and see my cousin Gerry, of course), and then finally a trip up to Mohegan Sun casino for shopping, gambling, and a concert with one of my favorite bands: America!  I got to get a t-shirt signed by Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley- always exciting!

I had fun playing on the new Star Trek slot machines, but not nearly as much fun as Chris “I win at everything I try except for PS2 baseball” Moore, who won big.  I then had the task of dropping everyone off and am finally home.  We had a great dinner tonight, too, at Sol Toro restaurant, which is a great authentic Mexican place.  They have the best guacamole you’ll ever taste.  The lime and the cilantro made it for me.

Tonight’s song is a great, albeit sad, one from Warren Zevon.  Unless you’re a fan of his “Best Of” compilations and some of his albums, you’ve probably never heard of this song.  It’s my favorite from him.  I truly only listened to the “Best Of” CD, but I listened to it a lot.  This song stood out the most.

One thing that I DON’T like about the song is one line in the chorus.  He says, “Searching for a heart…searching everyone…they say love conquers all…you can’t start it like a *****…you can’t stop it with a gun.”

Okay, I bleeped out the word (don’t worry- it’s not a swear).  Now, you would think by reading that line that the words “everyone” and “gun” would rhyme.  They do!  Now, that would leave the other two lines to rhyme: “conquers all” and the word in asterisks.

For me, I always thought that word was “call”.  The idea I had was that love isn’t just something you can start up instantly like making a phone call.  “Call” rhymes with “all”, so I thought it made sense.

As usual, I’m wrong, but I can’t understand why.

Instead, Zevon says, “You can’t start it like a car”.  Same sentiment as mine, right?  You can’t just turn love on like a light switch…or like starting a car…or like picking up the phone.

But it doesn’t rhyme!  Since when does “all” rhyme with “car”?  So, when I found that out, I was a little disappointed.  But, it doesn’t take away the fact that I love this song and that it’s got a great message to it.  Yes, I may have rhymed differently, but no one ever said Zevon was an “ordinary” guy like I’d like to think I am when it comes to matters like this.

Okay, I think I’m making less and less sense now, seeing that it’s 4 am.  It’s time for bed and I have to just pray that tomorrow’s lunch meeting (our usual Burger King lunch today was halted by the fact that they LITERALLY had a sign on the door that read, “No beef or grilled chicken”) doesn’t begin with a call from Stuffy D. Bear at 10:30 am saying, “I’m hungry” over and over again! :-)  See you folks on Tuesday for another great acoustic cover song from yours truly, Jim Fusco.



“Odds and Ends” by Bob Dylan – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

Originally posted 2009-04-27 19:28:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For the cover song music video, CLICK HERE!

“Odds and Ends”
Bob Dylan

A  A7
I plan it all and I take my place;
You break your promise all over the place.
A7   D7
You promised to love me, but what do I see?
A7
Just you comin’ and spillin’ juice over me.

E7
Odds and ends, odds and ends…
A (no chord)
Lost time is not found again.

E7 – A

Now, you take your file and you bend my head;
I never can remember anything that you have said.
You promised to love me, but what do I know?
You’re always spillin’ juice on me like you got some place to go.

Odds and ends, odds and ends…
Lost time is not found again.

Now, I’ve had enough; my box is clean.
You know what I’m sayin’ and you know what I mean.
From now on, you best get on someone else,
And while you’re doin’ it, keep that juice to yourself.

Odds and ends, odds and ends…
Lost time is not found again.

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **