Welcome to your Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco.
I promised a new Beach Boys video today, and even though it took me until 10:30 to do it, it’s finally here. Actually, this is one of the rare Sessions that was recorded the same day I’m posting it.
I’ve been practicing this song for weeks now, as I needed to make sure it was perfect before I did a video. “The Night Was So Young” is my favorite track off the Beach Boys “Love You” album and shows the great songwriting skills of Brian Wilson coupled with the singing of Carl Wilson.
I love the minimalist approach to the recorded version of this song- it’s great in contrast to the terribly-dated synth-sounds of most of the tracks. This song also doesn’t have that cheesiness factor that some of the others have. Although, this song does tell of Brian Wilson’s lonely trip to the sink to pour some milk at 3 am…
I hope you like this toned-down Session. We’re still chugging-along at one-a-day here in 2008. I’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to my brother, Mike, who’s 22 today. Hope you had a great one!!
Isn’t it about time? Tonight, I bring you- finally- a cover song of The Who, one of the world’s greatest all-time rock bands. This band defines the term “classic rock” and even though they’re only down to two members left in the band, they’re still rocking and making music today.
In our quest to cover every great band of all time, it pains me to think of some of the ones we still haven’t done yet. I’ll be premiering three of them in the next week alone, including tonight’s video. Can you believe we haven’t done Creedence Clearwater Revival or the Marshall Tucker Band yet, either? Well, coming up in my next two sessions, I’ll be doing a cover song from each band. I hope Chris and Jeff will hop on the bandwagon and help me with some of these famous bands we haven’t done yet, including Simon and Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, and Queen. I, of course, always have a few tricks up my sleeve…53 at last count, that is…
Onto tonight’s Laptop Session cover song video. The Who are an electric band for the most part, with roots from their “garage” band days in the mid-60s. Everyone, I think, kind of thinks of them as a 70s band, and maybe that’s why they’ve maintained their “cool” stature (kids today don’t feel nerdy walking around with a Who t-shirt on, but you NEVER see someone with, say, a Bobby Darin t-shirt on!). But, you can’t forget about their earlier songs, before the concept albums and the rock operas. I do respect them for that, but I wish the other band members did more than just write lyrics and an occasional song (“Boris the Spider”, anyone?).
“Behind Blue Eyes” was a perfect choice because it combines a soft acoustic part with a rocking section that translated well on Chris’ steel-string acoustic guitar. Sorry, the Italian nylon-string guitar had to take a break tonight! The only problem with doing this cover song video was the fact that I practiced it first, making the softer parts MUCH harder to sing. You see, while singing, you have two modes: the sweet mode and the rock-out mode. This song has both, but once you rock out, it’s hard to revert back to the sweet singing style. I think I made it by just fine, as I just played the guitar a bit softer to balance out the lack of power in my voice in those sections, ESPECIALLY after my throat-grinding middle section. This video may be even more rocking and voice-ruining than my video for Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”! Click here to view the video and make the judgement for yourself!
Lastly, I’m glad that I recorded this cover song music video after I’d recorded two more, because there was no way I was singing anything after THAT vocal performance! I’ve been practicing these songs for a couple of MONTHS now and making sure they’re perfect. Especially when I introduce a new band to the Laptop Sessions acoustic rock cover songs series, I want to make sure that I’m going to please all the new fans of that band we’re going to usher in. So, I think my full-hearted performance of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” should satisfy fans and have them coming back to the Laptop Sessions music video series for more! Enjoy!
Welcome to another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog. I can’t believe it’s been another week- here I am again to send a new cover song music video your way.
I realized I’ve only done one Beach Boys song so far in 2009 (and a quite unknown one, at that), so I decided to please the Beach Boys faithful (who’d have to be REALLY faithful to wait three months for another video) by doing a song everybody knows in “Do You Wanna Dance?”!
Originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman in the late 50’s, the Beach Boys version is very far removed from the original recording. Freeman’s version has a more bossonova feel to it and is a little slower-paced. Brian Wilson, clearly budding into an ambitious producer at the time, took the song and turned it pure mid-sixties rock and roll. It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at Nubmer 12, and was the highest charting record with Dennis Wilson on lead vocals.
This was a great song for Denny to sing- I love the Beach Boys version so much more because Brian gave Dennis a chance to sing on it. The production on the Beach Boys version is very Phil Spector influenced, so my acoustic cover version of it married the Beach Boys verison (in terms of style) without all the guitars, tympanies, etc.
I had to fight siging this song like Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, as in concert he’s the one who sings Dennis’ lead vocals. He sings much differently than Dennis normally would, so there’s different inflection to the words. I sing more like Bruce than Dennis, so I was inclined to sing the Bruce version- but stopped myself and tried to stay true to Denny’s original vocal style, raspy voice not included.
Right after “Do You Wanna Dance?” was released, the Beach Boys came out with one of their Number One singles in “Help Me Rhonda”, a great song. 1965 was an amazing year for music, but especially for groups like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. It was also the break-out year for the Byrds. The Beach Boys’ “Today” album has to be one of the best recordings ever, especially because it combines the happiness of earlier Beach Boys albums and (some of) the production value of later recordings like “Pet Sounds”.
I hope you enjoy my version of “Do You Wanna Dance?”. On a personal note, I’m scheduled to receive my copies of my new album, “Halfway There”, tomorrow on CD, but the release date still stands for April 7th. I hope you’re as excited as I am! When I get the CDs, I’m sure I’ll get ambitious and do a ton of promotion, so stay tuned! Have a great week- I’ll try to post an original, but I’m pretty tired, so we’ll see. Talk to you again soon!
This is a tough category. All of the songs on the my upcoming top fifty songs list have excellent vocals, many of which are standout performances. However, there are also songs that go unrecognized on the top fifty list that are notable for their outstanding vocals. Thus, as a rule, songs included in the top fifty list are not considered here.
I suppose you could consider this my way of sneaking in an extra ten songs that I didn’t find room for on my best songs list, but I hope you’ll consider it an additional category. These ten songs are great in their own rights, but especially by virtue of the excellence of their vocals. Some are smooth, some are rough; some are passionately outraged, some are tenderly heartfelt. Taken together, they’re the standout vocal performances of 2011:
1) “Something to Believe In” – Parachute (The Way It Was)
2) “Estate Sale Sign” – The Mountain Goats (All Eternals Deck)