“Sloop John B” (Beach Boys cover)

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco! I went back to the Beach Boys cover songs well again for today’s video, but in a unique twist, this is one everyone’s heard of! Don’t worry, I’ll be back next time with a really obscure one. But, that one, along with “Sloop John B”, fits the theme of this season’s Laptop Sessions cover song music videos: songs that my kids love. You seem, there’s no Raffia playing in my house- my children listen to oldies songs just like their dear old dad. And they like them and request that I play them over and over again! So, I figured I should record these videos because my little Angie likes to watch them when we’re having our book reading time together before bed. It’s truly a joy to spend that time with her and I hope it never ends.

Today’s video is actually for my son, Jonny. I got him a copy of Al Jardine’s children’s book adaptation of “Sloop John B”, which is the Beach Boys’ adaptation of the Kingston Trio’s adaptation of a traditional folk song. Got that? 🙂 Anyway, the book is similar to the song, but has adapted lyrics that don’t include getting drunk and getting into a fist fight with a sea captain. It’s a cute book and I know Jonny likes the song. So, I figured I should give this one a try.

Now, I’ve been trying to take “big” songs with a lot of production and strip them down to a simple one-person acoustic. However, that’s kind of tough to do when the original song was a sea shanty that was sung by one person with an acoustic guitar. So, I took things a step further and adapted Brian Wilson’s arrangement that he did for the Beach Boys (at the behest of Alan Jardine) that ended up on the Pet Sounds album (and the biggest hit from that album, ahead of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “God Only Knows” and “Caroline, No”).

So, this is a pared-down version of the Beach Boys’ masterpiece, with just me and my Martin MMV acoustic guitar. You’ll notice that this was still during the “quarantine hair” phase, as well. At the time I actually didn’t think it looked ridiculous, which is why I recorded these videos then. Wow, was I wrong! But, the performance came out nicely and I’m happy to present one of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits for you here on the music blog, which is the ultimate source for acoustic songs.

Stay tuned, as I will continue bringing you new videos here on The Laptop Sessions, which is now in its 14th year. I hope you enjoy “Sloop John B” and we’ll see you soon!

“You Won’t Have To Cry” (Byrds cover)

Another week and another new Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video for you here on the best (and probably only) cover songs blog ever! Today, I continue two different ongoing series: “The quarantine hair sessions” (in which my hair looks particularly ridiculous this time) and the “My kids’ favorite songs sessions”.

Yes, “You Won’t Have To Cry” is a favorite of my Angelina Rose, who is two years old. Every time she cries (again, she’s two, so this is a common occurrence) I pick her up and I sing her this song. She asks me to sing it for her (something my son never really did- he never asked me to play or sing songs to him and would rather do it on his own!) and loves watching my other videos so I figured I’d make a video of this song for her to add to the repertoire. Her current favorite Laptop Sessions videos include “Sorry Again” (which she calls “The Captain song” because Captain Feathersword of the Wiggles sings it!) and “Do You Wanna Dance?”. She also insists on hearing the song I wrote for her (which she calls “the Angie Rose song”) on a daily basis.

“You Won’t Have To Cry” is one of the earliest Byrds songs, which was workshopped during the Preflyte sessions before they hit it big with Columbia Records and “Mr. Tambourine Man”. This is a classic Clark-McGuinn composition and I just love those opening chords. There’s actually a second guitar playing a different part, as it’s McGuinn on his 12-string electric Rickenbacker (which I weighed using for this cut but decided against because I wouldn’t be playing McGuinn’s picking part anyway) and Crosby’s rhythm. I chose to go with the chord shape I used in this video because it sounded the most full when playing it solo on acoustic (cue my father saying, “Solo you can’t hear it”).

This song is also a duet with Gene Clark and David Crosby (who does some great high notes) singing together. I thought it would be interesting to sing this by myself because that’s how I sing it to Angie in her rocking chair each evening before bed. And, because I’m clearly obsessed with these kids and love the fact that my daughter likes her father’s music, I’m pretty much sticking with what makes them happy for a while. I also, though, hope it makes you happy, too! I’m over 2,000,000 views on my YouTube account now and have been doing so much work fixing the blog, creating title cards for all my old videos, redoing all the keyword tags, and so much more that my daily views have doubled in the past three weeks. Not bad. But, there’s still plenty of work to do if I’m going to get back to (and over) the 1,200 views per day I had at the peak of the series. Maybe if I cut my hair people will want to watch these videos more… 🙂