About Jim Fusco

Jim Fusco is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and all-around musician. Learn all about him and his creative works at http://jimfusco.com!

“Heart And Soul” (Huey Lewis and The News cover)

Hello and welcome to yet another episode of “The Laptop Sessions” here on the best cover songs music video blog ever created. Yep, I still think that’s the case, but if anyone wants to challenge it, get back to me in 14 years and we’ll talk. 🙂

Today, I bring you a great song in “Heart And Soul” by Huey Lewis and the News. No, this isn’t that simple piano song that people learn on day one of piano lessons. This is a rock’n’roll song that I tried to give the acoustic treatment. The song is from the Sports album from the early 80’s and that album is simply a classic. Every song is good and there are some all-time greats including “I Want A New Drug” and “The Heart of Rock’n’Roll”.

“Heart And Soul” has always been a favorite, as my family would listen to this album quite a bit in the 80’s when I was very young. It came back to mind when my brother Mike and I would jam with a friends of ours, Steve and Matt. We would think of all our favorite songs and this one came to mind. I came up with this guitar arrangement, as there really isn’t a guitar part for the verses. I loved the way it sounded so I’m thinking this is actually a unique arrangement I’m debuting here! I suppose I should do that more often but I’m always so concerned with trying to stay true to a song that I don’t deviate. Because of the lack of guitar part in the original recording, I had no choice but to make one up!

We made a recording of our cover version of “Heart And Soul” back in the day. I’ll post it one of these days. Basically we recorded the music as a live band in the studio and then I added a couple of extra instruments and all the vocals. It came out great and we did that for a few other songs, including “Moondance” by Van Morrison and “No Time” by the Guess Who. Steve still plays them for friends in the car as a showcase of how good they came out. 🙂

Huey Lewis and the News are so underrated- it’s crazy to me who certain bands could be so good and so popular, yet they don’t really get their “due”. They should be revered as one of the best bands of the 80’s, in no small part because of the fact that they were a true rock’n’roll band in a time when there weren’t many at all (The Cars, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers come to mind). They managed to keep their sound relevant to the times while not deviating from the rock sounds that made them great. I guess that’s the message in their song, “The Heart of Rock And Roll”, but even then, I remember reading somewhere that song was voted as one of the worst songs of all time. Whoever voted that clearly never heard “Mind Garden” by The Byrds…

I hope you enjoy this original arrangement (and cover version) of Huey Lewis and The News’ “Heart and Soul” here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog. I’ll be back soon with another video, so subscribe here and on YouTube and stay tuned!

New Music from Jim Fusco: “Nothing But Time”

My next new song for 2020 is “Nothing But Time”, a classic “Jim Fusco style” tune that encompasses a fleeting feeling I have from time to time about happiness. You see, when you’re younger you don’t have anything (like money) and all you really have is time. So, you work hard to get that money you lack, but then time starts to slip away. Take a normal day, minus 8 hours for sleep, 9 hours for work, two hours of cooking and cleaning, an hour for exercise and showering, and a couple hours of time with the kids, add-in some school work…and you’re left with nothing. You’ve successfully made your money, made those around you happy and kept up your end of the bargain as a spouse and a parent…but there’s no time for YOU! So, with that idea in mind, I ask the rhetorical question: am I happier now that I have all of these things or was I happier when I had nothing…but time? And I think I know the answer, but it still leaves me a bit nostalgic for those days when I could simply waste time. Of course, as I point out in the song, it’s a bit too soon for nostalgia, as those days when I had nothing but time were only a few years ago!

I don’t usually give the full background to a song when I post them, as I like the sentiment to speak for itself and not be tied to a specific event or feeling. But for this one I thought it might give the song a bit more context.

I’ve also implemented a new mastering technique for this track and I think I’ve finally found the settings I’ll go with from now on. I remastered the previous two songs (“You Don’t Know Me” and “Angelina Rose”) but you’ll have to wait to hear those when I finally compile all of these tracks into an album someday. I hope you enjoy my new song and I’d appreciate any comments and shares!

Personnel:

Jim Fusco: all instruments and vocals

Instruments:

  • Pearl Export EXL drums
  • Martin MMV acoustic guitar
  • Fender Deluxe Players Stratocaster slide electric guitar
  • Gibson Les Paul Traditional electric guitar
  • Epiphone Wildkat electric guitar
  • Fender Jazz bass
  • Electric guitars recorded through Mesa Boogie Cab Clone and Fender Excelsior Amplifier with Eminence speaker

“Believe” (Cher cover)

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco! It’s getting a bit lonely around here- I gotta start bugging the guys to post again. It’s funny how I didn’t post for five years…and I was thinking, “Why was it five years?” And then I realized that my son turns five this week- ah, that’ll do it!

Today, I bring you a song and an artist that I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted. It’s actually something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time- possibly a decade or more. But, I was never confident enough in the vocals to pull it off. Well, thanks to the coronavirusp-related lockdown and the fact that I haven’t gotten sick for months with my teacher wife and school-age kids at home, I’m in fine voice to finally give this one a try. And, you know what, I’m proud to say that I can sing as well as a 75-year-old woman!

Okay, that’s not really fair. I’d be willing to bet that many parts of Cher are actually YOUNGER than me! 🙂 I actually stole that joke from myself. I came up with a product promo for the fuel efficient Jeep Grand Cher-okee, for all of those who “believe in life” after high gas prices. And much like Cher, the car features a bunch of plastic parts tacked onto it…and a curly black wig.

Really, though, if we could all look like her in our 70s!! She looks better now than she did in the 1960’s! She can also belt out those songs without missing a beat, though I’ve always been opposed to the overused and ridiculous sounding autotune in this song. I’m okay with a little of the that autotune effect but I’m not a fan of the T-Pain classic 90’s sound. And that’s what this song (now dubbed the Cher-effect) has. So, what better tune to turn into an acoustic cover version, right? Strip away the auto-tune, the fake bass drum loop, and the warbly synthesizers and you’ve got, what I believe to be, a really great song. The message is a good one: I’m bummed that I lost you, but you know what, I was losing my faith but now I’m thinking that I’m too good for you!

The song is fairly easy to play, but I had to do some interesting capo positioning to make it easier to get the proper sound on that Fmaj7 chord. If you don’t know what that is, that’s the cool second chord you hear in the verses. There’s not a great inversion to play for that chord to make it sound like the original, so I had to throw a capo on to help me play that one chord only. It actually made the rest of the song more difficult to play, but it made that one chord easier, so I went with it. See, the more you know!

I think I may be one of the only guys to ever attempt this song acoustically. Or at the very least the only one who sings it in the original key! To me, this is one of those songs that has the potential of getting very popular on YouTube, thanks in part to its inclusion in that ridiculous Netflix movie with Will Farrell and Rachel McAdams, “Eurovision Song Contest: the Story of Fire Saga.”

I’m going to keep the Sessions coming for at least another couple of months this “season”- I can’t believe this is already my sixth video since coming back! I’m glad that the channel seems to have increased in popularity again and let’s hope it continues to do so. It’s been so much with my new set up, as I just flip a few switches, tune-up, and start playing. Just like those good ol’ days when I used to record on an actual laptop… 🙂

Take care of yourselves and we’ll see you next time!

“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!