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!

“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… 🙂

“She’s Got Rhythm” (The Beach Boys cover)

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions! It’s great to be back doing these songs again. I have so many that I want to record and they’ve been mostly successful so far. I’m even going back and remastering some of my old videos. My thought is this: I may lose the views that I had on the video before, but is anyone actually hanging around to watch these videos that look like they were recorded in the dark and inside an air conditioner? So, cleaning them up has been fairly easy to do and it seems to breathe some new life into them.

But today I bring you a new video in “She’s Got Rhythm”. This is the lead track off of the 1978 album, “M.I.U. Album”. This is one of the Beach Boys’ most panned albums, and for good reason. It’s so disjointed. Of course the songs aren’t bad (at least, in my opinion), but you could tell that Brian was fading away from his brief resurgence during the 15 Big Ones and Love You albums of the previous two years. The other members had a chance to add songs, but you didn’t get much input from Carl or Dennis on this one- you’d have to wait till 1979’s “L.A. (Light Album)”to hear more written by them. However, Dennis does get the lead on probably my favorite track on the album, “My Diane”. I don’t think I should cover that one, though- seems like it’s too personal and written for a very specific person for me to jump in.

So, I chose “She’s Got Rhythm” in keeping with one of the goals of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog. This song is done in a slightly disco style and would probably turn some people off, especially four decades later. So, I thought I’d give it the full acoustic treatment…but still keep the falsetto because, why not? I’d be really interested to hear from folks to see if this song translated well to acoustic guitar and vocals. It just popped into my head one day while playing some songs on piano with my daughter and I knew the chords before I even started playing. And you can tell Brian wasn’t in command of the session for the original track because it’s in the key of D. If he was there, you know this would be in C#…

I hope you enjoy today’s Laptop Sessions cover song video. I have a couple more Beach Boys songs in the can that I’ll debut over the next few weeks. It won’t be easy gaining fans back after letting the site go dormant for so long, but it’s been fun igniting this passion once again! Stay tuned to my YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/jimfusco – I’m uploading new and newly-remastered videos all the time!

“Goin’ Out Of My Head” (Little Anthony & The Imperials cover)

We love these kinds of days here at the Laptop Sessions cover songs blog – the days when we add a new artist to our canon! Today, I bring Little Anthony & The Imperials to the site and I couldn’t be happier to bring such an amazing song to our humble music video blog.

There’s a good story behind how I came to rediscover this song. You see, my wife and I fulfilled a decades-long dream by purchasing a Seeburg V200 jukebox from 1955. This thing is amazing and it’s one of most sought-after jukeboxes of the era due to the fact that it is the first jukebox to feature 200 selections (100 45 rpm records). This particular box was in a 50’s diner restaurant that we used to frequent and it was amazing to find the exact box for sale years after the restaurant closed. So, it had a lot of sentimental value in addition to its inherent value.

The box, thankfully, came loaded with 100 records. Most of these were good songs from the era, though I promptly got rid of “Achy Breaky Heart” as soon as I could find another 45 to replace it with. 🙂 When I went to pick up the box with my good friend Dana (and this was in the early days of the pandemic and the social distancing guidelines, so it was an odd time, for sure) I looked at the songs in the box and saw “Goin’ Out Of My Head” listed. The song popped into my head and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it as we drove it home. Somehow we got the 410 lb jukebox into the house (with the help of my friend Bob and my father in law, Jack) and plugged it in. Thankfully, the jukebox survived the trip and it was time to pick the first song. And, of course, I had to pick “Goin’ Out Of My Head”. It sounded so great coming out of those giant vacuum tubes and the big speakers built into the Seeburg V200. I then decided I needed to learn how to play it.

And you know, it’s a bit harder to play than it might seem- lots of major 7th chords in there that I’m not used to playing. But, I kept trying and was able to pick up the Telecaster and keep it on my lap during conference calls so I could go over the chords from time to time. I couldn’t believe it, but I got this video done on the first take (very rare). At the end, I was so surprised that I had to go back and watch it to make sure I didn’t mess anything up. I guess practice really does make perfect.

Thanks for stopping by the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog today and checking out “Goin’ Out Of My Head”. Hopefully I did the song justice. It’s so nice to be back working on my creative endeavors again and the goal is to find a nice balance where I can keep working on music while not taking away from family time. By the way, I’m almost at 2 million views on my YouTube channel, so I would appreciate if folks would go through some of my previous videos to get the channel over the top!

Oh, and yes, that’s my “haven’t had a haircut in three months” look. 🙂