“Elderberry Wine’ by Elton John (Cover)


By Jim Fusco:

Welcome once again to a brand-new edition of The Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!  It’s been quite a while- since this past Christmas, in fact, and I’m finally back with a set of new videos.  Since my last video about four months ago was an Elton John cover song, I figured it was appropriate to come back with another one!  This one is non holiday-themed, however, in “Elderberry Wine”.

“Elderberry Wine” is off of the “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player” album.  I have been in such an Elton John phase lately and have listened to many of his early albums.  I have plenty of favorites and plan on bringing more to you, too.  I always had a different view of Elton John: I only knew the hits and they were taken out of context.  In a way, I wasn’t a big fan because some of Elton’s big hits are kind of dated at this point.  But, I also didn’t hear them overplayed when they came out, which is similar to how much I loved Wings when I first listened to their Best Of in 2002.  I hear these songs that most other people already know (like “Elderberry Wine”, for instance) and I fall in love with them.  They just don’t come with the same stigma as they did in the 70s when they first came out.  I used to love “Another Day” by Wings.  Of course, even I can admit that it’s not that great of a song, but again, I didn’t hear it on the radio in the early 70s with all of my friends telling me how much it sucked. 🙂  The same goes for many Elton John songs, including “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Rocket Man”- those are GREAT songs!  Even “Benny & the Jets” is an amazing song, especially considering how innovative it was for the time.  That beat and the sounds he used may be dated now, but when I hear it, I hear innovation.

So, I’ve been really into early Elton John albums, my favorite being “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.  That album is amazing and has everything.  But “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player” is pretty good, too!  Fun fact: the title of the album was actually a quip from Elton John to none other than Groucho Marx!  That’s why there’s a movie poster on the cover of the album from the Marx Brothers’ “Go West”.

This song isn’t exactly the hardest song to play, but it certainly took me plenty of takes.  I must’ve been rusty.  I really wanted to make this comeback a memorable one, so I kept trying to get the perfect take.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone knows how much effort goes into each one of these videos- I really don’t just sit down and produce them for the heck of it.  I want to make something I’m consistently proud of.  Remember the old “Laptop Sessions” mantra: “We put an end to bad cover songs forever!”  Well, at least I’m trying to…

Finally, you’ll notice my new surroundings.  Part of the reason why I’ve been absent is because we had a 400 square foot addition put into our house by finishing our above-ground basement.  It came out GREAT and is a man cave for the ages, complete with all of my guitars, drums, a 58″ tv, and a computer room, which I’m sitting in during this video.  It’s been a lot of work over the past few months, but it’s so rewarding to see it all done now.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s video of “Elderberry Wine” by Elton John and come back in two weeks for another new edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!

“Step Into Christmas” (Elton John Christmas Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Christmas 2010 edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  I couldn’t let the Christmas Season go by without presenting a cover song music video for you, so I present Elton John’s Christmas classic “Step Into Christmas”.

You know, growing up, I never loved this song.  I think my father wasn’t a huge fan of it, so that tainted my view.  But, as time went on (and I became a bigger Elton John fan) I realized that this is a pretty great tune.  In it, Elton says, “I’d like to thank you for the year.”  Obviously, he’s talking to his many fans and I’d like to do the same: THANK YOU for another great year here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!  In the past year, I’ve seen the term “Laptop Sessions” come up as a search suggestion in Google.  That’s pretty cool and means that plenty of people have been searching for this site!  Also, I’m only a few days away from reaching 800,000 YouTube views- 80% of the way towards my ultimate goal of a million!  I have had renewed ambition lately to promote the Laptop Sessions blog and my YouTube videos, so I hope I keep it going- my goal is to reach a million YouTube views sometime in 2011- hopefully the first half!

A funny note about “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John: the chorus always seemed odd to me.  I, for the first 26 years of my life, always thought he said, “Eat in the evening, come along with me.”  I thought that was such a stupid line!  I mean, Bernie Taupin couldn’t think of anything else you could do at Christmas other than eating in the evening??  Well, I decided that I should find out for sure if that was the line- turns out I was wrong.  He really says, “Eat, drink, and be merry; come along with me.”  Wow- I was WAY off!  Well, to be fair, I don’t think I ever would’ve guessed that- how did they fit those words into that short of a time-span?  Well, I figured it out and included it in my song.  I’m glad I did- there’s been a few Laptop Sessions cover songs videos where I sang incorrect words because I thought I knew them.  They’ve always haunted me.  For instance, on Brian Wilson’s “Live Let Live” video, I sang, “Pure Pacific, just as sure as the sky.”  I had no idea what that meant, but since Van Dyke Parks wrote the lyrics, I figured I shouldn’t ask questions.  Well, I did decide to ask questions, and it turns out the line is, “Blue Pacific, as azure as the sky.”  Ohhhhh, THAT’S what he said!  Brian has gotten a tad bit of a slur in his later years, and “as azure as” is hard enough to say anyway!  So, I botched that line.  I’ve never been proud of that video as a result.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Christmas!!  I’ll be back right before New Year’s with another video, but I happy I got in this Christmas cover song today.  This year, I’m hoping to have one of the most memorable Christmases ever and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it after the big day comes.  I can’t believe it’s just a week away!  Until then- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Two for the price of one sale today on Jim Fusco videos, as our internet was down on Tuesday, preventing me from posting my all-new acoustic cover song video!  Tonight, I bring you another new artist to the music blog in Elton John.  INCREDIBLE that we haven’t done a song by him yet- ten Pearl Jam songs and not one from EJ?  Yikes!

Anyway, tonight’s song is one that I knew only a certain section of before I truly learned it for my acoustic video.  I knew the “Ah…” part in the song because it’s so catchy.  I must’ve heard it on the radio a bunch of times and that’s what I took away from it.  Listening to the entire song and really paying attention, I noticed that this is truly a great recording.  I LOVE the guitar that come in on the chorus, playing these electric guitar arpeggiated notes.  Heaven!

There’s also some great backing vocals going on during the song- it creates such a lush sound and everyone knows how I love a good backing vocal choir!  My roommate Dana helped me out tonight, as this turned out to be one of his favorite songs- he knew every word and helped me out a TON when it came to the inflection on the singing, especially on the choruses.

This song wasn’t an easy one to play or sing.  But then again, isn’t that what the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog is all about?  We don’t take the easy way out, folks- we challenge ourselves on a daily basis.  Chris, Jeff, and I have held-off playing certain songs for months because we wanted to perfect them.   I still have to hear it from my father every week that I haven’t done “Here Comes the Sun” or “God Only Knows” yet.  But, for those songs, you need to perfect them before debuting them to the world.  And that’s what I plan on doing.

You should’ve seen Dana’s eyes when I told him I was covering this song on acoustic guitar.  I proceeded to tell him, however, that the videos I get the most views on are the ones where people go, “Wait, someone did that song on GUITAR?  I gotta see this.”  Everyone always goes in so skeptical (I get a lot of messages saying, “I thought this would suck, but I was pleasantly surprised!”) and I can understand why- I mean, look at the 99.999% of YouTube cover videos out there that truly do STINK.  But, as we said a long time ago here on the music blog, the goal of the Laptop Sessions is to put an end to bad YouTube covers forever!

I hope you enjoy my rendition- I practiced it about twenty times and made sure everything was correct.  I’m happy to debut Elton John’s music here on the music video blog and hope that Chris and Jeff will decide to tackle some of his songs in the future.  But if I hear Chris singing “Candle in the Wind”, I may have to break his acoustic guitar. 🙂  Until…well…next post…a couple minutes from now…have a great one!