“What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” (The Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Hello and welcome to a Valentine’s Day edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  Tonight, I bring you a great song by the Monkees in “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?”.  I’ve always loved this song, especially because of the great country-rock spin that Mike Nesmith put on it.  I was a little disappointed, though, to find out that he didn’t write it.  All these years I thought he did!

This is the final leftover video from last year’s recording sessions.  So, I guess it now means that I’m going to have to record some new videos this year!  I have a ton of ideas, it’s just about getting the time set aside to record them.  My ambition is growing, so that’s always a good thing!

I’ve always loved the songs that Mike Nesmith sang for the Monkees.  He is very similar to Gene Clark (of the Byrds) to me.  Nesmith was the first one who stopped touring with the Monkees, just like Clark.  And on future reunions, both Nesmith and Clark were the “flaky” ones that gave up on the projects before everyone else.  Their style of singing and musical styles are very similar, as well.  I consider them both pioneers in the “Southern Rock” category.  I think the most important similarity between the two musicians was their lack of recognition.  As everyone knows, the Monkees have never gotten the respect they deserved.  Everyone always just considered them a vocal band that did songs other people wrote.  That might have been true for a period of time, but it wasn’t necessarily their choice.  On albums like ‘Headquarters”, the members of the Monkees played almost all of the instruments.  And, Mike Nesmith was a very accomplished songwriter.  His song, “You Just May Be The One” is one of my Top 5 songs of all time!  And, Gene Clark, as great as he was, was never given the recognition he deserved, either.  He truly was one of the best rock songwriters of all time, claiming another one of my Top 5 favorite songs in “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”.

I think a main difference between Michael Nesmith and Gene Clark is how they went about dealing with their fame and lack of recognition.  Nesmith kind of receded into the background and many people didn’t hear much from him for a long time.  Gene Clark, however, kept pushing on, but let the disappointment he felt from not regaining his Byrds popularity get to him.  Nesmith is still around, playing the occasional tour and Gene Clark has been gone for about 20 years now.

One frustrating thing about Nesmith is that he didn’t go on the reunion tour with the Monkees while Davy Jones was still alive.  And now that Davy is gone, Nesmith decided to go back on tour with the other two guys!  I really wish he could’ve had some more foresight and went out with the whole original group in tact.  Now, I’ll never get to see all four together.

I hope you enjoy today’s acoustic cover version of “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round” by the Monkees here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  Stay tuned, because we have many more Guest Sessions and future new Laptop Sessions cover videos with me, Jim Fusco!

“The Girl I Knew Somewhere” (Monkees Cover)

This video was recorded a few weeks ago in my big Monkees phase, which was brought on by getting the deluxe edition of the Monkees album “Headquarters”.  While the album as a whole isn’t perfect (there are more than a couple throwaway tracks), there are some great band-written songs, especially those by Mike Nesmith.  Actually, this song is sung by drummer Mickey Dolenz, which I think is the right choice. One of the bonus tracks on the CD is the original sung by Nesmith, but it’s in a lower key and is nowhere near as upbeat. My second-favorite song of all time in “You Just May Be The One” is on this album.

I couldn’t get “The Girl I Knew Somewhere” out of my head.  I’ve known the song for so many years, but never knew how to play it.  So, I started by teaching myself that deceptively simple riff and then the whole song took off from there.

Tomorrow will truly be a day of mourning after Jeff’s imminent crushing Homerun Derby defeat at the hands of the future 3-time (in a row) champion, Jim Fusco.  I plan on doubling Jeff’s total…from all three prior games combined.

For now, enjoy this edition of the Laptop Sessions and this great Monkees acoustic cover song.  I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the next long-awaited Chris Moore cover song.  Maybe Chris will do Patsy Cline’s “I’m Sorry” to console Jeff…

“That Was Then, This Is Now” (Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Saturday dose of The Laptop Sessions, brought to you by me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I’m doing a fairly-unknown song that’s technically only by Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork, but billed as the Monkees. This song was on their first greatest hits CD in the late eighties and actually continues to make appearances on “Best Of” albums. I love this song and I’ve known it for many years now. Actually, the Monkees were my favorite band before I found out about the Beach Boys. I LOVED that Monkees Greatest Hits CD when I was like 4, and I find that I still love all the songs today.

They didn’t write this song, but in a few weeks, I’ll be putting another Monkees song that they did write (by Michael Nesmith) on https://laptopsessions.com .

We also did a radio show on our free internet radio station, WCJM Internet Radio at http://wcjm.com , called the “That Was Then, This Is Now” Show. This show not only featured this song, but also featured songs (and comedy skits) that give a look at bands both then and now.

I think this Session may fall under the same category that my most famous, “I’m So Lonely”, video falls under: the over-produced and way-too-eighties-sounding songs that I took and made into an acoustic song. These versions always tend to come out the best because you can just LISTEN to the real song and cut through the production.

That’s why I’m always a big fan of people that use production to make the song the best it can sound, but not just “make” the song. That’s why Brian Wilson is so great: he wrote (and writes) great songs, then uses the production to make them shine even better. But, they’d still be great songs without all the instrumentation, which is what I try to prove with these cover songs on the Laptop Sessions.

On a slightly different note, I think it’s obvious by now that we’re doing all of these cover songs because we’re songwriters and the only way we can think of people showing interest in our original music is to play other people’s songs right along with it. I figure, if you like the same songs I like and I write similar songs to the songs I like (in general, of course), you’ll like my music by the transitive property!

With that said, I hope you’re checking out our weekly “Original Wednesday” songs and going to my original music website at jimfusco.com. We have some pretty great stuff- we’re not looking to make a fortune, although we are looking for people to pay….attention!!

Thanks for watching today’s Laptop Session and stay tuned for Chris’ new song tomorrow!

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (The Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Friday edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I’m doing a great tune written by Neil Diamond, but performed by the Monkees, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”. Not only does this song have a great message (like “it’s not all my fault, but SOME of it is”), but has a catchy tune and chord progression.

Actually, it’s that classic 3-chord Neil Diamond style, just shifted up a few frets on a capo.

I hope you like my whistling solo in the middle there! 🙂

BIG things are happening at Fusco-Moore Productions and I hope you’ll visit the blog (and our newly completed other suite of websites) today!