By Jim Fusco:
Hello all! Here’s another song for the Laptop Sessions! This one is by request for an early Beach Boys tune called “Farmer’s Daughter”. It’s a pretty cute little song (only four chords!) made exponentially harder because of the fact that it’s ALL sung in falsetto! But, as Brian Wilson was about when he recorded this, I’m in my early 20s, so I think I hit the notes! I, for one, love the songs from the very early Beach Boys albums. It was definitely a different time. It was before the Beatles made it big in America and there was an innocence to the music. Of course, that’s why I love the music I love- I try not to listen to too many depressing songs. For instance, I was starting to get in to Elliot Smith’s music. But, as anyone who has heard of Elliot Smith knows, his songs are almost always dark and with an overtone of suicidal thoughts. Elliot was a great musician and songwriter. But, I could never become a huge fan because of the songs’ subject matter. Listing to music has always been a source of joy for me, so I’ve decided to stay in my happy pre-Vietnam music world, smiling all the way. 🙂
Although, I will admit, “Farmer’s Daughter” is a bit too “vanilla”, even for me. But, Brian Wilson sings it so sweetly and it works. In fact, many of the songs from their early albums are a bit embarrassing to listen to now. Remember “Chug a Lug”? Probably not- it’s not that memorable. But, basically, it’s about drinking beer…root beer! I’ve played that song for people over the years and it’s embarrassing every time I do. But for some reason, I really like that song. It’s just a song a bunch of teenage friends, brothers, and cousins wrote and sang together for fun. And their voices are so “cute” that you can’t help but smile while singing.
Speaking of SMiLE, I wonder if these early songs gave Brian Wilson some influence over his most notable work. He wanted SMiLE to be something fun- something that was brilliant, but also made you not take the music so seriously. He always seemed stuck in a child-like state. I wonder if he looked back on these early songs and thought, “Yeah, I’d like to get back to that fun again. How do I do that while still sounding cool, complex, and relevant?”
One other album I love so much (which you’ll see plenty of videos from here on the music blog) is the Beach Boys Christmas Album from 1964. It’s one of my absolute favorite albums of all time. Why? Well, it fits all the criteria I listed above! It’s great music with the wonderful innocence and happiness of Christmas built right in. Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face (musically) than their Christmas songs.
I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for many more updates to the Laptop Sessions Acoustic Cover Songs Music Video Blog in the coming days.