“World Gone Wrong” (Traditional, Bob Dylan Cover)

For Bob Dylan chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of traditional folk songs. Most often, I’d rather hear original songs from the artist. No one really remembers Dylan’s first album, which was comprised of almost all covers of traditional songs; it was his second album and his original songs that were groundbreaking. But, in the end, it really isn’t a hard and fast rule. For instance, I love both Johnny Cash’s and the Band’s 1968 versions of “Long Black Veil,” and one of my favorite tracks on Johnny Cash’s posthumous A Hundred Highways album is the traditional “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” However, when Dylan came out with two back-to-back acoustic-only albums of traditional folk songs, it wasn’t an exception, at least in my opinion. They’re the only two albums of his that I never really got into.

That being said, there were two songs that I really did get into, both from 1994’s World Gone Wrong. Thus, I decided to cover the title track for today. (Seeing as how Bob Dylan is my most-covered artist here on the Laptop Sessions, I figured I wouldn’t feel so bad if I wasn’t technically covering another Dylan song…)

It seems like we can’t express it enough — the collaboration and the taking-turns schedule we’ve adopted this year works for so many reasons, not least of all that it helps us feel like we’re all in it together. I’m really excited for the release of the free “The Laptop Sessions: Volume One” mp3 download, coming later this month. It will, of course, remind me of how I really was the last one to hop aboard the Laptop Sessions train, though… (If memory serves, I think I posted one session out of the first fifteen.) That’s all the more reason to keep posting now!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for an all-new Laptop Session from Jeff!

The Weekend Review New Music Report: 2010 Edition

By Chris Moore:

In the past, before the Weekend Review was officially a segment on the Laptop Sessions blog and my articles had the oh-so-clever title of “Music Review” — and I know, I know, “the Weekend Review” isn’t all that much more clever — I have been accused of writing reviews that were positive to a fault.

This may well be true, as I have found it challenging these past couple years to define and refine my voice as a music critic who is also a singer/songwriter.  After all, it has been difficult to find a comfortable middle ground between praising music simply because someone labored over it and pointing out flaws to bring others down a notch.

Being an “amateur” has allowed me the opportunity and relative privacy to hone my craft.

I’ve come a long way from the every-so-often, knee-jerk nature of my early “CD Reviews,” articles that I typed and saved on my computer long before the Fusco-Moore Productions blog — now known as the Laptop Sessions blog — was launched.  I’ve also come a significant way since the aforementioned “Music Reviews.”  And, I’d like to think that I’ve progressed as a writer over the past year of “Weekend Reviews.”

So, this being my fifty-second and final Weekend Review of 2010, I decided to dedicate it to laying out a table of contents of sorts for the fifty-four reviews I’ve written this year (including “Yes, No, Maybe So?” one-sentence reviews).  They’re arranged below in descending order from my one five-star rating down to my handful of one-star reviews.

What it all amounts to is a lot of music from a diverse range of artists that run the genre gamut.  The one common denominator here, the one solid link between all subjects of the Weekend Review, is the presence of the singer/songwriter.  With the exception of a couple of cover song albums, these are albums of original music released in 2010.

The best I can offer as an overall statement for the year’s music is that this was, overall, an excellent year for new music.  The range tended to follow the bell curve (1 five star, 14 four stars, 23 three stars, 13 two stars, and 3 one stars), but this should not undercut the fact that there were fourteen very strong, interesting, entertaining albums released this year.

In all fairness, what the year was lacking was any albums that really blew everything else out of the water.  Although several have argued this point with me, I do not hesitate a moment to give All in Good Time (BnL) the full five-star nod.  That being said, I do not consider it their best album, not by a long shot.

So, where does that leave us?

In my opinion, it leaves 2010 as a very strong year with at least fifteen strong reasons to buy new albums, but it also leaves a gap for those attuned to and awaiting the next, best classic albums for the ages.

I hope you’ll check back for my final post (at least for a while) on the blog tomorrow and that you’ll consider checking some of these albums out while they’re still available on the ever-increasingly trend- and contempo-centric CD shelves.

54 New Albums, 2010: Arranged in descending order of star ranking (out of 5).

All in Good Time (Barenaked Ladies) – 5 stars
Bad Books (Bad Books) – 4.5 stars
Be in Love (Locksley) – 4 stars
Broken Bells (Broken Bells) – 4 stars
Heaven is Whenever (The Hold Steady) – 4 stars
Kaleidoscope Heart (Sara Bareilles) – 4 stars
Lonely Avenue (Ben Folds & Nick Hornby) – 4 stars
Mines (Menomena) – 4 stars
Mojo (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – 4 stars (4.5 w/o “Candy” & “Takin’ My Time”)
Night Work – (Scissor Sisters) – 4 stars
Sea of Cowards (The Dead Weather) – 4 stars
Suburba – House of Heroes – 4 stars
The Grand Theatre Volume One (Old 97’s) – 4 stars
The Suburbs (Arcade Fire) – 4 stars
Volume Two (She & Him) – 4 stars
A Postcard from California (Al Jardine) – 3.5 stars
A Singer Must Die (Steven Page with the Art of Time Ensemble) – 3.5 stars
American Slang (The Gaslight Anthem) – 3 stars
American VI: Ain’t No Grave (Johnny Cash) – 3 stars
As I Call You Down (Fistful of Mercy) – 3.5 stars
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (Brian Wilson) – 3.5 stars
Brothers (The Black Keys) – 3.5 stars
Dark Night of the Soul (Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse) – 3.5 stars
Death to False Metal (Weezer) – 3 stars
Destroyer of the Void – (Blitzen Trapper) – 3.5 stars
Easy Wonderful (Guster) – 3 stars
Everything Under the Sun (Jukebox the Ghost) – 3.5 stars
High Violet (The National) – 3.5 stars
How to Destroy Angels (How to Destroy Angels) – 3 stars
Hurley (Weezer) – 3.5 stars
Light You Up (Shawn Mullins) – 3 stars
Lo-Fi for the Dividing Nights (Broken Social Scene) – 3 stars
Page One (Steven Page) – 3.5 stars
Sigh No More (Mumford & Sons) – 3.5 stars
Something for the Rest of Us (Goo Goo Dolls) – 3.5 stars
Stone Temple Pilots (Stone Temple Pilots) – 3.5 stars
To The Sea (Jack Johnson) – 3 stars
Transference (Spoon) – 3.5 stars
Court Yard Hounds (Court Yard Hounds) – 2.5 stars
Crazy for You (Best Coast) – 2.5 stars
Eureka (Rooney) – 2 stars
Everything Comes and Goes (Michelle Branch) – 2 stars
Familial (Philip Selway) – 2.5 stars
Forgiveness Rock Record (Broken Social Scene) – 2 stars
Heligoland (Massive Attack) – 2 stars
Infinite Arms (Band of Horses) – 2 stars
National Ransom (Elvis Costello) – 2 stars
Realism (Magnetic Fields) – 2.5 stars
Women & Country (Jakob Dylan) – 2.5 stars
Write About Love (Belle & Sebastian) – 2.5 stars
Y Not (Ringo Starr) – 2.5 stars
100 Miles from Memphis (Sheryl Crow) – 1.5 stars
Clapton (Eric Clapton) – 1 star
Interpol (Interpol) – 1 star

“God’s Gonna Cut You Down” (Johnny Cash acoustic folk song)

For Johnny Cash chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As the Mamas and the Papas would say: “Monday, Monday!”

Welcome to the first acoustic cover song music video of a brand new week here at the Laptop Sessions.  Tonight, I’m bringing you my second cover from Johnny Cash’s first posthumous release, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways.  Yes, that’s right…  I specified “first” posthumous release, because I just read that American VI is scheduled for release later this year.  Apparently, Cash was working on V up until he passed away.  I was under the impression that V was a collection of material that was still unreleased, but that’s more along the lines of what VI will be.  Even so, I am very excited to hear this final collection when it is released.

What brought on this sudden return to Johnny Cash’s recent work, you might ask?  Well, I found the first American Recordings CD on sale at Newbury’s last week and decided to pick it up.  Truly good new albums have been far and few between this summer, with the exception of the Fruit Bats’ The Ruminant Band earlier this month — a very pleasant surprise to say the least!

I’ve been enjoying American Recordings thus far; it clearly displayed a lot of potential, which was explored on the four — and soon to be five — subsequent editions of the series.  The only one I have yet to hear is American Recordings II, which includes the classic “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which Jim worked into my version of “Folsom Prison Blues” way back when for my second Laptop Session cover song video ever.

The song I chose for tonight is “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” one of my favorites from American Recordings V.  It is a traditional song that Cash truly made his own, a song that has the ability to be simultaneously catchy/rockin’, and yet haunting/foreboding.  I had a fun time playing and practicing it the past few days, and I hope you’ll enjoy watching it.  As I mentioned earlier, this is the second song I’ve covered from this album, if you count Johnny Cash’s cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

In other music news, I spent some time tonight reading about R.E.M.’s forthcoming double-CD live album that will include 39 tracks culled from their 2007 shows at the Olympia.  To be more specific, they played five shows in a row as they tried out new material for their 2008 album Accelerate.  In addition, they also played their hits and deep tracks.  I’ve wanted to hear these performances since I heard their new album, and I’m truly thrilled to hear this concert when it comes out in a couple months.  If you’re an R.E.M. fan, too, you should check out the videos for the two songs — the excellent “Living Well is the Best Revenge,” for which I recorded a Laptop Session, and Automatic for the People opening track “Drive — that have debuted on RollingStone.com.

And if you’re someone who has lost interest in Michael Stipe and company since they went through what can only be called a boring streak recently, then you need to give Accelerate a shot.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’ll leave you with one final, music-related note.  I added to Paste Magazine‘s trending topic on Twitter.com about the best albums of the 00’s, and shortly thereafter learned that I am the only person in the universe to have ever tweeted about the Wallflowers’ Red Letter Days, much less mention the album as one of the best during the decade.

I know; it’s quite the distinction…

See you next session!

“A Horse With No Name” (America Cover)

By Jeff Copperthite:

Good evening to you. It’s Jeff Copperthite today with www.laptopsessions.com. Today I bring you my first tune from America, which is a band I have been slowly getting into the past 2 years or so.

After our live show at Testa’s Saturday night (which was GREAT! Look for some pictures and video soon on our site), we had a fan request an America song after our 2nd song, so we gave it to him. That made me want to play more, so yesterday I learned the song that I bring you today.

I also know this is one of the most well-known songs by America (and in the world for that matter). I love the strumming pattern and the chords that go with this song. When you hear the song you think it’s tough to play. I hope that this cover is appreciated by the die-hard America fans, as I am slowly joining your ranks the more I hear their music.

I also had the privilege of seeing them in concert this past year (w/ Jim Fusco and Chris Moore as well), and of course they closed their show with this song, and a 3 minute guitar solo by Gerry.

You can’t go wrong with this song. I hope you enjoy today’s edition and come back every day for a new song at https://laptopsessions.com/!

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and origianal music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!