“Do You Wanna Dance?” (Beach Boys Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Well, do you? 🙂

Welcome to another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  I can’t believe it’s been another week- here I am again to send a new cover song music video your way.

I realized I’ve only done one Beach Boys song so far in 2009 (and a quite unknown one, at that), so I decided to please the Beach Boys faithful (who’d have to be REALLY faithful to wait three months for another video) by doing a song everybody knows in “Do You Wanna Dance?”!

Originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman in the late 50’s, the Beach Boys version is very far removed from the original recording.  Freeman’s version has a more bossonova feel to it and is a little slower-paced.  Brian Wilson, clearly budding into an ambitious producer at the time, took the song and turned it pure mid-sixties rock and roll.  It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at Nubmer 12, and was the highest charting record with Dennis Wilson on lead vocals.

This was a great song for Denny to sing- I love the Beach Boys version so much more because Brian gave Dennis a chance to sing on it.  The production on the Beach Boys version is very Phil Spector influenced, so my acoustic cover version of it married the Beach Boys verison (in terms of style) without all the guitars, tympanies, etc.

I had to fight siging this song like Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, as in concert he’s the one who sings Dennis’ lead vocals.  He sings much differently than Dennis normally would, so there’s different inflection to the words.  I sing more like Bruce than Dennis, so I was inclined to sing the Bruce version- but stopped myself and tried to stay true to Denny’s original vocal style, raspy voice not included.

Right after “Do You Wanna Dance?” was released, the Beach Boys came out with one of their Number One singles in “Help Me Rhonda”, a great song.  1965 was an amazing year for music, but especially for groups like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan.  It was also the break-out year for the Byrds.  The Beach Boys’ “Today” album has to be one of the best recordings ever, especially because it combines the happiness of earlier Beach Boys albums and (some of) the production value of later recordings like “Pet Sounds”.

I hope you enjoy my version of “Do You Wanna Dance?”.  On a personal note, I’m scheduled to receive my copies of my new album, “Halfway There”, tomorrow on CD, but the release date still stands for April 7th.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!  When I get the CDs, I’m sure I’ll get ambitious and do a ton of promotion, so stay tuned!  Have a great week- I’ll try to post an original, but I’m pretty tired, so we’ll see.  Talk to you again soon!

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love Christmas Song Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Okay, this one was for fun, and I implore you- just for fun!  I was planning on doing this one all day.  I needed one more Christmas song before the big day and I’ve always enjoyed singing this one.  For the most part, I can sing the whole song without going into falsetto.  Of course, I usually have to project (a nicer word for scream) when I sing this song, so it was nicer to be in a quiet environment.

This was a LANDMARK day for the Laptop Sessions- we reached our highest view total yet for one day- 263 visitors!  Thank you to all who came to the site today and we sincerely hope you’ll continue to come back.  There are no plans of stopping here on the best music video blog in the universe.  Every time I say that, I think of those TV political news shows.  They always claim they have the “Best political team…” and then add: on television, in America, in the world, in the solar system, in the universe, of all time…

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is the perfect album closer to probably the best Christmas album of all time- “A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector”.  That album was so innovative and actually featured GOOD original songs in a holiday mood.  Everyone whose been reading this blog for a while knows that I’m a fan of great album closers.  I hate when a band just shoves some plain old solo acoustic number at the end of the album.  It’s always such a downer and makes you long for Track 1 all over again.  Tonight’s song is one of those album closers that gets you goin’ again!  Plus, it’s the best song on the album, which is a rarity being right at the end.  I do need to point out that after this song, there is a special “Silent Night” track wiht a Christmas message from a very wimpy sounding Phil Spector, so that’s technically the closing track.   But not until I got the album on CD (we just always listened to a compilation of a hundred great Christmas songs my father put together) did I even know that track existed.  And, I shouldn’t have doubted my father’s choice to leave it off of his compilation- that track stinks.

Darlene Love’s vocals are just great on this track.  I hope I didn’t miss her singing this song on David Letterman this year.  She always sings it and she still sounds great.  Although, the pitch of the song has dropped down considerably over time.

I guess this song tonight just proves that I will go to great lengths to sing songs in the original key.  You may have noted that I sang the high parts in my last Christmas music video (Happy Xmas, War is Over) in a lower octave, albeit in the same key.  But, as always, I had a reason for that rare exception to my hard-and-fast rule.  Singing that part in the high register just sounded WAY too much like Yoko Ono, so I decided to salvage the song by taking Yoko out of the equation completely! 🙂

Enjoy tonight’s cover song music video.  I’m very excited, of course, for Christmas.  I know Chris and Jeff will make you proud with their holiday offerings over the next two days.  I can’t wait to see what I got, but more importantly, to see the reactions on the faces of people I got gifts for.  This is shaping up to be a nice Christmas.  I won’t talk to you until after the holiday, so I wish everyone the very best and I thank you all for such a great and exciting year!