Archive for October, 2007

Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar is an unusual “western” movie from 1954. Starring Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden and Mercedes McCambridge, it is very untypical of the genre. Although Sterling Hayden portrays the title character, — Johnny “Guitar” Logan – he is really an observer to the action. The film’s most important and strongest characters are women. The film was also highly regarded by critics for its allegorical qualities (some viewed it as an indictment of MyCarthyism) as well as its cinematography. Wikipedia has a good article about the film.


October 25, 2007 at 8:56 am 4 comments

Trying My Hand

I like to consider myself something of a composer as well as a guitarist and arranger. Check the links at the end of this post should you wish to investigate or sample any of my original material.

The topic of this post is two original songs that I wrote attempting to channel the style of the classic surf/rock/rockabilly material that I have spent the past year arranging. I wanted to see if I could merge those styles with some of my personal musical vocabulary, which is quite firmly rooted in jazz. Here are the links to listen (and review the notation should you be interested):

Double Nickels Stream Mp3 Notation
Surfin’ the Mon Stream Mp3 Notation

Double Nickels is essentially a rockabilly tune. It has a quick shuffle/boogie feel, and is based on a standard 12-bar blues. There are three main sections, separated by the same recurring rhythmic accents and altered dominant 7th chords. The first section is a boogie riff, played on the lower strings – perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the main lick from Hot Rod Lincoln. That similarity is what inspired the name of my song. By the way, if you are not familiar with Bill Kirchen, the “diesel-billy” guitarist whose playing drove that hit, you must check him out. He is still going strong, touring frequently and is also a super nice guy.

The second section borrows heavily from Duane Eddy’s classic, Rebel Rouser. The third section is a contrasting interlude with rather heavily and tonally ambiguous altered chords. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you think the whole thing works together.

Surfin’ the Mon is my attempt at a surf-rock instrumental. It borrows its drum introduction from Hawaii Five-O and leans heavily on the Pipeline and Penetration tradition of surf tunes. Again I have merged into my composition some chord changes one would not likely have heard in the originals, but I tried to do so without compromising the surf-rock mood. Again, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you think the whole thing works. The title refers to a river that runs through my home town.

I hope you like the tunes and certainly welcome comments on them.

Should you want to investigate or sample the original material from my commercially released albums, I suggest starting at There are samples on the site and links to places to either purchase CDs or download entire tracks should you like the music enough.

October 13, 2007 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Surf Rock/Guitar Instrumentals Part 3 – One Hit Wonders

A number of the biggest rock/surf guitar hits in the early sixties were released by groups that were unable to follow up their chart toppers with another success.

This entry examines four of those: Pipeline, Telstar, Penetration, and Out of Limits. Here are links to my arrangements of these four classic hits:

Pipeline Stream Mp3
Telstar Stream Mp3
Penetration Stream Mp3
Out of Limits Stream Mp3


October 5, 2007 at 4:20 pm 4 comments

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October 2007