Archive for February, 2016

Venturing: Concluded

After completing 25 tracks in the last month or so, I think I’m ready to declare my “Venturing” project complete. Here is a Youtube playlist so you can listen to them all.

February 22, 2016 at 7:34 am Leave a comment

Venturing #25: The Teaberry Shuffle

If you remember this, you are a geezer. Originally this was a tune titled “Mexican Shuffle” by the Tijuana Brass. It was turned into the “Teaberry Shuffle” for an ad campaign for Clark Teaberry gum. This is the same “Clark” as Clark Bars, meaning the company was headquartered in good ol’ Pittsburgh.

February 20, 2016 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

Perry Mason Theme

This is my cover of the iconic theme from the TV series “Perry Mason” which premiered in 1957.  If you were around when this show or any of its reboots were on the air, you will never forget this music.

Also known as “Park Avenue Beat”, it was composed by Fred Steiner, a very successful film and TV composer/arranger. Most active in the 1950s and 1960s, he also composed the theme for “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, and composed incidental music for numerous TV series, including the original Star Trek, Hogan’s Heroes, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, and Rawhide.

February 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Ram Bunk Shush

“Ram Bunk Shush” was the Ventures third top forty hit, reaching #29 in 1961. It had been a hit in 1957 for pianist Bill Doggett — who penned “Honky Tonk”, another favorite guitar-band number.

February 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

Surf Rider

“Surf Rider” is a Ventures album track written by founding member and lead guitarist Nokie Edwards. It appeared on their 1963 album Surfing. It was also recorded by The Lively Ones in 1963. Their version was featured in the final sequence as well as the end credits of Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

February 14, 2016 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Peter Gunn

This famous theme was composed by Henry Mancini for the late 1950s television show about a private eye — played by Craig Stevens — who is well-dressed, whose hair is always in place and who loves jazz.

The prominence of the guitar riff throughout led to the tune being very popular with guitar bands. Duane Eddy had a big hit with it as well.


February 14, 2016 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Hawaii Five-O

“Hawaii Five O” was the Ventures’ last hit, charting in 1969. It was the theme from the TV show which debuted the prior fall in 1968. The Ventures’ popularity peaked in the early 60’s — before the British invasion.

My arrangement is not based on the rather heavily produced original, …rather it is set in a manner that the original quartet of 2 guitars, bass and drums might do it.

February 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment


“Telstar” was an instrumental hit for a British group called the Tornadoes and was written and produced by Joe Meek. Named after the first communications satellite launched in July if 1962, it topped the US. charts in December of that year. The Ventures covered it on their 1963 album The Ventures Play Telstar and the Lonely Bull.

February 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

A Taste of Honey

This was originally an instrumental written for the 1960 Broadway play of the same name. The Beatles covered Lenny Welch’s vocal version, and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had a big instrumental hit with it. The Ventures also covered it on their 1966 album, “Where the Action Is”. My arrangement is in sixties guitar rock style.

February 11, 2016 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

No Matter What Shape

“No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach is In)” started out as a commercial for Alka Seltzer. Its catchy hook led to it being recorded and released as a single. The musicians who played on it were the famous West Coast studio musicians known as the “Wrecking Crew” — including drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and bassist Carol Kaye.  It was released as a single by a hastily formed group called the “T-bones” — who went on to become Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.

February 11, 2016 at 7:41 am Leave a comment

Fools Rush In

This is my instrumental cover of “Fools Rush In”. The music was written by Rube Bloom with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Although this tune was written in 1940 and recorded by jazz-era artists like Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, and Glenn Miller, Ricky Nelson’s 1963 Rockabilly version is today probably the best known.

February 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Ghost Riders in the Sky

“Ghost Riders in the Sky”, originally written and recorded in 1948 by Stan Jones, is one of the most recorded songs in history, covered by an amazingly wide range of artists including Burl Ives, Vaughn Monroe, Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee – all in 1949, and later Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Johnny Cash. It is also well represented as a guitar instrumental by The Ramrods, The Ventures, the Spotniks, the Shadows, and Dave Allan and the Arrows.


February 8, 2016 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

Johnny Guitar

“Johnny Guitar” is the title track/theme song from the 1954 Western movie of the same name starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. The theme was written by Peggy Lee and Victor Young.

In spite of a title that would seem irresistible to instrumental guitar bands, no versions exist by either the Ventures or the Shadows. A rendition that did get some world-wide traction was by a Swedish instrumental surf-rock band called the Spotniks (yes, I did say a a Swedish instrumental surf-rock band).



February 7, 2016 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Theme for Young Lovers

Originally released in 1964 by The Shadows, this tune was written by their rhythm guitarist, Bruce Welch. It has a very pretty melody and a fairly straight arrangement.

Marlene Dietrich wrote German lyrics for it and recorded it as “Ich werde Dich lieben” :

February 6, 2016 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Music to Watch Girls By

This was first an instrumental hit for then Bob Crewe Generation in 1966, and was based on a Diet Pepsi commercial. Andy Williams had a hit in 1967 with a vocal version.  It was covered by several other artists, including the Ventures.


February 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

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February 2016