Archive for May, 2016

The Cruel Sea

This tune was originally released in 1963 by the Dakotas, an English group (yes, the same Dakotas that backed up Billy J. Kramer). It peaked at #18 on the UK singles chart. It never charted in the USA. A year later, the Ventures covered it as the “B” side of their release “Walk Don’t Run ’64”.

My arrangement is very traditional, but does not exactly cover either the Dakotas’ or the Ventures’ versions.


May 31, 2016 at 3:27 pm 1 comment

Don’t Know Why

Written by Jesse Harris, this was the first song on Norah Jones’ debut album. It has been covered my many jazz artists. I have given it a smooth-jazz setting.

May 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm 1 comment


This is my instrumental cover of “Volaré”.  It was written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno. The combined sales of all versions of the song exceed 22 million copies worldwide.

Domenico Modugno’s Italian language recording of this great tune spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 and was Billboard’s number-one single for the year. There were also successful versions by Dean Martin and Bobby Rydell.



May 27, 2016 at 5:48 am Leave a comment

Instant Guitar

Just add water? This was originally a track on the Ventures 1962 album “Twist Party Vol 2”.

May 26, 2016 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

Surfin’ the Turf #22: Downtown

Just about everyone knows this song, which was a huge #1 hit for Petula Clark in 1964. It was originally intended by its composer, Tony Hatch, for the Drifters. If one imagines it just a bit slowed down, that makes sense.

I have reimagined it as a surf tune (surprise!).

May 25, 2016 at 8:27 am Leave a comment

Hawaiian War Chant

Originally written as a love song by in the 1860s by Prince Leleiohoku, this tune got a completely different set of lyrics and went on to become a staple of the Big Band era. It was covered by countless artists and groups, including the Ventures on their first album in 1960. There are also versions by Buddy Rich, Spike Jones, and Les Paul & Mary Ford.

May 23, 2016 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Last Date

“Last Date”, as written and performed by Floyd Cramer, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot #100 in 1960. It is likely you recognize it. Perhaps you think you’ve never heard him. Well, you have. Floyd Cramer was the pianist on Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” and played on countless Nashville sessions. He is widely recognized as having “written the book” on country piano. There would be no Chuck Leavell without Floyd Cramer.

“Last Date” was covered by many artists, including Duane Eddy and the Ventures.

My arrangement attempts to make the tune into a guitar number.

May 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

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May 2016