Archive for November, 2016

Joy to the World

“Joy to the World” is the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. First published in 1719, the words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts. While the music is frequently attributed to George Frederic Handel, there is no autographed score by Handel and no currently known documentary evidence to suggest that Handel actually wrote it.

I have given it a surf-rock setting.

November 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

O Holy Night

“O Holy Night” was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. It has proven very popular over the years with tenors and other singers who like to strain their vocal chords — the range of the melody is two octaves.

My version attempts to get a feel similar to the early 60’s style of the Shadows.

November 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

Go Tell It on the Mountain

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual song, dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.

Given its Gospel music roots, turning it into an R&B/Rock-n-roll number is a pretty small step.

November 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Over the River and Through the Wood

“Over the River and Through the Wood”, is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child, originally published in 1844. The poem was later set to a music by an unknown composer. My arrangement begins with a baritone guitar riff and rocks on from there.

November 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Little Princess

“Little Princess” was originally the “B” side to “Genie with the Light Brown Lamp”, a top 20 hit in England for the Shadows in 1964.

The song is from a live musical comedy entitled “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp” that was performed at the London Palladium in 1964 starring  Cliff Richard and the Shadows with their producer/composer/arranger Norrie Paramor as musical director. There was also a sound track album.

In England, this type of stage play is called a “Pantomime” — a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, that involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

My version is essentially a cover of the original, although I did condense the guitar parts a bit.

November 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Still, Still, Still

“Still, still, still” is an Austrian Christmas carol and lullaby. The melody is a folk tune from the State of Salzburg. The tune appeared for the first time in 1865. The words, which run to six verses in German, describe the peace of the infant Jesus and his mother as the baby is sung to sleep.

My arrangement has a Latin feel and a vibe intended to invoke a sense of the great English instrumental band the Shadows.

November 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

He is Born

“He is Born” is the English translation of “Il est né, le divin Enfant”, a traditional French Christmas carol, which was published for the first time in 1862. As with all of my instrumental guitar/rock holiday tracks, the arrangement of this traditional carol is not at all traditional.

November 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

In the Bleak Midwinter

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written in 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s Poetic Works in 1904.

The poem became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by British composer Gustav Holst, who is today most famous for the orchestral suite “The Planets”.

My setting is intended to evoke the style of The Shadows, who in the early 1960’s were the most popular group in the UK.

This is, quite simply, a beautiful song.

November 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

A Surf Rock Christmas: Jingle Bells

“Jingle Bells” is one of the best-known American songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Although not originally intended on having any connection to Christmas, it is now associated with Christmas and the season in general.

November 17, 2016 at 7:12 pm Leave a comment

It’s Been a Blue Day

This very pretty song was the “B” side to the Shadows 1963 hit single, “Shindig”.  My arrangement is a cover of the original.

November 11, 2016 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Find Me a Golden Street

“Find Me a Golden Street” is an instrumental written by Norman Petty. A successful musician in the 1950’s, Petty is best remembered as the recording engineer, producer and mentor to Buddy Holly, who recorded at Petty’s recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Others who recorded hits at this studio include Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs (Bottle of Wine, Sugar Shack) and the String-A-Longs (Wheels).

My arrangement is based on the version the Shadows recorded for the 1961 album, “The Shadows”.

November 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

It’s a Man’s World

“It’s a Man’s World” was the “B” side to the Shadows 1964 hit “The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt”. It is not the same song as James Brown’s similarly titled recording from 1966. Despite its clearly dated title, this is a very pleasant track with a nice melody & changes. My version is basically a cover of the original.

November 7, 2016 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment


“Breakthru” was originally a track on “The Sound of the Shadows” from 1964. My arrangement and recording is basically a cover of the original.

November 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

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November 2016