Archive for May, 2017

Shadow of the Past

“Shadow of the Past” is another original composition in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with more a sophisticated musical and harmonic language than was typical for that style. This one is very much like the Shadows approach.

May 31, 2017 at 6:22 am 1 comment

And Your Bird Can Sing

And Your Bird Can Sing” was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.  McCartney stated that he helped on the lyrics and attributed the song “80–20” to Lennon. It was released on their 1966 album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday and Today in the United States.

The song is remarkable for its extended dual-guitar melody, originally played by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. In many ways the interest of the original comes from the instrumental sections…thus making it a good candidate for an entirely instrumental arrangement.

May 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

March of the Mushrooms

“March of the Mushrooms” is an original instrumental-guitar-rock track in the style of the Shadows. My wife and I have belonged to the Western Pa Mushroom Club for many years. It’s a very interesting hobby. The upside is that there are many incredibly delicious and edible wild mushrooms out there if you know what you are doing. The downside is that there are mushrooms that can kill you if you don’t know what you are doing.

Some of the species shown in the video are choice edibles. Others will either kill you or make you wish they would.

May 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

Squaw Run

“Squaw Run” is an original instrumental guitar rock number based on the style of the Shadows. One of the interesting things about the Shadows is the number of “Native American” inspired tracks they recorded. Besides “Apache”, which they premiered, there is also “Geronimo”, “Peace Pipe”, and “Mustang”.

“Squaw Run” is the name of a creek near where I live.

May 27, 2017 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

Funk Fugue

“Funk Fugue” is an original jazz/rock fusion composition.

It really is a traditional fugue with its form and construction based on J.S. Bach. It opens with a solo presentation of the fugue subject in the tonic key of G. This is followed by the subject in the dominant key of D, accompanied by a counter-subject. The exposition concludes with a return to the tonic, again with the counter subject.

A brief development section follows: a sequence built from the first half of the fugue subject & counter subject.

The next appearance of the fugue subject (again with counter subject) is in the relative minor (Em), followed by another sequence built from the first half of the fugue subject & counter subject, this time starting in the subdominant minor.

The next section begins in the dominant key of D, and the fugue subject appears (without counter subject). Halfway through, the fugue subject appears in another voice, forming a “stretto” — or overlapping of the fugue subject with itself. This continues for two more statements of the fugue subject.

Another development section follows: again a sequence built from the first half of the fugue subject & counter subject.

The fugue concludes with a statement of the subject — with counter subject — in the tonic.

May 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm 1 comment

Blues Mantra

“Blues Mantra” is an original jazz/rock fusion tune. A few years ago, jazz/rock fusion was the genre where I spent almost all of my time. My surf-rock & oldies projects kind of took over more recently. Today, the urge to revisit the jazz/rock thing was very strong. Never one to ignore such urges, this composition and recording emerged in just a couple of hours.

It’s basically a fairly traditional minor key 12-bar blues, but this might not be apparent at first given the feel and some of the harmonic extensions.


May 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm Leave a comment

I Feel Fine

I Feel Fine” was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and released in 1964 by the Beatles as the A-side of their eighth British single. The B-side was “She’s a Woman”.

The single reached the top of the British charts in December 1964 and topped the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for three weeks in late 1964/early 1965.

My version has the same basic feel as the original with a few changes in different sections to add the necessary variety to support an instrumental approach. Perhaps the most major change I made was to play the song’s signature riff on a baritone guitar, down an octave from the original.

May 23, 2017 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Hazy Shade of Winter

“A Hazy Shade of Winter”, written by Paul Simon, was released by Simon & Garfunkel on October 22, 1966 as a stand-alone single. It was subsequently included on the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends (1968). The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1987, The Bangles recorded a cover version of the song that peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

My instrumental version is based heavily on the Simon and Garfunkel original, but has a beefier, thicker sound due to the use of a baritone guitar for what was the original 12-string riff — and also more rhythm parts.


May 22, 2017 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party

“I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was released on the album Beatles for Sale in the United Kingdom in 1964. In the United States, Capitol released the song as the B-side of the single “Eight Days a Week”, and later on the Beatles VI album, both in 1965.

My instrumental arrangement has a feel based on the original.

May 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Exploration in Terror

“Exploration in Terror” is another track from the 1964 album “Ventures in Space” and was written by members Don Wilson, Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards. The original recording featured a very prominent Tam-Tam (Gong) throughout. My arrangement includes a toned-down role for this distinctive sound.

May 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

4th Dimension

“4th Dimension” was a track on the Ventures 1964 album “Ventures in Space” and was written by Gary Hodge and Terry Wadsworth. Interestingly, the tune was first released as a single in 1960 on the Dolton label (the Ventures’ label as well) called “Werewolf” by a surf-rock band called “The Frantics”. The original version is very good and can be found on Youtube.

Its spooky demeanor apparently led to its inclusion on “Ventures in Space” but since werewolves aren’t really about outer space, a new title was needed.

My arrangement is similar to both the Ventures’s and Frantic’s versions.


May 17, 2017 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

War of the Satellites

“War of the Satellites” was a track on the Ventures 1964 album “Ventures in Space” and was written by guitarist Danny Hamilton.
Hamilton wrote a number of tracks for the Ventures, including the surf rockers  “Diamond Head” and “Escape”. He had also been a member of the “T-Bones”, the group put together to tour behind the song “No Matter What Shape”. Hamilton is probably best known for the group, Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds, who had a huge hit with “Don’t Pull Your Love” in 1970.

May 16, 2017 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Spanish Flea

“Spanish Flea” was written by Julius Wechter in the 1960s with lyrics by his wife Cissy Wechter.

The song is best known from an instrumental version by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, released as a B-side to the single “What Now My Love” and on their 1965 album “Going Places”. The album was a No. 1 hit in the U.S. and the single peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100, with its A-side reaching No. 24 and gaining a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental.

In the United States, the song is closely associated with the long-running game show The Dating Game, for which it served as the “Bachelor’s Theme”.

May 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

Solar Race

“Solar Race” was a track on the Ventures 1964 album “Ventures in Space” and was written by members Don Wilson, Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards.  It had originally been released as a single in 1963 called “The Chase” in which the beginning and end included the sounds of vrooming car engines. This version charted in Australia.

My version is pretty much a cover.


May 15, 2017 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Moon Child

“Moon Child” was originally a track on the Ventures 1964 album “Ventures in Space”. The tune was composed by Julius Wechter, a vibes and marimba player who worked extensively with Herb Alpert and also led the Baja Marimba Band. He wrote “Spanish Flea” and was a regular member of the Tijuana Brass. One of the ironies of these “Mexican” groups was that Alpert, Wechter and most of the members of both bands were Jewish.
“Ventures in Space” was released to take advantage of the popularity of the instrumental “Telstar” Written by Joe Meek, “Telstar” was a huge hit as released by the Tornadoes, a British group.

May 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

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May 2017