Archive for May, 2018

One Mint Julep

“One Mint Julep” is a rhythm and blues song, written and composed by Rudy Toombs, that became a 1951 hit for the Clovers. Ray Charles’ 1961 instrumental version peaked at #8 on the charts in the USA.

This tune has been covered by numerous artists, both as a vocal and an instrumental. The Ventures’ 1964 version inspired my arrangement.

May 13, 2018 at 7:08 am Leave a comment

Stranger on the Shore

Stranger on the Shore” is an instrumental written and first performed by Acker Bilk on the clarinet. It was subsequently used as the theme tune of a BBC TV drama serial for young people, Stranger on the Shore. It was first released in 1961 in the UK where it reached number 2 on the singles charts, and then in the US, making it to the top of charts.

In my arrangement I tried to imagine how the Shadows might have performed it. As it turns out, there is a live recording of the song by the Shadows in Paris from 1962. I was not aware of this when I made my recording. However, the Shadows version features then bassist Brian Locking playing the melody on harmonica. My version is all guitar.

May 11, 2018 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

House of the Rising Sun

The House of the Rising Sun” is a traditional folk song. The most successful commercial version, recorded in 1964 by British rock group the Animals, was a number one hit on the UK Singles Chart and also in the United States and France.

The Ventures included an instrumental version on their 1964 album “Walk Don’t Run Vol. 2”. It was based on the Animals hit, and included both the guitar arpeggios and the prominent organ part. I have heard live versions of the Ventures doing the song, and while they feature the arpeggios, they otherwise take a different approach.

I have used these live versions as my jumping off point. I have also returned the song to it’s original folk meter of 3/4 — the Animals version is in 6/8.

May 10, 2018 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Dark Eyes

“Dark Eyes” is a famous Russian folk song. The original poem upon which the song was based was published by the Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka in 1843. Attribution of the music is a bit more sketchy — but it probably dates from around 1897.

The song has been a favorite of instrumental guitarists over the years. Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, Bert Weedon, the Ventures, and the Spotniks all recorded versions.

My arrangement is basically my own and does not borrow heavily from anyone else’s version.

May 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Wall of Shadows

“Wall of Shadows” is another original instrumental composition in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with a somewhat more sophisticated musical and harmonic language than was typical for that genre. With this one I tried to get a feel similar to the early 60’s style of the Shadows.

May 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

And Then We Saw

“And Then We Saw” is an original instrumental composition intended to sound similar to the style of the Shadows of the early 1960s.

May 7, 2018 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

Shooting Star

“Shooting Star” was one of four tracks on the Shadows 1966 EP (Extended Play) 45 “Thunderbirds Are Go”.

“Thunderbirds Are Go” was also the title of a 1966 British science-fiction adventure film based on Thunderbirds, a 1960s television series starring marionette puppets and featuring scale model effects in a filming process dubbed “Supermarionation”. “Zero X” was one of the spacecraft in the movie.

“Shooting Star” is the musical number performed by the marionettes of Cliff Richard and The Shadows in the movie. Originally a vocal, I have arranged it as an instrumental.

May 6, 2018 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

Zero X Theme

The “Zero X Theme” was one of four tracks on the Shadows 1966 EP (Extended Play) 45 “Thunderbirds Are Go”.

“Thunderbirds Are Go” was also the title of a 1966 British science-fiction adventure film based on Thunderbirds, a 1960s television series starring marionette puppets and featuring scale model effects in a filming process dubbed “Supermarionation”. “Zero X” was one of the spacecraft in the movie.

The movie includes cameo appearances from puppets of real-life celebrities Cliff Richard and The Shadows, who also contributed to the musical score.

My baritone guitar is featured prominently in my version, which is pretty much a cover of the original.

May 5, 2018 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Replacement

“Replacement” is another original instrumental composition in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with a somewhat more sophisticated musical and harmonic language than was typical for that genre. With this one I tried to get a feel similar to the early 60’s style of the Shadows.

May 4, 2018 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Hawaiian Wedding Song

The “Hawaiian Wedding Song” originally entitled; “Ke Kali Nei Aua” (Waiting There for Thee) was adapted from a 1926 love song written by Charles E. King and originally recorded by Helen Desha Beamer in its original (Hawaiian ) version but re-written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning and renamed as “Hawaiian Wedding Song”. The song was recorded by Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Elvis Presley.

Andy Williams’ version reached #11 in 1958. Elvis sang the song in the 1961 film, “Blue Hawaii.”

There are a number of instrumental versions as well — many featuring pedal steel guitar. Santo and Johnny (of “Sleepwalk” fame) did a version this way.

My instrumental arrangement is quite straight and might sound a bit as if the Shadows had done it.

May 2, 2018 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

Windy and Warm

The instrumental “Windy and Warm” was written by John D. Loudermilk for Chet Atkins, who recorded it in 1961. It was very popular and became something of a signature tune for Atkins.

Versions from 1963 also exist by the Ventures and the Spotniks and from 1966 by Doc Watson. Really more of a fingerpicker than surf rock, it remains a popular acoustic guitar solo today.

My arrangement is, in feel,  more along the lines of the Chet Atkins original, although I play it on my Gretsch (Chet Atkins) electric using a pick.

May 1, 2018 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

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