Posts filed under ‘Garage Rock’

The Lonely Surfer

“The Lonely Surfer” was a top-40 single and album title track in 1963 for Jack Nitzsche.  The Ventures waited until the 1990s to do an arrangement.

You may not have heard of Jack Nitzsche as a leader, but he had an enormous career in popular music.

He was a major contributor to Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”, working as an arranger on some of Spector’s greatest productions. He played keyboards on numerous mid-1960s sessions by the Rolling Stones, and did choral arrangements for that group’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

He was involved with Neil Young recordings as producer, arranger, and keyboardist. He co-wrote the classic “Needles and Pins.” He arranged and produced for everyone from Tim Buckley, Lou Christie, the Walker Brothers, and Marianne Faithfull to the Monkees, Lesley Gore, the Neville Brothers, and Graham Parker.

And he was one of the most respected soundtrack composers of the late twentieth century, working on the scores to PerformanceOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestBlue CollarAn Officer and a Gentleman, and The Crossing Guard.


February 12, 2019 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

Hound Dog Gray

“Hound Dog Gray” is an original instrumental intended to be in the style of and to pay tribute to The Ventures as the sounded in the early 1960s.

February 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment


“Estrellita” (Little Star) was composed in 1912 by Mexican composer Manual Ponce. It is by far his best known work, and has been performed and recorded by orchestras, instrumentalists and singers ever since it was written.

Despite its appeal, I could find no versions by any instrumental guitar groups like the Ventures or the Shadows.

I decided to rectify the situation.

January 28, 2019 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Almost Sunrise

“Almost Sunrise” is an instrumental composed by Norman Petty, an organist and record producer who is best known for his association with Buddy Holly. Petty owned a recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico where Buddy Holly — and many other famous musicians such as Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, and Waylon Jennings– made their records.

Due to his success with instrumental groups, Petty was a popular producer for bands of that genre and his Clovis Studio was one of the top “go-to” studios for the guitar instrumental sound in the early ’60s.

“Almost Sunrise” was a track on the Fireballs first album, also recorded in Clovis.

My arrangement is based on the Fireballs’ version.

January 26, 2019 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Danza de la Sombra

“Danza de la Sombra” is another original instrumental composition in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with a somewhat more complex 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.

January 14, 2019 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment


“Steamroller” is an original instrumental in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with a somewhat more complex musical and harmonic language than was typical for that genre. With this one I tried to get a feel similar to the late 60’s style of the Ventures.

In the late 1960s, Hendrix, Cream, the Beatles, the Who, and many others had pushed the boundaries of popular music. The Ventures evolved their approach so as to remain current with where popular music was going. This instrumental attempts to get that feel — sort of “Psychedelic Ventures”.

January 3, 2019 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Soulful Strut

The instrumental “Soulful Strut” peaked at #3, selling a million copies with the gold record awarded by the RIAA in January 1969, less than 3 months after the track’s release in 1968. The original artists were Young-Holt Unlimited (also known as Young-Holt Trio), who were from Chicago. Drummer Isaac “Redd” Holt and bassist Eldee Young were formerly members of Ramsey Lewis’ jazz trio.

As far as I can tell, the Ventures never covered this huge hit, although it was normally their practice to do their own versions of popular instrumentals.

So, I thought I’d give it a try for them. However, I did it in early 60’s surf-rock style, which probably would not have been their approach in 1969 or 70.

Whatever. Let’s file this one under my heading of “Anachronistic Surf Rock”.

December 21, 2018 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 135 other followers


February 2019
« Jan