Posts filed under ‘Rockabilly’


“Riff-a-Billy” is an original instrumental intended to be in the early 1960s style of the Ventures.

July 2, 2020 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

What Goes On

This is my instrumental cover of “What Goes On”, first released by the Beatles track on their 1965 album Rubber Soul. The song was later released as the B-side of the US single “Nowhere Man”.

The original version of the song was written by John Lennon in the very early  days and considered as a follow-up to “Please Please Me” in early 1963. A demo of this version featuring Lennon and Paul McCartney was recorded in 1963, but the song was not used until 1965 as Ringo Starr’s vocal for Rubber Soul. Ringo contributed to the lyrics, his first-ever composing credit on a Beatles song.

I have a special affection for the Beatle’s rockabilly country numbers.


July 1, 2020 at 7:41 am Leave a comment

Pickin’ Wings

“Pickin’ Wings” is an original instrumental intended to be similar to the style of the Ventures’ country-influenced material, which typically featured the great Nokie Edwards playing lead.

March 26, 2020 at 6:13 am Leave a comment

Bari is Back

“Bari is Back” is an original instrumental guitar-rock/rockabilly track to commemorate the new body I got for my baritone guitar.

January 28, 2020 at 6:32 am 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


“Eddy-fication” is an original instrumental in early 60’s guitar rock style. For this tune I tried to create what might have been a tribute to Duane Eddy by the Ventures.

November 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

Nokie Shuffle

“Nokie Shuffle” is an original composition.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending and performing at the 10th annual Ventures Fan Fest. The theme this year was “A Tribute to Nokie Edwards”.

Nokie was an incredible guitarist whose skills took the Ventures to  another level in the early 60s. At the fan fest many played his numerous “signature” tunes. I resolved to develop a better understanding of his style, which has never come easily to me.

I usually do better going for the “spirit” of a style than trying to directly imitate things note for note. “Nokie Shuffle” is an attempt to do that.

October 9, 2018 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Blue Tail Twist

“Blue Tail Twist” is a rockified setting of the Southern Folk Song, “Blue Tail Fly”. Burl Ives had a hit with the song in 1948.

In 1960, an instrumental rock group, Johnny and the Hurricanes, turned it into a rock number called “Beatnik Fly”, which reached the singles charts in both the USA and UK. At the time it was fairly popular to use well-known traditional songs as the basis for recordings. Johnny and the Hurricanes had an earlier hit called “Red River Rock”.

The Ventures picked up on this trend, including a versions of “Red River Valley” on their 1962 album “The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull” and “Blue Tail Fly” on “Twist Party Vol. 2, also in 1962.

My arrangement of “Blue Tail Fly” is in this tradition and style , bit is not a cover of anyone else’s version.

September 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

The Shuck

This is my cover of “The Shuck”, a rockabilly, country swing instrumental written by Don Markham and Gary Paxton and first released by Don Markham and the Marksmen in 1960. The Ventures included the tune on their second album “The Ventures”. Anyone who thinks the Ventures were mainly surf-rock should listen to this (and many other tracks) to hear how much they were influenced by country music and rockabilly. This would only increase over time with the addition of Nokie Edwards to the group.

My arrangement was very much inspired by the Ventures’ version.

August 19, 2018 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

South of the Border

“South of the Border” was written by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr in 1939 for the film of the same name starring country star Gene Autry. The list of artists who have recorded it is very long.

The Shadows included an instrumental version on their 1962 album “Out of the Shadows”. This is the basis for my arrangement.

August 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Doggin’ It

“Doggin’ It” is an original instrumental in the style of late 50’s/early 60’s guitar rock. This particular one is intended to be similar to numbers written by Bill Doggett – like “Honky Tonk” and “Ram-Bunk-Shush”.

August 16, 2018 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Nokie Dokie

“Nokie Dokie” is an original instrumental, and a tribute to Ventures lead guitarist Nokie Edwards. The tune has a country swing feel, as I have always felt there were strong country underpinnings to Nokie’s wonderful style.

July 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

Gandy Dancer

“Gandy Dancer” was an “album” track on the Ventures 1962 album “Going to the Ventures Dance Party”. It was composed by rhythm guitarist Don Wilson and was actually a reworking of a tune called “Ventures Stomp” that the group recorded in 1961 but did not release. My version is a loose cover.

Gandy dancer is a slang term used for railroad workers in the United States.

July 17, 2018 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

White Silver Sands

“White Silver Sands” was written in 1957 by Charles ‘Red’ Matthews, although partial authorship is also claimed by Gladys Reinhart. The song was a big hit for Don Rondo in the summer of 1957, and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Charts.

The Ventures included the song on their 1961 album, “Colorful Ventures”. Each track on the album features a color in the title.

My arrangement is basically a cover of the Ventures approach except for the half-step modulation at the end.

June 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Sunny River

“Sunny River” was originally a track on the Ventures 1962 album “Twist with the Ventures”. Songwriting credit is given to Ventures guitarist/bassist Nokie Edwards and his friend Gene Moles — who very likely played on the original recording. Nokie Edwards and Gene Moles made a few other recordings under the group name “The Marksmen” at around the same time.

Gene Moles also worked for Mosrite guitars, and was likely instrumental (ha ha) in getting the Ventures to agree to endorse and use the brand.

My arrangement is based on the Ventures original, but adds a few key changes and other minor alterations.


June 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

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July 2020