Posts filed under ‘Rockabilly’

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


“Detour” is a Western swing ballad written by Paul Westmoreland in 1945. The first recording was by Jimmy Walker with Paul Westmoreland and His Pecos River Boys, released in November 1945.

Patti Page released a version in 1951that first entered the Billboard chart on August 4, 1951, and stayed for 16 weeks – peaking at number five.

Duane Eddy recorded an instrumental version on his 1958 album “Have ‘Twangy Guitar Will Travel”. It was also used as the “b-side” to his 1959 single “The Lonely One”.

My arrangement is based on the Duane Eddy version.

May 19, 2018 at 10:47 am 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

Lonesome Town

Lonesome Town” was written by Baker Knight.  Ricky Nelson’s version became a hit single in the United States, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. The song was also featured on his 1959 album, Ricky Sings Again.

The Ventures released a version on 1961 on their album The Ventures.

My instrumental arrangement actually uses a setting closer in spirit to Ricky Nelson’s version than the Ventures.

April 30, 2018 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

(theme from) Silver City

The “(theme from) Silver City” was released by the Ventures on their 1961 album, “Colorful Ventures”. This album featured a color in every song title. It was also released as a single that year, but did not chart.

The music was written by composer/arranger/producer Hank Levine, and — though it sounds like it could be — it is not a Western movie theme.

My version is more an arrangement than a cover.

April 29, 2018 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Arthur

“I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Arthur” was the “B-Side” on the Shadows 1965 single “The War Lord” which was their last top 20 UK hit in the 1960s.

Despite the rather silly title, the tune — composed by bassist John Rostill — is actually pretty cool with a nice Rockabilly swing. I would describe my rendition as a “loose cover”.

April 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm Leave a comment

French Dressing

“French Dressing” was originally a track on the Shadows 1964 album, “Dance with the Shadows”. It was written by drummer Brian Bennett. It has a bit of a rockabilly fell.

My version is pretty much a cover with just a few minor changes.

February 7, 2018 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Big Dog Boogie

Back in the fifties and sixties when people regularly bought albums as well as singles, the album “filler” track became a staple of the recording industry. Often put together on the fly and as an afterthought when the probable “hits” had been completed, these “filler” tracks occasionally took on a life of their own. Their unexpected popularity may have resulted from the uninhibited improvisations that often created them.

This is how “Big Dog Boogie” felt to me as I started noodling the main riff. Simple yet catchy, all it needed was some solos and a “B” section. Careful not to overthink it, I quickly threw together a bridge.

This is the result. I hope you like it.

September 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

Do You Believe in Magic

Do You Believe In Magic” was written by John Sebastian. It was first recorded and released by his group, The Lovin’ Spoonful in 1965. The single peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The Lovin’ Spoonful was one of my most favorite groups in the mid-60’s. Their country-tinged, largely optimistic music was a true pleasure.

My instrumental arrangement preserves much of the original feel.


September 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

Twang Bang

“Twang Bang” is an original instrumental in the late-50’s early 60’s style of guitar twangmaster Duane Eddy — who together with producer Lee Hazlewood — put together a string of 27 Hot-100 hits between 1958 and 1964.

August 20, 2017 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

Twang Chaser

“Twang Chaser” is an original instrumental in the late-50’s early 60’s style of guitar twangmaster Duane Eddy — who together with producer Lee Hazlewood — put together a string of 27 Hot-100 hits between 1958 and 1964.

August 15, 2017 at 7:55 am Leave a comment


Chains” was composed by the husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King and originally recorded (but not released) by The Everly Brothers. In 1962 it was a hit for Little Eva’s backing singers, The Cookies (#17 U.S. Pop, #7 R&B), and later covered by The Beatles.

It was a popular cover song for Liverpool bands after its release in November 1962, and was included briefly in the Beatles’ live sets. They recorded it for inclusion on their British debut, Please Please Me.

My instrumental arrangement preserves the shuffle rhythm of the Beatles version.

August 4, 2017 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

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October 2020