Posts filed under ‘Ventures’

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


“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

I Venture Alone

“I Venture Alone” 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 an early 60’s slow dance in the style of surf rock and the Ventures.

December 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

The Friendly Beasts

“The Friendly Beasts” is a traditional Christmas song about the gifts that a donkey, cow, sheep, camel, and dove give to Jesus at the Nativity. The song seems to have originated in 12th-century France.

I have given the carol a guitar instrumental setting in the style of the early 1960s.


December 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Too Young

“Too Young” was written by Sidney Lippman, with lyrics by Sylvia Dee. It was published in 1951.  The best-known version of the song was recorded and released by Nat King Cole that same year. It was a million-selling record and reached the #1 position on the Billboard chart, staying at #1 for 5 weeks and altogether on the Best Seller chart for 29 weeks.

In 1972, a 14-year-old Donny Osmond had an international hit with the song; it peaked at #13 in the USA that year.

I was inspired to arrange the song after hearing a beautiful 1974 rendition by guitar great Nokie Edwards. My version does not attempt to recreate his, but is more in a Duane Eddy style.

December 2, 2018 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

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