The Instrumentals 3

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Mick writes:

Third in the series of instrumental compilations. I've always had a thing about instrumentals.. I started out as a young teenager buying the latest releases by the Tornados..(the Shadows sounded a bit wimpy to me, although I realised my mistake later). Then I bought every instrumental release that came out - and there were a lot.. the Outlaws, the Spotnicks.. all great. Later, of course, I actually got to tour with the great Freddie King .. literally the "King" of blues instrumentals. I even got to spar with him on "Sen-Say-Shun".. yeah!

So now I'm realising my dreams as an adolescent and recording and releasing my own instrumentals. This is an eclectic compilation including some acoustic tracks - some of which were never very popular when first released but I liked them then as I do now. So...

"Now This" is brand new.. kind of Jimmy Smith meets Freddie King over at Booker T's place. Grooves along. "In The Bag" is still located at Booker's place but Stevie Ray has dropped in for a jam.. (I'm on a roll here..) "Full Circle".. has nothing to do with Booker T.

The story of "Full Circle" is that after a conversation with my nephew I was curious to check out which guitar Elmore James used. It turned out that he used, at least at first, a Kay acoustic with a De Armond Rhythm Chief 1000 pickup. The pickups were still available so I had to get one. But it wouldn't fit on my regular acoustic.. it needed a cello style. And I had one - in the attic - waiting patiently for a proper job to do. My very first guitar, a Rosetti "Foreign" model which cost all of eight guineas back in 1963. So anyway, I wired up the pickup (straight through) and glued it on.. (hillbilly style as Reverend Peyton would say). And it worked! So "Full Circle" was recorded straight away with the original strings left on from circa 1964 when I had last strummed the guitar, before putting it aside for my new Watkins Rapier 22. Anyway, all good. Hope you enjoy the track.

"Gypsy Blues" - More gear stuff... I recently purchased a 1930s archtop - a Harmony Columbia Major - made in Chicago and imported to the UK in 1938 / 39. I never thought I could afford a guitar from that period - how exciting!! Actually didn't cost much as it was in a bit of a state. But the history - The guitar was evidently gigged to hell all through the war years, probably into the early 50s. Here's where you could see the guy had replaced a machine head with the only one he could get, from the wrong side, so he put it on backwards! Here's where he moved a fret which he was obviously having trouble with. Anyway - I had a job for it - a new version of "Gypsy Blues" played in a kind of Djangoish "Manouche" style. I love it.

"Hat Rack" has a kind of laid back groove which I like. I can just see someone tossing their bowler onto a hat rack. Can't you? .. No, it's just me. Anyway.. "the Columbian". Another job for the 30's Harmony.. a bit mad but I like it. Somewhere in a bar in Panama.. maybe.

"Ramdango" .. from the album... "Ramdango". I love this. Completely unclassifiable.. my attempt at a rock'n'roll Bolero.. (Roll over Jeff).. repetitive and powerful.. I've always enjoyed this track (although to be fair very few other people seem to have). Anyway, here it is, slightly beefed up thanks to my fabulous Puig analogue EQ here at Rockfold Studio.. Ramdango!

Here's a tune - "Jumpin'"! As I said, I used to buy every instrumental that came out, and one of them was called "Polaris" by "The Boys". On the other side was "Jumpin'" - probably written by 50s rock'n'roll star Marty Wilde! So at some point I decided that this would benefit from a kind of Johnny and the Hurricanes flat out treatment.. so here it is. Once again it's been beefed up a little and I think it sounds great. My 60s Danelectro giving it everything with the lipstick tube pickups. Rock'n'Roll!

"Jam Up" was a rockin' big band instrumental from the early 50s, by Tommy Eldridge. A hit at the time - I wanted to try a guitar based version. "Early Bird" is one of those unclassifiable acoustic instrumentals - based on a little tune I wrote back in my twenties. As I often say - I don't know what it is but I like it.

"If You Really Mean It" - another personal favourite - a funky laid back chugging along kind of instrumental with the old Bent Frets Strat sounding nice.

Many years ago we were touring with Freddie King... (have I mentioned it before)? And one time I was driven with him in a mini across the Pennines (our main mountain range here in the UK). It was a hair raising ride and Freddie kept muttering about "flying a bit low, man".. so here, in the spirit of "Driving Sideways" - "Flyin' Lo".

"Strat out of Hell". Well it had to be done - you can't leave a good pun just lying around unused. And I think it suits this track which is a kind of SRV full frontal assault, with a bit of mad organ in the middle for relief.

"Nuthin'burger Blues" was originally written, with lyrics, as a kind of updated "One Meat Ball". "Cruise Control" is a funky laid back tune, good for driving across deserts to.

And "Choc Ice Lunch".. dedicated to my wife who does occasionally enjoy a choc ice lunch. This is a silly little thing of no consequence (unlike my wife) - but I think it's fun, and gets quite addictive.

So there you go - another bunch of instrumentals for your collection - hope you enjoy the music.

Mick Clarke - The Instrumentals 3