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Mr. Guitar
From The Original Vinyl LP - Crescendo Records GNPS 97

Side One:

1. Saturday Night (2:08)
(Randy Sparks)
Cherrybell Music / ASCAP

We open with the virile WALK RIGHT IN sound of the 12-string guitar. I added a touch of my own by playing an ELECTRIC 12-string guitar. To my knowledge this is the first time a 12-string guitar has been used with an electric pick-up.

2. Maria Elena (2:21)
Peer International / BMI

Here is an example of classical guitar, but we wanted to do things differently. The classical guitar is normally "plucked" with the fingers. Here, however, I played it with a "pick" or "plectrum." After the first chorus you will hear the electric guitar.

3. The Great Escape March (2:11)
U.A. Music Co. Inc. / ASCAP

The combined sound of several electric guitars playing from top to bottom of the guitar range adds a robust flavor to this stirring march from the film. The rhythm was so exciting, it made me want to play "marching" guitar.

4. Dominique (2:07)
General Music / ASCAP

Features two classical guitars, which are joined by a 12-string guitar. We tried to preserve the delicate feeling of the original version, but added the earthy sound of the 12-string guitar for depth and vigor. Special thanks to TOMMY TEDESCO and BUD COLEMAN for their brilliant rhythm-guitar work.

5. Deep Purple (2:16)
Robbins / ASCAP

Here is a completely different treatment of this beautiful ever-green...done as a Bossa Nova by some of the grooviest musicians in a very exciting way. From the top, HAL BLAINE'S marvelous drums, joined by JIMMY BOND'S driving bass; and then on the BILLY PITMAN'S extremely tasty rhythm-guitar; to be joined finally by my electric guitar.

6. Where Baby's Gone (2:35)
Neil Music Inc / BMI

This entire album was done in what we call "head" sessions. That is, the musical arrangements were made up as we went along in the recording studio. I thought it would be fun to actually write an entire song while the session was going on, instead of having it planned ahead of time for the album. SO, THIS IS IT! I just started with a chord pattern, and added a melody as we went along. Everybody just "winged" it. LEON RUSSELL wailed on piano, HAL BLAINE not only played drums, but found a loose tambourine, which he threw in. A FUNKY ONE!

Side Two:

1. Charade
Southdale & Northern / ASCAP

The sound you hear at first was developed by HAL BLAINE, the most inventive drummer I know, by pounding on plastic milk bottles. The melody is played on an electric vibrato guitar, and an electric 12-string guitar. This track falls into the jazz field, since the song is a waltz, 3/4 time, but is played in 4/4 time.

2. 500 Miles (3:08)
Friendship Music Corp / BMI

The electric vibrato guitar is used here as one of the melodic lead instruments switching back and forth with the 12-string guitar. You will also hear in the background some very nice, tasty guitar fills played by BUD COLEMAN.

3. Washington Square (2:50)
Rayven / BMI

The use of the banjo in this number is for a dual purpose. In the beginning, I use it for a melodic line. Later, it becomes a rhythm instrument. Unlike the original version of WASHINGTON SQUARE, we did not go to a "Dixie-land" feel in the middle portion of the record, BUT to a FUNKY or ROCK-AND-ROLL feel. LEON RUSSELL proves his versatility on piano here. You will notice a very big use of BASS GUITAR also, thanks to TOMMY TEDESCO. The last chorus or so we fell into a double time feel, which has become a sort of trade mark for our brilliant drummer, HAL BLAINE.

4. There I've Said It Again (2:17)
(Evans - Mann)
Valient / BMI

Here we strived for a more "POP" sound. An electric guitar played slightly in the style of one of my favorite guitarists, GEORGE BARNES, wih a shuffle background. It turned out to be a very pretty marriage of the two.

5. Kansas City (2:22)
(Lieber - Stoller)
Lois / BMI

Should have been called FUNK CITY! LEON RUSSELL'S fabulous, swinging piano starts this one. He is joined by JIMMY BOND on string bass, and BILLY PITMAN on the BASS GUITAR. (THAT'S THE SORTA LOW, CLUNKY SOUND. NUTTY, HUH?) Then HAL BLAINE on drums, and BUD COLEMAN on electric rhythm guitar. Then I join in for a couple of choruses! AND FROM THERE WE GO TO FUNK CITY, U.S.A.

6. The Third Man Theme (2:05)
Chapell & Company Inc., / ASCAP

On this song we feature the classical guitar, again using a pick! We added a rock and roll background to give it a little different flavor. Other than that, as you will see, the melodic portion is very straight. This, I think, is a good example of changing a concept, WITHOUT changing the chord structure or the melodic line.





Billy Strange is a strapping six-foot two-er from Long Beach, California, with a warm, engaging personality and enough performing credits to fill a volume. He made his first appearance on his father's radio show at the age of seven and hasn't been seen without a guitar since.

Billy is currently on the coast-to-coast Tennessee Ernie T.V. Show, having made literally hundreds of previous appearances on the Arthur Godfrey, Bob Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, "I Love Lucy," and dozens of other top T.V. shows. he has recorded with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Nat King Cole, Pat Boone, Kay Starr, Peggy Lee and at least fifty other recording stars. He composed the the theme of THE TALL MAN T.V. series, as well as the #1 hit song, LIMBO ROCK. Billy has even appeared as an actor in several T.V. series, including RAWHIDE. At the moment he is on location in Texas appearing in a new Steve MacQueen movie as well as coaching MacQueen, who plays guitar in the film.

If indeed, anyone deserves the title of MR. GUITAR, it is Williams Everett Strange, better known as Billy.

Gene Norman


In planning this guitar album I felt the best approach was to feature as many different types of guitar as possible, demonstrating the enormous range and versatility of the instrument. We tried to do unique treatments of the carefully selected songs so as to create musical interest for you - GUITAR BUFF OR NOT!

Cover Photo: Phil Fahs
Guitars by Fender
Engineering: Stan Ross
Cover Design: George Whiteman
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