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The Solo Guitar Project- Volume 1  

by Harvey Reid

released Spring 2010 as a digital download - now for sale as a CD! BUY NOW




1- Racing the Storm (H. Reid) This arose out of a fascination I have with traditional fiddle tunes, which are usually impossible to play on a guitar with the drive and life that fiddles give them. It started out as a jig, and gradually got weirder, with un-fiddle-like kicks and corners, to the point where I doubt this would sound good on a fiddle, or if anyone would even consider it a fiddle tune. You can’t really play it slowly or gently– it’s more like a race car that wants to go fast, and is hard to drive down city streets. It reminds me of hurrying to get somewhere when the storm has begun, and you are hoping you can make it wherever you are going before the weather gets too bad. Released on the Guitar Voyages CD (114). Standard tuning, down 1 half step. (*) Esus capo, fingerpicks. (T) [Recorded 4/10/00]
2- Amazing Grace/What a Friend/Swing Low (Trad.) Roots-style bottleneck versions of three well-known non-secular songs. Nobody knows where slide guitar came from, but when it works it sure works. Gospel songs often sound good on slide guitar. (D12) Open Eb tuning, fingerpicks (105)

3- Prelude in Dm (JS Bach) Music like this disputes theories about monkeys with typewriters eventually writing the Constitution– no guitarist could ever have written it. Basically it’s Segovia’s arrangement, though no doubt he wouldn’t have approved of it on steel strings. (T) Standard tuning, fingerpicks (105)
4- Canal Street Strut (H. Reid) Describes the unique and wonderful feeling you get in your feet when you walk in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Also in honor of Merle Travis. (T)(†) (105)
5- Uncloudy Day (Trad.) This is a traditional gospel song whose melody has haunted me for years. I wanted to include an echo here of my years of playing old-time and bluegrass music, since you can’t always hear it in my music. Actually this arrangement owes more to blues and Joseph Spence-style gospel fingerpicking, but only a hillbilly music fan would know the song. The chorus goes “I hear tell of an uncloudy day,” and I play it with the accent on “cloud,” though some singers accent the “un.” Some even sing “unclouded day.” My favorite version is an Ozark mountain dulcimer LP by the Simmons Family. I tried every tuning and technique I know, every guitar, and all kinds of flatpicks and fingerpicks, and finally settled on this sparse, barefinger version in Drop D tuning. (T) [4/29/00] (114)
6- Cindy/Cripple Creek (Trad.) After years of playing traditional music I finally found a way to generate this fundamental fiddle and banjo dance rhythm on the solo guitar. It’s a weird sort of reverse banjo-style pseudo-frailing, whatever that is. Capo 5. (*) (T) (105)
7- Scotland Suite 1: Requiem for the Last Minstrel (H. Reid) The prelude to this piece came to me on the banks of the sea in southern Skye. I wrote a few tunes in this imitation-bagpipes style in the early 80’s when I first developed it, but it has been quite a while since a new one has arrived. The melody is played mostly on the high E-string, with a mixture of plucking, hammerings and pull-offs being done with both hands. The technique was inspired by the two-handed playing of Eddie van Halen and 80’s rock guitarists. I quit playing like this for a while because I got annoyed that everyone assumed I got the idea from Michael Hedges, whom I had not heard at the time I developed the technique. I also don’t think anyone else ever used two-handed techniques to play Celtic music. This is not the first time I have woven together strands from Celtic and Baroque influences, and something in me finds the drone bass of one and the counterpoint of the other to be a nice juxtaposition. I have a nice old edition of the Sir Walter Scott epic poem about the Last Minstrel. Minstrelsy was outlawed in the 1590’s by Queen Elizabeth I. (*)(L) BF. Esus -2. [3/10/00] (114)
8- Pegasus (H. Reid) This approach to the 12-string I first developed in 1982, trying to play fiddle tunes using the split pairs of the 12-string like a chromatic banjo. The end result sounds more like a hammered dulcimer, whose sound I have envied for years. It requires a very controlled, yet very fast right hand attack, and takes some stamina to play this long. If you strike the octave pair (not too hard) from the treble side with a finger, you sound only the lower octave of the pair, and if you strike it with the thumb from the other side, you get the octave string. If you strike it harder from either side you sound both strings, which is a different sound than either of the 2 individual strings. (12) Asus-3. FP. (T12)(*) [4/9/00] (114)
9- French Quarter Concerto (H. Reid) This one sets a record for length of time in an unfinished state. It first appeared when I was a street musician in Jackson Square in New Orleans in 1975, when I hitchhiked to Mardi Gras and stayed for a month. I have carried it around ever since in my head, never taping it, and never being able to finish it or forget it. There was a guy operating a jackhammer nearby, which made me feel like I was the orchestra and he was the soloist. I always referred to it as the “Jackhammer Concerto”, but it has earned a better name. I have fond memories of the French market coffee, grits & biscuits for breakfast, and a portrait painter I met there. I used to watch her paint while I played this, and she would listen to me play, which seemed like a perfect collaboration. It’s obviously meant to evoke baroque images and techniques. FP. Standard tuning-1. Capo 2. (T) [4/25/00] (114)
10- Flüf’s Vacation (H. Reid) I have never liked cats very much, until 1999, when an adorable little Maine coon cat named Flüf visited me for her summer vacation. Now I love at least one cat, which I hear is how you start liking more of them. Flüf is sort of a comedian among cats, and loves to sleep in open drawers and boxes, and can amuse herself with a paper bag for hours. She is a fine mouser too. This tune is based on the snap-string blues style of slide guitar playing, but I don’t think it employs the cliches or even really sounds like blues. (D1) Open Eb. BF. [1/31/00] (114)
11- Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch (Trad.) This eerie Scottish air pops up in my head every time I go to the ocean on a gray day. (T) Esus BF (103)(*)
12- Dirty Dish Rag (H. Reid) Written in a driveway in Kent, Ohio, this one pits a Scruggs roll in the treble against a Travis thumb line. For those who don’t know what that means, it is supposed to evoke ragtime piano moods. Should go well with beer and pizza. Capo 2 (T) (105)

(T)= 1984 Taylor 810 Rosewood dreadnaught guitar #3086
(T12) = 1988 Maple jumbo Taylor 12-string, serial #5460,
(D12)= unusual 1965 Mosrite 12-string Dobro (with only 6 strings)
(D1)= Early 70’s metal-body Dobro #0410
(L)= 999 rosewood Larrivee model C-10 serial number #27236

BF= bare finger  FP= fingerpicks  (*) = partial capo used
No over-dubbing or multi-tracking was done. All tracks were played and recorded live with one guitar.