Monday, October 24, 2011


Billy Strange, besides having one of the greatest names ever to appear on album credits, was one helluva guitarist, capable of playing just about any type of music. He put out quite a few solo albums, but his bread and butter was as a session guitarist, notably as a member of the Wrecking Crew. As a member of said crew, you can probably guess that he played on Spector records. He's also played on sessions for Wanda Jackson, Billy Lee Riley, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Ventures (?!), Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, get the idea (partial discography linked below).

I'd been meaning to throw some Billy Strange stuff up here, but finding stuff online is hit and miss. I checked in again today, and hit topical pay dirt, in the theme from The Munsters, one of my personal favorites. (And, because it was a Munsters song, I had me a Halloween tie-in.) Dig how the drunk sounding horn section comes in, at :34 in the song. I also ran into a 1952 solo record, "Hell Train," with him singing! (If you're at all into Billy Strange, you know that the vast majority of his stuff is instrumental). I included the Spector produced Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans' "Zip A Dee Doo Dah," because the short fuzzed out solo of his at 1:26 is what first put him on the map for me. (That was a long time ago, pre-internet, so all I had to go on was album credits.) There's also a couple of other train songs down there, both featuring him on acoustic. Country pickin' seemed to be his preference, but he could play just about anything. His records are pretty common in cheapo LP bins. I recommend the non-country, because...well, they're a little weirder.

Billy Strange - The Munsters Theme mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Billy Strange - Hell Train (1952) mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans - Zip A Dee Doo Dah mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Billy Strange - This Train mp3 at
Billy Strange - The Wreck of the Old 97 mp3 at

Billy Strange conducting a Sinatra session, with Lee Hazelwood in the booth
Billy Strange Official site
Billy Strange message forums
Billy Strange discography (partial, but immense nonetheless)
Billy Strange at Wikipedia
Other Wrecking Crew related posts:
How Was Work Today?
You're My Liner Note Hero

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