Jeff Wyatt | Wanted (Soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s "Tumbleweed")

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Wanted (Soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s "Tumbleweed")

by Jeff Wyatt

Every movie or audio drama deserves a corresponding musical soundtrack. Scriptwriter Michael B. Reilly hired Jeff to create suitable music for his Wild West production TUMBLEWEED, and "Wanted (Soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s “Tumbleweed”)" was thus conceived.
Genre: Country: Americana
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Tracks

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1. Tumbleweed Theme
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2:07 $0.99
2. Turkey in the Hay (Square Dance Fever)
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4:07 $0.99
3. Red River Valley
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4:22 $0.99
4. Oh Susanna
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4:27 $0.99
5. Fiona
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2:57 $0.99
6. Clementine
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2:01 $0.99
7. Shenandoah (Return To)
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3:51 $0.99
8. Mexican Jail
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5:38 $0.99
9. Camptown Races
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5:05 $0.99
10. Streets of Laredo
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5:55 $0.99
11. Lucy Found This Guy With Diamonds
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6:16 $0.99
12. Winning Hand
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4:11 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Canadian west coast comedy scriptwriter MICHAEL B. REILLY of Canamera Entertainment Group (Radio Comedy Shows) has created another gem to add to his growing repertoire of radio ready audio drama productions. This time it’s built on a cowboy western theme, entitled TUMBLEWEED; a fictional Wild West frontier town complete with colorful period characters.

Every movie or audio drama deserves a corresponding musical soundtrack. With this in mind, Mike hired Jeff to create suitable music for this fun Wild West production and "Wanted (Soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s “Tumbleweed”)" was thus conceived.

Mike also called upon Jeff to be one of his voice actors, playing 3 separate roles; Harry Lee the saloon piano player, a Mexican bandito who was hired to kidnap a Tumbleweed Hotel damsel (played by singer/songwriter/recording artist Susan Jacks), and a beaten up cowboy bully who was arrested after starting a fight in the Tumbleweed Saloon.

With “Wanted (Soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s “Tumbleweed”)” Mike gave Jeff tremendous freedom. Jeff had the creative pleasure of taking old public domain songs by unknown writers and known writers such as Stephen Foster, Percy Montrose and Frank Maynard, re-working them as well as writing new original material. Some of the music is serious (as in the mournful version of “Clementine”) and some is just plain silly and tongue in cheek (as in the quirky “Lucy Found This Guy With Diamonds”). The final track on the album (“Winning Hand”) was co-written by Mike Reilly and Jeff; lyrics by Mike and Music by Jeff.

Jeff arranged, recorded and produced this musical soundtrack album in its entirety. It was mastered by Richard Dolmat of Digital Sound Magic Recording Studios Ltd in Burnaby, BC., with some very slight additional tweaking after the fact by Jeff.

Note:
The completed audio play TUMBLEWEED by Mike Reilly is available as audio CD from Mike Reilly’s Canamera Entertainment website as well as through iTunes download.

COMPLETE TRACK LISTING OF MUSICAL SOUNDTRACK:

01 Tumbleweed Theme
(writer: Jeff Wyatt)
Here’s a big orchestral overture and opening theme, reminiscent of the style of John Williams, with some added Spike Jones style of tongue in cheeky-ness to keep the mood from becoming too serious for too long.

02 Turkey in the Hay (Square Dance Fever)
(writer: unknown – public domain)
This is an adaptation and certainly a takeoff on the old song “Turkey in the Straw”. Jeff wrote his own lyrics, keeping the original melody intact, with some twists and turns in key changes along the way. According to Wikipedia "Turkey in the Straw" is a well-known American folk song dating from the early 19th century. The song's tune is derived from the ballad "My Grandmother Lived on Yonder Little Green" which was derivative of the Irish ballad "The Old Rose Tree." Originally a tune for fiddle players, it was first popularized in the late 1820s and early 1830s by performers such as George Washington Dixon and Bob Farrell. Another song, "Zip Coon", sung to the same tune, was popularized by Dixon and flourished during the Andrew Jackson administration. This version was first published between 1829 and 1834 in either New York or Baltimore. Both of the above performers claimed to have written the song, and the dispute is not resolved. Also, Ohio songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett is sometimes erroneously credited as the song's author. But (like much Americana music) after all this time, authorship is a mute point since the song has been in the public domain for almost 2 centuries with no hope of any royalty payments to family descendents of the writer, whoever it was.

03 Red River Valley
(writer: unknown – public domain)
According to Wikipedia, the origins of this song appear to date back to 1870 in the northern Red River Valley region of Manitoba Canada during the time of the Wolseley Expedition. And although the name James Kerrigan was the first to be associated with the first printed versions of the song in 1896 (under the title “Bright Mohawk Valley”), the song was actually written by an unknown author almost 30 years prior.

04 Oh Susanna
(writer: Stephen Foster – public domain)
This popular old song was first published in Cincinnati in 1848. The original title by the writer Stephen Foster actually contained an exclamation mark, and thus was literally OH! SUSANNA. For Jeff’s version of the song, he took Foster’s original, cleverly written lyrics, changed them a bit here and there, and even wrote additional verses relating to the fictional town of Tumbleweed.

05 Fiona
(writer: Jeff Wyatt)
Fiona, although not a specific character in the script framework of Tumbleweed, she could easily be a behind the scenes supporting role. She’s kind of the female version of the character Mongo from Mel Brooks’ cowboy spoof “Blazing Saddles”. She’s rough and tough, kind of dumb and hygienically unkempt. According to Jeff, the idea for the song stemmed from his appreciation of the old Frank Zappa “200 Motels” song “Lonesome Cowboy Burt”, although the 2 songs are very different musically and lyrically.

06 Clementine
(writer: Percy Montrose – public domain)
Historically, this song is more properly titled “Oh My Darling, Clementine”. Hey, this was cartoon character Huckleberry Hound’s theme song back in the 1960’s. According to Wikipedia the song is attributed to writer Percy Montrose in 1884, although it is sometimes credited to Barker Bradford around that same time. Jeff’s approach to this song is somewhat unique; he doesn’t treat it as the typical American folk song that it is, but as a mournful, solo classical piano instrumental. In Jeff’s words,
“I tried to imagine how someone like 19th century pianist/composer Felix Mendelssohn would treat this old melody, although he died decades before this song was even written. In my fantasy, however, I imagined his interpretation to be included in his popular series of short lyrical, solo piano pieces known as “Songs Without Words. With all due respect to Felix, I humbly tried to play and interpret it in his spirit of arrangement.”

07 Shenandoah (Return to)
(writer: unknown – public domain)
According to Wikipedia, “Shenandoah" (also called “Oh Shenandoah", or "Across the Wide Missouri") is a traditional American folk song of uncertain origin, dating at least to the early 19th century. It was first printed as part of William L. Alden’s article “Sailor Songs” in the July 1882 issue of “Harpers New Monthly Magazine”. The song had become popular as a sea chanty by the 1880’s. Although Jeff had previously treated this old melody as a dreamy guitar instrumental on his 2008 album “Reflections at Every Corner”, he took a totally different approach here. He completely changed the melody, chord structure, tempo and even messed with the lyrics, and added some of his own verses. Is it sacrilegious to change Shenandoah so drastically? I don’t know; Jeff hasn’t been struck by lightening or by a musical purist yet. What was he trying to do by changing this song so extensively? He imagined what the young Johnny Cash and his trio might have done with this song for Sun Records in a rockabilly format back in the late 50’s, and thus tried to create that groove.

08 Mexican Jail
(writer: Jeff Wyatt)
Jeff originally wrote this song back in 1993, but never recorded it at the time. He did perform it occasionally until sometime in 1994, after which he completely forgot about it, and it was lost in his memory banks at the time of his father’s death. Rediscovering it in one of his old lyric books, he decided it could be suitable for this project. He expanded on the original lyrics in order to “date” and round out the story more completely. For example, the guy in the original lyric came into town on a Harley,… but of course, for this project he would need to ride in on a horse. As the lyric sadly states, “it’s a sad tale of love and betrayal” that got this unfortunate dude locked up in that Mexican jail.

09 Camptown Races
(writer: Stephen Foster – public domain)
Wikipedia states "Gwine to Run All Night”, or “De Camptown Races" (popularly known as "Camptown Races") is a minstrel song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published in February 1850. Another edition was published in 1852 with guitar accompaniment under the title, "The Celebrated Ethiopian Song/Camptown Races". In 1974 Richard Jackson wrote,
“Foster quite specifically tailored the song for use on the minstrel stage. He composed it as a piece for solo voice with group interjections and refrain ... his dialect verses have all the wild exaggeration and rough charm of folk tale as well as some of his most vivid imagery ... Together with "Oh! Susanna", "Camptown Races" is one of the gems of the minstrel era.”
Jeff messed with Foster’s original lyric and wrote some of his own original verses to bring the song home to Tumbleweed.

10 Streets of Laredo
(writer: Frank Maynard – public domain)
Wikipedia has this to say: "Streets of Laredo" also known as the "Cowboy's Lament", is a famous American cowboy ballad in which a dying cowboy tells his story to a cowboy passerby. Derived from the English folk song "The Unfortunate Rake", it has become a folk music standard, and as such has been performed, recorded and adapted numerous times, with many variations. The title refers to the city of Laredo, Texas. The old-time cowboy Frank Maynard (1853–1926) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, claimed authorship of the revised Cowboy's Lament, and his story was widely reported in 1924 by the journalism professor Elmo Scott Watson, then on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

11 Lucy Found This Guy With Diamonds
(writer: Jeff Wyatt)
Although the title is an obvious take off on the John Lennon song title “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, this mariachi style song does not resemble the Beatle song in any possible way. Here’s the corny story of a colorful Mexican bandito who’s constantly struggling with his frustrating love life in the Wild West. As such he can’t decide whether he wants to remain north of the border, or go back home to Mexico. He doesn’t really think of himself as a bad guy, per se. After all, he hadn’t “robbed a stagecoach since last Thursday”.

12 Winning Hand
(writers: Jeff Wyatt and Mike Reilly)
Mike wrote the lyrics, Jeff the music. Here’s the sad story of a broken hearted cowboy who, after spending what he thought was a meaningful, romantic night in a room upstairs at the Tumbleweed Hotel, awakes to find himself all alone. His mind is filled with a thousand questions as to why this beauty left him in the dark of the night. It’s the Tumbleweed script that actually provides the answer to this question. We won’t spoil it for you here, but it may involve the Mexican bandito from track 11.


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