Leigh Stephens | A Rocket Down Falcon Street

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United States - California

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Rock: Instrumental Rock Rock: Surf Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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A Rocket Down Falcon Street

by Leigh Stephens

This is an instrumental CD in the style of the guitar heroes of the past, like Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and Dick Dale.
Genre: Rock: Instrumental Rock
Release Date: 

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1. A Rocket Down Falcon Street
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4:50 $0.99
2. Across the Universe
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3:20 $0.99
3. Leave It Like You Found It
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4:10 $0.99
4. Main Title and Calvera (From "The Magnificent Seven"
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3:52 $0.99
5. Lift Me Up
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4:11 $0.99
6. Heceta Winter
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4:50 $0.99
7. Sleepwalk
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4:01 $0.99
8. Wild Blue Mavericks
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2:55 $0.99
9. End of the World
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3:09 $0.99
10. Fat City Dirge
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4:31 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Auburn resident Leigh Stephens has returned to the studio and emerged with a new recording that moves the music further forward – and further away from the Blue Cheer mystique – while tapping into some different directions with some new and old musical friends.
“A Rocket Down Falcon Street” is an instrumental nod to some of Stephens’ own electric guitar heroes – twang king Duane Eddy, distortion pioneer Link Wray and proto-surf player Dick Dale, for starters. They’re all guitarists who carved out their own niche in the early 1960s as Stephens was developing his own chops.
Stephens moves comfortably through a variety of styles for an instrumental CD that plays homage to influential axmen. There’s even a nod to Santo & Johnny, with a rendering of “Sleepwalk.”
One of the more emotionally-charged collaborations on “A Rocket Down Falcon Street” is the addition of saxophone player Johnny Colla to the song “Wild Blue Mavericks.”
Colla, a founding member and continuing presence in Huey Lewis & The News, had the memory tucked away for years of listening in on a rehearsal while Stephens was still a rising musician in a local band – far away from “Summertime Blues” fame in nascent-metal trio Blue Cheer and a ranking by Rolling Stone magazine a few years back in its Top 100 guitar players pantheon.
Colla recently let Stephens know about the inspiration he had provided in the 1960s to delve more deeply into music. Colla went on to help write some of the biggest hits of the 1980s, including “Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “The Power of Love,” and “If This is It.”
And he paid back some of that initial inspiration from observing that rehearsal nearly 50 years ago by adding some signature saxophone licks on the new Stephens CD.
Stephens also welcomes aboard Pete Sears for a reunion of sorts of their late 1960s collaboration as members of Silver Metre. A keyboard and bass player best known for his work with Rod Stewart and the Jefferson Starship, Sears dropped by Auburn several months back with Bay Area band Moonalice.
Auburn’s Eric Chun brings his multi-instrumental skills to “Main Theme and Calvera”, while Melissa Olsen, “Bald Head Fred” Rautman and George Michalski also contribute to “A Rocket Down Falcon Street.”


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John Casey

Rocket Eruptum
Ok, "Rocket" is Leigh Stephens' Border Collie and a local legend around the foothill town of Auburn, California. It's rumored "Rocket" sneaks in the only vocal on Leigh's all-instrumental latest cd (check out End Of The World), complimenting an impressive list of guest musicians who lent their talents to this project. Leigh admits he grew up admiring the likes of early guitar heroes Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Ventures, etc., before diving head-first into the psychedelic thrash-blues of late sixties Blue Cheer. This compilation is his tribute to those early influences, and by all counts, he does right by them. Leigh does six original compositions and four covers (even a homage to the Beatles in Across The Universe). The cd title track opens the disc, a sort of upbeat jazz-meets-Hendrix with Leigh's signature whammy bar playing all around, thru, and over the drum line. Cool stuff. After a couple more laid-back instrumentals including the aforementioned Across The Universe, we get a total change of pace with Main Title and Calvera (The Magnificent Seven). It's a real treat to hear Leigh's interpretation of this familiar western epic, and keyboardist's Eric Chun's programmed orchestration is awesome! The cd really shifts into overdrive for me though with Leigh's original "Heceta Winter", a track that reminds me of Terje Rypdal, jazz guitarist extraordinaire, with it's spacey, shimmering, atmospheric mood. Gorgeous guitar lines over cascading synthesizer chords...closed my eyes and thought is WAS Terje! And have to mention Wild Blue Mavericks, the track Johnny Colla of Huey Lewis and The News fame blasts some tasty sax between Leigh's Duane Eddy inspired guitar lines. All makes for a rebel-rousing road house feel! All in all this is the album Leigh has been wanting to create since those post-Blue Cheer days, and the wait has been worth it. As Leigh says, "I think this is the best I've ever done". I don't disagree.