Rick Ruskin | Once Upon A Time

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Blues: Guitar Blues Easy Listening: Instrumental Pop Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Once Upon A Time

by Rick Ruskin

Fingerstyle guitar playing not solely for other guitarists - music is never overshadowed by technique.
Genre: Blues: Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lost In The Desert
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2:53 album only
2. Repeat After Me
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2:56 album only
3. Whispers
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2:42 album only
4. Georgia On My Mind
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2:55 album only
5. California Girls
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3:28 album only
6. Good Vibrations
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3:58 album only
7. I can't Tell You Why
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3:16 album only
8. Josie
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3:29 album only
9. Riki don't Lose That Number
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4:13 album only
10. 40 Yards Back
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2:29 album only
11. Gershwin Prelude # 2
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2:59 album only
12. Blue Monk
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2:31 album only
13. Sweet Georgia Brown
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2:01 album only
14. Georgia Camp Meeting
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2:44 album only
15. You Won't See Me
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2:45 album only
16. Here, There, & Everywhere
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2:21 album only
17. Temptation Rag
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2:40 album only
18. Slow Drag
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1:40 album only
19. Life Is Within You And Without You
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3:27 album only
20. Here Comes The Sun
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2:27 album only


Album Notes
Rick Ruskin started playing guitar in 1962 and in just one year became a respected professional musician in his native Detroit, Michigan. In 1964, while still in Jr. High School, he was chosen to open the bill for the Reverend Gary Davis at Detroit's legendary Retort Coffee House. This engagement resulted in a fast and permanent friendship with the master blues, ragtime, and gospel guitarist. Rev. Davis was so taken by the young Ruskin's skill and eagerness, that he invited Rick to spend that summer with him at his Long Island home. By the end of the summer, Davis stopped teaching Rick new material and told him, "It's time you started paying attention to your own music." Ruskin has been doing that ever since.

Rick Ruskin's achievements as a musician and composer are many and

Original Compositions and/or Arrangements Used By:

Mel Bay Publications

A&E Network



Hewlett Packard

Second Story Television

Armand Hammer Productions

TEAC Corporation of America

Fostex Electronics

James B. Lansing Sound


Lead Guitarist for Jackie De Shannon

Acoustic Guitarist for Olivia Newton-John

Rhythm Guitarist for Tanya Tucker

Jeremiah Johnson soundtrack

A Boy and His Dog soundtrack

Kid Blue soundtrack

Composed the film score for American Film Institute's,


Once Upon A Time, Lion Dog Music

Words Fail Me, Lion Dog Music

Turn the Page, Beachwood Records

Against Tradition, (with Karen Leigh Williams) Soundboard Music

Sounds Familiar, (with Lewis Ross) Revere Records

Songs, Hymns and Carols, (with Lewis Ross) Revere Records

On The Cheap, (with Lewis Ross) Lion Dog Music

John Fahey Visits Washington, D.C., Takoma Records

Six String Conspiracy, Takoma Records

Christmas with John Fahey: VOL.II, Takoma Records

Microphone Fever, Takoma Records

Richard Ruskin, Takoma Records


Words Fail Me - The Complete Transcriptions, Slice Of Life Publications

The Takoma Sessions, John August Music/Mel Bay

Fingerstyle Groove Guitar, Video Progressions

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar, Video Progressions

Fingerstyle Christmas, VOL. I, Video Progressions

Fingerstyle Christmas, VOL. II, Video Progressions

Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine

FRETS Magazine


The Occasional Cafe - WA

Coffee Gallery - CA

Boulevard Music - CA

The Fret House - CA

Temecula Art gallery - CA

McCabes - CA

Freight and Salvage - CA

The Ice House - CA

California Traditional Music Society - CA




U of M - MI

Wayne State University - MI

Chaps - MI

Elderly Instruments - MI

Portland Guitar Society - OR

The Rose Festival - OR

Oregon College of Education - OR

Western Washington University - WA

University of Puget Sound - WA

University of Minnesota - MN

Monroe Center Coffee House - WA

The Backstage - WA

The Crystal Star - WA

The Epicurean - WA

The Antique Sandwich - WA

Still Life Coffee House - WA

Bumbershoot - WA

Folk Life Festival - WA

Museum of History and Industry - WA

What Reviewers Have Said About Rick Ruskin:

"Sometime in the mid 90's, I got three instruction VHS tapes of Rick Ruskin. I recently bought two of his CD's off of itunes and he is truly awesome. ....Rick Ruskin's music, while guitaristic with things like hammer ons and bends and so forth -- technique is always secondary to the music. You could compare him to Pete Huttlinger in that regard. I have played for about 25 years since I was a teenager and just in the last few years, I feel my own playing has improved because I have concentrated on musical phrasing -- playing loud notes loud and soft notes soft and shaping a phrase to fit the music. Rick Ruskin's music is a great example of how sometimes its not how many notes you play but how you play them that makes the difference between art and crap. Do yourself a favor and check him out." (Posted on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum -UMGF.COM)

"... In these days of all the high-energy slaps and electronics effects,
it is most rewarding to find an inventive guitarist who can deliver the guitar
in the original steel and wood sound.....Amazing talent"

"...so brilliant at times that he seems to transcend normal
approaches to the guitar....Ruskin may be the smoothest
technical player around. Flashy, fast, inventive and
musical and that isn't easy." (GUITAR PLAYER)

"...a standout guitarist..." (BILLBOARD)

"...the detail and precision of Ruskin's playing are well
known among fingerpickers..." (GUITAR PLAYER)

"...He has impeccable technique and the good taste and sense
to know that merely showing off technical wizardry can be
deathly boring." (MILWAUKEE WEEKLY)

"...one of the best finger-style guitarists in the

"...Ruskin's touch is peerless, his playing is flawless..."

"...he is one of the most refined and expressive guitar
players I've heard...Ruskin has enjoyable stage presence..."

"...Ruskin creates some of the most beautifully toned guitar
solos ever heard..." (SAN DIEGO NEWS PRESS)

"...Ruskin is one of the finest people I've heard in a
long time. His vocals come across with ease and a
brilliance that brings to mind Cat Stevens...As a guitarist,
he is unbelievably great. The man has a style that makes
each song new and exciting to listen to..."

"...Though I have nothing against Leo Kottke, 'the greatest
folk guitarist on earth does seem a bit overstated. I
suggest you listen to Steve Goodman, RICHARD RUSKIN, Merle
Travis, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, William Ackerman or Fred
Epping before you crown the King." (PEOPLE)


to write a review

Dave S.

Ruskin's Arrangements and Guitar Playing are Virtuosic
Ruskin is a guitar virtuoso and a top musician, who is well known and respected in the guitar world. If you are into the guitar or just into discovering great music, you should not miss this album (or the other albums recorded by Ruskin). If you want to improve your own guitar playing, check out Ruskin's publication "The Takoma Sessions" (music notation and guitar tabs). The songs are timeless and can be included in your repertoire as fresh even in current times.

Steve Gledhill, Naperville, IL

Mr. Ruskin is a talented guitarist who covered some great songs
Once Upon A Time is a quality record for fans of acoustic guitar. Rick Ruskin is a quality musician who has demonstrated an ability to adapt rock n roll songs to solo guitar with ease for the listeners enjoyment. Every once in awhile he plays with a bluesy flair. I wouldn't mind hearing more of that.