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Ritchie Valens - The Lost Tapesdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a magical CD full of outtakes, false starts, studio exercises, and some mighty tasty guitar work from a budding legend. There is something special about being allowed to peak into the developmental work of any artist. While there are no real surf tracks here, of course, you will hear some very nice instrumental work by Ritchie and studio guitarist Rene Hall. The CD closes with a radio ad for "Donna" with Ritchie speaking, followed by a radio news piece about the February 1959 airplane crash and that took the lives of Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Popper. Valens was only 17 years old.
Picks: Blues With Drums, Ritchie's Blues, Blues Instrumental, Malaguena, Blues - Slow, Rhythm Song, Guitar Instrumental, La Bamba, La Bamba, La Bamba

Track by Track Review


Blues With Drums dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Ritchie Valens was a good guitar player. "Blues With Drums" displays him playing a slow and moody blues instro accompanied only by drums. It's a trad blues riff played with a bit of reverb and vibrato. It has a surfer's blues kinda feel. Nothing really unusual, but in the mid section, Ritchie plays a dual note harmony that's quite appealing. It's rough, but very human. Quite nice.

Ritchie's Blues dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

The vibrato and shimmer of this track is quite stunning. Ritchie Valens' playing is delicate and fluid, and the tone borders on surf. The echoed guitar and damped plucks create a Midwest surf feel. Quite tasty.

Blues Instrumental dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

"Blues Instrumental" is a straight 12 bar blues, with some reverb and echo, and a soulful sadness.

Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Surf Flamenco (Instrumental)

This is delightful. Ritchie Valens is accompanied by a piano player tat is unidentified. It's also unclear whether it is really Valens or session guitarist Rene Hall on the axe.

Blues - Slow dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

This is a slow standard blues, played against a plinking piano. It's moody and gritty, in an after hours way.

Rhythm Song dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Rhythm Song" is an instrumental outtake. Bass and drums accompany Ritchie Valens as he chunks away. It's an incomplete track.

Guitar Instrumental dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Guitar Instrumental" is an instrumental Ritchie wrote right after appearing with Bo Diddley on tour. Bass and drums accompany Ritchie Valens plays a Bo Diddley-ish number with shimmering rapid vibrato against brushed drums. Very cool.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the backtrack take 5. You can just here Ritchie Valens singing way way off in the distance. It also is sans the Rene Hall solo, or at least it's way low in the mix.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the backtrack take 5. You can just here Ritchie Valens singing way way off in the distance. It also is sans the Rene Hall solo, or at least it's way low in the mix.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the backtrack take 5. You can just here Ritchie Valens singing way way off in the distance. It also is sans the Rene Hall solo, or at least it's way low in the mix.