When Don Schlitten suggested that I do a solo album, my first reaction was apprehension. Just guitar for forty minutes ! After discussing the idea with him and several others, I decided to take the plunge, mainly because he has been invariably right in his past recommendations.
The problem was to create some sort of variety. I finally decided to try to make the pieces as different from one another as possible, and also to make use of overdubbing. For this I used both the regular guitar and an F guitar which is pitched a fifth lower than usual. The opening piece, "The Fugue", is a misnomer and is not really a fugue.
It is fugal and canonic in nature, but doesn't develop in the strict fugal manner, and also is not at all times a canon. The subject is stated, and then enters at a lower pitch in the second voice. It continues as a canon for eight bars. A the ninth bar the first voice picks up the part of the second voice a third higher. The eleventh and twelfth bars are in unison, and the last four are free counterpoint. This sixteen bar phrase is then repeated, followed by a sixteen bar bridge which is improvised, then there is a return to the theme for sixteen more bars. The central portion of the piece is improvised, but sticking to the material and style of the written part as much as possible. Finally there is a return to the printed page ending with an “Amen”, but in C major instead of C minor.
Whereas "The Fugue" was some-what formally structured, "New Signal" is freely improvised on a given theme and chord pattern. Also it is solo guitar. It begins with a ruba- to chorus and then into tempo, returning to rubato again near the end. Generally speaking, I tried for fleet lines punctuated by thick block-like chords. Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is The Ocean" brings in the F guitar. The first guitar plays melody and solos first, with the F guitar providing a walking bass line. Notice in all the tracks using the F guitar, how smoothly it changes roles with the regular guitar, from background to solo and back. This is not something that I tried for, rather it seems to be a characteristic of the instrument due to it's in-between range...Jimmy Raney, from the booklet
1 The Fugue (Raney) 6:58
2 New Signal (Raney) 6:41
3 How Deep is The Ocean (Berlin) 6:53
4 The Way You Look Tonight (Kern, Fields) 4:29
5 Wait Till You See Her (Rodgers, Hart) 5:53
6 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Kern, Harbach) 6:01
7 Blues Variations (Raney) 6:30
8 Suzanne (Raney) 4:53
9 The End of a Love Affair (Redding) 4:11
Jimmy Raney - g & F-g
Recorded in New York ; December 20, 1976 [# 1-7] ; February 9, 1975 [bonus tracks # 8-9], first released in Jimmy Raney "The Influence", Xanadu 116