Nokie Edwards

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby mosriteer » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:08 pm

Nokie has also done his share of playing with others - starting with Buck Owens and ending with Lefty Frizell in the country circuit. Most importantly, has has played with REAL guitarists like Thom Bresh, Tommy Emmanuel, the late Buster B. Jones, Jeff Baxter etc. (I have to say that I dont quite understand why Eric Clapton is so much overrated and why his accolades are considered as the equivalent of attaining Sainthood.) Glen Campbell also had great things to say about Nokie's playing in print: there is a quote from him in the sleeve notes of Nokie's very first solo LP. The point is that both Gerry and Nokie are accomplished, world-class guitarists.

Some of us like Nokie's playing over others and consider him to be the best - nothing wrong with that!! :) The fact also remains that the most exciting and sophisticated Ventures tunes/arrangements happened with Nokie at the helm. Nokie's fantastic contemporary sounds are also well-captured in his solo CDs, which number over 25 if I can remember it right. Last but not the least, lets not forget that Nokie composed a lot of great tunes: Surf Rider, Victoria Station, Dont Leave me now, Cherokee Smoke and perhaps also Ginza and Hokkaido Skies (and more).

Re. Nokie's current guitar sound/style, Nokie's stylings and guitar tones have constantly evolved over the years, as one would expect and one cant just expect him to sound like what he did during the overdriven Mosrite era. The Hitchhiker sound is well captured in Nokie's solo CDs, starting with the CD of the same name. Yes - the Hitch does not quite sound anything close a Mo even on a single coil setting on the bridge PU, but it sounds great on fingerstyle tunes. The most recent recording Cherokee smoke is an example of a raunchy sounding Hitch. (The first version of this tune was on Nokie Tele).

-Kanad

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby Veenture » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:18 am

That's right. Nokie and Gerry are different (which can only be a good thing) and at the end of the day, both deserve (and have earned) equal guitar hero status... in my books fer sure. (now if only I could play -just a little even, mind you, like either of them) :)

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby vibramute » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:34 am

Mosriteer makes some really good points, but I have to disagree with a few things, especially the statement: "The fact also remains that the most exciting and sophisticated Ventures tunes/arrangements happened with Nokie at the helm."

The "10th Anniversary Album" and "New Testament" were probably the most sophisticated playing and arranging the band ever did. If you put those two records against anything from the Nokie era after '65 (when the band became painfully formulized), there is NO comparison. The '10th Anniversary" LP in particular is a tour de force for Gerry, showcasing various styles of music that were played with great sophistication and legitamacy. I think Nokie was brilliant if the material suited him, but his playing wasn't as versatile as Gerry's (at least during his first tenure on lead). You have to remember, Gerry was a first call session guitarist; those guys had to be able to play tons of different styles on the spot. They didn't just cover the arrangement, they created them.

Also, Gerry's playing and songwriting were responsible for a MAJOR resurgence in Ventures popularity in Japan in the late 60's-early 70's. Even our heroes started to wane a bit in the Orient near the end of the Nokie era. I don't think this was Nokie's fault, however, having McGee on lead rejuvenated them (John Durrill was also responsible for bringing a lot to the table around this time) and kept them current.

I can't discount who Nokie's played with and who's given him (much deserved) accolades, but comparing each other's discography and live work is a moot point. Nokie's success came with the Ventures gig and he will bank on that forever (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with it...I'd take his career in a heartbeat! ). Gerry had a successful studio career well before his tenure with The Ventures, and he only got busier after he left. He toured with many country, rock, pop and blues artists and he's performed on more records then you could imagine.

I love Nokie and Gerry, as well as Bob Bogle. If Bob had stayed on lead, the band would have probably folded or become a 'session band' ala The Routers, T-Bones, etc. Nokie was incredibly talented and his switch to lead was the right move. His playing kept The Ventures on the charts and relevant for a few years, but the theme/concept album formula got stale and it reflected in the charts. Gerry walked into a pretty uncertain Ventures organization when joined in '68 (girl keyboardist and all :lol: ) however with him at the helm, they managed one more top 10 single (Hawaii Five-0), several albums with semi-respectable chat placings and couple of gold records. Most importantly, they got back on track in Japan where the had a bunch of big hits. Whether you like Gerry or not, without him, there probably wouldn't be any Ventures today..

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby mosriteer » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:37 am

IMHO, Gerry's best moment was on the Underground Fire Album. In any case, many of the Japanese albums (Pops in Japan 73, 81, Latin Album, Jim Croce, Carpenters etc) are a great testimony to Nokie's versatile and shall I say elegant style, not counting his solo acts. I'd also say that the 70s and 80s live albums, the Dr.K live project with Nokie on lead also show how versatile Nokie is in a live setting. As a solo artist, Gerry McGee has unfortunately not recorded a single album that shows his real talents effectively. Its probably time for a collaboration between Nokie and Gerry a la Chester and Lester. Its so unfortunate that their collaborations were limited to just a few songs during the 84 tour.
-Kanad

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby mosriteer » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:42 am

One more point - HFO had Nokie on lead (per Josie Wilson, who was at the recording session, as quoted in Del Halterman's tome). Gerry just mimed on the video shot in the desert and on the Trini Lopez show. Lets give credit where credit is due. :)

-Kanad

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby vibramute » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:08 pm

mosriteer wrote:One more point - HFO had Nokie on lead (per Josie Wilson, who was at the recording session, as quoted in Del Halterman's tome). Gerry just mimed on the video shot in the desert and on the Trini Lopez show. Lets give credit where credit is due. :)

-Kanad


Josie was what, 114 when the book was written? :lol: :P

The HF0 single was recorded months after Nokie's tenure ended. He's not on the track, nor is Gerry. It's pretty common knowledge that session great Tommy Tedesco played lead (along with a powerhouse drum performance from Hal Blaine). This is talked about in the terrific documentary "The Wrecking Crew". Most likely the track was arranged and recorded while the guys were on tour. Joe Saraceno also verified this, and being the song's producer would have picked the musicians for the track. Those facts aside, it doesn't take more then a listen to realize the guitar doesn't sound a thing like Nokie's Mosrite or Gerry's goldtop, nor is the style of drumming Mel's. The Ventures have always been a bit elusive as to the extent they used session players, and I believe the Nokie story is just that...a story. It's certainly possible Josie could have been present at the recording, but her memory of who was playing on the session is fogged or she's fabricating.

So if we are giving credit, lets give it to the right guitarist, Mr Tedesco! ;)

I also agree, a Nokie and Gerry album would be alot of fun, maybe one day...

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby Veenture » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:01 am

vibramute wrote:So if we are giving credit, lets give it to the right guitarist, Mr Tedesco! ;)

Image

I'm looking forward to the Tommy Tedesco (above left in the pic) website coming soon :arrow: http://www.tommytedesco.com/

This has been a most enlightening thread...more to follow?

-Paul

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby mosriteer » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:51 am

That controversy is well-known to many Ventures aficionados on this forum. Joe Saraceno's interview in Guitar Player indicates that Tedesco was bought in for adding that "extra touch" on some Ventures recordings; HFO is not mentioned as one where TT played lead. Josie at least saw Nokie play HFO at the recording session. According to Josie, Nokie couldn't read music, so Tedesco played the music for Nokie while holding the guitar over his head ("show off", as Josie said). Nokie picked the tune up immediately for the recording. That's a pretty vivid memory and recollection on anybody's part. :) :) The real truth will never come out - for various reasons. But then again, what is the point in giving credit to Gerry for playing lead on HFO? I wouldn't have bought anything up on HFO had not credit been given to Gerry for playing lead on HFO. Both Nokie are Gerry are great guitarist and they both played a critical role in keeping the Ventures in the limelight. Lets rest it at that. I just hope that they release that wrecking crew documentary on DVD - I have been waiting for over one year now.
-Kanad

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby Veenture » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:32 am

Thanks for expanding on the H5-0 subject, Kanad ;)

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Re: Nokie Edwards

Postby vibramute » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:06 pm

mosriteer wrote: That's a pretty vivid memory and recollection on anybody's part. :) :) The real truth will never come out - for various reasons. But then again, what is the point in giving credit to Gerry for playing lead on HFO?


I agree, that is a pretty vivid account and it comes off as pretty far-fetched, IMHO. Tedesco and Blaine both admit to playing on HF0 in the "Wrecking Crew" documentary. These are both fairly humble musicians who played on thousands of hits and have no reason to pad their resumes (it's a shame Carol Kaye feels the need to...taking credit on a bunch of sessions played by James Jamerson and others, but that's for another discussion). My feeling is, Josie was trying to discredit Tedesco as to protect The Ventures legacy (after all, H50 was their second biggest hit, I'm sure she and the rest of The Ventures organization really don't want it to be public knowledge that they weren't on the recording).

wouldn't have bought anything up on HFO had not credit been given to Gerry for playing lead on HFO.
-Kanad


OK, then I retract; with Saraceno at the helm, they had a hit single during Gerry's tenure. That said, Gerry played on the B-side ( which also charted) and the entire H50 LP, which hit #11 on the album charts and earned the band a gold record. I don't recall them having an LP that high on the charts since '63.


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