“Cruisin’ (Sunset Sam)” was written by Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, who also wrote “Mary Mary,” which Paul Butterfield covered on his amazing record “East/West” in the late 1960s. The piece has a head-bobbing groove that I’ve loved since I first saw the video in the early 1980s.
The lyrics to “Sunset Sam” (and the Nesmith video) have a surreal quality to them, which I’ve reflected in both the harp sounds and the vocal for this performance. The groove is serious, but the story is laughable. Hey, so what? Shake yer money maker, man, it’s only words. (Or as a poet friend of mine titled a collection of his works, “Only Worlds.”)
The harmonica is processed through 3 Digitech RP devices. The first is an RP355 running one of my favorite auto-wah patches, which is what provides the guitarish funk between lyrics. The second is an RP350 running two different patches: a high octave double on the signature lick and the first solo section, and a slightly different auto-wah patch on the second solo section. Both devices are run through an RP255 running one of my vibrato patches, and the vocal is coming through an RP250 running one of my new vocal patches (which will be released to subscribers to my patch sets within the week). All of these sounds, of course, are contained in my patch sets for the the Digitech RP 250/255/350/355, which you can learn more about here.
“Sunset Sam” is nutty, funky, and fun. You can hear my recording right here:
Sunset Sam Performed live by Richard Hunter 28 October 2011
For extra laughs, here’s the original Nesmith video that inspired all this loud, funky silliness. Dig.