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Music By W.G. Snuffy Walden

W.G. Snuffy Walden

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Album Review

It seems a bit ironic that a recording by one of television's most identifiable composers is noteworthy more for the pieces that are not theme songs than those that are. Walden's trademark sparse and folksy acoustic style was first heard with the theme to Thirtysomething, which is reworked thoughtfully here — though at almost four minutes the slow pace wears the melody a bit thin. Likewise, "Felicity's Theme" and the orchestrally enhanced bonus tracks to The West Wing are pretty but a bit tame. Much more engaging is the edgy rock-blues jam "New York/Melting Pot," which finds Walden and Dean Parks engaged on both electric and acoustic guitars as an orchestra swells sharply behind them; Jon Clarke's pennywhistle adds an Irish tinge. The funky rock of "Big City" has a similar vibe, with Walden's acoustic dancing around a blistering electric and orchestra combination. Of the TV themes, only "Once and Again" approaches this kind of uniqueness and energy; after a gently swaying intro, the theme develops into a punchy, easy-to-hum three-guitar jam featuring Walden, Parks, and George Doering. Definitely a mixed bag that should also attract listeners unfamiliar with Walden's TV resume.

Biography

Born: 1950

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Guitarist W.G. Snuffy Walden was best known for his simple yet distinctive acoustic scores for a number of hit television series, most notably his influential work on the classic thirtysomething. Born in Louisiana in 1950, Walden first surfaced at age 15 backing B.J. Thomas, later fronting the band Stray Dog during three LPs recorded during the mid-'70s; as a session guitarist, he worked with Stevie Wonder on the seminal Songs in the Key of Life, in addition to projects from Greg Lake and Eric Burdon....
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