Saturday, 19 January 2019

C64 High Score with Rob Hubbard

A while back I arranged and played Rob Hubbard's "Commando High Score". If you were born circa late 60's early 70's and had a Commodore 64 you are probably just started humming it in your head. Danny over at No Reason got in touch with me - another fan of the song - he was doing a podcast on this obscure little song and wanted to interview me! Of course I said yes!

During the interview he mentioned he was interviewing Rob Hubbard, the composer. I was dumbfounded and awestruck...yes I am a huge fan of Rob's chiptune work in the 80's, he was a monster in the scene, so many lame games but with fantastic soundtracks. His music had an impact on my life that remains to this day.  What he could get out of the 3 channel SID chip in a C64 was simply incredible.

Now "Commando High Score", circa May '85, has what I consider a sibling in "Monty on the Run High Score" circa June '85. Both have the very familiar doo-wop 50's chord progression I-vi-IV-V (eg Stand By Me), albeit in different styles, but the "feel" is very familiar. I mentioned to Danny to ask Rob if after creating "Commando High Score" (which apparently he did very quickly) if he then took a bit more time and expanded it into "Monty on the Run Game Over". I look forward to the answer!



One of the features of both songs is a soulful melody, the doo-wop progression and a mid ranged  arpeggio that plays the same notes even though the background chord is changing, a very clever "trick", I'm sure there is a musical term for it. The melody also hangs onto the same scale notes also creating these fascinating chord sounds against the chord progression.

Anyway, I then was inspired to arrange "Monty on the Run High Score" as well, it's much longer and true to form I have made it very difficult to play. I will post it soon.

...but I also arranged it for my kids to play as a trio. My kids primary instruments are double bass, cello and alto sax. Perfect for this arrangement, They have been on holidays and their brains have turned to mush, but I've had them play it through in 3 separate sessions, it needs plenty of work but I'm loving the sound of it. Dare I say I like it more than playing it myself! The part for the girls is very easy and they pretty much nail it, the melody is on the edge of play-ability for the lad, he's getting there though. Decided to record an "early version, warts and all" so that one day we can all look back and laugh :-)

JAW