Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Swingin' Creepersdotdotdot
artworkWell, isn't this a nice package. Compilations are often spotty, but there are few tracks here that don't make the grade, and some that fit in the must-have category. With 23 tracks from 23 bands, you'd be hard pressed to not find something to fit your taste. Strong recommendation on this one, and I'm not a Ventures fan. On the vocal side is a rip of the Halibuts' arrangement of the Challengers' cheesy version of the Ventures' dumbest original ever "The Twomp" by Fortune & Maltese and the Phabulous Pallbearers.
Picks: Journey To The Stars, Walk, Don't Run, Stop Action, Hot Line, Ravin' Blue, Lonely Girl, Mariner 4, Go-Go Slow, Fuzzy and Wild, Guitar Freakout, Diamond Head, War Of The Satellites, The Nineth Wave, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Yellow Jacket, Swingin' Creeper, A Go-Go Dancer, Bird Rockers, Eleventh Hour, Escape / Psychedelic Venture, Sha La La, Moon Child

Track by Track Review

Journey To The Stars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy duty performance of the Ventures' standard that Thom Starr take writer's credit for on his CD. Well played with a huge sound.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Boston's main surf exponent provide a solid rendition of this often covered tune. They use the 1960 Ventures' hit arrangement enhanced with reverb. It is interesting how reverb changes the effect even thought the arrangement is essentially true to the hit. Competent and solid.

Stop Action dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A distorto garageland performance, lots of period edge, and Eddie's classic crunch. The arrangement finds the two guitars and organ playing off each other in basic rock combo form.

Hot Line dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Finland's Quiets launch this with spacie sounds and Venturistic tone delivered with reverence. The warmth of the tone provide an accessibility that transcends the original I think.

Ravin' Blue dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Michigan's multiple personalities don their surf band suits and then slither out a country rockin' sorta number, with more party prance than pomp, and more inebriation than caution. Major fun for the line dance.

Lonely Girl dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This gentle and melodic number is very nicely cut by Milwaukee's Exotics. It's fluid delivery is very tasty. I must say that this is among my faves from this band. It displays a maturity a and confidence in the lead guitar I had not previously noticed in their music. Excellent track.

Mariner 4 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tuscaloosa, Alabama is home to the Penetrators. They are a band that I just can't help but like, in part because they play with such honest fun and humor, and in such an open style. "Mariner 4" is fluid and more than a little enjoyable. Rock solid and way cool!

Go-Go Slow dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Finland's garage surf/rock instro monsters hit home with this perfect choice for their crunchy attack. This is different from the original in it's less robotic playing, for which I'm grateful. I found this to be a solid track. Fuzz and melody, with tinges of feedback.

Fuzzy and Wild dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Germany's Cave 4 continue down their garage path with this solid and entertaining version of "Fuzzy & Wild." It rates real consideration, whether garage is your bag or not.

Guitar Freakout dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Seattle's Boss Martians come across with a warm and friendly performance of this late sixties Ventures classic. The hokey nature of the melody and arrangement, coupled with the sultry whammy is quite entertaining. The break deteriorates into a speed freak frenzy for a brief interlude, before dropping back into the plodding main theme.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Beyond precise, John Blair's guitar tone and Dusty Watson's drums take this beyond just a cover of the Ventures. Infectious and powerful.

War Of The Satellites dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the more interesting of the bands hiding in the weeds waiting to be discovered is Austin's Sir Finks. This playful surfy version vastly improves on the cutesy almost silly original, bringing it into the realm of credible. A fine track.

The Nineth Wave dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Much of the Bombora's work has been of little interest to me for a variety of reasons. This is a solid and enjoyable track, giving rise to reevaluating their past issues. It's both reverent and still their own in tone and attack.

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

All you need to know about "Lullaby Of The Leaves" is King Fuzz! Davie Allan & the Arrows continue to breathe new and intense life into artifacts of days gone by. Like the version of "Our Favorite Martian" on Delphonic Sounds Today, this simply rules. Mean and respectful. Long live the King!

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Garage (Instrumental)

With a thin sound, this fine performance from Johnny Bartlett and friends captures the feel of the era. It's not very much like the original, and that's just fine. A nice combo groove.

Swingin' Creeper dotdotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

The Tiki Tones take this quirky number out of the fuzzbox and into the fridge, where it carouses with cocktail glasses and olives. The Herb Alpert horns add an extra suave edge. The transformation of this tune is really quite stunning. The Bat Man styled chorus fits the arrangement, but I found it distracting.

A Go-Go Dancer dotdotdotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

Germany's Looney Tunes drive this into the surf groove with speed and exquisite damped plucking. The change in tone gives this a whole new meaning. It becomes a visual number... a backdrop to short board footage. Very cool.

Bird Rockers dotdotdot
Fuzz Garage (Instrumental)

Evan Foster's (Boss Martians) side project creates a funky fuzz laden sixties sound with this fairly unmelodic tune. Powerful and more like a minor Davie Allan wannabe than anything original.

Eleventh Hour dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

NYC's Vice Royals do an excellent and articulate job with this. It's dramatic, sophisticated, shimmering, and spooky. The vibrato shimmer and the production create a picture of distant mystery. More please!

Escape / Psychedelic Venture dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very nice take by Portland's legendary Satan's Pilgrims. Where some of their material has been spirited but not always recorded well, this sounds really solid and the performance is precise and well arranged. Rhythmic and infectious.

Sha La La dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a nice track, fluid and enjoyable, with a real wahine whine and island feel. The picking is clean and precise in this the mid tempo track. A solid pick for refined listening pleasure, except for the chorus... yeah, I know it's supposed to be there, but up until that point I was hooked.

Moon Child dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very different than either the Space Cossacks (Ivan Pongracic) or Omega Men (Ed Abolins and Eric Ebeling) from which this studio trio comes, this track is a shimmering and crisp arrangement, and while it is restrained, it is also quite enjoyable.