Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Ritchie Valens - Come On Let's Godotdotdotdot
artworkThis 3 CD box set collects the albums Ritchie, Ritchie Valens, and In Concert At Pacoima Jr. High, plus a bunch of demos and outtakes. It's quite a nice set, with an excellent booklet. Among the vocal gems here are the classics of course, but a great surprise is a crisp stereo mix of "La Bamba."
Picks: From Beyond, Rhythm Song, Guitar Instrumental, Malaguena, La Bamba, Big Baby Blues, Fast Freight, Ritchie's Blues, Ritchie's Blues, Blues With Drums, Blues Instrumental, Malaguena, Blues Slow

Track by Track Review


From Beyond dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is an instro with the feel of an Al Casey / Jody Reynolds and the Storms / Duane Eddy tune, with rich low-E lead and vibrato. It's too bad the sound quality is so bad, because this would be a very cool track. It never appeared from a studio session. Very cool! From "In Concert At Pacoima Jr. High."

Rhythm Song dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Rhythm Song" is an instrumental outtake. Bass and drums accompany Ritchie Valens as he chunks away. It's an incomplete track.

Guitar Instrumental dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Guitar Instrumental" is an instrumental Ritchie wrote right after appearing with Bo Diddley on tour. Bass and drums accompany Ritchie Valens plays a Bo Diddley-ish number with shimmering rapid vibrato against brushed drums. Very cool.

Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Surf Flamenco (Instrumental)

This is delightful. Ritchie Valens is accompanied by a piano player tat is unidentified. It's also unclear whether it is really Valens or session guitarist Rene Hall on the axe.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the backtrack take 5. You can just here Ritchie Valens singing way way off in the distance. It also is sans the Rene Hall solo, or at least it's way low in the mix.

Big Baby Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This is a slow and smooth blues instro, played with lots of feeling and great Fender sound. Quite a nice track, though it sorta falls apart at the end. I'm sure it was just a warm-up jam, but it does have quite a bit of charm. Previously unreleased.

Fast Freight dotdotdot
Latino Rock (Instrumental)

This track has little or nothing to do with surf, but on the other hand, it is a fine rhythmic instro from one of the truly great losses to the rock world. Richie Valens' name was shortened by Del-Fi from Valensuela) to overcome fears of a stigma from the Mexican name. His raw energy and magnetic appeal were unmistakable from his sessions. This track has plenty of his flair, and while not very melodic, and void of any surfisms, it holds attention throughout with it's shear innocent excitement.

Ritchie's Blues dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

The vibrato and shimmer of this track is quite stunning. Ritchie Valens' playing is delicate and fluid, and the tone borders on surf. The echoed guitar and damped plucks create a Midwest surf feel. Quite tasty.

Ritchie's Blues dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

The vibrato and shimmer of this track is quite stunning. Ritchie Valens' playing is delicate and fluid, and the tone borders on surf. The echoed guitar and damped plucks create a Midwest surf feel. Quite tasty.

Blues With Drums dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Ritchie Valens was a good guitar player. "Blues With Drums" displays him playing a slow and moody blues instro accompanied only by drums. It's a trad blues riff played with a bit of reverb and vibrato. It has a surfer's blues kinda feel. Nothing really unusual, but in the mid section, Ritchie plays a dual note harmony that's quite appealing. It's rough, but very human. Quite nice.

Blues Instrumental dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

"Blues Instrumental" is a straight 12 bar blues, with some reverb and echo, and a soulful sadness.

Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Surf Flamenco (Instrumental)

This is delightful. Ritchie Valens is accompanied by a piano player tat is unidentified. It's also unclear whether it is really Valens or session guitarist Rene Hall on the axe.

Blues Slow dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

This is a slow standard blues, played against a plinking piano. It's moody and gritty, in an after hours way.