Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Live In Japan '65dotdotdot
artworkThis CD is both discs originally included in a 1966 Japanese only release called "All About The Ventures." This is the first US release. The whole thing was recorded on March 5, 1965 at Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Hall. The band on this date was Nokie Edwards, Bob Bogle, Don Wilson, and Mel Taylor. The set is among their better live sessions, and shows that they were capable of a lot more energy live than their studio tracks usually displayed. The drums are up front in the mix, and there's no reverb anywhere on the guitars. The whole thing was remixed in Hollywood, and I think they should go back and do it again... not enough lead and too much drums.
Picks: The Cruel Sea, Penetration, Bull Dog, I Feel Fine, The House Of The Rising Sun, Out Of Limits, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Besame Mucho Twist, Love Potion No. 9, Walk, Don't Run '64, When You Walk In The Room, Rap City, Wipe Out, Lullaby Of The Leaves, The Lonely Bull, Telstar, Driving Guitars [Ventures Twist], Mariner No. 4, The Pink Panther Theme, Yellow Jacket, Apache, Pipeline, Surf Rider [Spudnik], Journey To The Stars, Bumble Bee Twist [The Wasp], Diamond Head, Caravan

Track by Track Review


The Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Also titled "The Cruel Surf," this is an odd version, with the lead guitar mixed pretty low. It's faster and more pumped than the Dakotas' original. The guitar tone is quite dry.

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally dry surf cover, reducing the damped rhythm to clicks. The arrangement is refreshing. It's extensive use of damped chops is cool, and dropping the sliding notes used on the "Ventures In Space" album helps as well.

Bull Dog dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A chunky cover of the Fireballs' classic, faster and pumped up. Very rhythmic and pretty mean.

I Feel Fine dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Covering the Beatles without the guts of their opening notes... it's pretty thin.

The House Of The Rising Sun dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A so-so cover of the blues standard, credited to Alan Price in error, 'cause that's how it was credited on the Animals hit version.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mike Gordon's most familiar tune, delivered dry with edge. Some really tasty playing from Nokie Edwards.

Slaughter On Tenth Avenue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The first rock interpretation from the Ventures was stunning. This is faster, more edgie, and pretty darn cool! Gutsy and dynamic. The fast dry glissandoes are pretty strange.

Besame Mucho Twist dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Consuelo Velasquez - Sunny Skylar standard driven with classic Ventures sound and lots of energy. Not surf, but certainly a solid performance.

Love Potion No. 9 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Clovers - Coasters classic, delivered like the cover band they are. I'll pass.

Walk, Don't Run '64 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally dry guitar tone chunking out their surf interpretation of their first big hit. It sounds like it was cut in the eighties tone wise. Pretty punkie for it's day.

When You Walk In The Room dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Jackie DeShannon's best song, well played and phrased, but just not on par with the original.

Rap City dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No. 5" also known as the "Hungarian Rhapsody," played with great flair and no reverb in a surf arrangement, just like the single left out in the sun to dry. Pumped drums and driving guitars. It takes on a completely different air than the single.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mel Taylor's power drums are hot, but lacking Ron Wilson's flair. The guitar tone seems at odds with the song. High energy, but nothing else to hang onto.

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Among the most often requested of their vintage tunes, this is well surfed from a whammy point of view, but really is in the "Walk, Don't Run" mold stylistically. Excellent treatment.

The Lonely Bull dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mel Taylor played drums on the original Tijuana Brass hit. This is a very tasty rendering, with Nokie Edwards' excellent fingering making it sing. Nice track.

Telstar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This just lacks the grodie drive of Joe Meek's' knob twisting compressed production of the original Tornados hit. It also lacks the charm of the surf versions, and the later eighties punk-power pop covers.

Driving Guitars [Ventures Twist] dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Major drums echo, driving guitar intro chord, and then it seems to just be too thin. It's Mel Taylor that holds it together. Nokie Edwards' damped harmonic glissandoes are pretty nifty.

Mariner No. 4 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fine melodic tune, but it requires guts to make it stick. The guitar tone is just too thin.

The Pink Panther Theme dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's film score delivered with extreme string bending and a quirky arrangement. It makes you crazy. It misses the humor of the original, replacing it with weirdness.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Somehow, this seems to be a fave among Ventures fans. It's a simple progression number, like a lesser Link Wray idea. The dry chops are cool.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a solid arrangement. While completely dry, Mel Taylor's drums are solid, and the dry chops create a horse gallop effect, and it works really well. It's faster than written, but that doesn't get in the way.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's just something wrong with the thin dry sound. The performance is perfect of course, and it's quite gutsy, and it even works well... it's just too dry. After all, it's about the water ya know...

Surf Rider [Spudnik] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards' potato classic turned surf with reverb by the Lively Ones is reverted back to it's landlocked state. It's such a strong melody that it doesn't really matter that it's sans reverb. Solid delivery from all.

Journey To The Stars dotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Pumped and deliriously solid, this sports major edge and really fine playing. The thunder is less than the studio track, but the menace is still there. Very strong!

Bumble Bee Twist [The Wasp] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Flight Of The Bumble Bee" double picked with excellent percussion and solid power. The dry chops add to the arrangement. Way fun.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Driving the rhythm thing to the edge, this infectious song is well delivered and very energetic. The dry glissandoes are fitting. It retains the feel of their original hit, but adds grind.

Caravan dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duke Ellington's classic "Caravan" pumped with exotic tribal strip tease drums and a fast paced power. The guitar work is splendid. Rhythmic and chunky.