Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - The Best Of The Venturesdotdotdot
artworkThis fifteen tune collection cuts the vaults differently than many such packages, bringing forth some great hit tracks and some nice obscuros.
Picks: Apache '65, Ram-Bunk-Shush, Telstar, Wipe Out, The Cruel Sea, Perfidia, Rebel Rouser, Walk, Don't Run, Penetration, Pipeline, Diamond Head, Hawaii Five-0, Out Of Limits, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Journey To The Stars

Track by Track Review


Apache '65 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Expecting their version of Davie Allan's 1965 version of Jerry Lordan's' great tune, I was pleased to find instead a very clean and pretty straight cover of the Jorgen Ingmann American hit. That's all you need to know.

Ram-Bunk-Shush dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Ram-Bunk-Shush" is a guitar boogie, infectious and fun to play. The call and response in the lead lines is a really nice feature of this tune.

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. The organ lead is shallow, and the guitar is weak.

Wipe Out dotdot
Biker (Instrumental)

Highly uninspired dry rendering of the Surfaris classic. Mel Taylor's drums are way weak when compared to Ron Wilson's.

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.

Perfidia dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the followup to "Walk, Don't Run," in the same style and equally infectious. The lead is less up front, but the warmth of the whammy makes this an excellent pre-surf track. Great drums and picking. The combo really comes together in this track.

Rebel Rouser dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Covering Duane Eddy with slightly edgier guitar tone and dry rhythms doesn't make it interesting.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is essential. The Ventures were one of the two bands that served as the model for early surf bands, the other being the Fireballs. This was their first single, and is an absolute standard. It was based on the early fifties Chet Atkins arrangement. This is their signature tune, a solid and enduring cover of Johnny Smith's jazz classic. Rhythmic, solid as a rock, and very warm with pre-surf whammy. Only the Pink Fairies' vocal version is better than this. Great classic pre surf.

"Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" were recorded a year before there was such a thing as surf music. Totally vintage and majorly important to the birth of surf, this Ventures single is still their hallmark and best effort. Every collection requires this track.

Penetration dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This misses the point of the original. The added slide accents detract from the melody, giving it a silly air. The arrangement is otherwise pretty close to the Pyramids, except for the addition of the girl chorus.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures recorded "Pipeline" with no reverb, and very uneven glissando meter, plus little of the emotional beauty of the Chantays' original classic. It's a flat-pickers rendition, not particularly interesting.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Hamilton's classic instro, and among the very few surf singles the Ventures issued. Classic.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Rock (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)

This is the original rock interpretation, and surf to boot. Its hot, powerful, dramatic, and downright infectious. Totally wonderful. This is remarkable, both for its adaptation to the surf idiom, and because of it's power. Wonderful.

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!