Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run - The Best Of The Venturesdotdotdot
artworkTwenty five tracks from the original rock instro chameleons, plus an interview and three radio spots. This is a great sampling of this band's work.
Picks: Walk, Don't Run, No Trespassing, Perfidia, Ram-Bunk-Shush, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Yellow Jacket, Driving Guitars, Road Runner, Twisted, Spudnik [Surf Rider], Night Drive, The 2000 Pound Bee [parts 1 and 2], The Savage, Moon Child, Journey To The Stars, Fugitive, Walk, Don't Run '64, Pedal Pusher, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Diamond Head, Action Plus, Dick Tracy, Flights Of Fantasy, Underground Fire, Hawaii Five-0

Track by Track Review

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.

No Trespassing dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Based strongly on the "Walk, Don't Run" arrangement, this simple riff number is not as strong. It does sport a near-surf damped rhythm guitar, but the lead is quite subdued. There are bits of "Memphis" here, as well as other hits du jour.

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.

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.

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.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Very big in Japan, this is a fine riff based tune, dry and fun.

Driving Guitars dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Also called "Ventures Twist," this is among the Ventures more familiar instros, popular in Japan more than the US. It's a progression with spirit and edge. The damped second guitar plucking in the break is very cool. Nice track.

Road Runner dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the Wailers great tune. It's percussive and repetitive, and based on a choppy rhythm guitar dominating a simple riff. This is not as raw as the original, nor as interesting.

Twisted dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Percussive and very cool, this sports a surfy second guitar playing ringing chords and alternating with a dry lead playing a simple riff. It's texturally interesting, and uses enough changes to keep from being too repetitive.

Spudnik [Surf Rider] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

They called it "Spudnik" on their mashed potato album. The Lively Ones renamed it and made it a surf classic. This is quite dry compared to the Lively Ones' version. It's such a solid piece of writing!

Night Drive dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Night Drive" is a slowish "Tall Cool One" kinda tune from the Wailers. It's smoother than the original, and much better recorded, but also less emotional.

The 2000 Pound Bee [parts 1 and 2] dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

They've done this a million times. Bobby Fuller and many others covered it. It's still just a low-E riff rocker. This take is fairly thick and grodie for the Ventures. This is both parts sequed.

The Savage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pounding drums and edgie surfy guitar together in a fine cover of this instro classic. Major pound, excellent drive, and an uncharacteristically fiery performance from the whole band, not the least of which is one thrashing from Mel Taylor.

Moon Child dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Moon Child" shimmers with vibrato and rolling drums. It's a gentle track, melodic and inviting. The chorus makes it too MOR, and the lead is subdued, but it still works OK.

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!

Fugitive dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Often covered, this track sports hound dog yelps and a spunky riff. It's a cool track, with excellent arranging and great drums.

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

The Ventures had already become the chameleons of rock by the time surf came along a mere few months after they cut "Walk, Don't Run" in 1960. They adapted quickly, morphing their crown jewel tune into a surf classic by adding reverb and glissandoes. It's way fun.

Pedal Pusher dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Excellent vibrato, and a go-go sorta beat under a riff and chop number that is just so-so except for the big chord vibrato.

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.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

Action Plus dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big rock candy in go-go boots, mindless progression and no point. This seems like an odd choice for a "best of" compilation.

Dick Tracy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big drums, detective cutesy rock, and a very rhythmic backtrack. A mixed bag, with a solid low-E lead and an infectious rhythm guitar.

Flights Of Fantasy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A phased country guitar simulating a weird trip with a headache. This is a very odd track, pretty interesting, yet sorta Davie Allan wannabe. Exotic and psychedelic, line dancing flowing skirted party bash happy, and grodie too.

Underground Fire dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Blues based big hall rock noodling over Albert Lee rhythms.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

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