Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - The Compact Venturesdotdot
artworkThis CD compiles many tracks from the eighties by the chameleons of instro rock. Their early eighties rise to popularity among LA's punk-new wave crowd spawned many new morphs of tracks they've done and done for years, plus some new and interesting twists and turns as well. A mixed bag, from near eighties pop nonsense to cool surf collaborations.
Picks: Stars On Guitars [Medley: Walk, Don't Run, Apache, Out Of Limits, Let's Go, Pipeline, Wipe Out, Perfidia, Secret Agent Man, Hawaii Five-0, Walk, Don't Run], Runaway, Dance On, Johnny Angel, Hey Paula, It's My Party, Lipstick On My Collar, Rhythm Of The Rain, Save The Last Dance For Me, Magic Night, Comin' Home, One Way Ticket, Whittier Blvd., Showdown At Newport, Penetration, Surfing And Spying, Goldfinger

Track by Track Review

Stars On Guitars [Medley: Walk, Don't Run, Apache, Out Of Limits, Let's Go, Pipeline, Wipe Out, Perfidia, Secret Agent Man, Hawaii Five-0, Walk, Don't Run] dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Making nice with the trendy eighties drums sounds and medleying together one line each from a zillion hits... a golden shower hour of power. Dismissible.

Runaway dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A pedestrian arrangement of Del Shannon's hit, more rock oriented than the medley, but still nothing to hoot about.

Dance On dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' hit done well in a rock format. Smooth and fun, but not as cool as the original or the Challengers' cover.

Johnny Angel dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

An MOR treatment of Shelly Fabres' teeny bopper hit from her days on the Donna Reed show. Fine for the bar at the Holiday Inn. The bass line borrowed from "Oh Pretty Woman is a nifty drop in.

Hey Paula dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Sultry treatment of Paul & Paula's hit. A big so what.

It's My Party dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Like William F. Williams on KLIV used to shout when introducing the hit version of this, "Here's GORE!" He was being facetious, as am I. This is fluff. Leslie Gore (no relation to cardboard take away all your cars Al Gore) was the original pouty snotty teen age girl singer... it sucked then, it sucks now. This has none of the fire of the Gore hit.

Lipstick On My Collar dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Fastish MOR treatment of Connie Frances' hit. Tepid. I like the Saints' version way better.

Rhythm Of The Rain dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Another fluff treatment of a top forty hit of a bygone era. Disco MOR fare.

Save The Last Dance For Me dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Written by the exceptional Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman and made into a household hit by the Drifters, this tune is laid out in a featherweight arrangement with little character. The almost carnival ska backtrack makes a mockery of the song.

Magic Night dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Mel Taylor, Don Wilson, and Bob Bogle wrote this. Slow, melodramatic, and ultra soft rock. Cheesy keys and an acoustic guitar.

Comin' Home dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

An MOR arrangement of this jazz standard just passes for ok. It's not interesting, not a new interpretation, not crafted with character.

One Way Ticket dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Vince keys, supermarket arranging, and sterile playing here. Sorry, but this sort of thing is just filler to my ears.

Whittier Blvd. dotdotdot
Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

This is one thin cover of the incredible east LA anthem of Thee Midnighters. The whole idea is lost in the Ventures sound. There's no mariachi feel, no cruisin' the main ethic. Just the riffs. The organ substitutes for the horns, but doesn't carry it off, and the power of the big chord section is totally missing.

Showdown At Newport dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A lot like "Surfin' & Spyin'" (its B-side when it was a single), but more Venturistic. This is a rhythmic and crunchy eighties pop surf oriented number with magnetism. Among the better modern era Ventures tracks, with guitar work that holds your attention. The melody is like a sideways "Comin' Home Baby."

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.

Surfing And Spying dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the best tracks from the modern era Ventures, this fine tune features the chorus support of the Go-Go's, who also recorded this tune (Charlotte Caffey wrote it). Infectious riff rocking surf oriented eighties power instro. The downer is the stupid syndrum tom tom rolls. Otherwise, it's a solid track.

Goldfinger dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

John Barry's James Bond film theme, mushed out with eighties cutesy keys and a ska beat. This should suck, but it has some sort of magical attraction. Spiffy, in a child like way.