Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - The Singles Collection Vol. 1dotdotdot
artworkVolume one of two featuring all of the classic ventures singles in mono.
Picks: Walk, Don't Run, Yellow Bird, Pipeline, The Lonely Sea, Diamond Head, House Of The Rising Sun, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Rap City, Kickstand, Candy Apple Racer, Caravan, Bulldog, Mariner No. 4, Bird Rockers, The Cruel Sea, Fugitive, The Swingin' Creeper, Pedal Pusher, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Apache, Loco-Motion, Limbo Rock, Telstar, The Lonely Bull

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.

Yellow Bird dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Utterly shimmering... this version of the MOR hit "Yellow Bird" sparkles with vibrato lead guitar. Ultra soft and islandic. Gorgeous.

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.

The Lonely Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This splendid island breeze classic is so friendly... and so Polynesian... and just so cool! melodic and a pure joy to listen to. Really well written and well played.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

House Of The Rising Sun dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A tame instro treatment of the Animals' hit. Not very strong.

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.

Rap City dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The "Hungarian Rhapsody" is completely reworked in the most delightful surf fashion. Arranged much light "Walk, Don't Run '64," this is a splendid example of how cool the Ventures could be when they wanted to. Obvious humor and excellent musicianship. A must have.

Kickstand dotdotdot
Biker (Instrumental)

Bikerisms abound in this Venturization of the Davie Allan sound. OK, but not overly interesting.

Candy Apple Racer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is thee track here, surfy reverbed, totally damped go-go playing, rhythm based, intense and deliberate. The simple riff just grabs and pleases. Great track for fun.

Caravan dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Not quite as tribal as it would become later for the Ventures, yet very cool. The guitar tone is too subdued for rock, but this small combo arrangement is really nice. Solid drums and infectious rhythm enhance this Duke Ellington classic. A strip joint runway beat, and a shuffling rhythm guitar, and splendid jazzy lead work. This is precision pristine instro rock. Excellent.

Bulldog dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' hit, rhythmically issued, less damped than the original, slightly drier. Pretty nice track.

Mariner No. 4 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Launched on the success of "Telstar," this is a too-close imitation, but without the mean wall of sound from Joe Meek.

Bird Rockers dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Bird Rockers" is an organ and fuzz guitar number with an interesting melody line, but too much sameness throughout.

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.

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.

The Swingin' Creeper dotdotdot
Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

This thick fuzzy number is choppy and repetitious, interesting for the first few bars, but then not. It would be a good backtrack to a snotty vocal. No where as interesting as King Fuzz's material.

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.

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.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty decent cover of Jerry Lordan's great tune. It's an adaptation of the Jorgen Ingman arrangement. It has less flair than his, but it is a solid track. If you want a hoot sometime, listen to the Sonny James vocal version.

Loco-Motion
MOR (Instrumental)

The chorus sings the whole song under the lead guitar. It's all too syrupy and MOR for me.

Limbo Rock dot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Champs classic is stripped of its infectious energy and bounce, replaced with almost acoustic guitar and cowbell percussion, plus forced whoops and hollers.

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.

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.