Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Wild Againdotdotdot
artworkThese are first decently cut tracks in a long time from the Ventures, full bodied and well mixed by Neil Norman. Some good stuff, and some not so good. The disc closes with an interview with Bob Bogle and Don Wilson.
Picks: Baja, Wham, Beethoven Five-0h!, Quiet Village, Teen Beat, The James Bond Theme, Midnight In Moscow, Exodus, Happy Organ, Quicksilver [William Tell Overture], Ajoen, Ajoen, Petite Fleur, Rock Concerto In A Minor, Bongo Rock, The Lonely Surfer, Wipe Out, Caravan, Surf On Guitar Medley - Let's Go Mix, Surf On Guitar Medley - Ryomei Shirai Mix

Track by Track Review

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's most famous surf instro is played straight in a pure trad surf style. The reverb is light. This is a fine track.

Wham dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Lonnie Mack's best instro, played without his flair and too much Jerry Lee Lewis piano licks. The guitar style is too much Memphis and not enough Lonnie Mack.

Beethoven Five-0h! dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Ludwig von Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" placed in a light weight rock framework and played well, but without anything to hook you except Mel Taylor's drums and the dry damped rhythm guitar.

Quiet Village dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is really cool. The island playfulness adds greatly to the surfability of this Les Baxter tune made famous by Martin Denny. Really pretty and reeking of the waves and post luau romance. Excellent.

Teen Beat dotdotdot
Teen (Instrumental)

Sandy Nelson didn't mean this to be so thick. Jerry McGee played it when he was with Sandy Nelson. It retains the rhythm dominated feel of the Sandy Nelson original, and adds excellent dry guitar chops. The mix is very good.

The James Bond Theme dotdotdot
Spy (Instrumental)

This is a thick grodie rendering, pompous and overbearing, but retaining the movie theme feel.

Midnight In Moscow dotdotdot
Near Surf MOR (Instrumental)

The Ventures do a nice near-surf rendering of Kenny Ball's classic "Midnight In Moscow." It's very well played, but quite low energy and bordering on MOR surf.

Exodus dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Unlike the Lively Ones' or Halibuts' surf treatments, this is very dry and quite strait. It's a nice track, but doesn't grab or hold, and passes much too close to MOR.

Happy Organ dotdotdot
Organ Jam (Instrumental)

Dave "Baby" Cortez whomped the world with his calliope like organ hit. He brought console organ into rock for real. The Ventures play it with organ lead, and despite the lack of flair, it is pretty close to the original intent.

Quicksilver [William Tell Overture] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody is credited to Taylor/Wilson/Bogle/McGee/Carr, but it is the "William Tell Overture." The lead is nicely double picked, and the track has a friendliness about it, warm but not hot.

Ajoen, Ajoen dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This traditional Spanish tune is quite nicely adapted to their format, though it borders on coy in spots. Still, I can imagine how the Halibuts would make it hum. melodic and playful.

Petite Fleur dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Sidney Bechet's classic tune, played sadly with long echoing guitar and a lightweight backtrack. Euro guitar instro fare.

Rock Concerto In A Minor dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

"Nut Rocker" smoothed way out, with cool dry glissandoes and a fluid feel. A nice track.

Bongo Rock dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Preston Epps classic brought the bongo drum into the forefront of rock and out of the restrictive realm of Maynard G. Crebbs and the "dead" Beat Generation. This is a mostly tame rendering, OK for a party, with hot sax from Mike Rose. Some of the guitar work, however is really big hall power chord stuff. Among the more unusual and inspired arrangements on this disc.

The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jack Nitzsche's super low-E studio surf classic, played correctly, but with even less flair than the original. It's sorta pretty, but uninspiring.

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.

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.

Surf On Guitar Medley - Let's Go Mix dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with multilayered glissandoes, this quickly becomes a slushy medley of stars on 45. Mostly a soundtrack to a party. Tunes included include "Let's Go" "Walk, Don't Run," "Satisfaction," "Lullaby of the Leaves," "Paradise A Go-Go," "Yozora No Hoshi," "Let's Go," "I Feel Fine," "Tequila," "House Of The Rising Sun," "Let's Go," "Pipeline," "Driving Guitars," and "Wipe Out."

Surf On Guitar Medley - Ryomei Shirai Mix dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like the Surf Coasters remixes, this is an industrialized "mix" in the sample and slam sense. It's actually quite interesting... way better than the previous track. Tracks are "Let's Go," "Walk, Don't Run," and "Pipeline."