Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Walk, Don't Rundotdotdot
artworkThis is where the Ventures legend begins. Don Wilson and Bob Bogle's duo became a band with the addition of Nokie Edwards and Howie Johnson in 1960. The rest is history. Essential rock instro history.
Picks: Morgen, Raunchy, Home, My Own True Love [Tara's Theme], The Switch, Walk, Don't Run, Night Train, No Trespassing, Caravan, Sleep Walk, The McCoy, Honky Tonk

Track by Track Review

Morgen dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This German pop hit is played well in the style and sound of the early ventures. It's a melodic piece, imported as a hit to the US in 1959 or 1960. Moderate MOR guitar.

Raunchy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bill Justis' classic guitar-sax hit delivered solely by guitar. It's fast and way fun. These guys have always had a knack for doing other people's hits, and this is among the better covers from this early period.

Home dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Slow slinky prom music for the ladies' choice dance. Pretty but unremarkable.

My Own True Love [Tara's Theme] dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Another really slow and pretty piece, with shimmering vibrato guitar and a romantic melody.

The Switch dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"The Switch" is a rockin' jam in the late fifties progression style, choppy and percussive, with great drums and the "Tequila" chord progression. Quite fun.

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.

Night Train dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very tamed down version of the classic tune James Brown made such a rock 'n' soul staple. Very soft and small combo jazzy.

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.

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.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This song just doesn't work without the lap steel. I'll stick to Santo & Johnny.

The McCoy dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a slight Indian flair in the guitar tone, this is otherwise a jam waiting for a melody.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bill Dogget's sax hit, nicely arranged for guitar, though pretty tame.