Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Beach Party c/w Going To The Ventures Dance Partydotdot
artworkThe two CD's coupled here are both fair, and contain a few gems, but mostly they are just so-so. The original "Surf Rider" is here under it's original potato moniker.
Picks: Lucille, Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes), Hernando's Hideaway, Mashed Potato Time, Summertime, Hot Summer (Asian Mashed), Poison Ivy, The Wah-Watusi, Instant Mashed, Scratch, Hully Gully (Baby), Spudnik (Surf Rider), Mr. Moto, Theme From Come September, Ya Ya Wobble, Night Drive, Venus, The Intruder, Gandy Dancer, Sweet And Lovely, Limbo Rock, Lolita Ya Ya, Loco-Motion, Gully-Ver

Track by Track Review

Lucille dot
Soft Rock Blues Jazz (Instrumental)

Little Richard's "Lucille" finds itself all trimmed down to a jazzy-bluesy soft rock treatment. Misses the point completely.

Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)
Rock (Instrumental)

Spuds abound, but the chorus and the weak guitars spell disco's precursor go-go with as much lack of soul as can be mustered.

Hernando's Hideaway dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This classic tune has been polished and butchered over the years. This is a serious treatment in a light rock format, pleasing and tasteful.

Mashed Potato Time
Rock (Instrumental)

The Olympics style chorus stereotypically spells out the whole mashed potatoes movement... next.

Summertime dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Gershwin's "Summertime" has seen many an arrangement, from serious through Billy Stewart's grand scat-soul malae to many surf arrangements. This is pretty straight, tasteful, and nicely played, but not particularly memorable.

Hot Summer (Asian Mashed) dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bud Coleman's slightly Japanese sounding tune is very smooth, played in vibrato with a straight beat. This could be surfed up really well I think.

Poison Ivy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Every last bit of the Coasters' cool is replaced by dry but very competent guitar. Sorta a country grin at the alter of primal Leiber-Stoller rock.

The Wah-Watusi
Rock (Instrumental)

Another pop-soul hit dance tune finds a chorus and a guitar... just doesn't cut it.

Instant Mashed dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This original is not in the mashed potato mold, but is more like other Ventures tunes. The beat is staid, and the guitar restrained.

Scratch dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Incorrectly identified on the sleeve as "Surf Rider," this Gene Moles / Nokie Edwards tune found many fine surf treatments over the years, beginning with the Lively Ones and Eddie and the Showmen. This performance doesn't even hint at the power within. It's quite restrained, yet enjoyable.

Hully Gully (Baby) dot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Olympics' "Hully Gully (Baby)" is given the light weight treatment, uses a chorus, and a relatively lackluster performance.

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!

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Belairs' classic "Mr. Moto" is nearly destroyed with the addition of a disturbingly uncomplimentary chorus. Even the XXXX version is more interesting.

Theme From Come September dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Concrete And Clay" cowbell work opens this spirited semi country treatment of the MOR hit film score. Bouncy and fun, this version is quite enjoyable, if a little contrived. Some of the "Never On Sunday" feel of the day is also in evidence.

Ya Ya Wobble dot
Rock (Instrumental)

More girls singin' "yeah yeah yeah" over a basic progression... completely dismissible.

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.

Venus dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Floating guitar and a Walk Don't Run inspired chord progression morph this Frankie Avalon hit into a reasonably cool instro. The silky lead guitar keeps the puppy love sentiment while also adding an island feel. Quite a cool track.

The Intruder dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Whirling guitar slowly shimmering out a pretty melody. This is a tasteful track, though the guitar effect is somewhat annoying, like the take of Paul Johnson's "Roller Derby" he did for the Good Guys aka the Challengers.

Gandy Dancer dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Cowboy suave and a fine little riff are balanced with a restrained performance. While it's a cool tune, it's also not very inspired. The drums however are great.

Sweet And Lovely
Rock (Instrumental)

April Stevens and Nino Tempo had a hit with "Sweet And Lovely." The Ventures took the contrived suave of the hit and replaced it with an odd arrangement and that awful chorus they used so often during this period.

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.

Lolita Ya Ya
Rock (Instrumental)

This was a big hit for the Ventures. The girls chorus is so cheesy... I never could stand listening to it... I was embarrassed for the Ventures. After all these years, it still sucks.

MOR (Instrumental)

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

Gully-Ver dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a strange track, sorta MOR and sorta rock, with a quirky little melody and a fine vibrato lead. It's friendly enough, just uninspired.