Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - In The Vaults Volume 2dotdotdot
artworkMuch of this is not very good, that is to say the performances are tentative, like maybe they were early in the arranging stage and never got beyond that. "Sugaree" is a spunky vocal interpretation of the same standard that the Grateful Dead used to do.
Picks: Golden Earrings, Stick Shift, Forty Miles Of Bad Road, True Love, Teen Beat, Ventures Stomp, Deep Purple, Walkin' With My Angel, Travelin' Man, Greensleeves, Bongo Rock, Tossin' and Turnin', Blue Hawaii, What'd I Say, Hawaiian Surfing, Tammy, Stagger Lee, Hawaiian Wedding Song, Taboo, Danny Boy, Lites Out, High Tide, Spanish Armada, Saigon, Harlem Nocturne

Track by Track Review

Golden Earrings dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

Very soft and beautiful, this track sports a sultry romantic sound. A classic melody made to shimmer with gentle vibrato and island whammy.

Stick Shift dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duals' "Stick Shift" finds its way across the speakers without much drive. The drums are cool, but the track lacks the spunk of the original, except for the drums. Still, it's different and interesting.

Forty Miles Of Bad Road dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy's "40 Miles Of Bad Road" is weakly delivered. pristine, but without the power of the original.

True Love dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Soft shimmering guitar, quite beautifully playing this classic melody. A little too sappy for my taste.

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.

Ventures Stomp dotdotdot
Country Rock (Instrumental)

Spunky drums, a country riff, and some kinda fun... this is unusually structured and quite enjoyable. Not a hint of surf, but excellent fun.

Deep Purple dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Island whammy leads this into a near surf feel, but doesn't quite deliver the goods. Too sappy.

Walkin' With My Angel dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

"Walkin' With My Angel" is a mighty fun country tune, with great spirit despite its weak guitar tone. Lots of fun.

Travelin' Man dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man" is a better vehicle than you'd think... melodic and interesting. The guitars are dry, but the grins are all around.

Greensleeves dot
MOR (Instrumental)

A tepid performance of "Greensleeves."

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.

Tossin' and Turnin' dot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Tossin' and Turnin'" is not very interesting... no character and a tentative performance.

Blue Hawaii dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A natural choice, done in an Adventures In Paradise style. Pretty, but unremarkable.

What'd I Say dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from the glissandoes... just OK.

Hawaiian Surfing dotdotdot
Polynesian Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal military drums a la Roy Orbison's "Leah" under a moderate lead. Underdeveloped, but with potential. More Hawaiian than surf.

Tammy dotdotdot
Soft Rock (Instrumental)

Silky and sappy... pretty but unmemorable.

Stagger Lee dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

The old R&B classic... countrified and smooth.

Hawaiian Wedding Song dotdotdot
Hawaiian Romantic (Instrumental)

Beautifully smooth and silky, soft and romantic. Great for your next wedding.

Taboo dotdotdot
Soft Rock (Instrumental)

The exotica classic finds a different life in a guitar format, with an interesting and enjoyable arrangement.

Danny Boy dot
MOR (Instrumental)

Centuries of versions... this is uninspired and sappy.

Lites Out
Rock (Instrumental)

The arrangement here seems underdeveloped. The organ lead is cheesy and at odds with the drums.

High Tide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf rhythm guitar and a slight melody over "Caravan" drums. Interesting and unusual, but restrained. This is not the Lively Ones tune.

Spanish Armada dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy and Jeff Baxter trade leads backed by the Ventures. The tune and arrangement are of the Duane Eddy mold, and the pace is slow to moderate. Precise, dance floor stuff.

Saigon dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Thundering drums and ringing guitar, an Asian sorta melody, and an intensity missing from many others here. Exotica and magnetic.

Harlem Nocturne dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Earl Hagen's classic track made a rock instro standard by the Viscounts is very nicely done here. It's not raw like the Viscounts version. It's very pretty, like a romantic version of an Earl Stanley Gardner novel. Excellent playing, subtle and small combo jazzy.