Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Where The Action Is / Knock Me Outdotdot
artworkOne Way continues to couple Ventures albums for reasonably priced access to these legends. Neither of these two albums are particularly surf worthy, though a couple of standouts are here.
Picks: Action, Lies, Fever, Stop Action, 3's A Crowd, A Taste Of Honey, No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In), Action Plus, Hang On Sloopy (My Girl Sloopy), Nutty, Little Bit Of Action, She's Just My Style, I Feel Fine, Love Potion No. 9, Tomorrow's Love, Oh, Pretty Woman, Mariner No. 4, When You Walk In The Room, Gone, Gone, Gone, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, She's Not There, Lonely Girl, Bird Rocker, Sha La La, The Savage, Ten Seconds To Heaven, Superstar Review

Track by Track Review

Action dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Freddie Cannon's "Action" is done in a somewhat chunky vein, with the go-go guitar sound (slight distortion) and hand clap rhythm.

Lies dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Knickerbockers' "Lies" is presented with some spunk and less edge. It's melodic enough to make the instro conversion cut.

Rock (Instrumental)

The Ventures miss the point on this cover of Peggy Lee's fifties hit. They not only don't capture the original smoldering embers, they also don't hold up to the McCoys' arrangement, which this is based on.

Stop Action dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Exotic spy bongos and a minimal riff.... guitar and organ.

3's A Crowd
Rock (Instrumental)

Cheesy organ riff rock. As a break song, this might work, but alone, it doesn't stand up to the memory test or repeated listenings.

A Taste Of Honey dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Too MOR movie theme for me... It's fun, alright, but I don't really get this sort of thing.

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The T-Bones hit with this tune from an antacid commercial... this is less interesting.

Action Plus dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big rock candy in go-go boots, mindless progression and no point. This seems like an odd choice for a "best of" compilation.

Hang On Sloopy (My Girl Sloopy)
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the McCoys' arrangement, with the edge and rawness removed. Next.

Nutty dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a dry guitar translation of B. Bumble and the Stingers' "Nut Rocker." It works pretty well, with spunk and charm, and an infectious rhythm.

Little Bit Of Action
Rock (Instrumental)

Rolling drums open, then the wimpy organ takes the lead for a sideshow sound. "Little Bit Of Action" doesn't pass the memory test.

She's Just My Style dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"She's Just My Style" is a nice translation of this song. Interesting drums and fluid lead guitar.

I Feel Fine dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Beatles cover... next. It lacks the oomph of their original, and has no particular magnetism either.

Love Potion No. 9 dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A sad cover of the Robins' aka the Coasters' hit. It just doesn't work without Richard Berry's bass voice.

Tomorrow's Love dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really pretty song, often overlooked by those covering the lads. Only Eddie and the Surfbeats and the Fabulous Planktones have seen fit. Romantic feel, aquatic scenery, and a unique fluid melody line. It's not actually a Ventures original, but was written by Ron Story and issued by his band the Travelers.

Oh, Pretty Woman dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from the Holy Sisters Of The Gaga Dada, no one has cover Roy Orbison's glorious hit well. This is quite pedestrian.

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.

When You Walk In The Room dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Jackie DeShannon's "When You Walk In The Room" is a solid song requiring her earthy voice and country drawl. Fuzz guitar and all, this sorta works, but doesn't have the same drama and emotional intensity that her great recording does.

Gone, Gone, Gone dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Sorta like "Tequila" in a country store, "Gone, Gone, Gone" bounces along with a nice little piano, but is just not very interesting for very long. Too much of a jam.

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.

She's Not There dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Zombies, covered instrumentally. Fuzz guitar and piano. Just OK. I'll take I Cosmonauti anytime over this pretentious track.

Lonely Girl dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Intense loud guitar whammy and twang in a slow format. This is really nice. Not surfy at all, but a fine adaptation.

Bird Rocker dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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

Sha La La dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Jeepers - Spencer Davis Group, chorus and all. I don't think so.

The Savage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pounding drums and edgie surfy guitar together in a fine cover of this instro classic. Major pound, excellent drive, and an uncharacteristically fiery performance from the whole band, not the least of which is one thrashing from Mel Taylor.

Ten Seconds To Heaven dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Strangers In Paradise" made into an excellent surf track, with fine reverb and a great arrangement. This is the Ventures at their surf period finest.

Superstar Review
Disco (Instrumental)

Disco slush fever strikes the V-boys, girl chorus and all. Oh, man, this is just the worst.