Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - In The Vaultsdotdot
artworkAs with many of the Ventures' releases, there are some gems here, and some dreck. Fans will like it, of course, but more neutral observers may be only partially rewarded for their patronage.
Picks: The McCoy, Lady Of Spain, Damaged Goods, The Way You Look Tonight, Candy Apple Racer, Genesis, Ten Seconds To Heaven, Gemini, Lawrence Of Arabia, The Green Hornet, El Greco, Comin' Home Baby, Arabesque, Peace Pipe, Pandora's Box, A Summer Love, Too Young To Know My Mind, Squaw Man, The Mercenary, Kern County Line, Skylab (Passport To The Future), Samovar, Joyride, Tora, Tora, Tora, Theme From Endless Summer

Track by Track Review


The McCoy dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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

Lady Of Spain dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a dry, but surfy exploration of "Lady Of Spain" that features tremolo's throb and cool rhythms. Quite nice.

Damaged Goods dotdotdot
Soft Rock (Instrumental)

This semi surfy soft rock track was a single flip side. It's textured with dry guitars and a herky jerky progression. It's the sort of track you want to dislike, but somehow it creeps into your consciousness and stick.

The Way You Look Tonight dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very delicate treatment of "The Way You Look Tonight" that's pretty, but has very little chemistry.

Candy Apple Racer dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is thee track here, surfy reverbed, totally damped go-go playing, rhythm based, intense and deliberate. The simple riff just grabs and pleases. Great track for fun.

Genesis dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Moody tape-echoed production makes this seem very sad, perhaps morose. It's slow and plodding with a mysterious sound. It all seems quite powerful until the strings come in and mess up the effect.

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.

Gemini dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fairly cheesy instro that's more or less dismissible. It's pleasant enough, but if you never heard it, it wouldn't change your life one iota.

Lawrence Of Arabia dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a really cool track, with a mysterious Middle Eastern edge and dramatic flair. Whammy chords sting, the melody's drama sneaks out, and the shimmer is compelling. Very nice.

The Green Hornet dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Gimmicky and featuring a dumb chorus, "The Green Hornet" could be overlooked without any loss. It's fast and energetic, with great drums, but it just seems too hokey.

El Greco dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"El Greco" is a very cool track, with hand claps and an engaging rhythm. The drums rock, and the overall effect is shimmering sultry gypsy lace. Very cool!

Comin' Home Baby dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fun and spiffy, this is a light hearted romp through Herbie Mann's classic. It's not up to the Surfaris' take, but it's quite serviceable.

Arabesque
Rock (Instrumental)

Tribal drums are faded up to bring forth "Arabesque." The '66 go-go fuzz guitar seems an unlikely effects choice, and the cheesy chorus gives it an underwhelming fifties film feel. This should have stayed in the vault.

Peace Pipe dot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' ' "Peace Pipe" is nicely done in an adult arrangement, complete with strings and chorus. It's a far cry from rock'n'roll.

Pandora's Box dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The rhythm line from "Take Five" is borrowed to piece together a melodic pop-psych track that's pleasant in that commercialized space style that evolved in studio sessions, never to be seen or heard by live bands.

A Summer Love dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Using the "Goldfinger" progression, among others, and reminiscent of a slow "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" at times, "A Summer Love" is a very light weight spy-ish track. Interesting as a footnote, but a long ways from essential.

Too Young To Know My Mind dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Soft pop with strings in a mold similar to the lighter "adult" side of Duane Eddy. Dismissible.

Squaw Man dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This slow and slightly sad fuzz track uses "Apache" echoed string swipes to give it the only element of Indian it has. The melody is cool, and the effects sort of psych in that Hollywood way. Of little consequence.

The Mercenary dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Eerie and spatial, with distant drums created by stereo delay, and hoping to rise above film music, "The Mercenary" just never really captures the imagination.

Kern County Line dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a nod to the country seen in Bakersfield, this is a light country instrumental with lap steel and cool drum work. Its fluid jam feel is open air light and country smooth. Only the drums take it way from Nashville.

Skylab (Passport To The Future)
Rock (Instrumental)

Giving space rock a bad name, "Skylab" is little more than fluff, and nowhere near the outskirts of cool. Where the Tornados' "Telstar" rocked, this floats on a Hollywood wash of phony space imagery.

Samovar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is quite a nice version of this song, with only the syn-drum messing it up. Light hearted and fluid, with some great percussion, and tasteful guitar work. For a mid seventies Ventures track, this is quite good.

Joyride dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a disco bass line and and cheesy guitar chops, "Joyride" nonetheless rises above its birth to be tasteful in a country rock kind of way. The juxtaposition of country and disco and funk is interesting enough to keep your attention.

Tora, Tora, Tora dot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Tora, Tora, Tora" is pompous in its attempt at drama, and the chorus and strings just make that worse. More power and edge in the performance and production would serve it much better.

Theme From Endless Summer dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a tepid cover of the Sandals' ultra classic "Endless Summer." It's very tastefully done, trying for imitation instead of inspiration. The carnival keys do separate it out, but they don't add to it.