Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - In The Vaults Volume 4dotdotdot
artworkThe vaults continue to produce some nice track from the Ventures. Like the others in this series, it's quite a mixed bag of wonderful stuff and never-minds. Most intriguing here are the undubbed versions of track. In nearly all cases, I think they are superior to the released versions.
Picks: Journey To The Stars, Delicado, Night Run, Station Breaks, Driving Guitars, Echo, Yellow Jacket, Delta Lady, Scratch, Memphis, Black Tarantella, Original Number One, Beautiful Obsession, Bumble Bee Twist, Son Of A Preacher Man, Downtown, Pedal Pusher, Medley: Walk Don't Run/Perfidia/Lullaby Of The Leaves, The Jam, Caravan

Track by Track Review

Journey To The Stars dotdotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Like the released version, this is pumped and deliriously solid. What's undubbed about it the lack of keyboards, which from my perspective makes it very much cooler! There is another difference in that one of the v-boys says "let's take a journey to the stars" as the song gets under way. There's something much more sincere about this. Wonderful!

Delicado dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Valdir Azevedo 's 1952 composition never sounded so good transmuted to rock instro. Very cool percussion gives it a saucy rock sound. The lovely guitar work completes the picture.

Night Run dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Johannes Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No 5" is the basis of "Night Run." This is a solid, if not fairly placid version. hand claps were overdubbed to liven it up, by I think they just get in the way. It's a good take, just not very interesting.

Station Breaks dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This take of "Orange Fire" was intended for use in radio as a stinger or bumper, hence the title. It sounds like a lot of the jammier tracks The Ventures cut in 1961. Nothing special.

Driving Guitars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This alternate take on "Driving Guitars" is rich and full of spunk. The lead guitar has an intense tone. The slowly descending dry muted glissandos are pretty cool. Very nice to hear it undubbed.

Echo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The opening glissando is not really a gliss, but rather a set of double picked notes changing from selecting the next fret rather than sliding on the neck. "Echo" as a song is OK, with a cool descending melody riff, but the chorus gives if a cheesy easy listening feel.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This undubbed take is more basic, with extremely cool lead noodling in the break. Without the "extras," "Yellow Jacket" is a lot more interesting to me.

Delta Lady dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very commercial sounding track with no particular character. Much too far from their roots to be of interest.

Scratch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

While this is fairly light weight, it is the original version of a Ventures tune that was often covered by surfbands as wide ranging as Eddie and the Showmen and The Lively Ones. It's interesting to hear this, in part because later versions and covers were all so much more beefy.

Memphis dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Memphis" has always been such a riff rocker... this is not to far from Lonnie Mack's cover hit of Chuck Berry's classic.

Black Tarantella dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A touch of Russian, shouts, hand claps, and a very fun melody. The flute is a very nice touch. This is spunky and fun in a folksy kind of way. "Black Tarantella" was cut in 1961, but sat in the vaults except for a later release on an Italian single as "Tarantella."

Original Number One dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pure riff rock, chord progression, minimalist rock jam fair. This is really not very interesting, except in a country back porch sort of way.

Beautiful Obsession dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lovely tremolo guitar lays down a beautiful melody. The flute and brass gives it an orchestral easy listening sound that gets in the way of the guitars. Arranged differently, this could have been spectacular.

Bumble Bee Twist dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This undubbed version of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight Of The Bumble Bee" is grittier and cooler than its dubbed release version. The guitar is so much crisper, and the textures so much richer.

Son Of A Preacher Man
Surf (Instrumental)

Soulless soul covers... well... give rise to derogatory terms like white bread.

Surf (Instrumental)

Pet Clark's "Downtown" might have seemed like an obvious melodic pick off the charts, but this is pretty insipid. Then again, so has the hit.

Pedal Pusher dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Undubbed, "Pedal Pusher" has more grit and edge. It's still just a go-go beat under a riff and chop number that is just so-so, except for the big chord vibrato, which are crisper here.

Medley: Walk Don't Run/Perfidia/Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Ventures Medley" as it was called upon release, is very much more interesting in raw form. Stinging guitar, crisp rhythm, and real rock'n'roll chunk.

The Jam
Surf (Instrumental)

Just imagine, the longest drum stick count off ever, then the title predicts exactly what this is. It's no wonder it went so long unreleased.

Caravan dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is very much more engaging without the overdubs. The guitar's tone, which lost edge in release version, is very strong. Great drums and infectious rhythms enhance this Duke Ellington classic.