Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ventures - Pops In Japandotdotdot
artworkThis version of Pops In Japan combines both volumes on one disc at a budget price. the title implies just what it is, The Ventures playing pop music in their format. Some nice moments.
Picks: Blue Chateau, Halleluyah, Sentimental Guitar, Wakereta-Hito-To, Tokyo Nights, Slow Sundown, Hokkaido Skies, Kono-Tenohirani-Aio, Kirisame No Hodo, Honocho, Black Sand Beach, Gin-Iro-No-Michi, Kyoto Doll, Stranger In Midosuji, Reflections In A Palace Lake, Nagasaki Memories, Ginza Lights, Kimi-To-Itsumademo, Yozura-No-Hoshi, Blue Sanset

Track by Track Review


Blue Chateau dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This song has a lovely melody, and the arrangement is very pop-Ventures, with keys and other not very rock elements. It is nonetheless a very enjoyable track.

Halleluyah dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The melody here is on the sad side, and the arrangement very fitting. Aside from the light pop sound, "Halleluyah" is a very enjoyable and moody number with Japanese influence.

Sentimental Guitar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very nice track, and as The Ventures nod of respect to their Japanese audience would eventually require, this was also done by Takeshi Terauchi and Blue Jeans, japan's most successful eleki band. Interestingly enough, there are a series of clicks in the first verse that sound like vinyl noise.

Wakereta-Hito-To dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Wakereta-Hito-To" is a very slow number with lovely delicate acoustic guitar and light rhythm, plus bell-like keys. Totally easy listening, yet soothing and very nice.

Tokyo Nights dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The melody to "Tokyo Nights" is very cool, with a blend of Japanese and American influences. Great drums, cheesy organ, and an infectious rhythm.

Slow Sundown dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Slow Sundown" is an easy moving number with a country-meets-the-blues sound and eleki feel. Great drums, an easy flow, and a warm sound. Very nice.

Hokkaido Skies dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Shimmering tremolo and a sad melody on acoustic guitar combine for a gentle gulf coast breeze of a tune. The whining steel or slide guitar in the distance add a sense of emotion. The organ is pretty cheesy.

Kono-Tenohirani-Aio dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and tremolo shimmered, "Kono-Tenohirani-Aio" is pure easy listening. The guitar is really lovely, and the piano very cool. Piano is a much better choice than the organ used on these sessions. It gives it a gentle country feel.

Kirisame No Hodo dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Rainy Pavement" uses a jumping jive beat and cool tremolo guitar. The effect is interesting, but is somewhat lost in the keys and unchanging nature of the arrangement.

Honocho dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is one easy to like number, with great piano and a cool melody line. The rhythm is kinda chunky, and the sound, while unchanging, seems to work. "Honocho" has an overall carnival in the rain sound.

Black Sand Beach dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Yuzo Kayama and the Launchers' hit Japanese single is nicely done here, with a dry muted guitar rhythm pattern that's quite infectious, especially when the glissandos ensue. Like the original, but much softer. very cool.

Gin-Iro-No-Michi dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Gin-Iro-No-Michi" has a very fun rhythm, but really didn't stay in ram long. Light and very competent, just not particularly engaging.

Kyoto Doll dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Kyoto Doll" is played on a faux-sitar lead guitar and flute-like keys. The song is beautiful, but this rendering is pretty light weight. Other takes from The Ventures are better.

Stranger In Midosuji dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a lovely number with acoustic lead and rhythm, light drums, and delicate bass. Its sound is quite visual. Not normally my cup of tea, the style of "Stranger In Midosuji" did get my attention, at least until the organ came in.

Reflections In A Palace Lake dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Reflections In A Palace Lake" is a slow moving country number with extremely good playing. With great respect for the musicianship here, I nonetheless was left not caring to hear it again. It just did not grab me at all.

Nagasaki Memories dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

There's a bit of a Byrds' ring to the rhythm guitar here. The melody is sad and lovely, and is played on acoustic guitar. The piano adds more lovely flavor, and the organ is churchy and kept under control. Tremolo leads and rhythms takeover after a while. This has a very good arrangement and is very effective. Wonderful!

Ginza Lights dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums, glissandos, a Japanese melody, and a bit of grit make "Ginza Lights" worth checking out. The song is very cool, and I think most Ventures takes have been quite good.

Kimi-To-Itsumademo dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Kimi-To-Itsumademo" is a slow moving number with a pretty melody. Muddy mastering is evident right away with hum in the opening induced by what seems like an attempt to compensate for very little bass in the master. It also seems like stereo-treated, EQ-separated mono.

Yozura-No-Hoshi dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Wow, serious classic Ventures surf sound rechannelled from mono. Demented whammy, serious surf rhythm, and a splendid melody riff. "Yozura-No-Hoshi" rocks! Great fun and intensity.

Blue Sanset dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Blue Sanset" is rechannelled for a stereo feel from mono tapes. The song is lovely and island like in many ways, and on the lighter easy side of the street.