Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Ventures - 1987 "The Best of the Ventures"

The Ventures have been recording music since their 1960 release "Walk, Don't Run." They continue to release new albums with several releases in 2005, and a number of releases throughout the world after 2000. The group is almost exclusively a rock instrumental group, and retains a flavor very similar to that of their music extending back to 1960.

The Ventures may also claim title to being either the most prolific rock recording artists or one of the most prolific, with dozens of original studio albums and more dozens of compilations. With the huge amount of music from this group, which includes more than 3000 songs and more than 250 released recordings, having a "best of" is an exercise in futility. This particular collection is a mini-best of collection that covers some of the group's better known music from the 1960s.

"Apache `65" has a haunting lead guitar with even more interesting sound effects that may have been made vocally. The Ventures made the combination of the two lead guitars, bass guitar and drums sound much greater than number of actual instruments.

Moving past "Ram-Bunk-Shush," "Telstar" has an organ that provides the sound effect that feels like the song is describing the satellite Telstar. The lead guitar alternates effectively with organ to imply the loneliness of space with drum brushes and bass guitar to keep the pace moving along briskly.

After a very effective cover of "Wipe Out" is "Cruel Sea." "Cruel Sea" is effective as a surfer song describing how difficult it can be to ride the waves. The order of the songs is important because "Wipe Out" is lighter and "Cruel Sea" is more serious, reflecting the playful nature of waves as well as their ability to cause injury.

"Perfidia" is a short light instrumental that leads into an excellent cover of Duane Eddy's signature instrumental "Rebel Rouser." Afterward is one of the Ventures' best loved singles releases, "Walk, Don't Run." This clever instrumental has a signature riff that is replayed with variations that keep the song fresh from beginning to end.

"Penetration" is a dynamic instrumental that uses careful guitar picking to use the guitar's percussion abilities, creating an innovative song. This instrumental also seems to have been aided by a stringed instrument, possibly a violin. After this track is an outstanding cover of the Shantay's "Pipeline," another surf song.

"Diamond Head" is yet another surf song that contains more interesting sound effects, though some of the effects I find annoying.

The Ventures had another hit with their cover of the theme song from "Hawaii Five-O." This instrumental sounds much like that played for the television show, and yet there are differences between the songs. The Ventures added horns for their version and it can be difficult to hear the differences from the television theme. This instrumental was the last big hit in the United States for the Ventures.

Finishing this album are two live tracks, "Slaughterhouse on Tenth Avenue" and "Journey to the Stars." Both tracks are enjoyable if you like live music. There is a vocal introduction on "Journey to the Stars." The instrumental contains yet another highly memorable guitar riff.

With the thousands of instrumentals recorded by the Ventures, choosing a best of is virtually impossible. This recording is a very good sampling of the Ventures music from the 1960s, and a great introduction to the group. However, there are more comprehensive box sets available, and many of their albums are available as well in CD form. Fans of the Ventures will want this CD only for reasons of nostalgia. Fans of guitar instrumentals should check out their box sets. Enjoy!

There are many editions of The Ventures Greatest Hits or Best of the Ventures. Any and all of these editions are good. It depends upon what songs you are looking for and the edition that has the best compilation of your personal favorites. This particular edition has fifteen tracks reaching from the older to the newer performances. I grew up with these guys and can remember one of my brothers having a 45rpm record of Ram-Bunk-Shush on the Dolton label. Of course, I was too young to even spell guitar at that time, much less know how to play one. Anyhoo, this copy is on the EMI label and I will highly recommend this smaller collection to anyone. 

Track listing:

1     Apache '65    
2     Ram-Bunk-Shush    
3     Telstar    
4     Wipe Out    
5     Cruel Sea    
6     Perfidia    
7     Rebel Rouser    
8     Walk, Don't Run    
9     Penetration    
10     Pipeline    
11     Diamond Head    
12     Hawaii Five-O    
13     Out Of Limits    
14     Slaughter On Tenth Ave (Live)    
15     Journey To The Stars (Live)

There have been relatively few personnel changes since the group’s inception.  Original drummer Howie Johnson broke his neck in a 1961 car accident and was unable to handle extensive touring.  Mel Taylor replaced him in 1962. This cemented the classic Ventures lineup of Don Wilson, Bob Bogle, Nokie Edwards and Mel Taylor.  In 1968 Edwards left to go solo and was replaced on lead guitar by Gerry McGee.  Edwards returned to the fold in 1972 and remained until late 1984.  Once again, he was replaced by McGee, who remains with the group and continues to tour with them in Japan.  Bob Bogle retired from touring in December 2004 and was replaced by Bob Spalding.

Today’s lineup comprises Don Wilson, Bob Spalding (who first appeared live with the group in 1981), Gerry McGee, and Leon Taylor (who replaced his late father Mel in 1996).  Nokie Edwards still joins them on selected dates.



  2. Hi.
    Do You have Christophe Godin – Metal Kartoon (mp3 or PDF songbook)?
    Or this

  3. Have any Garth Brooks ?