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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surfing Plus, 19 Sep 2011
By 
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Surfing (Audio CD)
The Ventures released the original "Surfing" album in May `63 which was probably the peak year for Surfing as a music fashion/fad/genre or whatever. The lads had already had nine albums out (or nine hit albums if one slavishly follows the sleeve notes) during which time surf music had developed so I guess, as elder statesmen (already) of rock instrumentals, we would expect them to comment in music on the "new" music form. Or at least we would expect their record label to try and make some money out of it. And with the CD release we could probably expect some even more creative financial enterprise!

Sorry for the touch of cynicism; I'll try to keep it under control.

What the album consists of is the original 12 tracker release supplemented by "some rather tasty album tracks" - I'm quoting from the notes again - what this phrase actually means is a job lot of some very well known and some far less well known tracks. For someone who didn't know the Ventures and was just browsing looking for surf music possibly after viewing one of those Tarantino movies, well that particular person might well be very happy to have "Perfidia", "Walk don't run" and "Walk don't run `64" plus "Hawaii Five-O", "Lonely Bull" and "Let`s go". However the Ventures fan who already has these many times already might be slightly less pleased.

The original album is rather good, comprising nine originals from the band plus their versions of the Chantays "Pipeline", which had very recently scored heavily in the US charts, "Diamonds" from ex-Shadows Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, and "Windy and Warm" which the notes say is a standard though my checking reveals this to be a song written by country singer John D. Loudermilk with a well known version of it from Chet Atkins. Anyway all these tracks are very listenable; it's good to hear the band get their teeth into some slightly more obscure material than usual.

And, putting the cynicism aside for a moment and skipping past those tracks which are anthologised far too often - they're mainly front loaded - there's some nice stuff in here. Towards the end we get four live tracks recorded in Japan in 1993. The sound on these is excellent - the band driving along nicely to the evident appreciation of the audience.

And finally, is there anything wrong with identifying the Ventures with surf music? With the possible exception of Dick Dale who was anything but typical, the vast majority of surf bands will have undoubtedly have been influenced by the Ventures. In their turn, the Ventures have incorporated several surf licks into their own music and include surf numbers in their act. To today's audience the Ventures probably ARE a surf band and it's only rock instro experts and aged pedants like myself who might say anything to the contrary. Well I'm going to keep my mouth shut and wish them luck - keep on surfing guys.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great album from the early days of the band, 6 May 2014
This review is from: Surfing (Audio CD)
"Surfing" (album # 10 by the Ventures) was released on vinyl in May 1963. There are 12 tracks on this album and the total running time is ca. 28 minutes.

It was released on a CD by Sundazed Music in 2012. An extended version of this album (with 30 tracks) was released by Crescendo in 2006. Here is a link to this album: Surfing.

It was released together with "The Ventures on Stage" by See For Miles (UK) in 1997 (2 albums on 1 CD). Here is a link: The Ventures on Stage//Surfing.

It was released together with "The Colorful Ventures" by One Way Records (US) in 1999 (2 albums on 1 CD). Here is a link: Surfing//The Colorful Ventures.

For general information about the band, see Walk-Don't Run - The Story of The Ventures by Del Halterman (first edition 2008, second edition 2009). Information about "Surfing" appears on pp. 92-94. At the time of recording the members of the band were as follows:

** Bob Bogle (1934-2009) - bass guitar/lead guitar
** Nokie Edwards (born 1935) - lead guitar/bass guitar
** Mel Taylor (1933-1996) - drums
** Don Wilson (born 1933) - rhythm guitar

Here are the titles and the names of the composers:

01. Pipeline (Brian Carman/Bob Spickard)
02. Diamonds (Jerry Lordan)

03. Windy and Warm (John D. Laudermilk)
04. Ten Over (Bob Bogle/Nokie Edwards/Mel Taylor/Don Wilson)

05. Surf Rider (Nokie Edwards)
06. Changing Tides (Bogle/Taylor/Wilson)

07. The Ninth Wave (Bogle/Wilson)
08. Party in Laguna (Bogle/Taylor/Wilson)

09. Barefoot Venture (Bogle/Taylor/Wilson)
10. The Heavies (Bogle/Taylor/Wilson)

11. Cruncher (Bogle/Taylor/Wilson)
12. The Lonely Sea (Don Wilson)

Track # 1 "Pipeline" was a hit for the Chantays. It was recorded in late 1962 and released on a single in early 1963. It is written by two members of this band.

Track # 2 is written by Jerry Lordan (1934-1995), who also wrote the famous instrumental tune "Apache." "Diamonds" was a hit in the UK for the duo Jet Harris (1939-2011) and Tony Meehan (1943-2005). Both were former members of the British band the Shadows. Meehan left the band in 1961, while Harris left in 1962.

Track # 3 is written by American singer and songwriter John D. Laudermilk (born 1934). It was a hit for the famous guitar player Chet Atkins (1924-2001).

As you can see from the list above, the remaining nine tracks are original compositions written by members of the band. They are not only great musicians, they are also creative.

Two tracks (# 6 "Changing Tides" and # 12 "The Lonely Sea") are soft and slow. They form a nice contrast to the other tracks, which are faster and have a harder beat. Track # 11 is mainly a drum solo where Mel Taylor demonstrates his great talent. In later years he would do a fabulous drum solo as a part of the tune called "Caravan."

Notice the fuzz guitar on track # 9 "Barefoot Venture." It must be one of the first times when this effect was used in rock and roll music.

Regarding track # 12, Halterman says it seems to be inspired by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. At first Don Wilson had given it the title "Matador." They realised they could use this tune for the album, but they had to change it: "By eliminating the trumpets and slowing the tempo slightly, it became The Lonely Sea."

Regarding the photo on the front cover of the album, Halterman quotes Josie Wilson (Don Wilson's mother) for the following:

"When the Surfaris hit number 2 with Wipe Out, Blue Horizon Productions hurried to produce a Ventures Surfing LP. There was also great haste to get material for the album cover. While the Ventures were in the studio, I headed down the freeway to Dana Point, where an authoritative magazine was published called the Surfer. While there, West Coast surfing champion Ilima Kalama gave me an excellent photo and a glossary of terms used by surfers which we used for the album jacket."

This is a great album. Top hits are the following:

# 1, 2, and 3

# 5, 6, and 7

# 11 and 12

If you like instrumental music, if you like the Ventures, I am sure you will enjoy this album from the early days of the band.

PS. Since 1960 the Ventures have released more than two hundred albums. Most of them are available from Amazon UK, but not all:

** "The Last Album on Liberty" was released in 1982. There are 18 tracks on this album, some of them quite good. Unfortunately, it is not available from Amazon.

** "St. Louis Memory" was released in 1982. There are 14 tracks on this album, which is very rare. Unfortunately, it is not available from Amazon.

** "Flyin' High" was released in 1992. There are 11 tracks on this album, all original compositions written by members of the band. Unfortunately, it is is not available from Amazon.

** "Say Yes" was released in 1992. There are 10 tracks on this album, some of them quite good. Unfortunately, it is is not available from Amazon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Live Album, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Surfing (Audio CD)
The first few tracks were recorded in Japan and showcase the undoubted skills of drummer Mel Taylor .I first bought the vinyl album more years ago than I care to remember but this has lost none of the magic for me. Well worth buying for instrumental fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great sounds., 28 Sep 2014
By 
P Stanley (Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Surfing (Audio CD)
Get your baggies out.
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