Friday, October 23, 2009

Why the Ventures are Still Important

Originally posted on November 30, 2007

So what makes the Ventures such a big deal? Not the fact that they were the number one instrumental group for many years. That’s just popularity. I’m sure the group appreciates the success, of course. Since their hit “Walk Don’t Run” in the late fifties they have helped pioneer the guitar quartet—lead guitar, rhythm guitar, electric bass and drums. On each of their numbers, the part of every player is well defined, and by the clarity of their arrangements they certainly helped make the rock sound what it has been, is, and will be. That’s saying something.

So I am listening to a concert the Ventures recorded in Japan that never was released in the States until now (EMI). The cover shows them going at it, playing cream white Ventures models with black pickguards. Inside are 30 numbers that give you a pretty comprehensive overview of where the group had been and where they were at in 1965. The group is pumped up and play with drive. They had absorbed the British invasion and made that a part of their sound. They were playing surf music then as well as any group alive. And their oldies had the classic original sound. The fact that that tour marked the beginning of tremendous Japanese popularity which continues on even today certainly must have inspired them. This recording rocks, no kidding!

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