Note on tracklisting, the following tracks are alternate versions: Blue Moon (45 version), Instant Mashed (45 version), The Ninth Wave (45 version), Lucille (45 version), The Chase (45 version), Kickstand (45 version), Blue Star (45 version), Flights Of Fantasy (45 version), Vibrations (45 version). (These alternate takes are not marked up on the CD booklet).
By DAVE BURKE Co-Editor, Pipeline Magazine
Now I just bet that all you Right Track readers love to show off at 60s music quizzes. So here's a question for you: name the 60s sixth biggest seller in the US Top 100 album charts? The Beach Boys? The Rolling Stones perhaps? How about the Monkees? The Dave Clarke Five maybe? No. Beating all of those mega-grossing acts were the VENTURES. Yup, the instrumental quartet who began their chart life in 1960 with Walk Don't Run out-sold all of those during music's most exciting decade. In fact they were the first rock band to realise the potential of LP sales with no less that 33 entries in the US album charts 37 if you extend the time frame up to 1972.
And yet it's strange that they are now accorded so little acknowledgement in their own country where they have not even been inducted into The Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame. It's even stranger when you realise the key role that the band played in popularising the electric guitar worldwide. Particularly in Japan where the Ventures kick-started the entire rock market, even out-selling the Beatles by a ratio of two-to-one during their mid-60s peak.
The problem is that when rock culture was first written at the beginning of the 1970s it was decided that the Ventures were not hip. In those revolutionary days the worst crime a band could be accused of was desiring to sell lots of records and the Ventures were clearly guilty of that. Worse still, they were all approaching forty, played short identifiable tunes, and a trip to them was most likely a journey to the seaside. If that wasn't bad enough, band photos revealed that they bought their clothes exclusively from emporium such as C&A. Anything can be forgiven in rock'n'roll - except for fashion crimes.
Time moved so fast in the 60s that most of what the Ventures had achieved in the early part of the decade had already been forgotten by the end. They established the three guitars and drums line-up as the classic rock formation, in the process laying down the ground work for the wave of instrumental surf bands who soon followed in their wake. Keith Richards may like to claim he introduced the fuzz guitar with Satisfaction in 1965, but the Ventures put out the fuzz extravaganza 2,000lb Bee way back in 1962. Their Ventures In Space" album from 1963 was much loved by Keith Moon for its radical, pioneering sounds, and by the mid-60s the band were producing the heaviest sounds around.
In the ensuing years the Ventures band have been atrociously served by a succession of mindless compilations all centred around the same idea of presenting as many recognisable hit titles as possible. The only exception has been Ace's much respected "In The Vaults" series which has concentrated on 60s rarities and unissued recordings. "In The Vaults Vol 3" continues that work, presenting the band's debut, pre-Walk Don't Run single, pulling together a clutch of variant 45s and LP tracks, and adding in seven previously unreleased titles into the mix. What we need next is a genuine "Best Of" compilation that would spark a critical re-assessment and at last catapult the band into the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame. Meanwhile, though, "In The Vaults 3" is a pretty darn good start and will have Ventures fans worldwide