When we announced the forthcoming release of this CD in Pipeline we added the tag line: "Probably the most exciting instrumental release in over thirty years". The "probably" was added in deference to the odd one or two Duane Eddy and Shadows fans who conceivably might not share our opinion. In the eyes of Ventures fans and the instrumental world in general, however, there is no question about it - this IS the most exciting release in over three decades.
Ever since the band's heyday - virtually the entire 60s - speculation has been rife concerning the existence of unreleased tracks. Surely any band that recorded so much material (over 30 LPs released in America plus another eight in Japan) must have left a legacy of forgotten recordings? Now we can provide the answer - a resounding 'yes'!
Ventures In The Vaults Volume Two contains no less than 25 previously unreleased tracks from the 60s. At last, after all these years, we can hear tracks that were originally intended for the band's second album way back in 1961 (Teen Beat and Forty Miles Of Bad Road). From a little later in that same great year there are a clutch of goodies that were planned for the band's thematic Colourful Ventures album - Golden Earrings, Deep Purple and Blue Hawaii.
For the Ventures fan it really is almost an embarrassment of riches. There is an unreleased track, Hawaiian Surfing, from the band's Surfing album from 1963, another probably intended for their Let's Go LP of the same year (What'd I Say). Added to those are tracks from the mid-60s, which could easily be among their best recordings. In particular Saigon bears all of the delightfully deft little touches that The Ventures routinely wove into their arrangements, whilst Harlem Nocturne is so heavy and grungy that it could almost have come from Nirvana some decades later!
As ever, Ace have excelled themselves when it comes to presentation. To complement the nature of the material a number of unseen photographs from the 60s have been found, and there are also copious notes that throw fresh light on the musicians involved in the band's recordings. And of course all of the tracks are taken from the original master tapes so top quality sound is assured.
For instrumental fans the Ventures In The Vaults compilations are undoubtedly destined to become the equivalent of The Beatles' Anthology series.
By Dave Burke