One Way reissued two Ventures albums from the mid-'60s, Guitar Freakout and Wild Things, on a single disc in 1997. Both of these records find the Ventures trying to shake up their image and play wilder music, as influenced by contemporary pop, rock, garage rock and psychedelia. They never stray too far from the course, which may be a disappointment to those who took the title of Guitar Freakout literally. There aren't really that many solos -- and even fewer freakouts -- on Guitar Freakout, which might not be surprising to those who noticed that the band covers "I'm a Believer" and "Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron" on the record. The band manages to turn out a handful of fine tracks, including "Theme from The Wild Angels," but ultimately, it's an average Ventures album, sporting a few good tracks and a lot of filler. Wild Things is a little stronger, but it still suffers from uneven material. Most of the songs on the album have "wild" in the title, from the well-known "Wild Thing" and "Wild Child," to "Wild and Wooly," "Fuzzy and Wild," "Wildcat" and "How Now Wild Cow." It's a reasonably energetic rock & roll record, but there are a few too many slow spots to make it of interest to anyone outside of the band's cult. One Way added three bonus tracks -- "Classical Gas," "Kickstand" and "Mercenary" -- to their two-fer. They add value to this set, which could have been presented with better packaging and slightly better remastering.
Guitar Freakout/Wild Things! Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine