The Ventures

Hawaii Five-O/Swamp Rock

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One Way reissued two albums the Ventures released in 1969, Hawaii Five-O and Swamp Rock, on a single disc in 1996. The Ventures received their last chance at chart success in 1969 with their theme to the Jack Lord television show Hawaii Five-O. It was one of their great singles, and it was the last time they ever fully captured the power of "Walk -- Don't Run" again. The remainder of the album Hawaii Five-O has its moments, such as the minor hit "Theme from 'A Summer Place'" and good versions of "Galveston" and "Games People Play," but it also has a number of bland or awkward moments, such as "Dizzy" and two separate medleys -- one of hits by the Fifth Dimension, one of hits by the Classics IV. For most fans, hearing the singles on hits collections is a better bet than this record. Swamp Rock is a better album, but it's not without flaws. The album is the Ventures' attempt to make a set of down-home country and rock, using Creedence Clearwater Revival as a template. Two John Fogerty songs, "Green River" and "Proud Mary," are performed on the record, as are Hank Williams' "Jambalaya," Jim Ford's "Niki Hokey (Speedway)," the Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" and Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." Although the group is never quite gritty or greasy enough to make these songs sound like they intended, it's still an entertaining records and one of their more enjoyable efforts of the late '60s. One Way added four bonus tracks -- "Expo Seven-O," "Little People," "Prima Vera" and "Honky Tonk, Pt. 2" -- to their two-fer. Ultimately, this disc is intended for hardcore fans, not casual listeners who will be satisfied by a hits collection, and those hardcore fans should be pleased by this two-fer. One Way could have spent a little more time on packaging and remastering this set, but the end product remains worthwhile for the dedicated.

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