The Ventures

Play the Hits

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Do not mistake this greatest-hits compilation for a reissue of the Ventures' 1960 album of the same name; the title track is the only song that the two have in common. The bulk of the album is made up of later-period treacle like "Hawaii Five-O" or "Secret Agent Man," recordings made long after the Ventures, who were arguably one of the most important bands in the history of rock & roll, had lost their youthful edge. The ultimate disgrace is the fact that this compilation includes the Ventures' anemic version of "Wipe Out," but omits such classics as "The Switch" and "Sleep Walk," band- and genre-defining moments both. This is not to say that there are not some pleasant moments among the later material gathered on Walk Don't Run. The lilting "Theme From 'A Summer Place'" is nice and inoffensively sweet in its own way -- not worth tracking down, but not likely to send one running for cover like the absurd "Lolita Ya-Ya," which comes complete with female backup singers humming the oh-so-catchy theme. Those interested in Ventures collections should do themselves a favor and not pick up Walk-Don't Run; it is not worth owning in any possible world.

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