The Ventures

The Ventures Play the Greatest Surfin' Hits of All Time

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Varese Sarabande has outdone itself with this marvelous package of surf instrumentals by the Ventures, containing 18 tracks that surely fit into the "space age bachelor pad" category of fun sounds with the superb playing that listeners expect from the legendary group. "Out of Limits" is short and sweet at 1:59 -- but full of vibrant '60s energy and distinctive guitar. From the "Hawaii Five-O" theme to the tension of "Lonely Surfer," this is a really superb lineup of songs, a nice companion disc to the In Search of Eddie Riff masterpiece by Roxy Music's Andy Mackay. Sure, fans of the Ventures have heard it all, but for those outside of the cult who want a great slice of work from a veteran group with an enormous catalog, this collection is it. It comes with a detailed eight-page booklet with Jim Pewter liner notes and images of bathing suits in front of the waves. What more could one ask for? Musical ramblings like "Baja" are most welcome, and as interesting as "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and the very cool rendition of "Wipe Out." It's not the Surfaris "Wipe Out," mind you; it's more laid-back and party-sounding -- as if the band were playing in the back of a Saturday night dancehall on some obscure lake in the forest, bringing the waves and the sun to those in the dark. There's a lot of depth to this disc, which you will definitely want to explore (and try to imitate in your garage with your Fender amp) and play over and over again.

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