In the Vaults, Vol. 4
Even with a group as prolific as the Ventures, by the time you get to a fourth volume of unissued cuts and rarities, you have wonder whether there's much barrel-scraping involved. As a couple of indications that this isn't exactly top-tier stuff as far as their unreleased
are catalog goes, a few of the cuts are actually vocal solo efforts by Venture Don Wilson (some of them vaguely recalling the Monkees), or taken from a 1961 single by the Marksmen to which Venture Nokie Edwards contributed. In addition, some of the tracks were previously available on the 1965 On Stage LP but are here presented minus the overdubbed audience noise. And, oddly, about half of the admittedly copious liner notes discuss not this CD's contents, but the role of session musicians on Ventures recordings. Still, all of this is from the group's peak 1960s era, and it's really about on par with most of the Ventures' official output from that time, when they were issuing so much material that it would have been impossible to make all or most of their releases of stellar quality. If you like the Ventures' trademark sound, it's in evidence throughout most of the set in the sleek guitar lines and tight ensemble work, though the actual tunes and arrangements aren't often as inspired as their best material. Nonetheless, there are some bona fide good tracks here -- "Journey to the Stars," "Driving Guitars," "Echo," "Bumble Bee," "Pedal Pusher," and "Caravan" -- that will make this worthwhile for the Ventures fanatic, even if the better numbers do tend to be the undubbed versions from the On Stage album.