At last! After a seven-year wait the fifth volume in our highly regarded “The Ventures In The Vaults” series finally emerges. This time all bar two of the tracks are previously unissued. The first of the released titles is Bobby Leonard & the Explorers’ ‘Rockin’ Ship’, which came out on Bob Bogle’s Unity label in 1962 (Leonard being Bob’s middle name). A typical Ventures instrumental of the period, with a memorable melody and arrangement, it makes a very worthwhile addition to their canon. The second is Don Wilson’s revival of Ed Townsend’s hit ballad ‘For Your Love’, issued on the band’s Blue Horizon label in 1961 under the name Don Dixon.
When ‘Ventures Stomp’ debuted on “Volume 2”, we wondered if it was complete. After some digging we have been able to unearth the finished version, which makes it even more of a treat than before. Similarly, when “Volume 4” was issued, fans asked where the audience-free versions of ‘Wipe Out’, ‘Slaughter On Tenth Avenue’ and ‘Apache’ were. The answer is right here! We also have a number of fascinating alternate versions, most quite different from the ones fans know and love. ‘Lady Of Spain’ and ‘Ups ‘n’ Downs’ feature Ed “Sharky” Hall on drums, rather than Howie Johnson, which gives them a very different flavour. ‘Blue Coral’ is an early version of ‘Diamond Head’, and its rawness makes it just as stunning as the more polished final recording. ‘Stranger On The Shore’ is a stripped-down take from 1962, very different from the later issued version, and ‘Sealed With A Kiss’ is free of the MOR trappings that weighed it down on 1967’s “Million Dollar Weekend” LP. Since it debuted on a fan club cassette a decade or so ago, we’ve been searching for a better quality version of ‘Mr Blue’, and finally we’ve found it. It’s a joy to hear the classic Bogle/Edwards/Johnson/Wilson combination applying their ‘Blue Moon’ arrangement to an entirely different tune.
There are also some hitherto completely unknown performances. The exciting ‘Getaway’, the charming ‘Bogie’s Tune’, the memorable ‘Scarlet Sunset’, the quirky ‘Country Gravy’, the sunshine warmth of ‘Bossa Nova Beach Girl’ and the meaty ‘Sauerkraut’ all make their first-ever appearance. There is also Don and Bob’s version of Duane Eddy’s ‘The Lonely One’, a perky arrangement of ‘Kansas City’, a rip-roaring treatment of Fats Domino’s ‘Let The Four Winds Blow’ and the band’s version of the Shadows’ ‘I Want You To Want Me’.
By Dave Burke