Album of the Day: The Ventures (8/31/62)

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The Ventures perfected a formula in the years following their debut release (Walk Don’t Run) in 1960 and rarely deviated from it over the next 40 years: instrumental, upbeat pop-rock songs with at least a hint of their surfer-rock origins. They issued hundreds (literally) of different albums in markets worldwide, always adapting to shifts in personnel and audiences to remain relevant over the decades. Their August 31, 1962 album, Going To The Ventures’ Dance Party!, was the 9th studio album in less than two years, and it showcased the jangle-guitar oriented rock & roll of the time. Where every other surfer band was gone by the end of the 60s (or morphed into an MOR pop band a la the Beach Boys), the Ventures stayed on formula, eventually focusing on Japan and Europe when the American market finally dried up in the 80s. Their longevity is evidenced in the simplicity of the instrumentals – originals and daring covers – that touch nearly every style of rock and pop music and include jazz, blues and soul influences. Underneath every song they performed, live or studio, was the unmistakable, Ventures-only sound of Pacific coast beaches, even though they’re far from being a surf-only band. Going To The Ventures’ Dance Party! is long out-of-print, but used CD’s are available at Amazon and a Ventures’ Best Of compilation is on iTunes and Amazon. A Ventures playlist is planned for Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.

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