The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘The Ventures’ Category

Shaken, Not Stirred: Ace Mines “The Secret Agent Songbook” With “Come Spy with Us”

with 2 comments

Come Spy with UsFor many, the sound of John Barry epitomizes the sound of the spy thriller. It’s no surprise – with 12 James Bond films under his belt, the late, great British composer imbued his melodies with the right amount of adventure, humor, tension, sophistication, and well, sex. It’s fitting that Barry opens Ace Records’ superlatively entertaining new anthology Come Spy with Me: The Secret Agent Songbook, collecting 25 samples of swinging music from spies and secret agents (and even a handful of detectives!) released between 1962 and 1968, the heyday of the genre.

Come Spy with Me opens with “A Man Alone,” Barry’s 1965 instrumental theme to The Ipcress File. Perhaps his second-most recognizable spy theme after his arrangement of Monty Norman’s “The James Bond Theme,” it inventively utilizes the cimbalom, a type of hammered dulcimer, to achieve its singular sound. Matt Monro had sung the first-ever vocal James Bond theme with Lionel Bart’s “From Russia with Love” as heard in the second 007 film, the first for which Barry provided the score. “Wednesday’s Child,” from 1967’s The Quiller Memorandum, is all the evidence one needs of the rich-voiced crooner’s deep affinity with Barry’s absorbing melodies. The lyrics, incidentally, were written by Mack David; his younger brother Hal would later collaborate with Barry on songs including “We Have All the Time in the World” from the Bond adventure On His Majesty’s Secret Service.

It was Barry, serving in the capacity of arranger, who gave shape to Monty Norman’s composition “The James Bond Theme” for Bond’s screen debut in Dr. No. It set the template for all spy music to come. While the original of the track, with Vic Flick’s indelible guitar part, isn’t here, a fine stand-in is Johnny and the Hurricanes’ 1963 surf-inspired version with prominent tenor sax and organ adding new colors. The most famous artist associated with the music of James Bond is Shirley Bassey. While her showstopping “Goldfinger” might be the quintessential spy song, she’s instead featured belting Lalo Schifrin and Peter Callander’s theme to “The Liquidator” in her most divinely bombastic style. Bassey wasn’t the only one to mine the success of “Goldfinger,” however. Susan Maughan’s “Where the Bullets Fly,” from songwriters Ronald Bridges and Robert Kingston, hails from the 1966 film of the same name, and incorporates about as much of “The James Bond Theme” and John Barry sound as the law would allow! This rarely-heard nugget is a fantastic treat.

Scott Walker not only sings, but co-wrote The Walker Brothers’ Barry-inspired “Deadlier than the Male” from the 1967 film of the same name which starred Richard Johnson and Elke Sommer. Walker’s resonant, haunting baritone meshes beautifully with Reg Guest’s evocative arrangement. (Spy music connoisseurs take note: Walker made a rare return both to traditional melody and the spy genre with his understated performance of David Arnold and Don Black’s sad, achingly gorgeous “Only Myself to Blame” in 1999. The song was written and recorded for the Bond film The World Is Not Enough, but was sadly unused in the actual motion picture; it did, however, appear on the soundtrack album.

Keep reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Ace Boldly Goes To “Outer Space” and The Bay Area On Two New Themed Collections

with 3 comments

Greatest Hits from Outer SpaceAce Records is Going Wild!…not just with a rip-roaring rock-and-roll compilation of that name, but with a journey to the farthest reaches of the galaxy!  Yes, the London-based label is travelling from the Bay Area to the Milky Way with two of its latest releases: Greatest Hits from Outer Space and Going Wild! Music City Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Based on the 24 tracks of Ace’s Greatest Hits from Outer Space, the final frontier engaged a wide variety of artists in every conceivable musical genre.  On this zany set compiled by Tony Rounce, you’ll hear classical tracks, jazz, soul, folk and rock from one of the most eclectic artist rosters on an Ace release yet.  And that’s saying something!

There are delightfully kitschy song titles a-plenty here: “Maid of the Moon,” from jazz piano great Dick Hyman and vocalist Mary Mayo; “Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer” by the legendarily swinging Ella Fitzgerald; “Destination Moon” from the pop vocal quartet The Ames Brothers (including future solo star Ed, then Eddie, Ames); exotica king Les Baxter’s “Lunar Rhapsody.”

No space-themed anthology would be complete without an appearance from producer Joe Meek’s “Telstar,” which charted simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. in its recording by The Tornados.  The equally famous “Space Oddity” from David Bowie appears in an early alternate version recorded before Bowie’s departure from the Deram label.  Shelved until 1989, it’s a more desolate and eerie version than the hit single.  Considerably jauntier is The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman,” a Top 40 country-esque romp from the group’s psychedelic Fifth Dimension album.

A few famous television themes appear via The Ventures’ surf take on “The Twilight Zone,” Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s “Doctor Who,” and Leonard Nimoy’s “Theme from Star Trek.”  The original Doctor Who theme is heard in its mono mix.  What Nimoy, a.k.a. Mr. Spock, had to do with the rendition of the Star Trek theme included on his Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space LP is up in the air (or in outer space…), but the rendition of the famed Alexander Courage/Gene Roddenberry tune is a faithful one.  Movie themes haven’t been left out, either, even “inherited” ones: the set kicks off with the Berliner Philharmoniker’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” from 1958.  A decade later, Stanley Kubrick famously utilized the performance for the soundtrack to his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, gaining it immortality.

Top-tier soul man Bobby Womack reinvents Jonathan King’s “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon,” a No. 3 U.K./No. 17 hit in 1965 for its writer.  Womack cut his version in Memphis with co-producer Chips Moman, bringing a new dimension to it in the process.  The similarly-titled “Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon” is a Jimmy Webb tune brought to life by Thelma Houston on the occasion of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.  The moon figures in yet more tracks here, like Moon Mullican’s “Rocket to the Moon” (1953) and Johnny Harris’ dark instrumental “Footprints on the Moon,” also from 1969.  (Mr. Mullican’s name apparently derived from illegal booze, not from the actual moon.)  Neil Armstrong was among those astronauts celebrated by Webb with his song; John Stewart (“Daydream Believer”) took the tribute one step further with his “Armstrong.”  Lightnin’ Hopkins saluted another famous astronaut with “Happy Blues for John Glenn.”

Nick Robbins has remastered all tracks.  You might find yourself rockin’ in orbit with Greatest Hits from Outer Space.  Live long, and prosper!  After the jump, you’ll find the full track listing with discography and an order link.  Plus: ground control to Major Tom – we’re headed from outer space to the San Francisco Bay Area! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 15, 2013 at 09:54

More Ventures in Summer from Sundazed

leave a comment »

Following a successful reissue of five Ventures titles on LP and CD earlier this year, Sundazed has four more in the pipeline for June.

The guitar-rock pioneers recorded with a frequent intensity that earned them the moniker of “The Band That Launched a Thousand Bands.” These four albums, the live The Ventures on Stage, Wild Things!, Super Psychedelics and Hawaii Five-O, released between 1965 and 1969, feature a fantastic cluster of six-stringed covers of some of the best pop and rock songs of the time, including “Wild Thing,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Happy Together,” “Theme from ‘A Summer Place,'” “The Letter,” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” and, most famously, the theme to the hit television show Hawaii Five-O. The Ventures’ version of Morton Stevens’ classic tune was a Top 5 hit for the group, and stands with “Walk, Don’t Run” (which is captured in a spirited rendition on The Ventures on Stage) as the band’s signature tunes.

Sundazed is now taking orders for the reissues of these albums, presented from the original stereo masters and with the artwork from the original Dolton and Liberty sleeves restored, on both CD and colored vinyl (red for Stage, yellow for Wild Things!, blue for Super Psychedelics and green for Hawaii Five-O). They will ship to arrive on their in-store date of June 19.

Hit the jump to order your copies now!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 11, 2012 at 11:32

Guitars A Go-Go: “Fender: The Golden Age” and Jerry Cole’s “Psychedelic Guitars” Celebrated by Ace

with one comment

If you’ve got guitars on the mind, look no further than a pair of new releases from those compilation experts at the Ace label!  Fender: The Golden Age 1950-1970 (Ace CDCHD 1315) is a new 28-track anthology that manages to be both comprehensive and the tip of the iceberg, where the famous guitar is concerned!  A new companion to the 2010 book of almost the same name (Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 by Martin Kelly), this set offers a rare chance to appreciate both the talent on the record label and those axemen lending support.  And if Psychedelic Guitars are your bag, you’ll want to pick up the third installment of Ace’s series devoted to the sixties recordings of Jerry Cole.  Derived from Cole’s work on the Crown and Custom labels, Psychedelic Guitars surveys both appropriately trippy originals and well-chosen covers from the likes of Jimmy Webb and Jimi Hendrix.

Are you experienced?  Jerry Cole certainly was.  A veteran session man, his guitar graced countless budget titles in a variety of genres, from country to rock to even the obligatory Tijuana Brass tribute!  Ace’s series of Cole releases has separated the wheat from the chaff, and revealed that great music can be found in the unlikeliest of places.  For Psychedelic Guitars, the label has included 24 tracks from six albums on which Cole – in a variety of guises including The Generation Gap, The Stone Canyon Rock Group and my personal favorite, T Swift and the Electric Bag – was supported by Wrecking Crew stalwarts Don Randi, Steve Douglas and Leon Russell.  Under his own name, Cole recorded for Capitol, and even joined the Wrecking Crew for hitmaking sessions with Phil Spector and Brian Wilson.  He found plenty of business, however, with budget labels eager to jump on whatever musical bandwagon happened to be passing by.  In 1967, that bandwagon was psychedelia.

It’s hard to decide what’s groovier here: the music or the fantastically colorful LP covers reproduced in Ace’s 12-page booklet.  But I’ll give the edge to the fuzz- and feedback-laden music, as selected by compiler and annotator Mike Vernon.  Jimi Hendrix is name-checked on “Our Man Hendrix,” a funky little workout attributed to The Projection Company which doesn’t quite recall its namesake despite some sizzling work from Cole.  Hendrix recurs with a spacey and super-charged cover of “Are You Experienced,” which also gave the title to the T. Swift and the Electric Bag album!  Other than a few well-selected covers including a smoking instrumental take on The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” though, Cole wrote most of the (infectious!) material here.  There’s a great organ-and-guitar freak-out on “What’s Your Bag” from T. Swift, and “Kimeaa” bears a strong Eastern influence.  Cole channels a bit of the style of Wes Montgomery on The Projection Company’s “Tune Out of Place.”

There are even some vocal showcases, including “Are You Experienced.”  “Wild Times” from the Stone Canyon Rock Group and the trippy, drawled “High on Love” from The Generation Gap are akin to acid-tinged country-rock.  There’s an MOR vocal cover of Jimmy Webb’s epic “MacArthur Park” that closes out the compilation; it’s too bad that Webb’s “Up, Up and Away” (which lent another Cole LP its title!) didn’t make the cut here, although Vernon’s liner notes describe it as “quite dreadful.”  Yikes!  The rendition of “Gimme Some Lovin’” offers a nice variation on the original and the original “I Can’t Stand It” could have been a radio hit in its own right.

What stands out about all of these tracks is the sheer musicianship and adventurous spirit of Jerry Cole.  Hit the jump to join a number of Fender’s most illustrious guitar-pickers! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 16, 2012 at 10:13

Release Round-Up: Week of February 28

leave a comment »

Pink Floyd, The Wall: Experience and Immersion Editions (Capitol/EMI)

The latest Pink Floyd box, featuring live tracks and demos from the vault will make you lose your marbles! (Editor’s note: I am so sorry for typing that.)

The Ventures, The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull“Surfing” (The) Ventures in Space The Fabulous Ventures Walk, Don’t Run Vol. 2 (Sundazed)

Five classic Ventures albums, remastered in stereo on CD and vinyl.

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Live at the US Festival 1983 (Shout! Factory)

The first two CD sets in Shout! Factory’s new series of live sets from the infamous California festival.

Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin’ (Analogue)

Country singer Lynne’s 2008 tribute album to Dusty Springfield gets an SACD and audiophile vinyl reissue.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 08:23

Walk, Don’t Run: Sundazed Preps Stereo Remasters of Ventures Albums

with 4 comments

The Band That Launched a Thousand Bands is now The Band That Launched Five New Reissues.

Influential surf-rockers The Ventures will see the release of five classic albums for Dolton Records re-released in their original stereo mix from Sundazed Records. The albums – The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull (1962), “Surfing” (1963) and 1964’s (The) Ventures in Space, The Fabulous Ventures and Walk, Don’t Run Vol. 2 – will all be released on limited edition colored vinyl (yellow, blue, silver, red and green for each respective album) and compact disc.

All five albums were solid if standard rock efforts, all charting on Billboard‘s Top 40. (The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull actually remains their highest-charting album at No. 8 in addition to their second gold album after 1960’s Walk, Don’t Run.) There weren’t very many singles taken from these LPs, but “Walk, Don’t Run ’64” was, unsurprisingly, a Top 10 hit, peaking at No. 8 – just six spots underneath the original.

All titles will be released on February 28. Sundazed has them here, and the track lists are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 6, 2012 at 12:07

Posted in News, Reissues, The Ventures

A Compilation to Leave You Speechless

with one comment

Here at The Second Disc, it’s always about the music. The team at Eric Records takes this mission seriously, too: its newest release provides three discs of nothing but music, with nary a lyric to be found.

Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Volume 1 collates, for the first time on three CDs, every instrumental track that hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. Some of them are chartbusters that we all know and love – Percy Faith’s “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’,” The Ventures’ “Walk – Don’t Run” – while others are rarities by artists relegated to the annals of history, from Duane Eddy and Bill Haley and His Comets to Bobby Darin and Santo and Johnny.

All 81 tracks are remastered from the original source material and, wherever possible, presented in stereo. (This led to at least one track, “Kommotion” by Duane Eddy and The Rebels, presented in stereo on CD for the first time anywhere; another 15 tracks also make their debut on the format.) There are also a few bonus tracks, including some songs that charted in 1960 but were released the year before, and both mono and stereo versions of the theme to the long-running series 77 Sunset Strip. The set is augmented by a 28-page booklet featuring biographical info on each artist and track-by-track release information.

All in all, this looks like it could be a really fun set – and hopefully the first in a series! Order the set here (the set’s out June 21, but those who order it from the label will see their orders shipping around Monday) and look at the track list after the jump.

Various Artists, Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Volume 1: 1960 (Eric Records 11960, 2011)

Disc 1

  1. Smokie (Part 2) – Bill Black’s Combo
  2. Smokie (Part 2) – Bill Doggett
  3. Bonnie Came Back – Duane Eddy and The Rebels *
  4. Skokiaan (South African Song) – Bill Haley and His Comets *
  5. Teenage Hayride – Tender Slim
  6. Harlem Nocturne – The Viscounts
  7. One Mint Julep – Chet Atkins *
  8. Amapola – Jacky Noguez and His Orchestra
  9. Tracy’s Theme – Spencer Ross *
  10. Theme from “A Summer Place” – Percy Faith and His Orchestra *
  11. On the Beach – Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra *
  12. Bulldog – The Fireballs
  13. Too Much Tequila – The Champs
  14. Teensville – Chet Atkins *
  15. Werewolf – The Frantics
  16. A Closer Walk – Pete Fountain *
  17. Whatcha’ Gonna Do – Nat “King” Cole *
  18. Beatnik Fly – Johnny and The Hurricanes *
  19. Summer Set – Monty Kelly and His Orchestra * +
  20. Chattanooga Choo Choo – Ernie Fields Orchestra
  21. Caravan – Santo and Johnny *
  22. Shazam! – Duane Eddy and The Rebels *
  23. White Silver Sands – Bill Black’s Combo
  24. Mr. Lucky – Henry Mancini and His Orchestra *
  25. The Madison Time (Part 1) – Ray Bryant Combo *
  26. Beautiful Obsession – Sir Chauncey and His Exciting Strings *
  27. Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Part 2) – Jessie Hill
  28. National City – Joiner, Arkansas Junior High School Band

Disc 2

  1. La Montana (If She Should Come to You) – Frank DeVol *
  2. La Montana (If She Should Come to You) – Roger Williams *
  3. Theme for Young Lovers – Percy Faith and His Orchestra *
  4. Theme from “The Unforgiven” (The Need for Love) – Don Costa and His Orchestra *
  5. Because They’re Young – Duane Eddy and The Rebels *
  6. Down Yonder – Johnny and The Hurricanes
  7. Josephine – Bill Black’s Combo +
  8. Look for a Star – Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra *
  9. Theme from “Adventures in Paradise” – Jerry Byrd *
  10. Night Train – The Viscounts +
  11. Bongo Bongo Bongo – Preston Epps *
  12. Walk – Don’t Run – The Ventures *
  13. Kommotion – Duane Eddy and The Rebels **
  14. Revival – Johnny and The Hurricanes
  15. Vaquero (Cowboy) – The Fireballs *
  16. Theme from “The Apartment” – Ferrante and Teicher *
  17. Beachcomber – Bobby Darin *
  18. Brontosaurus Stomp – The Piltdown Men
  19. Rocking Goose – Johnny and The Hurricanes
  20. Never on Sunday – Don Costa and His Orchestra *
  21. Temptation – Roger Williams *
  22. Theme from “The Sundowners” – Felix Slatkin Orchestra *
  23. Midnight Lace – David Carroll and His Orchestra +
  24. Midnight Lace – Ray Ellis and His Orchestra +
  25. Midnight Lace (Part 1) – Ray Conniff and His Orchestra *
  26. Don’t Be Cruel – Bill Black’s Combo ++

Disc 3

  1. The Sundowners – Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra *
  2. (Theme from) The Sundowners – Mantovani and His Orchestra * +
  3. Peter Gunn – Duane Eddy and The Rebels *
  4. Theme from “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” – Ernie Freeman *
  5. Night Theme – The Mark II
  6. Last Date – Floyd Cramer *
  7. Ruby Duby Du – Tobin Matthews & Co.
  8. Ruby Duby Du (from “Key Witness”)  – Charles Wolcott and The MGM Studio Orchestra +
  9. Stranger from Durango – Richie Allen +
  10. Gonzo – James Booker
  11. You Are My Sunshine – Johnny and The Hurricanes *
  12. Last Date – Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra *
  13. Blue Tango – Bill Black’s Combo +
  14. Ramblin’ – The Ramblers +
  15. Perfidia – The Ventures *
  16. Twistin’ Bells – Santo and Johnny
  17. (Let’s Do) The Hully Gully Twist – Bill Doggett +
  18. The Clouds – The Spacemen
  19. In the Mood – Ernie Fields Orchestra
  20. Reveille Rock – Johnny and The Hurricanes *
  21. Tear Drop – Santo and Johnny
  22. (Theme from) “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” – Chet Atkins *
  23. Forever – The Little Dippers *
  24. The Madison – Al Brown ++
  25. 77 Sunset Strip – Don Ralke
  26. 77 Sunset Strip (Alternate Stereo Version) – Don Ralke * +
  27. Red River Rock – Johnny and The Hurricanes

* denotes stereo track. + denotes track debuting on CD. ** denotes stereo track debuting on CD. ++ denotes track debuting on CD in the U.S.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 1, 2011 at 15:43