I get a new turntable and dust off some old records. Vinyl Tap #52:
I’m not kidding myself: I would’ve run — and not walked — when I actually met Bob Bogle, a founder and mainstay of the Ventures back in in their mid-’60s heyday. I was only a wayward lad, so I’m sure my mother, who already knew him as a fellow musician — she was in a pop/folk group playing guitar and piano, as well as being a vocalist and arranger — restrained my more enthusiastic impulses when our family was invited to his house for dinner.
So I suppose it is only appropriate, if not an instantly aging sensation, that 40 years later I’ll be over at my mother’s place on Monday evening to watch the VH1 Rock and Rock Hall of Fame broadcast mainly for the Ventures performance and for John Fogerty inducting one of rock music’s most popular instrumental combos for Hall of Fame honors.
And speaking of halls, mom still might have to slap me around for running — walking won’t do — down her hallway to raid her record collection for her Ventures albums, starting with the 1960 debut, Walk Don’t Run, for a little pre-show music. Maybe — if my niece ever brought back the electric bass and amp she appropriated for the band she started for about 15 minutes — I’ll dig those out too for a little unneeded accompaniment.
Of course, this is music of a celebratory sort, the rebellious streaks toned down: not so much three chords and the truth than simply three guitars and some fun. That’s the spirit in which it all started when Tacoma, Washington guitarists Bogle and Don Wilson got the good times rolling in 1959, recruiting other musicians to fill out the quartet and taking to the road and the recording studios - finding easy and ample success (in Japanese and European markets, too, after the 1970's). Nearly 40 Ventures' albums charted in the U.S. — 17 hitting the American Top 40 — works that covered the hits of the day and group-written songs, comprising thematic albums devoted to such styles as spy music, surf, psychedelic, TV themes (“Hawaii Five-O” was a big hit), funk, reggae, and Latin music.