Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Ventures Walk Don't Run & Show # 445

Walk Don’t Run was the debut album released in 1960 by the instrumental Rock and Roll group The Ventures. Coming from Tacoma, Washington The Ventures had a big hit with the song “Walk Don’t Run”, it went to number two on the Billboard singles charts, but the beginnings of this song and album is a story just as impressive as their forty plus album career. The band had its beginnings in the late 50s, 1958 to be exact. Bob Bogle first met Don Wilson in 1958 at a car dealership of all places, and after finding they had a common interest in music they decided to form a band. They then added Nokie Edwards on bass and Skip Moore on drums. Initially going by the name The Versatones, they began playing clubs in the Northwest Pacific area of the USA.

It was when they first heard the song “Walk Don’t Run” on a Chet Atkins album that they decided to record their own version of it. The song was originally by Jazz guitarist Johnny Smith and although the Chet Atkins version was different The Ventures put their own spin on this song making it their own. They originally recorded a rough demo version of the song and it was rejected by Dolton Records. Not being deterred, the band recorded a single in 1959 entitled "Cookies and Coke" backed with the song "The McCoy", but it failed to chart. They recorded “Walk Don’t Run” and self financed and released the single themselves on their own Blue Horizon label, but it wasn’t until it got airplay on KJR a radio station in Seattle by a DJ prior to a news broadcast that they took off. As soon as it got played people called in, including the man from Dolton Records that previously turned down the band. The song became an unexpected hit when it was released as a single climbing to the number two spot on the Billboard singles charts.

The band was launched into a tour immediately to capitalize on its success, but before they did the band laid down tracks for their first full length album. The band decided to record a collection of original songs and cover songs reworked in their own style, which were essentially their favourite tracks from their live sets. The album was record so quickly that the band didn’t even have time to be photographed for its cover. On the cover of Walk Don’t Run, the men in the background are not the band at all, but in fact people that worked in the stock room at Liberty Records. Don Wilson had this to say of the albums cover as quoted on donwalker.net:

"When we did the first album, they didn’t have any pictures of us because we went on the road right away. In our place they used a picture of the guys who worked in the stock room downstairs at Liberty. They put dark glasses on them and had them falling over the drums and stuff. They put some pretty model walking by in the forefront so no one would notice their faces."

The songs that would appear on Walk Don’t Run were different. Being 1960 The Ventures instrumental sound would be associated with Surf Rock and was something of note. It would be greatly influential on the music of the late 60s. Bob Bogle initially was the lead guitarist, but would switch to bass when Nokie joined the group, Don Wilson was on rhythm guitar. The songs on this album do have certain intensity, one that you can tell by listening was not only different, but bound to be influential. The sounds on Walk Don’t Run were developed and later used in elements of bands of the 60s British Invasion. Bob Bogle had this to say of the bands reworking of cover songs, original material and the bands style in Classic Tracks from an article by Gary Eskow for Mix Magazine:

“No matter what we play, we ‘Venturize’ it,” says Bogle. “It's certainly fair to say that our music is not R&B. Everything we do has an aggressive, driving sound, but it's not the kind of aggression you hear with rock groups that feature a distorted guitar.”

The albums recording process was also unique in that it was recorded on a 2 track Ampex recorder by Jon Boles. Don Wilson had this to say of the recording process of the Walk Don’t Run album in the book Classic Tracks from an article by Gary Eskow for Mix Magazine:

“Joe Boles used a 2-track Ampex recorder,” Wilson recalls. “He was a very good engineer who had recorded a couple of Number One hits — ‘Come Softly to Me’ and ‘Mr. Blue’ — for The Fleetwoods. Joe always used a tape-based delay effect. When you're using a 2-track tape player without a board, there's a lot less going on in the recording process, but Joe had plenty of tricks up his sleeve. He'd even mike the pick sound when you were playing! We were so impressed with him that we recorded our first two LPs there."

Regardless of the issues in which this album was created its title could not be more representative of The Ventures career as a whole. While initially the band was not accepted to a label, they took their time and self financed and released their own singles until “Walk Don’t Run” caught Dolton Records attention. They would eventually go on to record over forty albums and chart numerous times in the US. The band also has the distinction of being the best selling instrumental Rock group in the US and would again rise to popularity when they recorded the theme for the television show Hawaii Five-O.  The Ventures also have a devout following in Japan and despite some line up changes throughout the years, they still remain active to this day. By not running into the music business and continuing to make music their way, The Ventures walked their way right into the Billboard charts and into Rock and Roll music history.

This week's program also featured a special segment by Derk Brigante a good friend of mine and formerly of CJAM's SURFphony of Derstruciton. He currently has restarted his blog and has begun doing exclusive Surf podcasts. Check out his SURFphony blog, for podcasts and other Surf related goodness.

Revolution Surf Play List:

1. Kenny & The Fiends – Moon Shot
2. The Surfdusters – Phantom Train
3. Spring Break Shark Attack! – The Great White
4. The Lancasters – Earthshaker
5. The Journeymen – Rum Runner
6. The Sentinals – Big Surf
7. The Astronuts – Montezuma
8. The Treblemakers – The Grudge
9. The Bambi Molesters - Hot Water Pool
10.Takeshi Terauchi - Cruel Sea
11.The New Dimensions - The Phantom Skier
12.The High Tides - On Desert Sands
13. Luau or Die! - Launch Code 2 4 5 10
14. Vampire Beach Babes - Dropping Da Curl
15. The Kustom Kings - Firecracker 400
16. Legato Vipers - Rat King
17. Legato Vipers – Brian's Beard
18. PJ and The Galaxies – One Mint Julep
19. The Impacts – Church Key
20. The Ventures – Raunchy
21. The Ventures –Walk Don’t Run
22. The Ventures - The McCoy
23. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – I Know A Guy Named Larry
24. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Siesta Cinema
25. Thomm Starr & The Galaxies – Heatwave
26. Link Wray – The Earth Is Crying
27. Traditional Fools – Davey Crockett
28. The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards
29. The Lively Ones - Surf Rider
30. The Bell Peppers – Tourettes
31. The Bell Peppers – Gravy Trainers (Demo)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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