Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Ventures - Super Psychedelics & $1000000 Weekend (1967)

Super Psychedelics

By the time Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out, it seemed no pop act was immune to the paisley ways of the high '60s. Even Sinatra and the like were looking to stay hip with at least one or two Beatles covers. Informed by their own early surf and psychedelia sound, the Ventures' Super Psychedelics brings the West Coast instrumental style to bear on the Fab Four's "Strawberry Fields Forever" and the Turtles' "Happy Together." Without much in the way of overtly trippy sonic accents, the band especially impress with a slew of originals like "Endless Dream," "Vibrations," "Psychedelic Venture." Throughout, the Ventures' classic surf sound gets nicely augmented with the occasional sitar mimicking guitar line, some harpsichord phrases, and extra amounts of reverb and echo. Maybe not an essential Ventures release, Super Psychedelics will no doubt please kitsch-friendly fans of surf music.

 Super Psychedelics & $1000000 Weekend (1967)

One Way reissued two albums the Ventures cut in 1967, Super Psychedelics (Changing Times) and $1,000,000.00 Weekend, on a single disc in 1996. On both records, the Ventures try to keep pace with the "changing times," which means that Super Psychedelics finds the band tackling such psychedelic pop hits as "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Reflections," "Happy Together," "Western Union" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You." Some of those songs are only vaguely psychedelic, but they're more psychedelic than most of the songs the Ventures record, as are the originals and filler that are scattered throughout the record. Try as they may, the band can never really be a psychedelic band -- their Go to Space record is trippier than this -- but some may find it interesting to hear them try. $1,000,000.00 Weekend isn't as ambitious as Super Psychedelics, but it's ultimately more successful. They never quite get a groove going on "Respect" or "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," but they're professional, entertaining versions, as are the covers of "What Now My Love," "Georgy Girl," "Ode to Billie Joe," "Sunny," "To Sir, With Love," "Music to Watch Girls By," "Groovin'," "Windy," "Sealed with a Kiss" and "Yesterday." Ultimately, the album doesn't add up to much, but it will be appealing to anyone infatuated with the Ventures sound. One Way could have spent a little more time on the packaging and remastering on this set, but the end product remains worthwhile for the dedicated.

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