The Ventures are an American instrumental rock band formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington. Founded by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, the group in its various incarnations has had an enduring impact on the development of music worldwide. With over 100 million records sold, the group is the best-selling instrumental band of all time. In 2008, the Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their instrumental virtuosity, experimentation with guitar effects, and unique sound laid the groundwork for innumerable groups, earning them the moniker "The Band that Launched a Thousand Bands". While their popularity in the United States waned in the 1970s, the group remains revered in Japan, where they tour regularly to this day.
Up until he suffered a stroke at age 70 in 1996, singer Mel Tormé continued to improve with age and seemed to have inexhaustible energy. This four-CD set from Rhino does a fine job of covering Tormé's pre-Concord output, although the omission of his Concord work of 1986-1995 is unfortunate for that catalog contains many of Tormé's most exciting recordings. In general, the earlier selections (some of which were with his vocal group the Mel-Tones) feature Tormé on hip (for the period) swing tunes and ballads. Things greatly improve once the singer reaches the year 1975 and there are enough high points throughout the set to justify its purchase by Tormé's many fans. Three previously unreleased selections (best is "Walkin' Shoes" with Shorty Rogers in 1962) are a plus and the colorful 84-page booklet is quite definitive.
PHIL SPECTOR PRESENTS THE PHILLES ALBUM COLLECTION, with its seven CDs and 87 tracks, now far supercedes the 20-year old 1991 box set, Back To Mono (1958-1969) (ABKCO). The latter housed three compilation CDs, and a reissue of 1963’s A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector. In October 2009, the Philles catalog came to Sony Music as the result of a licensing agreement with EMI Music Publishing. Not long after, a newly-remastered version of A Christmas Gift for You found a permanent home in the new Phil Spector Records/Legacy catalog.
Harry Nilsson spent almost all of his rich, idiosyncratic, sometimes maddening career at RCA Records, releasing his bravura debut, Pandemonium Shadow Show, in 1967 and fading into the sunset with 1977's Knnillssonn. During those ten years, he released 14 albums and left behind a bunch of stray tracks, almost all of which are gathered on Legacy's massive and wonderful 2013 box The RCA Albums Collection…
The Complete Album Collection is Paul Simon's Complete Recorded Works – minus Simon & Garfunkel, of course, along with "Slip Sliding Away" – and, as a whole, it is a mightily impressive body of work, showcasing an artist who remains restless and curious four decades into his career. The package is handsome, presenting each CD as a mini-LP, the sound is terrific, the price is affordable, and the scope is complete, so The Complete Album Collection is in every way an upgrade over the previous The Complete Studio Recordings.