For an album that yielded not a single hit (and which was one of five long-players released by the band in 1962), Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (later retitled The Ventures' Beach Party) is one hell of an enjoyable album and still a very solid and substantial album, over 40 years later. The group's sound was lean and mean all the way through, whether doing a respectful cover of George Gershwin's "Summertime" or raucous renditions of "Lucille," "Poison Ivy," and "Hully Gully." Even the seeming throwaway numbers, such as "Hot Summer (Asian Mashed)," with its faux-Eastern embellishments, and the soaring "Spudnik," are played with such virtuosity and spirit that they demand attention, and there are a surprising number of vocals on this album, albeit mostly of the nature of choruses on songs like "The Wah-Watusi" and "Hully Gully." ~ Bruce Eder
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