Amazon.com Reader Reviews
– Island Boy: My Life on the Rock
By Charee L. Cook (Antwerp, NY)
January 27, 2014
This is a well-written book with plenty of details and photos. It offers the reader a detailed account of life in the U.S. Virgin Islands from the 1950s through the present time.
By Anne Marie Danet (St. Thomas, VI)
April 6, 2014
***** A Historic Family Life
I cannot praise this work enough. The author has been thorough, painting in detail, his life and that of his family, from ancestral ties to the present. The numerous photographs, the family genealogies, all together create a most valuable historic document.
By Anonymous (Seattle, WA)
April 9, 2014
***** Wonderful book!
As a child I remember the Lone Ranger show opening with a line “we take you back to a tale of yesteryear ….” This book accomplishes this in every sense of the word. It takes you back to the simple and fun years of growing up on ”the rock” on St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. It is full of personal family history and full of great photos … just wonderful.
– These Are The Voyages
By Richard Shindle
March 17, 2014
***** – Exceptional Work
A great history of an honored ship. Whether you are a naval enthusiast or a Trekie this book is a must have.
By Craig Burridge
September 24, 2014
***** – Excellence in Reading!
I knew of some historic vessels named Enterprise, but I was not aware of the vast majority of vessels that bore that name. This book gives the reader a snapshot of the time and location where the ships were in service. This is a fascinating book from cover to cover.
By Stuart Tanner (on Amazon.uk.co)
February 8, 2016
**** The Voyages of the Enterprise, all of them so far.
This is one of those niche books that will only interest people like me who wish to know the absolute minutiae about anything to do with Star Trek or ships called Enterprise. Unlike the other hopefully less well know version by Ronald Roland this one contains only one mistake right at the beginning The Armada, no ship called Enterprise of England, this is the name of the campaign given by King Phillip of Spain. The rest of the book is painstakingly researched, the author and I have had some good chats about this and there is always something new to find about this subject.
There are lots of pictures gleaned from archives, some of them I have seen in the science museum and the Caird library in Greenwich and the records of the East India company, their individual histories are set out neatly and there is a comprehensive index in the rear including the fictional ones, the big bonus is the introduction by an astronaut that flew the test shuttle but also served on CVN65, beat that for a game of three dimensional chess. If you are curious about the Enterprise and all it’s incarnations get this and curl up with it, it’s a geeks dream come true.
Author’s Note: On page 17 of my book I did, in fact, point out and discuss the error in Ronald Roden’s earlier book, which stated that a ship named “Enterprise of England” sailed under command of Sir Francis Drake in 1587. I pointed out that two historic accounts of the battle of the Spanish Armada “one British and the other from the Spanish point of view, suggest that Enterprise of England was not the name of a vessel, but a term used by King Philip II of Spain for his plan to invade England.” In my book, I also quote citations from the historic accounts that explained the term “Enterprise of England” as used by King Philip.
– Island Boy Photobook: Walt Disney World
By Charles Nelson
May 1, 2015
***** Delightful photos, a real memory trip for Disney World fans
Lulu.com Reader Reviews
– Island Boy: My Life on the Rock
By Charee Hull
April 8, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the author’s attention to detail and the many photos.
By Nicholas P. Jackman
April 9, 2014
Purchased this wonderful book back in September 2013. It is a wonderful read of life on St. Thomas during the 50’s and beyond. Having also grown up on ”the rock” it brings to life the many local characters and some of the shakers and movers of the time. I enjoyed the many photos. A reader is taken back to much simpler times.
Emailed Reader Reviews
– Island Boy: My Life on the Rock
By Marian (Kimmel) Czukozki
November 25, 2014
Reading “Island Boy: My Life on the Rock” is akin to having an informative conversation with a fellow islander. Arnold van Beverhoudt chronicles his, as well as his wife’s family trees. In well written words plus an array of portraits and candid pictures, the author captures the essence of life and change covering the last six decades on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas. His autobiography is a tribute to family and genealogy. “Life on the Rock” is a fascinating collection of island anecdotes, personal dreams and accomplishments and a gift for future generations. For anyone who has a connection to the USVI it is a must read! For those of us who are fellow natives of St. Thomas, it is a nostalgic walk down Memory Lane. Finally for anyone who dreams of growing up on a tropical island, Mr. van Beverhoudt will inspire you to visit The Rock and see it for yourself.
Amazon.uk.co Reader Reviews
– The Ventures Essential Albums Discography
By Torben Retbolln (Bangkok, Thailand)
June 28, 2015
***** A wonderful catalogue
“The Ventures: Essential Albums Discography” is a wonderful catalogue compiled by Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr., and published by Lulu Press in February 2015.
The author is an accountant, who lives on St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands. For 35 years (1971-2006) he was an auditor with the US Department of the Interior. He has several hobbies and interests, including naval history and space explorations. In addition, he is an ardent and long-time fan of the Ventures, the most popular and successful instrumental rock-and-roll band in the world. He is the man behind the website “Sandcastle V.I” where you can find an almost complete discography of the Ventures (text only).
A word of warning: this book is compiled by a fan for other fans. If you do not know the Ventures, this book is not for you. But if you know and like this band, this book may be something for you. I think it must be described as a collector’s item (not only because of the contents, but also because of the price).
It is not a biography of the Ventures, it is a compilation of albums released by the band in the US, the UK, and Japan from 1960 to 2014. Each album gets one page with a colour picture of the cover, official title, and track list. The names of the composers are not given. This means you cannot pick out the tracks which are original compositions by members of the band (in many cases about a third of the tracks on each album).
Audio recordings are presented in six chapters, one for each decade since 1960. In addition, there is one chapter with video recordings.
[A personal note: when we think about how many live concerts the Ventures have given over the years, it is such a shame that the number of official live recordings is so low.]
Early audio albums were of course released on vinyl, while later albums were released on CDs. During the 1990s the entire back catalogue of Ventures’ albums from the 1960s and 1970s became available in CD format with 2 albums on 1 disc, thanks to the UK label See For Miles and the US label One Way Records.
Video recordings (mostly live concerts) were first released on VHS; later they were released on DVD.
At the end of the book there are four appendices:
# 1. The members of the Ventures
# 2. Songs recorded by the Ventures
# 3. My Musical Journey with the Ventures
# 4. About the Author
In his introduction, Arnold mentions three important publications about the band:
** “Driving Guitars: The Music of the Ventures in the Sixties” by Malcolm Campbell and Dave Burke (2008, 2009).
** Issue # 99 of the “New Gandy Dancer” (a magazine about instrumental rock-and-roll published in the UK): “The Ultimate Ventures Discography: The First 50 Years!” (2009)
** Walk-Don’t Run – The Story of The Ventures by Del Halterman (first edition 2008, second edition 2009).
Appendix # 2 is an alphabetical list of almost 1,200 songs recorded by the Ventures from 1959 to 2014. Once again, the names of the composers are not given. This means you cannot pick out the songs which are original compositions by members of the band. I guess the figure is around 400 or one third of the total.
Appendix # 3 is an essay that was written and posted on Facebook in 2012. For me, this essay is very interesting, because Arnold’s experience is – in many ways – similar to mine. Growing up on St Thomas, he discovered the Ventures in 1964 and became an avid fan. Growing up in Denmark, I discovered the Ventures around 1966 and became an avid fan. During the 60s he bought every Ventures album he could find. So did I.
By the early 70s it became harder and harder for Arnold (and for me) to find any new recordings by the Ventures. Arnold says: “I lost touch with the Ventures and believed they must have broken up, because I just wasn’t seeing any albums by them in the music stores or in magazine ads.” I had exactly the same experience and made exactly the same assumption.
In the 90s, with the advent of the internet, Arnold began to search for information about the band: “What ever happened to them? Were they still together? Had they recorded any new albums?”
Because of the internet and because of “you tube,” Arnold discovered that the Ventures had never broken up: “As their popularity in the United States started to decline in the late 1960s/early 1970s, they concentrated their recording and live performance efforts in Japan, where they were musical idols to almost the entire country. Through the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and continuing today into the 21st Century, the Ventures have been recording new music that is being published mainly by Japanese record labels and performing concert tours of Japan every summer.”
Fans in the US (and in Europe) had a lot of catching up to do.
Arnold did much more than just catch up. He started a fan club that was named after an album from 1969: “Underground Fire.” In addition, he mounted a campaign to get the Ventures inducted into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A similar drive was started by other people in the US. We do not know whose efforts were most productive, but it is a fact that the Ventures were inducted into the Hall of Fame in March 2008, fifty years after the band had been founded by Bob Bogle and Don Wilson.
Arnold was very lucky: in April 2008, he attended a live concert with the band and after the concert he had a chance to meet the members of the band. On the last page of the book there is a picture which shows him standing next to the band. A live concert and a meeting with the band! This kind of fortune has not happened to me.
Here are some additional remarks about the book. I will begin with something positive:
Arnold has done a lot of work on this book. I am glad to see that his list includes some of the rare albums which were only released in Japan. I note in particular the following cases:
** “Chameleon” – released in 1980 – page 92
** “Say Yes” —– released in 1992 – page 118
** “Flyin’ High” – released in 1992 – page 119
From the positive I will move to the negative:
On page 106 we have an album called “Greatest Hits” released on a CD in 1988. Above the track list, the author adds a warning: “Most of these tracks are NOT by the Ventures.” While I am glad to see this warning on this page, there are at least three other cases where a similar warning would have been appropriate, but there is nothing:
** “The Ventures on Stage” (1965) – page 26 – is presented as a live album, but this is not true. The Ventures play the music, yes, but they play the music in a studio. The live audience was added later by a technician! For details, see Halterman, 124.
** “Only Hits!” (1973) – page 69 – is a fake album. The name of the band is spelled “The Venture’s.” The misplaced apostrophe is a sign that something is wrong here. For details, see Halterman, 207-208.
** “Rocky Road” (1976) – page 79 – is another fake album. The name of the band is “The New Ventures.” For details, see Halterman, 219.
Incidentally, the fake “Rocky Road” from 1976 should not be confused with the real “Rocky!” from 2007, which is listed on page 175.
The members of the band are listed in appendix # 1 on page 211. But the list is not complete. At least three female singers are missing:
** Sandy Lee Gornicky was with the band in 1968. She is featured on the album “The Ventures in Tokyo ’68” that is listed on page 52. If you look closely at the cover, you can actually see her in the photo. For details, see Halterman, 174-176.
** Susan Schreiber was with the band in 1973. She sings two songs on the album “The Ventures on Stage ’73” that is listed on page 71. “Stranger in Midosuji” becomes “Now Good-bye,” and “Kyoto Doll” becomes “Streets of the City.”
There is a mistake here. According to Arnold, the singer is Yuko Nagisa. But this is not true. The singer is Susan Schreiber. For details, see Halterman, 205-207. On “you tube” I found a clip where the Ventures perform on stage with Yuko Nagisa and Shibata Hatsumi. They sing “Kyoto No Koi” with Japanese lyrics. But this clip is from 1977 (and the drummer is Joe Barile).
** Leisha Soukary was with the band 1975-1977. She sings five songs on the album “The Ventures on Stage ’76” which is listed on page 81. And Arnold knows this. After each song he has added her name in square brackets: [vocal by Leisha]. For details, see Halterman, 212-224 and 270-271.
The albums are listed in chronological order, according to the first release. But most old albums have been released several times, first on vinyl and later in CD format. Arnold offers only the first release on vinyl.
The following old albums were all released in CD format on the Japanese label Universal in 2014:
“The Ventures in Tokyo ’68” – released in 1968 – page 52
“Live! The Ventures” ——— released in 1970 – page 61
“The Ventures on Stage ’71” – released in 1971 – page 64
“The Ventures on Stage ’72” – released in 1972 – page 68
“The Ventures on Stage ’73” – released in 1973 – page 71
In the chapter about the video collection, Arnold does what I want: he mentions all the versions of each album. In many cases we have three versions: VHS, LD, and DVD.
My final complaint is about the price. Amazon UK charges more than 70 British Pounds for this item. This is a lot of money. Even an ardent fan of the Ventures will hesitate to spend this amount of money on a book about them.
In spite of the flaws mentioned above, I like this book and I am happy to have it. If you are a fan and if you are ready to ignore the hefty price-tag, I think you will feel the same way. It is a wonderful catalogue. And Arnold deserves to be congratulated for compiling this volume about the best instrumental rock-and-roll band the world has ever seen.
PS # 1. Many of the albums presented in Arnold’s book are available from Amazon, even some of the rare albums, such as Chameleon released on vinyl in 1980 and on a CD in 2000. But there are exceptions: the albums “Say Yes” and “Flyin’ High” (both from 1992) are not available from Amazon. The first album presented in the chapter about the video collection is “Beloved Invaders: The Golden Era of the Ventures.” This album was recorded in Japan in 1965 and shown in Japanese theatres in 1966. In 2004, it was released on DVD by the Japanese label Toshiba-EMI. Unfortunately, it is not available from Amazon.
PS # 2. The list of Ventures albums is still growing: in 2015 we have the Japanese Single Collection released by the Japanese label Universal on 27 May 2015 and Arigato Japan! Don Wilson Special Box released on the Japanese label Pony Canyon on 17 June 2015.
Author’s Response to Comment – June 29, 2015
Torben, thank you for the detailed review of my book “The Ventures Essential Albums Discography.” I appreciate your candid comments, both the positives and the negatives. In some cases, the omissions were because of my lack of reference information. For example, my personal collection of the albums is in storage and I only had access to my digital collection of those albums. Therefore, I did not have access to the album jackets with the names of the song composers. You are correct about “Only Hits” and “Rocky Road” being recorded by alternate musicians and “On Stage” being studio recordings and not live on stage. But I included them because they are officially part of The Ventures’ catalog, despite the deception by the record company’s. On the singers, I didn’t include them because I did not believe they were official members of the band. No slight to them was intended, but my supposition was that they would be in the same category as additional studio musicians who have appeared along with the main members of the band on their recordings.
Lastly, regarding the high price of the book, I can only blame that on the “system.” This book is self-published through Lulu.com and is printed on heavy stock, glossy paper and with the illustrations in full color. Therefore the basic cost of printing was higher than if I had gone with black and white images. In addition, on Lulu.com, I was able to apply a 50% markdown on the price. However, I have no control over the price or discount set by other sellers. In fact, would you believe that I receive a royalty of less than $1 US for each copy sold outside of Lulu.com? It might be considered bad taste for me to write about the pricing, but I just want to assure you and other potential buyers, that I’m not trying to take advantage financially. The price of the book is a factor of the way the system works. I put this book together because of my love of The Ventures and their music, and cleared it with the band before going ahead with the project.
Torben’s Response to Author – June 29, 2015
Thanks for the comment on my review of your book. I appreciate the points that you are making. As for the price of the book, I understand that you have little or no control over this. I am glad you decided to go for illustrations in colour. Using illustrations in black-and-white would have been a poor choice.
Clearly, this volume is a labour of love. You did not compile this catalogue to make money. You did it because you hold the Ventures and their music in high regard. I can relate to that. I feel the same way.
Your book is a fine summary of what the band has accomplished in a career that spans more than 50 years. I for one am glad it is now available to fans all over the world.