Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Al Garcia and the Rhythm Kings - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's about bloody time someone rounded up the Rhythm Kings' work and issued it. Thank you, Lee Joseph! I've been a fan of this fine band since first hearing "Exotic" in 1963. I was already a big fan of east LA rock. I loved the Sevilles, Cannibal & the Headhunters, and Thee Midnighters. None of the Rhythm Kings' previously issued tracks originally licensed to GNP Crescendo are here. They can all be found on the GNP compilation "Surf Crazy." Instead, we are thrilled to new and exceptionally fine material, issued as the Rhythm Kings, the Soul Kings, and the Charades Band. Now, this isn't surf in the usual sense, though there are two stunning surf tracks by the Charades Band. This is prime east LA Pachuko soul, also known as surf 'n soul, or the soul, not to be confused with the Motown ilk. Marvelous Latin rhythms, almost mariachi horns, and infection melodies. When the Ray Beats covered "Exotic," "Soul Beat," and "Intoxica," it was this band that was their model. This band was very popular among the surfers, and influenced their surf contemporaries. As the Charades, they back the vocal act of the same name. They also toured as the "live version" of the Piltdown Men. The liner notes are full and interesting, and written by Ray Baradat, a contemporary/friend of Al Garcia's. The band included Al Garcia - guitar, Art "Tootie" Rodriguez - guitar, Freddie Mendoza - bass, Manuel Garcia - drums, Larry Silva - sax, and Vincent Bumatay - sax. All I can say is... it's about bloody time!
Picks: The Shack, Exotic Blue Soul, Too Much Soul, Tooties Guitar, Church Key, Latin Twist, Delano Soul Beat, Moment Of Truth, Intoxica, Blue Soul, The Soul, Pachuko Soul, Get It, Christina, Sophia

Track by Track Review

The Shack dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

With very cool saucy horns over a jazzy guitar and a rockin' beat, this tune dances with the kind of Latin flair that the Sentinals often presented. Like the Sentinals' "Gremmie Walk" or "Surf 'n Soul," this speaks the kind of low ridin' groovin' east LA / Central Valley / Central Coast soul that contemporaries Jim Doval & the Gauchos reigned with.

Exotic Blue Soul dotdotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Ultra suave variation on the "Blue Soul" ("Am I Blue") track issued elsewhere, written by Vincent Bumatay. Like a tropical jazz-soul parade of cool, this shimmers and sports a charm not often heard in sixties music (or today's for that matter). Excellent, and just too suave. Also titled "Soul Surfin'."

Too Much Soul dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

A low key sax number that drips smoothness. Sultry low down horns and spiffy rhythms, with their three chord up-gliss bridge. Deluxe.

Tooties Guitar dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Another smooth number like "Too Much Soul," but with Art Ridriguez' guitar leading the fray. darn nice track.

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Wow, it's cool what happens when you tone down the lead guitar and augment with those near mariachi horns. This often covered classic takes on a whole new life. Your mind's ear can hear this floating out of the rolled down windows of a lowered candy apple red '59 Impala with lakes pipes and skirts. Hot dog!

Latin Twist dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Much like Dave Myers' "Laguna Limbo Luau" in feel, this funky groovin' number brings grins as you listen. It's playful and simple, and mostly fun.

Delano Soul Beat dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

This original is named for the home turf, and has been covered several times, including by the Original Surfaris. It flows and soothes, employing honesty and soul instead of power. Tasty.

Moment Of Truth dotdotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Everyone has heard the Original Surfaris' version, which has been covered to death. My fave (until now) has been the more fluid Dave Myers' version. Then, here comes this. Launching off the Dave Myers arrangement, and employing flute in lieu of the sax, this gentle rendition demands attention. This is just too cool, too suave. Wow!

Intoxica dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

A toned down version of this Revels tune, making it more funky and less rock. It's a new groove for this standard, and it works just fine.

Blue Soul dotdotdotdot
Surf Latin East LA Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Slow shimmery vibrato guitar in fake stereo. Based on "Am I Blue," it's very beat-club cool. Vincent Bumatay had this knack for writing semi-sad, quasi ominous sax numbers that didn't rely on volume to produce power. What a marvelous slice of Mexican soul.

The Soul dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Robert Hafner and Tony Hilder's tune takes on a more barrio feel than other versions. The rapid vibrato on the guitar adds an almost carnival feel, an unusual throbbing edge. Very cool.

Pachuko Soul dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

This alternate take is more subdued, maybe more soulful, but just as infectious. I'm no horn fan, but this band makes me crazy! The party hand claps and shouts, just like the Sentinals used, make this very fun.

Get It dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Released as by the Soul Kings, this fine track is pure east LA party. Smooth, fun, sensual, and slightly tropical.

Christina dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded under the name the Charades Band, this is pretty darn surfy track. It's moody, blue, and sultry. The eerie sad distant island feel is pure Richie Podolor melody styling and gorgeous. Podolor didn't write it, but it has the same kind of exquisite sense of melodic structure and simplicity. Amazing!

Sophia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big surf tone, a marvelous progressional riff, and warm Spanish feel make this just simply shine. Again, this was recorded as the Charades Band. The tone is perfect, and the writing excellent.