algrklp1.jpg (9436 bytes) Al Garcia & The Rhythm Kings - Exotic and Rockin' Instrumentals, 63-64 LP/CD (Bacchus Archives / Dionysus -

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, Pachuco Soul, Every Night, Charades - Christina, Charades - Sophia

Formed in 1957, Al Garcia & The Rhythm Kings represented a combination of previous big-band style musical experience with the emerging rock and roll sounds, along with their own Latin music influences blended in stylistically as well. After a few bumps in the road leading up to 1962, they were approached by old-school record producer Tony Hilder to lay some wax. It was a good match because of Hilder's connections with the burgeoning surf music scene, which often incorporated melodies with the same kind of East L.A. pachuco soul type of sound that was the Rhythm Kings specialty. Even though there's an obvious surf music connection in their versions of tunes like Church Key, Moment Of Truth and Intoxica, the Rhythm Kings were not a surf band. In fact, their live shows around this time included a vocalist, "Little Ray" Jimenez. But this album is entirely a collection of instro output from the Rhythm Kings, typically with 3 or 4 horns either on the lead or complementing the guitar. These guys are talented musicians, and the majority of the tunes on this album were their own compositions, all with tight and exotic latin-influenced moods. Think of the Latin'Ia style rhythm and feeling, sharpened up with finely coordinated horns. Also included on the disc are two instrumentals from the Charades, another latin-influenced combo that often played with the Rhythm Kings around East L.A. Rhythm Kings guitarist Tootie Rodriguez also was a member of the Charades for a little while in 1964. The Charades tunes are sweet guitar-led melodies, making a fine ending for an outstanding album with great liner notes, and a nice slice of instro history.