Pacific Ocean

In 1968, on the advice of some friends whose musical tastes I trusted, I went to the Gazzarri’s nightclub on the Sunset Strip to see the soul band Pacific Ocean. I had heard great things about their charismatic lead singer, Eddie James.

Pacific Ocean was a terrific L. A. brown-eyed soul band. Throughout their performance Eddie would often execute what we used to call “legitimate splits”; that is, he would do the splits, hit the floor and then pop back up onto his feet without using his hands. Previous to Eddie James, I had only seen that trick executed by another James: James Brown.

Mr. James sang with great intensity, occasionally punctuating his vocals with what sounded like a banshee inhaling a scream. Examples of this vocal trick are included in a few of the LP’s songs.

I still have my vinyl self-titled LP of Pacific Ocean (on VMC Records). I assumed it would never be released on CD due to its obscurity. Lo and behold, Pacific Ocean has just been released on CD by the Early Dawn music label.

Most of the cuts on Pacific Ocean are covers of classic soul songs. Here is the original track running order, which somehow got screwed up on the CD release:
1) “16 Tons”
2) “Road to Hell”
3) “My Shrink”
4) “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
5) “Tracks of My Tears”
6) “I Can’t Stand It”
7) “I Wanna Testify”
8) “99 1/2”
9) “Mickey’s Monkey”

I held out hope for a CD release, as there was one important element I thought might make this LP rise back to the surface of our collective musical consciousness. Eddie James sang and entertained with the same ferocious intensity that he later brought to a successful acting career, a career in which he began using his full name: Edward James Olmos.

2 Responses to “Pacific Ocean”

  1. James Grado says:

    Hi, Bill.

    Thanks for the information on Pacific Ocean. Looks like great stuff, and an interesting bit regarding Edward James Olmos – who knew? Another one for my wish list (including Big Brother from your recent post). I’d love to get these on vinyl, but CDs will be fine, also. Thanks again for another great post about music, which I know you have a deep history and knowledge.

  2. Bill says:

    @James:
    A lot of it is luck and being at the right place at just the right time.

    I saw Pacific Ocean once. Who knew that their lead singer would one day be a famous actor?

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