Pacific Ocean

Band members                         Related acts

  line up 2 (1968)

- Kent Henry (RIP 2009) -- lead guitar

- Fred Rviera -- bass

- Eddie James (aka Edward James Olmos) -- vocals,



  line up 2 (1968)

NEW - Toney Carrubba -- 

NEW - Tony Harris -- 

- Eddie James (aka Edward James Olmos) -- vocals,




- Eddie James and the Pacific Ocean

- Genesis  (Kent Henry and Fred Rviera)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Purgatory

Company: VMC

Catalog: VS 135 A/B

Year: 1968

Country/State: unknown

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on back cover

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5113

Price: SOLD $100.00


To be honest, I bought this album based on the psych-ish cover and the fact the Steven Vail's VMC label released a couple of decent albums including a classic pop-psych set by The David.  The fact there were almost no credits or liner notes should have given me caution, but I simply wasn't paying much attention.  I didn't even take note of the fact most of the nine tracks were covers.


As Eddie James and the Pacific Ocean, by 1967 namesake/singer/keyboardist James, guitarist Kent Henry and bassist Fred Rviera were beginning to attract some attention playing the mid-'60s LA club scene.  Unfortunately, by the time the band got around to signing a record deal Kent and Rivera had jumped ship joining Jac Ttanna in Genesis (not to be confused with the British progressive band).  James (aka film star James Elmore Olmos) quickly hired Toney Carrubba and  Tony Harris as replacements.   


Whatever expectations I initially held were rudely shattered the first couple of times I played 1968's self-produced "Purgatory" (the album title doesn't appear on the album sleeve, rather on the inner label).  Anyone expecting something similar to The David's pop-psych moves was in for a rude awakening.  Most of the collection featured pop and soul hits that were 'toughened up' for a rock audience. Imagine Vanilla Fudge without the pretence, keyboard overkill and dirge tempos and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood.  (Okay, okay their cover of Wilson Pickett's '9 1/2' sounded like a Fudge track.)  By all rights the results shouldn't have been any better than most of the Fudge catalog, but that's where the album got kind of strange.  Whoever handled the lead vocals was actually quite good and backed by the band's stabbing guitars and cool  keyboards these guys turned in some first-rate covers.  Hard to believe it, but their cover of The Miracles 'Tracks of My Tears' was killer.  Similarly covers of The Chambers Brothers' 'I Can't Stand It', The Parliament's 'I Wanna Testify' and Major Lance's 'Mickey's Monkey' were almost as good.  Elsewhere, judging by the lone original 'My Shrink', VMC missed out by not insisting the band record more original material. Certainly not life changing, but a pleasant surprise ... 


The album was also tapped for an instantly obscure single:



- 1968's 'My Shrink' b/w '16 Tons' (VMC catalog number V 738)


"Purgatory" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) 16 Tons   (M. Travis) - 3:15

2.) The Road To Hell   (T. Harris) - 2:52

3.) My Shrink   (T. Harris - Eddie James - Tony Carrubba) - 2:03

4.) Subterrarrean Homesick Blues   (Bob Dylan) - 2:44

5.) Tracks of My Tears   (M Traplin - W. Moore - William Robinson ) - 3:14


(side 2)
1.) I Can't Stand It   (L. Chambers) - 2:30

2.) I Wanna Testify   (D. Taylor - George Clinton) - 3:09

3.) 99 1/2   (Wilson Pickett) - 4:10

4.) Mickey's Monkey   (Eddie Holland - Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier) - 4:10


So this little tidbit showed up in my inbox the other day:


"Just wanted to let you know that Eddie James is none other than Tony and Oscar nominee, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Edward James Olmos and he sings the lead vocals and plays keyboard."

Dawn Hickerson webmaster of, an Edward James Olmos fansite

January 2011


Her website has a page devoted to Pacific Ocean which is worth taking a look at just for the band photos: