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The Sentinals

A decent though not first-division surf band, the Sentinals made a couple of albums for Del-Fi in 1963-64 and achieved a good deal of regional popularity, although only drummer Johnny Barbata (later in the Turtles and Jefferson Starship) would go on to name groups. They formed in 1961 in the Californian Central Coast town of San Luis Obispo, a locale that also bred another Del-Fi surf band, the Impacts (starting point of future cult folk-rocker Merrell Fankhauser). The Sentinals (sometimes, confusingly, spelled Sentinels) had a heavier rhythm-and-blues feel to much of their material than the average surf band, and would occasionally sing, as evidenced by covers like "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and "Shout." At other points, however, they were adept at tossing off the Latin-influenced riffs and melodies that made surf as a genre stand apart from other early 1960s instrumental R&B-rock. This was especially audible in "Latin'ia, " a 1962 single that is included on Rhino's Cowabunga! The Surf Box. The Sentinals broke up in the mid-1960s, with future psychedelic-soul keyboardist/singer Lee Michaels joining for some time (although he did not record with them). Bassist/singer Kenny Hinkle had a more modest post-Sentinals resume than Barbata or Michaels, playing in the group California Music with Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and producer/artist Terry Melcher in the 1970s.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo


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