Carol K. & the Hitmen

California Creamin'

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Carol Kaye's stellar guitar skills are in ample evidence on this 1965 instrumental album. Taken as straight instrumental rock, however, it's only okay, because the songs are little more than basic riffs and progressions on which Kaye and her session friends lay their finely honed chops. There's a Latin feel to many of the rhythms and licks, actually, as well as some echoes of surf music and straight-ahead Los Angeles go-go rock & roll. Kaye's numerous sessions with the likes of the Beach Boys and Phil Spector remain the best recordings on which to sample her talents. But this at least gives listeners a chance to hear her solos unobscured by vocalists, and placed more prominently within the arrangement than they usually were when she was filling out records for hitmakers. It's a good value CD, too, adding demos and a Kaye spoken word "Guitar Talk" about her work.