Rich Hopkins and Luminarios – El Otro Lado/The Other Side

January 01, 1970


(San Jacinto Records)


It’s long past time Tucson’s Rich Hopkins got a little bit
of credit. He’s been at the helm of two great combos, the Sand Rubies and the
Sidewinders, and for the past 20 years or so, he’s led a third, the Luminarios.
Yet sadly, his work remains all but unnoticed beyond a handful of devotees
mostly based in the Southwest and, ironically, overseas. Arizona may be getting
slammed for a lot of things, but if the state boasts any outside appeal these
days, beyond the Grand Canyon of course, it ought to include the resolute
efforts of this native son. His latest effort provides further proof he’s
deserving, and given the fact that it boasts a bilingual title and at least a
couple of tracks sung in Spanish, it suggests that Hopkins and his compatriots
may be the ones to help smooth over the state’s ethnic divide.


Okay, maybe that’s too grand a gesture, but the fact is that
El Otro Lado/The Other Side proves
one more example of Hopkins’ authentic Americana output. With their ringing
guitars and an anthemic-like surge, the Luminarios echo the sound of McGuinn,
Springsteen, Petty and all those other icons who took root in an intrinsic
roots rock sound and fortified it with restless ambition. Opening track “Love
Is a Muse” offers the first hint of that propulsive intent, one which is
maintained by the steadfast deliberation of “Breathe In Breathe Out” as well as
the breezy harmonies and heartfelt homage of “Lou Reed,” the reassuring refrain
of “U R Not Alone” and the south of the border mélange evidenced in “Guajira”
and the sweeping “El Otro Lado Suite.” 


“Good intentions ain’t good enough anymore,” Hopkins and crew
coo on the chorus of “Good Intentions.” Sad but true, but then again that’s all
the more reason to give them their due.


Is a Muse,” “Lour Reed,” “El Otro Lado Suite” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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