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Jake Shimabukuro - Hula Girls

Hula Girls

Jake Shimabukuro

Hitchhike Records - HRCD-1107

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

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Following a number of critically very well-received CDs, Jake Shimabukuro was chosen to score a film documenting the 1965 closing of the Joban coal mine on mainland Japan, a grim event whereafter the women of the area gathered to attempt to instill a tourist atmosphere in order to save a faltering economy…in a cold region…with no palm trees…and no hula dancers. I'll leave the movie to the reader but the union reached here between the necessary episodism film demands and the gorgeous melodies Shimabukuro crafts as pure art is rather unusual for this type of release. He's abetted by a roster of often minimal but well laid out sessioneers providing coloration and atmosphere, musicians entirely in tune with the main of the sensitive and fragile melodies.

As is common with these sorties, the cuts are frequently short, but the label has supplied alternate takes, demo versions, and etc., filling out the timetable nicely. A few cuts jump up but mostly we're treated to a mellifluous palette of spaciously gentle refrains. Though Jake can rock out and machine gun with the best of 'em, he here keeps to Classicalist and Impressionistic modes, evanescent and filigreed. About the only out-of-place cut is Local Boys, but such is expected of the anthemically youth-cultured film milieu nowadays, apparently a part of the great cosmic scheme or something. Hawaiian Eyes is a vocal return to Hiroshima's (the 80s band, not the city) chart days and a bit like Lani Hall as well, nowhere near as thematically jarring as Local Boys. Hardly matters, though, as there's quite enough that's strictly Shimabukoro here, satisfying the ravenous appetite of a growing fan base for the guy who's the best ukelele player planet Earth has seen…

…and if he isn't, I don't want to hear the guy that is: my heart couldn't take it. It'd be too much for a mere mortal.

Track List:

  • On the Road
  • Walking Down Rainhill
  • The Dance
  • Touch (alternate take)
  • Hawaiian Eyes (Osorio / Borden)
  • Opening Day
  • Hula Girl
  • Heartbeat
  • Heartbeat (reprise)
  • Touch
  • Hula Girl (acoustic version)
  • Local Boys (Nalani Choy)
  • Walking Down Rainhill (alternate take)
  • Wish on my Star
  • Graduation
  • Hula Girl
All songs written by Jake Shimabukuro except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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