Yuichi and The Hilltone Boys

yuichiEl Toro Records
I’m Sorry Sweet Heart – So Long I’m Gone – Flyin’ Saucer – Countin’ The Years – Your Heart Oughta Be Broken – High Priced Chick – Hilltone Shuffle – Thunder – She Isn’t Around Anymore – Bluest Boy In town – Ooby Dooby – Sayonara – Hurt
These boys are a classic rockabilly trio (two guitars and one bass) from Japan . But when the music plays, if it wasn’t for the name or the cover you wouldn’t believe it. They have mastered the Sun sound so well, you’d swear they are one of those upcoming artists waiting to be discovered by Sam Phillips.
This album is mostly made of self penned songs with the exception of Roy Orbison’s Ooby Dooby and So Long I’m Gone.
They play a very entertaining kind of melodic hillbilly bop blended with rockabilly and some Johnny Cash too (Countin’ The Year). “Hilltone Shuffle” is an instrumental that gives Kenjo Ohta the occasion to shine on guitar (he also plays steel). A fiddle enhances the trio for “She isn’t around anymore” that shows the influences of the lovesick blues boys Hank Williams on this country weeper. For their cover of Ooby Dooby they made an odd choice in turning it into a Gene Vincent’s number. Imagine the lyrics of Roy’s song on Be-Bop-A–Lula.
Some songs are sung in Japanese which surprises at first but works rather well.
The low point is the last song “Hurt“. It’s too bad the album ends on that not so great Elvis kind of tune, with grandiloquent vocal. It wastes a bit the good impression the whole album exhales.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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