|Hula Joe & The Hutjumpers|
|Written by Joe Wood|
It must be the water, or maybe it's just the incredible beauty of the islands, but Hawaiian Swing has taken yet another giant step forward with the first release from Hula Joe & the Hutjumpers.
Hula Joe blends traditional Hawaiian instruments such as the ukulele and pedal-steel guitar with flare and a sense of humor. The band's self-titled debut CD (Black & Tan Records) begins with "War Chant 2000," a blend of the classic "Hawaiian War Chant" doped up on hip-hop. Amazingly it works. Next, we proceed on a musical tour of the islands, featuring singer Gin Rummy, who in "Kilauea Ovadea" has commandeered a bus full of tourists and documents the blight of the mainlanders. Other treats include "Grasshackin'," "Boiled Peanuts," "Maui Girl," "Coconut Wireless," and "Waikiki Chickadee." The majority of the lyrics reflect life in our 50th state—surfboard heroes, hula dancing, everyday love, and the invasion of tourists all are fair game. One could even imagine this record as the soundtrack to a Broadway show, and the band clearly devoted tremendous time and attention to the recording's content and quality. No Louis Jordan covers here; nearly every track is an original.
Besides the tropical theme, the beauty of this album is that it plays on many levels. If there were a Billboard Swing Top 10 list, Hula Joe & the Hut Jumpers would surely have seized the number one position with this inspired debut. So grab your floral-pattern luau shirt and pick it up.