What makes soul, soul? Is it a man singing from the depths of his being? Is it smooth? Does it swing? Does it have to swing? I’ve asked this question before, and I want to tell you my answer again: “soul” moves us from deep within.
You know it when you hear it. Makes you wanna sing, hum, shout, cry, smile, laugh. Makes you want to be here now.
An artist like Herb Ohta, Sr., also known as Ohta San, knows how to tap into that soul spectrum, and he proves it with his Decca LP, Soul Time In Hawaii. With the sweetest of serenades to ever come from an ukulele, Ohta San’s version of “Shangri-La” pulls you into to the heart of what soul can be. Check it out and tell me what you think:
*Please excuse the clicks and hiss, my copy isn’t as clean as I initially thought.
When I first came across this (in Eugene, Oregon, of all places), I immediately bought it for its album cover—a lei’d Ohta San dressed in aloha wear, kicking back beachside with his ukulele, a gorgeous mountain climbing along the ocean behind him. I don’t exactly know where this photo was taken, but what really gets me is his expression, so cool and calm.
And, if you know me, you’ll know that bossa nova tracks get me too. Like Ohta San’s cover of “Manha de Carnaval”, composed by Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfá. I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff.