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Island Mele
Friday, June 9, 2000

By John Berger


Reggae rhythm leads
to Natural High


Bullet Getting High:
By Natural Vibrations (Cinnamon Red CRR0018)

NATURAL Vibrations won a Hoku Award last year in the newly added "Reggae Album" category for its second album, "All Natural," and got international exposure as guests of Tube at Aloha Stadium last week. The local sextet is easily the most successful act in the history of Darryl Hill's Cinnamon Red label. "Getting High" will certainly expand their position.

The title accurately describes the primary theme. This is secular reggae rather than the offering of religious thanks and praises to His Imperial Majesty Jah Rastafari.

While THC upholds pure religious Rastafari reggae, and Jesse Dawn is on the political tip of the movement, Natural Vibrations represents the folks who just want to get loaded and enjoy the "riddims." This album is the perfect prescription for them!

Several tracks are reminiscent of Big Mountain and certain to become local hits.

"Sensi Gift" stands out as a smooth a capella number and "No Name Song" adds catchy retro-funk rhythms to this commercial local reggae album. Credit the group with versatility as well.

The Hoku-winning "All Natural" was marred by an uncredited interpolation of Lee Dorsey's 1966 hit, "Working in the Coal Mine." Natural Vibrations does the same thing this time by using part of Shinehead's 1989 song "Hello Y'all" to add impact to a song they call Real Slow. "

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Come Around
Bullet No Name Song
Bullet Sensi Gift
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



Bullet Take Me Home:
By 'Ale'a (Poki SPCD 9064)

THE Brothers Cazimero and Ho'okena obviously inspire 'Ale'a. That's not surprising since they too are Kamehameha Schools alumni, but the quartet offers its own take on traditionalist Hawaiian music.

Purists will applaud the crisp harmonies and clean, synthesizer free arrangements.

Kala'i Stern contributes not only a beautiful falsetto but also a great hapa-haole original, "Hapa Haole Girl of My Dreams."

A medley of three paniolo songs is another highlight of the recording.

'Ale'a has mixed results remaking oldies from the American pop charts. "Cupid" and "Lady In Red" are basic local bar room fodder but the group scores with "Dueling Banjos" as Ryan "Gonzo" Gonzalez alternates on banjo and ukulele.

'Ale'a does even better with a strong acoustic Hawaiian swing update of "You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)."

An attractive liner notes foldout includes all the information necessary to make this album an excellent debut.

Poki Records, P.O. Box 1494, Honolulu, HI 96806

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Take Me Home
Bullet Hapa Haole Girl Of My Dreams
Bullet You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three Tonight (Baby)
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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