A year after the release of their highly-acclaimed album ‘Hawaii Champroo’ in 1975, Makoto Kubota and The Sunset Gang reunited at Sounds of Hawaii studios with co-producer Haruomi Hosono to record a new album, ‘Dixie Fever’. They used pretty much the same ingredients that had made the success of Champroo – an effortless mix of Japanese folk and american roots music with some tropical influences. The same mix that Haruomi Hosono was applying to his own albums, especially ”Tropical Dandy which was experimenting with the same ideas – In fact the front cover of both ‘Tropical Dandy’ and ‘Dixie Fever’ are illustrated by Yasuo Yagi.
As per ‘Hawaii Champroo’ and ‘Sunset Gang’, ‘Dixie Fever’ includes a mix of original compositions and covers. On the album, you spot The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Wild About My Lovin’ and a funked up version of UK singer songwriter Ralph McTell’s song ‘When i Was a Cowboy’.
They feature the Gang’s usual musicians (Keni Inoue on guitar, Yosuke Fujita on slide guitar and Takashi Onzo on bass and keyboards) complemented by a handful of guests including Tin Pan Alley drummer Tatsuo Hayashi, Motoya Hamaguchi on percussion and New Orleans pianist and Dr. John friend, Ronnie Barron.
Together they play a superb brew made of blues, soul, Hawaiian music and southern swamp rhythms. One of the highlights of the album is undoubtedly ‘Hoshikuzu’ (Stardust) which has become a cult classic over the years on the international City Pop scene and whose sunshine mid-tempo vibe is the perfect reflection of the group’s musicianship. The track perfectly adds to the album’s charm which Wewantsounds is happy to release for the first time internationally.
1. Dixie Fever 5.03
2. Wild About My Lovin’ 4.10
3. Rakuda Blues (Camel Blues) 5.08
4. Heart No Melody 3.26
5. Hoshikuzu (Stardust) 4.02
1. Chinatown Blues 4.57
2. Captain Banana 5.53
3. When I Was A Cowboy 4.34
4. Hitotu Dake Hikaru Mono 4.26