Fujii : Anyway What Time Did You Get Up This Morning
Reviews of the album 'Anyway what time did you get up this morning' In the Folk Roots 2002 pole Mike Gavin of Harmonia Mundi voted 'Anyway what time did you get up this morning' into his list of top 6 albums. Folk Roots Magazine Jan/Feb 2002 Nos 223/224. Pp 72 Anyway What Time Did You Get Up This Morning? Gramophone Records GROO3 CD The Fujii is the collective name for the duo of Kuichi Fujishima, aka 'Fuji', and Paul Shearsmith. Fuji is a Japanese slide guitar player and singer, while Paul is an English player of pocket trumpet, tuned gas main, baliphone and founding member of Echo City, the group that plays plastic tube instruments. As well as being the above, Fuji is also a painter, in fact he claims to be a painter first and musician second. He is a big fan of anyone who plays slide guitar and has spent a long time hunting down his favourite musicians, dead and alive, visiting their graves or homes if he can find either. He published a book of his photos and drawings a couple of years ago which chronicled some of his travels and encounters with buskers around the world. This is his first CD, recorded mostly live at gigs, solo and with Paul, at places like the 12 Bar Club in London. Fuji is a true folk musician, with his music deeply rooted in that of his heroes, Fred McDowell, Son House and Bukka White, but at the same time, consciously or not, in the folk music of his Japanese background. He sounds perfectly at home singing his Japanese lyrics to these pentatonic blues scales; something like a Japanese Rainer. Paul Shearsmith adds utterly modern pocket trumpet, blown and sucked pieces of metal and plastic tubing, turning this into a post avant-folk CD. This is a true piece of Outsider Folk Art in my opinion, just like Fuji's glorious paintings and illustrated books. Both are made for the joy and pleasure of doing it, plain and simple. Great CD and one of my favourites of the year. If you liked those Okinawan CDs with Bob Brozman on check this out 'cos I'm sure you will like it. Mike Cooper The Wire - Issue 216 Feb 2002. pp55 The Fujii, or Fuji Shima, is a phenomenon. A former welder, he is now a peripatetic busker, travelling the world, living largely on the proceeds of paintings of other husking musicians, whom he also records in a diary and, more recently, video footage. When improvising trumpeter Paul Shearsmith 'discovered' him busking in York seven years ago, he was shown, by way of introduction, a photo of his bottleneck atop the grave of Delta blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell. He plays with bluesman Baby Gramps when in Seattle and, on his trips to England, he and Shearsmith (also in Ya Basta,The One King Poets and Echo City) form a remarkable duo. This live set opens with a recording of one of The Fujil's own 'discoveries', an elderly busker playing the spoons outside Kentish Town underground station in North London. What follows is some unique pancultural blues. The Fujii is an adventurous bottleneck guitarist, playing Country blues in a way that also evokes Japanese koto music He sings almost exclusively in Japanese and when he descends from the warm, clear tones at the apex of his baritone register into guttural vowels, the language sounds custom built for deep blues. Shearsmith provides sparse but telling accompaniment by way of fluttering trumpet lines, harmonica and homemade instruments, including pieces of tuned gas main. On Junky Blues', he introduces an extraordinary bellowing sound into what starts off sounding like a take on 'Rollin' And Tumblin'', while 'A Shrike Crowing On A Dead Tree' sonically approximates it's title. Questions of authenticity are redundant with music this faithful to the Delta blues spirit Mike Barns Traditional Music Maker Issue No 55 June/July 02. pp25 Gramophone Records GROO3 CD What do you get if you cross a Japanese bottleneck blues guitarist with an improvising iazz trumpet player? The Fujil. Fuji Shima is an artist and musician from Japan, who travels the world playing and picking up inspiration for his paint-ings. He plays National steel guitar in open tunings in the best Delta blues style, and sings in his native language. His technique makes full use of standard blues stylings, for example the way in which he answers a vocal line with a slide melody, but his structures go beyond basic blues, and there are times when he slides a note just a bit further than a normal blues player would do. His songs also have titles like Sea of Rape Seed and A Shrike Crowing on a Dead Tree. Very Zen. When Fuji is in London, he plays with Paul Shearsmith in clubs such as the 12 Bar, Monarty's and the former TMM club at O'Reillys in Kentish Town. Most of the tracks have been recorded live, including one at kentish Town tube station and the opening interview with The Spoon Man of Kentish Town, who gives us a very nice version of Show Me the Way to Go Home. Paul is a iazz trumpeter by vocation, though on the most of the tracks here he plays tuned gas pipes, which produce various drone notes (see Lindsay Porteous's previous articles in TMM on Tube Flutes) with har-monic overtones which add a delightful ambience to Fuji's guitar playing. Sometimes the tones he produces sound almost exactly like a human voice. It is an excellent combination. This is an album that slips into your consciousness in such a way that you hardly realise it until it suddenly ends. The music is relax-ing, yet compelling. I don't know if the duo will be working in London this year, but I shall certainly be looking out to see them live. The album? More precious than a dead cat! (A little Zen joke there). Grahame Hood Blues Matters magazine The Fujii is essentially a Japanese chap called Fuji, accompanied by one Paul Shearsmith - who plays tuned gas main piping (I kid you not, it sounds a bit like a didgeridoo), pocket trumpet and his own invention, the Baliphone. They prove to be the perfect, if idiosyncratic, complement to the undoubted star of the show. Fuji sings in Japanese over his own expertly played, emotionally resonant, National Steel guitar. Mississippi Fred McDowell is one obvious hero. The effect of singing in his native language not only shields us from the sometimes rather dull lyrics of the idiom (letters to the editor please...), but also emphasises the natural musicality of his mother tongue, and expresses beautifully, the universality of the blues. Wonderfully moving stuff Joe Cushley.