Herb Ohta Jr. and Daniel Ho, Step 2: ‘Ukuleles in Paradise 2, Daniel Ho Creations
Herb Ohta Jr. and Daniel Ho are back with the follow-up to their 2005 album, 'Ukuleles in Paradise. Once again, the format is simple: 'ukuleles and nothing but. 'Uke legend Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta—Herb Jr.'s father—sits in for a revisit of his own blockbuster "A Song for Anna," but otherwise it's simply Ohta Jr. on the left, Ho on the right. No vocals, no bass, no percussion.
The simplicity gives this collection a gentle, cohesive feel. Too cohesive, for this reviewer's tastes. The songs are all professionally picked, but you'll find no Shimabukuro-esque fret gymnastics here, and the tempos remain reliably languid. This is music for an afternoon on the back porch, or, more likely, on-hold music for the phone.
'Ukuleles in Paradise 2 one-ups the first volume with original compositions such as the tuneful "Step it Up," and "Pineapple Mango." Many of the instrumental covers, however, leave the listener wanting more. They're technically complex, yes, but it's hard to forget the definitive vocal versions of songs such as "Kaimana Hila" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow."
If you're an 'ukulele player yourself—pick this up and learn. For the general public, 'Ukuleles in Paradise 2 may not be as compelling.