Anticipating John Belushi's Saturday Night Live samurai by fifteen years, the Hi-Fives' "Fujikami The Warrior" (Hitt 003, released locally in Vancouver, B.C. in 1961) was a bizarre novelty tune filled with the demented shrieks of a local radio personality-gone-nuttily Nipponese TOTALLY unlike anything else the group ever performed before or afterward. This anomaly, unfortunately, represents 50% of their recorded output forever linking them with such stellar luminaries as Weird Al Yankovic. In truth (so it is claimed), the Hi-Fives were a serious blues band. Their REAL members ("Fujikami's" shrieks were merely those of guest deejay "Frosty" Forst) included Harry Walker (vocals); Freddy Carotenuto (saxophone); Tab Shori (guitar); Bill Papuc (bass); and Red Lewis/Larry Krashin (drums). The group's OTHER single, "Mean Old Woman" b/w "Cold Wind" (London 17200), allegedly more representative of their TRUE sound, reveals the Hi-Fives as slavish impersonators - content to regurgitate rather than reinterpret mainstream blues. Even with such faults, however, "Mean Old Woman" hit #7 in Los Angeles upon its U.S. release (on the Era label). During their six year association, the Hi-Fives won several Battles of the Bands in Vancouver, and evidently drew crowds to local nightspots like the Blues Palace - where they once headlined with Ike and TinaTurner. Given their popularity, one wonders if two studio 45's - one atypical and the other quite frankly a disappointment - really did justice to their live act (saxman Carotenuto hints that they did not). The point, of course, is now moot. Interested parties are referred to the History Of Vancouver Rock, Volume 1 (Vancouver Record Collectors' Association VRCA 003, 1987) for the A-sides of both singles.
-Stansted Montfichet, All Music Guide