Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia, 🇨🇦
"Fujikami The Warrior" by The Hi-Fives is completely like any other record have ever heard. It was originally a saxy instrumental until the producer, disc jockey Andy Laughland, decided that it didn't sound commercial enough. The title was changed, and a new Ghengis Khan type character was born. Instead of the sax as lead instrument, we now got fellow disc jockey Frosty Forst's maniacal pseudo-oriental Samuri voice intermittently squeezing out such droplets of information as - "Fujikami the warrior has the world's greatest fan club. I am President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer!"
The interplay between this crazed vocalizing and the muttered agreement of The Hi-Fives in the background is most effective, creating a call and response pattern unheard of before or since. It was released on Hitt 003 and it said on the label in fine print ...Idea - Ron Jacobs, Voice - Frosty Forst, Andy Laughland Productions. "Fujikami" entered the charts Dec. 9, 1961 and reached #18.
It's hard to tell from that record, but basically The Hi Fives were a blues group. Their other 45 was a group composition, also produced by Andy Laughland, called "Mean Old Woman". It was similar to "Big Fat Woman" - the 'B' side of "Do You Want to Dance" by American artist Bobby Freeman.
"Mean Old Woman" has a beautiful muffled sax sound, and a group vocal chorus, riding along behind Harry Walker's cracked and straining voice, and it rocks like mad! It was released on the London label in Canada, and the Era label in the USA. Its bluesy sound even took it to #7 in Los Angeles.
-Michael Wilmore, The History of Vancouver Rock and Roll Volume 1
"The Hi-Fives were together about six years. Our repertoire was mainly blues and r&b. We used to regulary win The Battle of The Bands at The Orpheum Theatre on Saturday afternoons. Sometimes when the competing groups were out on the stage we used to come out at the side and do a dance routine to their music, which detracted from what they were doing, and helped us to win"
-Freddy Carotenuto, sax player
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
"The story of my brother Tab who left us May 1st in Kamloops, BC. Born at Vancouver General Hospital to Janki and Jogi Ram Shori, went to Van Tech High, graduated Yuba City High, California. Gifted Spanish guitarist, played drums and sax. Tab started performing on stage at age 13, picked up his guitar later, to record R & B with Harry Walker & The High Fives. Declined to tour N. America with Chubby Checker to start the first R & B Studio in Vancouver, working 3 jobs, teaching, playing at clubs, and driving a tandem. Tab received a scholarship in the Arts, recognition in the professions, on ski patrol, into boxing, took his Harley to Mexico, but first taught himself Spanish. Fluent in 4 languages. Traveled Europe to perform in London hotels, and the Obrei in New Delhi. A wrangler and MC for the Bar Q Guest Ranch in Ashcroft, his love for horses was on the top of his list with music. Opened up Tab's nightclub in Kamloops, hiring local bands, and knowns as the Platters. Performed in prisons and for the Sr's. His kind heart, humour, and laughter will be with us forever." Tab Shori Obituary published in the Vancouver Sun and/or the Province, May 13-14 2011
"Harry Walker once led the hot local dance band the Hi-Fives, who held down a 10-year residency at one of Vancouver’s long-gone dance clubs. Walker was involved in the local dance-club scene for a long time. Now he sells used cars." - Excerpt from article published in the Vancouver Sun, 7/6/2016
Musical pioneer Tab Shori lives on
Music was everything to Tab Shori. Sure, there were a few years -- from 14 into his 20s -- when the music stopped.
Sure, there were a few years -- from 14 into his 20s -- when the music stopped. But, even when he was living the cowboy life as a wrangler at an Ashcroft ranch, music still called to him every weekend, as he made his way into Kamloops and his Tab's Cabida at 317 Tranquille Rd.
And it's why he's being inducted posthumously into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame as one of the province's musical pioneers, a list he shares this year with George Calangis, Sharman King, Tom Lavin, Ian McDougall and Linda McRae, people honoured for leaving an indelible mark on the province's entertainment landscape. The StarWalk inductees include Michael J. Fox, Marcus Mosely, Hal Beckett, Jazzy B and Joe Keithley.
Along his musical journey, Shori opened for Ike and Tina Turner, was asked to tour with Chubby Checker and saw two of his singles hit the charts.
It began with a violin, said Shori's sister, Sylvia Mahal. All of the Shori children had to learn an instrument or dance style, she said -- hers was highland dancing while another sister opted for Hawaiian dancing -- and Tab was gifted with the instrument but eventually picked up a guitar and his destiny was set.
It was another iconic musician who brought it back to life for Shori after he stopped playing in his teens. The spark was lit again when he was watching The Ed Sullivan Show and saw Elvis Presley -- but more importantly, saw Presley's guitarist, Scotty Moore.
He picked up his guitar again.
Shori and sister Smitra performed as a duo throughout Vancouver and were at one time encouraged to take their act to Hollywood. Instead, they continued performing in their hometown. Later, as a member of The Hi-Fives, Shori continued making music, alongside Harry Walker on vocals, Freddy Caotenuto on sax, Bill Papuc on bass and either Red Lewis or Larry Krashin on drums.
It was this band that notched a spot on Canadian and U.S. charts with Mean Old Woman, which hit No. 1 in Los Angeles and No. 7 in Canada in 1961. Cold Wind was on the B-side of the single.
That same year, responding to a request from a radio DJ, they recorded the novelty song Fujikama The Warrior, one replete with no actual lyrics but just strange shrieks and other noises courtesy of DJ Frosty Forst.
Shori didn't just make music -- he encouraged it. The tour with Checker was passed on so he could open Vancouver's first R&B studio, something he supported by working three jobs -- teaching, playing and driving a tandem truck.
His dad, who played ukulele, had a studio in their home and ran The New Delhi Cabaret at 544 Main St., where the Hi-Fives performed often. There were plenty of victories in band battles at the Orpheum Theatre, as well.
But it wasn't just about the music. Shori was a member of a ski patrol, boxed and hopped on his motorcycle -- after teaching himself Spanish, one of four languages with which he had fluency -- for a trip to Mexico.
A love of horses and the ranching life led him to the Bar Q Guest Ranch in Ashcroft, where he was a wranger and also emcee for events. Eventually, he started his night club in Kamloops, bringing in not only local acts but bigger names like The Platters and Aaron Neville.
The house band was Sundance, featuring Gerry King on bass, Keith Johnson on lead guitar and John Webber on drums, with Shori occasionally sitting in with his guitar or sax, another instrument he perfected.
There were movie nights, jam sessions and plenty of events to help out charities, something Shori did throughout his career. When the music industry started to change, Shori shut down the club, Mahal said.
"He should have written a book," she said of her brother.
"He did so many things."
-Dale Bass, kamloops this week
Harry Walker: vocals
Freddy Carotenuto: saxophone
Tab Shori: guitar (1936-2011)
Bill Papuc: bass
Larry Krashin: drums
Red Lewis: drums
Stan Richardson: piano