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Takuro Yoshida: Shangri-La

Takuro Yoshida, born in 1946, is a Japanese folkrock singer. Since his debut in 1970, he has been keeping a leading position in the Japanese folkrock scene. His album Shangri-La, released in Japan in May 1980, has Garth Hudson contributing sax and accordion on several of the 10 songs on the LP. Here's the story behind The Band's involvement in the album, as told by Sakai Shuichi:

Takuro's musical background was Bob Dylan, R&B and rock and roll in the 1960's. Around the end of 1973 his producer, Yutaka Goto, went to the US to meet the members of The Band. The purpose of his visit was to get the acceptance from The Band to play as a backup-band for Takuro on his concert tour in 1974 (!). Takuro with The Band would have been a very big turning point in his musical life! Although Yutaka Goto did not have any connections with The Band - of course The Band did not know anything about Takuro - he did get a verbal acceptance from Robbie Robertson after several meetings. However, the acceptance was cancelled just before the official contract, because Bob Dyland would restart the USA concert tour.

As such, he could not realize his dream at that time. Several years later, a project came through, namely recording in the US. R&B Keyboardist Booker T. Jones was one of Takuro's idols. His album Shangri-La, recorded in the US, was produced by Booker T. As you may have guessed, Shangri-La was named after "Shangri-La" Studio in Zuma, USA. "Shangri-La" and "The Sound Factory" Studio in Hollywood were used for recording Shangri-La

All songs on this album were arranged by Booker T. Jones and played by his friends. Garth Hudson was invited to participate in the album by Booker T. For Takuro, Garth's playing on Shangri-La must have been very impressive in view of his admiration for The Band. Also, Takuro remembers that Garth occupied 6 "channels" to record sax and accordion only.

Shangri-La was released on May 5th 1980 as an LP. A CD was released on 21st February, 1990 and is available in Japan even now.


  • Alex Neciosup Acuna, percussion
  • Bennis Belfield, bass
  • Oscar Brashear, trumpet
  • Jules Chaikin, strings/horn
  • Rich Cooper, trumpet
  • Sammy Creasor, drums
  • Dan Ferguson, guitar/banjo
  • Venetta Fielde, chorus
  • Garth Hudson, sax/accordion
  • Booker T. Jones, keyboard
  • Jackie Kelso, sax
  • John Phillps, sax
  • Stanley Plummer, strings
  • Michael Sembello, guitar
  • Bili Thedford, chorus
  • Maxine Waters Willard, chorus
Takuro Yoshida - Shangri-La - 1980 - FLL-5042
Compact Disc: FLCF-29019, 1990.

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