Jim Beloff has a love affair with the ukulele. Ever since he stumbled on one at a flea market, he has devoted his life to the instrument’s legacy.
Beloff has organized several collections of ukulele songbooks and a single method book. In addition, his colorful, stylish, and thoroughly enjoyable history, The Ukulele: A Visual History, (Miller Freeman, Inc.) received rave reviews. The book is chock full of uke lore, history, famous artists, virtuosi, and recordings, as well as a guide to famous uke makers and their elfin ware, from Kamaka pineapple ukes to Martins.
Beloff’s prowess on the uke is best represented by his CD Jim’s Dog Has Fleas. The songs are catchy melodies with crafty lyrics highlighted by that special ukulele sound that make you yearn for carefree days under a palm tree sipping umbrella drinks. His instrumental “Ukulear Powered” is a propulsive hula jump that will get the grass skirts swaying.
Last but not least, uke tech heads will, of course, want to know what axes (or hatchets) Beloff plays on this CD:, he strums a Martin tenor and concert, as well as a National soprano.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’98 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.