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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 12, 2004


'Best of' discs offer taste but not full flavor of our music

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Compilations, compilations, compilations, compilations.

Three discs assemble Island sounds and styles; one mixes local and national hits on its journey down memory lane.

"THE 50 GREATEST HAWAI'I ALBUMS OF ALL TIME" by various artists; Mountain Apple Co.

• Genre: Compilation; Hawaiian, world music.

• Distinguishing notes: With just 17 selections extracted from the purported 50 best albums of all time (named in a recent Honolulu magazine cover story), this compilation is somewhat limited. Moreover, what's included is mostly archival material from Mountain Apple. Thus, if you rely on the cover image, you'd expect (but won't find) Auntie Genoa Keawe, Don Ho and Gabby Pahinui. The collection does include Israel Kamakawiwo'ole ("Hawai'i '78"), Na Leo Pilimehana ("Flying With Angels"), Rap Reiplinger ("Room Service"), Emma Veary ("Kamehameha Waltz"), Willie K ("You Ku'uipo"), Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom ("Hale'iwa Hula"), Palani Vaughan ("Ka Mamakakaua"), the Brothers Cazimero ("Nani Waimea"), Olomana ("Seabird"), Nina Keali'iwahamana ("Ku'uipo I Ka He'e Pue One") and Ho'okena ("Napo'ona Mahina").

• The outlook: This CD serves as a prelude to a TV special.

• Our take: A gentle and lilting trek down memory lane; perhaps another volume of other "greatest" will augment the exclusions here.

"Hawai'i 78" by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

"A PLACE CALLED HAWAII 3" by various artists; HanaOla Records

• Genre: Compilation; Hawaiian, world music.

• Distinguishing notes: This is the third in a series that assembles Island songs, known and obscure. A total of 19 tracks gives the listener a real flavor of the array of styles and artists in our thriving musical scene, from Aloha ("Take Me Home") to Jon and Randy ("Hawaiian Eyes"), from Nathan Aweau ("I Do") to Danny Kaleikini ("Ku'uipo I Ka He'e Pua One"), from Barry Flanagan ("Rodeo Drive, Makawao") to The Makaha Sons ("Kiss Me Love"), from Country Comfort ("Sun Lite, Moon Lite") to Danny Couch ("Flying"). And several more, with descriptive capsules by Aloha Joe in the liner notes.

• The outlook: A fun excursion of discovery of first-time-heard acts, or rediscovery of established and no-longer-active troupers.

• Our take: A quickie glimpse of the gamut of musical resources that have emerged over time.

"Take Me Home" by Aloha. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

"ISLAND SUMMER 60'S AND 70'S" by various artists; Neos Productions

• Genre: Compilation; pop, world music.

• Distinguishing notes: If you grew up in the era of transistor radios and vinyl 45-rpm singles and 33 1/3-rpm long-playing albums, this one connects you to the past. Among the entries: Kalapana's "You Make It Hard," Cecilio & Kapono's "Sunflower," Liz Damon & the Orient Express' "1900 Yesterday," Country Comfort's "Pretty Girl," the Tokyo Happy Coats' "Forevermore," The Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau's "Hawai'i '78," Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones," the Stampeders' "Sweet City Woman," Kui Lee's "I'll Remember You," and Climax's "Precious and Few" recall first dates, make-out sessions, cheek-to-cheek dancing and more.

• The outlook: While the "Summer" title theme may be slightly off base, the disc packages acts that attracted audiences in big concerts, small gigs and dance hall gatherings here.

• Our take: A nostalgia item — mostly for those who've been there.

"I'll Remember You" by Kui Lee. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

"ISLAND MUSIC, VOLUME TWO" by various artists; Dominant Rhythm Records

• Genre: Compilation; reggae, hip-hop, world music.

• Distinguishing notes: If you're not yet tired of reggae, Jawaiian and dance-floor rhythms and delivery, this one's for you. Hayley and B.U.B. do the opening give-and-taker, "Give Me All Your Trust," and there are nine other titles and tempos to sample. Worth examining: Ata Damasco's "I Didn't Tell You Why," Zacc Kekona, Koahewa & B.U.B.'s "Love Is So Blind" and R.J. Kaneao's "Da One."

• The outlook: There's enough energy and excitement to keep this one churning; a tidy way to launch budding acts who don't have the resources to do a full stand-alone album.

• Our take: If you find a fave, you'll yearn for an entire CD by your artist of preference.

"Give Me All Your Trust" by Hayley featuring B.U.B. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, or fax 525-8055.