Monday, April 10, 2006
I was going to start out with another side with a Colorado motif that I found in the thrift-store stack. But after listening to the B-side of that one, I kinda feel led to post the B-side first. It puts how I feel at the moment into song, and is a request for those of you who know me (via the net, no matter how fleeting the relationship) to please follow the advice of the title: "Light A Candle In The Chapel" (sung by Johnnie Johnston & His Orchestra). This is a bit melancholic but for a "sweet" music side, it has just the right bit of poignancy in it, especially for my current mood. I don't know much about the orchestra, but looking at the matrix number, it is very early on in the Capitol run, so this would be maybe 1940-ish? The shellac quality is remarkably good, and the recording is many shades above OK (not referring to the OKeh label, mind you). Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, I and my 16 year old daughter, as well as the rest of the house, could certainly use them.
The side with the Colorado motif is the A-side to the above, "The Singing Sands of Alamosa". Johnnie croons nicely about the valley in southern Colorado that is basically a desert... sand dunes and all. Alamosa is only a town of roughly 10,000 people now, I can imagine what it was like in the 1940s... a dusty, sandy, windy clapboard town with not a heck of a lot going for it... but I do hear that the scenery has an allure of its' own down there, especially in the spring. I do know that it gets hotter than blazes there in the summer, and it is not unusual for Alamosa to get well over a foot of snow at a time in the winter. How that equates with a desert is one of the wonderful conundrums of this state... but Colorado is a beautiful place overall, from the prairies out east, to the majesty of the Rockies (which I have a view of from my house), to the very arid western slope. And many natural wonders in-between. If I find any more Colorado songs, I'll be sure and post them up.
I feel the need for something soothing here, so I am gonna delve back into the Hawaiian pile for the remainder of the night's posting...
I know that there have been a bunch of Ray Kinney discs on here already, but he was one of the more prolific recordists of the Hawaiian genre in the late 30s and early 40s. His stylings may not have been as accurately 'Hawai'ian kine' as, say, Sol Hoopii, but he still had a following in the nightclubs of Honolulu and the west coast of the US... enough so to have a TON of stuff released on Decca, both hula stylings as well as the more 'mainland-sound' band arrangements. This one, "Don't Play Aloha Oe When I Go" refers to the tradition of performing "Aloha Oe", the song written by Queen Liliukolani when she was basically kicked out of what was once her soverign country by the US in the 1900s when Hawaii became a US colony & territory. It is a VERY sad song, with very sad connotations for native Hawai'ians, so Ray basically says here, "Don't be sad, I will return to my island home some day." It's more of a 'mainland' arrangement, but still features some nice Hawaiian steel guitar, and is just a nice piece of music. Decca blue-label recording again, with the inherent lousy shellac quality, but I think I got most of the offending clicks out.
Next up, we have Ray Kinney doing more Island-style hula songs. From an earlier session and release than "Don't Play Aloha Oe...", we have a nice pair here: "Haleiwa", and "Papalina Lahilahi". Both these tracks are sung in the native Hawai'ian and are a fair representation of hula stylings of the late 1930s. I can't vouch for the historical accuracy of the music, mind you... but still nice to listen to, and a pair of darn good mood-mellowers.
We'll close this session with another pair of sides from one of my most favorite Island artists, Sol K. Bright and his Hollywaiians. His great cut "Hawaiian Cowboy" is one of my absolute most favorite sides. I first heard that song on a CD of Hawaiian Steel Guitar remasters, and it really opened up my eyes to two new worlds: Hawaiian Steel Guitar, and Hawaiian Slack-key Guitar. I have always been on the look-out for recordings of either ever since, and have found some absolute treasures, on 78, 45rpm signles, LPs, and CDs.
Tonight, we do not have "Hawaiian Cowboy" but two later, and more restrained sides from Mr. Bright and his troupe. The first one, a 'loper' (listen and you'll see why) is "I Wonder Where My Hula Girl Has Gone". This song has one of the most ambitious use of wood-block rhythm I think I have ever heard. It's almost Hawaiian-sweet-western, but the vocals are nice, and it's not a frenzy (to some Sol K Bright fans, this recording was a dissapointment in its' mellowness). Recorded in the 40s on Bluebird (the Victor sub-label that crossed many sonic genres in its' life), the quality of the recording is quite nice as well.
The flip side, "Tropic Trade Winds", is somewhat of a rarity for Sol K, because, unlike a vast majority of his recorded works, it is sung in English. Sol sang his lyrics in Hawaiian, Samoan, and even Tahitian; this is the first one of his sides that I have heard him sing in English. Mayhaps this was a disc for the tourist trade? I know not... but it is still, I think, worthy of inclusion onto the Shanty Virtual Turntable.
Well, kids, that be it for tonight. Bear with me & my moods, things should look brighter in a few days' time.
And again, thaks in advance for all your thoughts and prayers, we need 'em.
Right-click on the link to download the tunes, you know the drill :)
Until next time,
I'm discovering your post after leaving my comment on Lee's pages. I am with you in thought, and do pray and hope that things will get better very, very soon.
Keep going - Domi.
Knock, knock. Who's there? David Federman. Lee sent me. Just in double time to thank you for your musical archeology and to offer prayers for the well-being of your friend. "When people have nothing to live for, they will find something to die for," the poet Lew Welch said two years before he took his own life in 1971. As bodhisattvas sworn to the protection of all sentient beings, we have no choice but to pray for everyone--whether their wounds show or not. "Make prayer your profession and God your occupation," my teacher Bawa Muhaiyaddeen said. Alas, these seem to be the only two lines of work where there are acture shortages of applicants.
Byron Los Angeles.
Thank you for the music.
I know there is a lot of love and faith in the world out there, hopefully she'll learn from this that that power can be channeled within the soul to heal instead of letting all the crap in the world eat away at her.
Your household is very much in my prayers--so very sorry to hear. Thanks for sharing this with us. I didn't notice that you're less chipper than usual--maybe I'm too busy marveling at your courage.
Praying for all,
Just checking on you & family - I left a little message for you in English on my home page.
Bless you all....
Be well -- Stephanie