Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cecilio & Kapono - "Journey Through the Years"

I bought this CD at Tower Records in 2002 or 2003, Cecilio & Kapono (C&K for short) were doing a couple of reunion concerts at Kapono's restaurant at Aloha Tower Marketplace. I knew C&K were immensely popular in the 1970s but they had been broken up for most of the 1980s and all of the 1990s. I knew a few of their songs, "Friends" and "Goodtimes Together," I was real interested in their music at that point as there was a lot of hoopla about their reunion so I got this compilation. I listened to it and thought everything was great.

Their island folk/rock/pop combination is excellent and it is easy to see why they were such a huge hit in 1970s Hawaii. Their songs are catchy, easy, and make the listener feel good. This compilation produced by Cord International and Hana Ola Records is also excellently packaged, it includes 13 of their best songs as well as three songs that were only released as singles in 1977 and not available on any other album. There is also detailed liner notes which chronicle C&K's history together. One of the best compilations ever put together in Hawaiian Music. If you are even remotely interested in C&K's music this is the album for you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Brothers Cazimero - "The Best of the Brothers Cazimero"

The Brothers Cazimero are the most continuously successful Hawaiian music group, they have released a steady line of popular and critically acclaimed albums through their 30 years in the music business. They have released nearly 40 albums in their career and they show no signs of stopping.

This entry is a little of a cheat, the group made three "Best of" compilations and I picked my favorite songs and made my own 21 track compilation. The original three albums are all excellent compilations (the first one, pictured to the left, is the best) but I knew I only wanted certain songs so I borrowed the three and made my own compilation.

The three compilations are well made, as is par with Hawaiian Music there are really no liner notes. They are well selected and well packaged. My advice if you don't want all the tracks use your iTunes and make your favorites playlist.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bu La'ia - "False Crack???"

Back in the 1995 Bu La'ia (Boo La E ah) was a massively popular comedian from Hawaii. He gained a large amount of local fame for about three or four years with his fizzy hair and blacked out front tooth. He also always wore a black t-shirt and board shorts (swim trunks made for surfing) and slippers (flip flops). He is best known for performing comedy in the Hawaii pidgin/English dialect. His comedy routines often focused on the differences between caucasians and local (particularly Hawaiian) people. He starred in a low budget Hawaii cable show and released this his first comedy album.

A lot of the album focuses on parody songs in which Bu makes up new lyrics to well known songs such as, "Sweet Home Waimanalo," "Day Old, Day Old Poi" and "B-R-A Bu Rap Attack." Most of the tracks are rather witty if sometimes a bit crude. The material is funny but most likely will only appeal to Hawaii locals as many of the slang phrases used will probably only be understood by locals.

I got this album as a gift one year when I was in elementary school. It was the album to have in 1995 I think almost everyone in my class got this album. Its still very funny but I don't really listen to it anymore but it is good to have kind of a time capsule to my youth. I think that is what albums should be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jimmy Buffett - "Songs you Know by Heart"

In recent years Jimmy Buffett has come to be known more for his Island Style clothing line, his humorous books with Pigs as main characters, his restaurant chain and his continuous concert tours than for his music.

Buffett actually only had one big hit with the song "Margaritaville," but he has a number of very good songs which have earned him a rather large and rabid fan base that have dubbed themselves "parrot heads."

At his best Buffett makes easy listening folk rock with an tropical feel and at his best his lyrics are imaginative and witty and give you the feel of lying in a hammock on the beach. Buffett is a bit of a goof-ball though and sometimes his songs get rather silly as he sings about getting drunk and chewing bubble gum. Yet overall he has written a number of simple yet enjoyable songs.

This compilation really showcases Buffett's best work which earned him his loyal following. This is the compilation for the casual listener who is interested by Buffett's sound but is not really a diehard fan. This contains his classics songs. He has written some other good ones but this is the pick of the lot. He has heartfelt singer-songwriter style songs "He Went to Paris" and "A Pirate Looks at 40," his witty and fun songs "Fins" and "Volcano" as well as his silly songs "Why Don't we Get Drunk" and "Pencil Thin Mustache." This compilation is much better than his later one title "Meet Me in Margaritaville" because on that double disc his reworks a number of his most popular songs so they are not the hit versions anymore. Buffett's music provides a great way to ease away your troubles and enjoy some drinks on the beach. See you all in Margaritaville!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Buffalo Springfield - "Last Time Around"

The group's final album. By the time it was released they had already broken up and the whole band was not present for most of the tracks. In fact the cover picture is very telling, the first four members (Stephen Stills leading the group) are in perfect line all looking in one direction and then Neil Young is turned away looking in a different direction. This is very telling considering he left the group after performing on only two and a half songs.

This is actually my favorite of Buffalo Springfield's three albums. Stephen Stills' songs in particular are quite excellent "Pretty Girl Why," "Four Days Gone" and "Special Care." He also has "Questions" which sounds slightly unfinished but would eventually turn into the hit song "Carry On" for CSNY. "Uno Mundo" is one of Stills' catchiest songs and is the beginning of the latin rock that he would later explore with Manassas. Young's two contributions as songwriter "On the Way Home" and "I am a Child" would become more popular in solo versions but they are two of his best songs. Jim Messina provides "Carefree Country Day" which is in the same country/pop that would later popularize Loggins and Messina's work. Richie Furay provides several darkly textured songs, the best of which being "Kind Woman."

I like this album the best because all the members have grown into their own. They have found the musical ground that they want to cover. I also think Messina, who also produced the album, is an excellent producer and his talents bring out the best in each song which makes the album sound better than the other two records. This is an often over looked album that is actually quite a gem.