Just Keep Your Eyes on the Hands

Hulas vol2Thrift store hunting in The Valley yields some hip-swaying, luau-attending, hand-watching results. Who knew, am I right?! Recently acquired was this copy of Hukilau Hulas Vol. 2 (featured here, the back cover). “Keep your eyes on the hands” is more than a hula skirt-wearing, seductive suggestion for those looking for a quick lei (sigh), but instead, a graphic designer’s dream job featuring 16 (slightly) varied action-based hula illustrations.

But what about the music, you ask? Well, I have no Earthly idea! I just acquired this LP and haven’t had time to spin her grooves. A full report (from Interzone) shouldn’t be too far off.

HolyHulaSo, as you’ve (painfully) noticed, I’ve been rather lethargic and lazy as of late. It may have something to do with the thrill of 365 now being a skipping glimmer from the “less than” side A of the Groove, but all things considered… yeah, I owe you a decent post sooner rather than later.

The Groove would be the end of me if it weren’t for the three free rounds of drinks at the end of every year.” Thanks, Mr. Hardwick.

Four Gibsons and A Twirling Lass

HawaiiNot to beat a dead horse, but picked fresh from the gardens of my Misc section is this collection of classic Hawaiian slide guitar gems by The Honolulu Guitars. Simply and squarely titled Hawaii, this 10-track album from an unknown year on the Peter Pan Records subsidiary label, Power Records boasts a paradise of Red Sails in the Sunset against the Hawaiian Skies with smiling islanders in Skirts of Grass twisting in the Moonlight while rhythmically gyrating to a Hawaiian Serenade. Somewhat unsurprisingly, with four Gibsons and a twirling lass, The Honolulu Guitars, and those playing said guitars, achieve beatific joy and instigate a longing for a paradise I’ve never experienced. My only criticism is that this album is too damned short.

LabelWhat else lies deep within the mystic void of my cumbersome Misc section? A few months ago I was commenting to my SO that I should really get some Hawaiian slide guitar music. Little did I know, I’d already owned some.

Take A Trip Across the World (and Back) with Alfred Hause & His Orchestra

FolksongsEasy listening waltz romps manifesting themselves as interplanetary folk ditties. Solemnly executed by Alfred Hause & His Orchestra, this 1970 cultural roller coaster politely invites you, the listener on a destination vacation through the sunny shores of Mexico, over to the Mediterranean-basking banks of Italy, behind the looming German wall, down to the open, festive, ambience of Spain, all the way across the Atlantic and halfway across the Pacific to paradisiacal Hawaii, before making a pit stop (to flip the record) all the way back to the island of Ireland. If jet lag isn’t your thing, consider a shot and a nap before continuing on with the equally delightful side 2.

Folksongs BackAll rested up and ready for another go? Fantastic. After your three day nap, you find yourself amongst the natural wonders of Argentina (Argentine Republic), before hopping over to the densely populated, yet culturally explosive streets of Japan, up to the chilly, crisp air of Russia, back to Germany (to retrieve a pair of socks you accidentally left behind… you know the socks, the ones you got as a gift from Aunt Silvia that you simply can’t live without), then over to the ignorant-minded throes of Southern United States, before reaching your final, and justly deserved, destination of Scotland.

Closing out a multicultural trip that you’ll undoubtedly remember for the rest of your days with the classic, Auld Lang Syne, you look back at your wondrous journey with exhausted fervor, and a lifetime of memories and useless knowledge with which to entertain (or annoy) your friends and family.

In Ping Pong Percussion

HawaiiI’ve never been an avid Ping Ponger. I don’t play the drums, and for that matter, I’ve never been to Hawaii. So, as you can easily imagine, finding an album that features all of these elements was something of an interesting tool… gently spooning the cantaloupe of my curiosity melon.

For reasons I can’t even begin to understand, Lukleani and His Islanders performing 12 Hawaiian themed tracks reminds me of the music from Carol Reed’s The Third Man. One of these days I’m going to write about Anton Karas’ fascinating work in the film I just mentioned, but today is not that day. Today, instead of the dimly lit, and anger-kissed streets of Vienna, I close my eyes and allow the swaying waves of a sun-soaked paradise to take me away.

Hawaii in Ping Pong Percussion is perfect mood music for anyone who, if only in his or her minds, would like to return to the majestic island in the Pacific. If you’re like me and you’ve never been, this album does an intoxicating job of painting a beautiful picture of “what if?” Even if you don’t play Ping Pong…

A New World of Sound… On Decca

Decca Family TreeDecca Records spans an almost spectrum-like array of eclectic ear candy. Ranging from Children’s music (Winnie the Pooh), to Hawaiian music (Alfred Apaka), to Classical (Vivaldi), and last but certainly not least, to William Shatner (in whose 1968 album, The Transformed Man, I excavated this colorful insert).

It’s always interesting to see how creative these self-promoting record label inserts get in attempting to showcase their less-than-chart-topping-hit-records. I particularly dig this insert’s layout and how a simple arrow (repeated, obviously) can direct the eye to what the designer wants to showcase, and the order in which they want it presented. It’s almost a roadmap that effectively leads to the consumer’s ultimate destination… A New World of Sound… On Decca.