First up is A Musical Portrait of Hawaii by Hal Aloma ("King of the Steel Guitar" according to the folks at Columbia Records circa 1950) and his Hawaiians. Nothing too authentic here, but this sort of Smeck-style guitar work never fails to delight. The chorus of rhythmic grunts on the track "Tahiti" keeps us coming back, as does the especially jazzy rendition of the old haole chestnut "My Little Grass Shack":
Hal Aloma and his Hawaiians - Tahiti
Hal Aloma and his Hawaiians - My Little Grass Shack
Tops Records (A Division of Precision Radiation Instruments, Inc!) provides us with an artifact from the 50s Mambo Craze (another piece of evidence thaqt the 50s were the true psychedelic era); dig that radioactive pink number on the corn-fed blond on the cover! Roll over Hoagy- here's a version of Stardust unlike any other:
Cha-Cha-Cha and Mambo - Stardust Mambo
Dream Along with the U.S. Navy Steel Drum Band (featuring The Pandemoniacs, led by the heroic Admiral Dan) brings a fresh repertoire along with a touch of military precision to the steel drum ouvre. Imagine the Bridge On the River Kwai set in Trinidad, or John Philip Sousa dressed in shorts and sandals....
The U.S. Navy Steel Drum Band - Col. Bogey Merengue
The U.S. Navy Steel Drum Band - Stars and Stripes Forever
Blinder than Blake!
Not that Blind Blake- an entirely different Blind Blake, playing amazing banjo in the lounge of the Royal Victorian Hotel in Nassau accompanied by his own calypso orchestra. Another example of exotic 1950s brilliance:
Blind Blake - The John B. Sail
Blind Blake - Hold 'im Joe/Wheel and Turn Me/Jump in the Line
Just because you're away from home is no reason to take liberties with your Health and Safety! Don't do Tricks you think you know 'cos you saw them at the show!!!
Frank Luther -
When You Ride a Bicycle/Milk Makes Muscles/I Like Bread