Friday, February 9, 2007

Vintage Hawaiian Music: Steel Guitar Masters 1928-1934

Another recording rescued from disappearing in the cracks of the american pop-culture.
Lap steel style is playing guitar with a steel bar - somewhat like the bottleneck slide as used by bluesmen - but with guitar flat on your lap, rather than in the regular position. Hawaiian steel guitar playing was invented sometime in the late 1890s and became a raging fad in 1915, when several steel guitarists played to the crowds during the The Panama-Pacific International Exposition AKA San Francisco World Fair. Steel guitar became the sound of the islands - faraway and exotic places at the time. Hawaiian orchestras played in clubs, guitar teachers set up sold-out classes to teach the steel playing, and every guitar sold through the Sears-Roebuck mail order included a raised nut as a default accessory. The first commercial electric guitar was Rickenbacker "Frying Pan", a lap steel; the SG of the famous Gibson SG stands for "Spanish Guitar", to distinguish it from a hawaiian lap steel.
It is hard to believe that a style that once was so popular may disappear so completely and without a trace. All we are left with are the recordings from the steel's golden age, and this CD collects some of them. The high points of this collection are a track by Sol Hoopi, the biggest name in Hawaiian music and a real virtuoso player with a jazzy style, who had a long and successfull career and recorded many albums; and a track from Jim and Bob - a duo that performed on a Chicago radio show for a short while in the 30s. They made literally a handful of records, which are cherished by collectors and the musicians, and hardly anything is known about them; follow this link for more info.

Vintage Hawaiian Music: Steel Guitar Masters 1928-1934
REUP: zippyshare or
66mb, 192kbps
01. George Ku Trio - Na Pua O Hawaii
02. Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra - Hula Love Medley March
03. King Benny Nawahi - Waikiki Waltz
04. Tau Moe & The Moes - Ellis March
05. (Unknown German Orchestra) - The Road To Paradise
06. Sam Ku West Harmony Blues - Wang Wang Blues
07. Sol Hoopii Trio - Lady Be Good
08. King Benny Nawahi's Red Devils - Dinah
09. George Ku Trio - Na Ali'i
10. S. Cortez Y Sus Hawaiianos - Lirios
11. Charlie Wilson - Palolo
12. Kanui & Lula - My Little Grass Shack
13. Walter Kolomoku - Medley Of Old-Time Waltzes
14. Kalama's Quartet - Maile Lau Li'l Li'l
15. Jim & Bob, The Genial Hawaiians - Hula Blues
16. Unknown - Unknown

Also, I will most highly recommend Sol Hoopii - Master of the Hawaiian Guitar, Vols. 1 and 2 [EDIT: zippyshare or], a great compilation of Hawaiian swing by the master himself at; I have it on CD, too.


  1. Thanks men.
    Excelent post!
    If I could rate you, I would give you a 10!

  2. Great stuff. Love the Hawaiian steel guitar.

    I notice that the "unknown" 16th track doesn't seem to be included in any tracklists around the net. Is this track meant to be included and if so, is there any idea of who it is?

    Keep up the great work - the blog is epic.

  3. I think the last one is not meant as a hidden special track, but is literally unknown - someone came across an unmarked record that was good enough to include. I will try to dig up the original album and see if it has anything in liner notes.

  4. thanks so much for all the albums! so happy i found this
    is there any possibility you can reup thisone?