"The 50 Greatest Songs of Hawaii"Various artists
(The Mountain Apple Company)
"Best of..." lists can be a cash cow for publications. Assemble "experts," have them pick their favorite whatevers, then stand back as newsstand sales spike.
Honolulu magazine has milked that cow a couple times. This anthology contains 11 songs designated as some of the "greatest songs" of Hawaii, although the liner notes don't say where on the list they rank. The other unanswered question is whether these recordings are the best versions, or merely the ones that the label had at hand.
No one has ever done "Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u" and "Nightbird" better than Olomana and Kalapana respectively, but is Don Baduria's instrumental version of "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawaii" the best choice to represent a hapa haole classic known for its colorful lyrics? No, it is not!
The Brothers Cazimero, open the album with "Pua Lilia" and close it with "Aloha 'Oe." Puamana, Palani Vaughan and Emma Veary are among the other artists whose recordings represent the " experts'" picks.
Required: To listen to MP3 audio clips, a music player must be installed on your computer. We recommend using either Apple iTunes (Mac), Yahoo! MusicMatch Jukebox (PC), or RealNetworks RealPlayer (PC/Mac), available for free from their respective web sites.
John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today section on Fridays for the latest reviews. Reach John Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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