Record Reviews

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, January 17, 1997

Soul’d Out
rises out of two bands

Even Now By Soul’d Out (BKS Productions), CD-single

SOUL'D Out came together last spring out of the wreckage of one band and the raiding of another. Four members of Honolulu quit suddenly, then invited two members of Aura to join them in replacing Honolulu as headliners at the Esprit Lounge.

It was tough luck for Aura; the band had just completed an impressive engagement at the Outrigger Main Showroom and proved itself the most promising new local showband since the Krush played there in the early '80s. However, with this CD-single Soul'd Out serves notice that the sextet has potential as a local recording act.

Neither Aura nor Honolulu ever did much as recording acts. The producer of Aura's self-titled album in the late '70s failed to capture the band's power and intensity; Honolulu's 1993 cassette-single didn't amount to much either.

This three-song Soul'd Out sampler is much more promising and certainly worthy of play by local pop music stations such as I-94, KQMQ and the KCCN/KINE network.

Joi Briones is the key element. She's the featured vocalist on the title track, a poignant requiem for a lost love. She stands out as well on an uptempo number, "Words," one of two songs co-written with her husband, band member Vincent Mendoza. (Recycling "Even Now" as a minus-one instrumental for karaoke adds a fourth song to the package.)

With creative management and a resourceful producer Soul'd Out could accomplish something if this musical calling card leads to a full-length album.

In the Quiet Rain By Herb Ohta "Ohta-San" with Andre Popp (M&H Hawaii)

HERB Ohta made beautiful music in Paris with the orchestra of French conductor/arranger Andre Popp, although Ohta's ukulele on "In the Quiet Rain" is sometimes swamped by Popp's expansive arrangements and sometimes submerged completely.

The title song and "July," off "In the Quiet Rain," are two of three songs written by Ohta; "Concierto De Aranjuez" is the other selection on the album not written by Popp. Ohta fans will find in these the best synthesis of Ohta's ukulele and Popp's orchestra.

Information about Popp, and the way he and Ohta got together should have been included in the liner notes.

The King of Slack Key: The Best of Gabby Pahinui Vol. 1 By Gabby Pahinui (Hula)

LONGTIME Gabby Pahinui fans may pass on "The King of Slack Key." The songs here came out on CD several years ago when the original 1981 vinyl album was rereleased as "Ka Makana A Pahinui: The Best of Gabby Pahinui."

This edition offers expanded liner notes, upgraded art, and a 12-minute conversation between Pahinui and Dave Guard, which dates from 1961, when the Hawaii-born Guard was topping the national pop charts as a founding member of the Kingston Trio.

It was originally released on another vinyl album but has been out-of-print until now.

Song lyrics and translations are all that's missing.

John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

See Record Reviews for some of John Berger's past reviews.

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