Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, May 23, 1997

Debut album
shows heart, versatility

My Heart Is Your Home: By Marjie Perez and Carol Dabney, Bluewater

DON'T judge this debut album by its cover. Don't be dismayed by the first song. Perez and Dabney are talented composers; their alliance here with producer/arranger/musician Alwin Erub is productive and promising. Every song is an original written or co-written by Dabney and/or Perez. Most of those originals are instantly appealing.

Few local arrangers can get more out of an assortment of local pop synthesizers than Erub does here. The most striking arrangements showcase the duo's vocal talents. "Hawaiian Time," "Hana Buttah Days" and "Bruddah Get It Straight" present them in distinctly different moods and tempos. "Hawaiian Boogie Woogie Tunes" is an outstanding example of a contemporary song written and arranged in the style of early '60s American Top 40. It's rare to find an album of originals by a new local act that offers such successful musical diversity and so many solid new songs!

Perez and Dabney's voices and Erub's arrangements make this a remarkable first album.

The Best of Johnny "Sweetbread" Anthology: By Mike Victorino, Media World/Johnny "Sweetbread" Productions

MIKE Victorino leads the Loco-Moco Band with Franny V, but he also entertains as proud "Portagee" joke teller Johnny "Sweetbread." Victorino/"Sweetbread" is a teller of local jokes rather than a mainland-style comic or impressionist. His first album was titled "Favorite Jokes That Everybody Knows." He recorded them anyway!

That same spirit is found here. Much of the charm is in the total lack of pretense; anyone looking for unadulterated local backyard humor will find it in all its natural glory right here!

The "Portagee" theme continues with an advisory on the back cover: "Although a small portion of the material deals with Adult humor. We proud to say that this recording does not contain No explicit Lyrics or 'Bad Words'."

Live -- On the Road By Makaha sons, Poki

PRODUCER Kata Maduli stitched this album together from three concert performances of a year ago. Released just in time for tomorrow's Makaha Bash '97, it includes some of the biggest acts in contemporary Hawaiian music: Loyal Garner, Cyril Pahinui, Robi Kahakalau, Dennis Pavao and the Makaha Sons -- Moon, John and Jerome.

The Sons are captured in top form. Their set spans two decades of musical history. Their concert performances of these songs take on fresh luster. "Ke Alaula" is particularly powerful.

Each guest is presented well but the most interesting of the performances is Maduli playing a slack-key bass solo not previously available on album (Only about half of Maduli's concert performance is heard here; he cut the rest to make more album time available for the other artists).

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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