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Found Sounds 14: Old Hawaiian recordings

April 28, 2013 - Harry Eagar
RtO didn't find these. Gillian Atkinson at the excellent Document firm in Scotland did. Document has issued a CD of apparently forgotten Edison recordings. Sound samples embedded within the press release, follow link.

" 'Hawaiian Rainbow’ is the latest CD in the Document ASA (American Sound Archives) series featuring previously unissued recordings produced by the Edison Company between the years of 1914-1929. Hawaiian music had been recorded as early as the 1890s but was not especially popular or influential until 1912 when Richard Walton Tully’s Play Bird of Paradise hit the Broadway stage sparking an explosion of interest. Next came the appearance of Keoki Awai's Royal Hawaiian Quartette at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. In late 1915 Victor began issuing Hawaiian discs on a monthly basis. By 1916 all companies, not least Edison, recorded Hawaiian or pseudo-Hawaiian numbers. An article titled "Hawaiian Music Universally Popular," included in the September 1916 issue of Edison Phonograph Monthly, asks, 'Two years ago what did the public know about Hawaiian Music, Ukuleles, Hula Hula Dances? Since then Hawaiian music and American versions of it have taken the United States by storm . . . ' ”

Like most music recorded that early, it seems to have a very quick tempo. Perhaps the musicians were conscious of squeezing all the notes on a short cylinder or disc.

"After Every Party" by the Hilo Serenaders has a vocal by Vernon Dalhart.

Document also is offering a book about Hawaiian guitars that is modestly described as "arguable the most remarkable guitar book ever published."

" 'Palm Trees, Senoritas....And Rocket Ships!' by Mark Makin

" "Palm Trees, Senoritas... and Rocket Ships' is arguably the most remarkable guitar book ever published, it contains the history of National, Valco and Dobro instruments and paraphernalia.

"4 images

"Every illustration of players and instruments was drawn by hand, by the Author, taking over 50 years of research and 10 years to produce. Simply unbelievable, a must have for any guitarist's collection!!! We can’t recommend this enough. Please don’t go to Amazon as the book appears to be 'out of print,' but this is not true."

I have noted before that the Europeans have done a better job of finding and reissuing American recorded music than Americans have. Document was the first publisher I became aware of, but there are others in England and Germany, and probably still more I haven't found.

 
 

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