RECORD CRACK: One of my favorite childhood record stores

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Doing some looking around with Google maps, I can’t believe I found this building. Is it still up? My Omama (grandma) lived in Wahiawa (on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu) for years, and near the house she used to live in was a small plaza where there was a supermarket. There were also a number of food places. However, there was one store I fell in love with at the age of 6 or 7, and it was not a toy store. The shack that you see here used to be the only record store in Wahiawa, what served as the music spot for Wahiawa’s military community. In other words, this was “the black record store”. Now, my parents loved soul, funk, and jazz, and would get them at record stores “in town”, which meant within Honolulu. Going to Wahiawa meant “driving out to the country’, which meant driving 20 to 25 minutes “out of town”, on an island where “out of town” meant “wooo, far, yeah?” Anyway, as I look at Google maps, they definitely developed the area and section of Wahiawa where my Omama lived. It was a literal old multi-plex house, and it was in the middle of a field surrounded by heaps of red dirt. But we thought nothing of it, at least I didn’t as a 6 year old, we just knew Omama lived out in Wahiawa and that was that, no big deal. If she wanted to get something at the market or store, we would walk up the street and head to that plaza where Foodland was (and still remains). In truth, we had taken one of the backroads, as it was easier and faster than to walk on the main street, which was California Avenue. One day, we decided to make a left down California Avenue and there was a record store. I had never seen it before, didn’t know existed, but we went in. If there was a 6-year old equivalent of a shit eating grin, I had it. Again, I was a young fan and admirer of soul, funk, and jazz, which came from my parents and two of my aunties (my mom’s sisters). On top of that, it was my Omama, my Austrian Omama mind you, who introduced me to two comedy albums that I fell in love with immediately because she allowed me to hear these records with dirty words. They were Redd Foxx’s Dirty Redd and Richard Pryor’s Bicentennial N****r. I knew of Foxx from SANFORD & SON, but he was talking nasty. I had seen Pryor in a few movies on HBO, but those movies were tame compared to what he talked about on record. My Omama only had a small stash of records. I clearly remember her having two or three red label ffrr/London Records that were classical, and I know one was a Christmas record because it was the same record The Beatles used at the end of their 1969 Christmas flexi, the one with “The First Noel”. Back to the store. I enter this store, and it was filled with records by people I had no idea who it was. Rows of jazz, rows of funk, rows of soul, and a meaty section for comedy. On top of that, the music inside was loud, and while I don’t remember what stereo it was, I just thought “yeah, this is the life I want when I grow up”. Plus, the store also sold a lot of extras that I had never seen at any of the record stores in town, along with music I had never seen anywhere else. I think I was so in shock with the kind of records they had in there, I didn’t bother to see who worked there. If I could blink and turn 10 years older at that point, I would have been an employee. It was a bit like a kid going into the Willy Wonka store and seeing every kind of chocolate bar you could want, but in this case these treats were at 33 or 45rpm. Department stores may have had the goods, but this was like going into a back room where all the good thing you’re not supposed to have? You could get it. I only went into this store twice, and on my second and last visit, I was able to beg my mom to buy me the second album by Brass Construction, which I believe my Omama had from one of her friends/neighbors. At 6, I already wanted my own copy, so I could go home and listen to “Ha Cha Cha” and “Sambo”. I did, and I still remember opening the cover, taking out the inner sleeve, seeing the band in the recording studio and thinking “that’s the life I want”.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Haleiwa Super Market Coconut Peanut Butter

Aloha, and welcome to a brand new section I am incorporating within ThisIsBooksMusic.com called Book’s Foodie. Yes, the website is called ThisIsBooksMusic, but I wanted to try something different from my (perhaps expected) norm. I love food, and i want to be able to share some of my likes and interests within this section. Book’s Foodie originated from a food blog I did of the same name via Blogger/Blogspot. It featured a few reviews of places I had tried out, specific food I purchased, along with my first and only visit to the Portland Baconfest. I had fun doing it and wanted to get back into it again, but due to my emphasis of this site, I spaced off on it. I wanted to start doing again for a few reasons, so here it is.

  • One primary reason of doing Book’s Foodie again is because of the hip-hop cookbook project I’m doing. As I move closer to finishing the book, I want people to know about it while also checking out a few food and food-related things that I like, so they’ll know that my interests in the culinary aren’t just a one time thing. Will this work out within music videos, concert dates, and album news? I feel it will. Musicians have to eat too, and as with music, they have a lot of food stories to tell and share. I want to bring that here too. As with my music coverage, there will be a bit of an “anything goes” attitude, which means “whatever I feel like bringing to the table”, the metaphorical kitchen table. If I see a cool recipe, I’ll post it. If a cool documentary will air, I’ll let everyone know.
  • There was a time when I wanted to take a serious journey into the culinary arts. We had a career education field trip in elementary school, and one of those trips had to do with going to Kapi’olani Community College. We attended the chef’s class, and my sole interest before the trip was to see someone make a dish. Nothing more, nothing less. I knew each of us would be able to have a slice of pie, to try the works from those who studied the class. I entered, and we all all of the oven, stoves, and utensils. No big deal, right? After the brief tour, we all sat down and were treated to a pie. It was a banana cream pie. I tried it, and it tasted quite good. My parents would always bring home their share of pastries during a weekend trip to Liliha Bakery, but this type of pie, as simple as it was, seemed to be out of our league. We had custard pies and the usual arrangements of doughnuts, but banana cream pie? “WHAT WAS THIS?” I thought. I had a Winter Of The Witch moment, and not for its taste, although I did like it. I’m sure at some point, my mom told me “John Boy, if you don’t learn how to cook one day, you’re not going to be able to eat. Even when you get married, you can’t just live off of canned souped and boxed food.” There was a time in my life when I thought “yeah I can” but as you learn more about quality and real food, you realize that perhaps that would not have been a good idea. My Winter Of The Witch moment had to do with the epiphany that I may be able to have a career as someone who cooks, and makes money from it. For a short time, I was very serious about making it a job to aspire to, but my love of music got in the way and my food dreams were put to rest.
  • The goal is to simply share my interests, which will range on everything from taco trucks to chocolates, hot sauces, to TV shows and documentaries. As my book comes close to completion and I begin to promote it through radio, TV, and internet promotion, another goal is to be able to do a book tour and along the way try new restaurants and food carts/food trucks, discover new products, and meet with the people. Many of you over the years who have read my music reviews and articles have said “if you ever come to my city, I’d be more than welcome to show you the cool record spots and a place or two to eat.” I welcome the invitations. I would eventually like to incorporate more video as I begin my music and culinary travels, so again, anything can happen and if there are opportunities thrown my way, I’d like to try them out.

    Websites, blogs and podcasts of interests, new products? I want to know about it, so send me informationn and feedback to BooksMusica [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • With that said, let me begin my grand re-opening of Book’s Foodie by starting my first entry here at ThisIsBooksMusic.com.

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  • I enjoy going through my timelines on Twitter and Facebook, looking not only for cool music and artists to check out, but also to see what the foodie world is discussing. Am I a foodie? I love food but would not call myself a “foodie elitist”, which at times seems to define a “foodie”, someone who is absolute. Then again, there are foodies who are willing to try anything and everything for the sake of trying something that may or may not be out of their comfort zone. As for someone who loves food but is willing to go out of my zone every once in awhile, then yes, I am a foo… see, I don’t like using it loosely. My preferences used to be very basic and bland, very “white bread”, or what people in Hawai’i at times call “very haole”. There was a time when, if I had fried chicken, chicken cutlet/chicken katsu or tonkatsu (pork cutlet), and I’d want to try some Tabasco on it, one drop would floor me. One drop, on the entire dish. Eventually I tested my own limits and now I love hot sauces and sauces.

    Upon going through my timelines, I saw a photo from Catherine Toth, a columnist who had been known for The Daily Dish but now maintains her blog with food interests and more at The Cat Dish. I found out about Toth because she lives in Hawai’i, and I like to keep in touch with things from back home. One search lead to another, I liked her reviews and photos, and decided to follow. Toth had posted something I had never heard of, and it shocked me that I had not heard of this before. I haven’t been back home to Honolulu in twelve years, so I try to follow things from home as much as I can, but no one told me about this and it somehow passed me by. The item that I saw was peanut butter. Not just any peanut butter, but Haleiwa Super Market Coconut Peanut Butter. I love peanut butter, love the coconut, so the idea of these two things being together was too much for me to ignore. I did a search and found the market had a website so I decided to check it out.

  • The Haleiwa Super Market was founded in 1907 by Kasaku Sakai, and this was significant back then for Haleiwa was “very far” from downtown Honolulu, in fact it’s on the other side of the island. Haleiwa was a plantation area, and if residents wanted certain items, they had to travel by train to Honolulu, only to travel back on the same day. Back then, getting items from a grocery store meant spending hours to do so, although since it was a plantation area, much of what you wanted was grown and sold there. The market was a sign of modernization, and as Haleiwa’s population grew, so did the store’s importance. As Haleiwa is now known as one of the primary hot spots for surfers, you can find a wide range of stores, souvenir shops, along with McDonald’s and Starbucks. It is known for being the home of the almighty Matsumoto corner store, which are known for their incredible shave ice. Families for generations would often drive around the island of Oahu at least once a month, and since the town has one and only one main road, you eventually have to drive past Haleiwa Super Market.

    I grew up probably going to the market once or twice, not really needing anything because my family was one who would get everything needed for the trip “in town” and avoid paying high prices for something. Of course I don’t remember buying much in the market, so high prices were not an issue. When I saw Roth’s photo of the market’s coconut peanut butter, I had to find out more. The market’s website had a shop where one would be able to buy T-shirts and bags, but I had hoped to find a way to buy the coconut peanut butter. Fortunately they did have a shop with a section devoted to food, which also sold honey and coffee grown in Haleiwa. In that section was the coconut peanut butter.

    I saw the price for a 10 ounce jar, and decided to shop around a bit. I saw a website called North Shore Goodies, which sold the coconut peanut butter for three dollars less, but the postage for shipping to the mainland U.S. was twice as much as the peanut butter itself. The bottle/packaging looked the same, save for the design of the label itself, but I went for Haleiwa Super Market since that’s what I spotted, and shipping was a little over $2 for First Class shipping. (NOTE: Unlike Haleiwa Super Market, the North Short Goodies website also offers a chocolate coconut peanut butter.)

  • I received it a week after I ordered it. I opened the box and while I knew it was a 10 ounce car, I said “this is awfully small for something I paid ten dollars for.” It was a bit smaller than a 12 ounce can of soda:
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    It was similar to going into a Whole Foods, wanting to find something local/regional to the area and asking yourself if paying a higher price is a worthy expense. While I am 3000 miles away from the place I still call home, I am a resident of Pacific Northwest. However, I still like to support things from back home. Paying premium was an option I had to deal with but I purchased it anyway, hoping it will be good.

    The ingredients on the label were very simple: peanuts, coconut. It has nutritional facts (30g of carbs for 1 tbsp) and an address for the market. No information on how this was manufactured or where it was made, or how they obtained the peanuts and coconut. While Hawai’i is not known nationally for its peanut crops, plantation workers would dedicate sections of their crops to peanuts not only for the companies they worked for, but for themselves, where one was able to take a batch home and consume boiled peanuts. Peanut crops were in a number of towns throughout Oahu, including Ewa Beach (where I grew up for awhile), but are now limited to areas of Mililani. My box was shipped with a Mililani address, so my guess is that these peanuts were sourced from a farm there.

    All I wanted to do was try it, so a spoon was obtained and I dipped. Verdict? I wasn’t sure what the mixture would be like, but it works. The peanut butter doesn’t take like store-bought brands, and the coconut was there but not dominant, as in “not too sweet”. I haven’t tried it as a sandwich, and while I tend to like my PB with the J, I can easily have a simple “peanut butter toast” and not add any jelly, jam, or preserves. I told my mom about this, and see said it might be a cool idea to add shredded coconut to it if one has it as a sandwich. I had suggested it would work if used for pancakes or crepes. Before I received it, I also thought it might taste good to create a coconut peanut butter cookie. I’ll have to try this.

  • Someone whom I follow on Twitter had read my tweet about seeing Toth’s picture, and she said she had bought a jar, liked it, and almost had difficulty bringing it back to the mainland (I guess the TSA had to inspect it first to insure it was safe). If you do travel to Honolulu any time soon, you don’t have to drive out to Haleiwa Super Market, as they have their items available at Hamilton Boutique in Waikiki at the Polynesian Plaza (2131 Kalakaua Ave # 3). Everyone else will have to purchase it by mail order, and they do use PayPal.

    My only con is the $10.80 price tag for a 10 ounce car, especially when you compare to how much Skippy or Jif you can buy for the same amount at your local supermarket. If this is being made from small crops at a local/regional farm, then it’s an issue of manufacturing, supply, and demand. The manufactures can probably only produce so much, so their efforts have to be justified in the price. If there is a greater demand, then perhaps they can make more and be able to lower the price. For now, you have to weigh your options. It’s quite tasty, but may be a bit pricey for some.

    I do look forward to trying it for breakfast or lunch as a sandwich.


    (UPDATE: The jar of coconut peanut butter features the slogan “Proudly produced in partnership with North Shore Goodies, Waialua, Hawai’i”, so it seems that the Haleiwa and North Shore Goodies brands are one and the same, which makes sense since the photo of the North Shore Goodies version looks exactly the same.
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    On the North Shore Goodies site, there’s a statement which says they’re teaming up with Haleiwa Supermarket, although it doesn’t say in what capacity. North Shore Goodies also sells various syrups, butters, jams, mustards, dressings and pancakes mixes exclusive to them. However, their site also says “Always buy the original coconut peanut butter, not the substitute!”, but because they’re trying to sell their own product, it doesn’t say who makes the alleged/perceived “substitute”. Is there another company making “coconut peanut butter”? If anyone knows, feel free to e-mail me at BooksMusica [at] gmail [dot] com.

    UPDATE #2: I also located a coconut peanut butter made in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i, made by Kona Gold Delights, whose website has been under construction for six months. I spotted it on the Yummy Chunklet blog.)

  • FROM THE BOX: Summer Jam 82 flyer

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    As an overeager music fan who was happy to finally be in the double digits in terms of age, there were big concert events that I had wanted to see. I had become aware of Woodstock when it was shown on HBO during the film’s 10th anniversary in 1979, so I knew that concerts with more than one or two bands were considered an “event”. My parents and relatives always had live albums in their collections, so anytime an event was about to happen, I wanted to go. Keep in mind I was 9, 10, and 11 years old, and while my parents were music fans, they weren’t going to let me go alone and due to financial priorities, they weren’t going to buy tickets for themselves and my younger sister. My uncles and aunties had lives too, and really, it wasn’t their “responsibility” to take their nephew to a rock show.

    Summer Jam 82 seemed like a very big event for a few reasons. When I was in my single digits, I would listen to hit music on AM radio, back when AM radio did that on a regular basis. Stations like KKUA, KIKI, KCCN, and to some degree K59 in Honolulu were a major source of my audio entertainment, along with records. I don’t remember the first time I abandoned AM for FM radio, but I know that once I heard the sound quality of FM, there was no turning back. Plus, I could hear songs longer than 5 minutes, played by DJ’s who sounded as stoned as some of my uncles and aunties. As a kid who wanted to be a radio DJ, this was like home away from home.

  • In 1982, MTV was a brand new cable network and Joan Jett was one of the hot, young artists with “I Love Rock’N’Roll” and “Bad Reputation” getting a significant amount of airtime. The Runaways were new to me and probably to most mainstream music fans in Hawai’i, but I would guess they were played on the University of Hawai’i radio station, KTUH. Nonetheless, Summer Jam 82 was the time to see the hot Joan Jett.
  • The Charlie Daniels Band had been making music for about ten years before they had a massive pop hit with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, and while a long like that seems fairly normal today, to rock audiences this was very different. It was country, it rocked hard, and the Satanic fiddle solo was the funky part of the song. As someone who used to hate anything and everything that was country, hearing funky country was odd, almost as if I was hearing Loggins & Messina. Because of this, I would keep a distant eye and ear on Daniels until I was able to buy records on my own, with my own money, and discovered their truth.
  • When Foreigner headlined this festival, it had been a year since their 4th album, 4 was released, and songs like “Juke Box Hero”, “Urgent”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, and “Break It Up” were played religiously. (At my elementary school, we would have occasional dances in the cafeteria, and in the 6th grade, I clearly remember dancing to “Urgent” in a line not unlike Soul Train. I liked a girl back then named Mary Jean Smith and I wanted to dance with her down the line, but it was not happening.) By the time Foreigner arrived, they were the season’s kings of rock’n’roll, and very few albums could beat its power. It would be three months before Michael Jackson released Thriller, which wiped Foreigner off the radio for awhile.

    Also at the show were a group called the Surf Punks, who were considered raw and dirty because of their look and the fact that they were punk. It was Honolulu, a good amount of people went to the beach, surfed, and partied on a regular basis, this was the music of the times. It didn’t matter that one of the guys in the band was the brother of Daryl Dragon, the Captain of Captain & Tennille, and I don’t think too many people knew or made that connection anyway. Oddly enough, one thing I remember always hearing on the radio was about people entering to become in the “Air Band Finals” sponsored by 98 Rock. If you loved music and loved to rock, you’d air guitar, that’s what young kids, men and women did. Along with the groups arriving, you could be a star for a few minutes and win a few dollars. With luck, you might be able to make an apperance on a TV show that aired in Honolulu back then called The Hawaiian Moving Company, but I don’t remember if the winners did.


    Unfortunately I did not go to this show. Look at the ticket price: $16 in advance, $17.50 day of show. I was a month away from making my debut as a 7th grade intermediate school student, and my parent’s priorities was school clothes, not a damn concert ticket. I do remember listening to 98 Rock that Sunday, for while the show was not broadcast over the air, they would have scene reports throughout the afternoon so listeners could hear… the crowd. Sometimes an artist might come in to the booth and be interviewed, but I honestly don’t remember if that happened. Nonetheless, it meant rock stars were in Hawai’i at Aloha Stadium, and it felt cool to know that rock stars were in my backyard.

    I never went to any of the Summer Jam’s, and I only went to one concert at the Aloha Stadium: The Police in February 1984. Still, to be able to carry this flyer around and think “yes, one day I’ll go to a big concert” was anticipation of the highest order. I’d have to move across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest in order to go to bigger concerts on my own, and eventually with my own money, but this flyer represents a bit of my concert Jones.

    http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B001CDG6MKhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B00138KHROhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B00167G4BUhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B00138D3JI

  • VIDEO: Creed Chameleon’s “Morning Blessing”

    I haven’t heard his new album yet, but Hawai’is own Creed Chameleon is back with a new one and a video has been created for the song “Morning Blessing”. Watching this video shows the power of hip-hop and how it has transferred over to the middle of the Pacific to brew up acknowledgment of its roots with its own special blends and ingredaments, Auntie Marialani style. For me, watching this video only gets me homesick for the people and the land I will forever call my own. As my man Juando Reyes would say, I LIKE CRAI NOW. Hui Creed, we go eat.

    (SIDENOTE: Spock the Maili Lunch Wagon. Much respect.)

    http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10251822&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

    Morning Blessing from DJ JIMMY TACO on Vimeo.

    FREE MP3 ALBUM DOWNLOAD: The Ohana Mixtape Volume 3

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    Prompted to me by Asiaticmajic, here is a mixtape from my homeland, the 808 state, Hi State, a/k/a Hawai’i.

    This is only a hint of some of the hip-hop coming out of Hawai’i, but if you’ve ever been curious about the boom bap in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, feel free to start here. By seeing the Volume 3 in the title, it means there are other titles, all available as free downloads so click here and look on the right side for links. Check ’em, go check’ em, go stay go.

    SOME STUFFS: Blue Scholars know the true definition of “OOF!”

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    I have to say something here. In the early days when Blue Scholars used to post around on various boards, they showed how much they were doing to shed light on hip-hop from Seattle. All this time I didn’t know that Geologic had roots in Hawai’i. He sounded like he had the accent, I felt it, hell I knew it but it had taken me three years to discover this fact?

    I mention this because with their new deal with Duck Down, they’re calling their new EP OOF! and were about to go on tour in Hawai’i for it. I was thinking “oh shit, these guys are going to be laughed at for calling their EP OOF!, that’s not going to go down too well.” When you’re raised in Hawai’i, you tend to discover the profanities of the ethnicities so that if you’re within ear range of someone cursing you out, you’ll know if they’re talking stink to you or not. OOF! is a variation of the Samoan word “ufa” (ooh-fa), which is pretty much saying “fuck you” (or “ufa mea”). Now if you want to get more raw, you as a man can step up to a lady and go “wow tita, you like uf or wot?” In other words, “hello my lady, would you like to have sex or something?” Or to be more blunt, “wow, you like fuck?”

    Thus, calling your EP OOF! would have been hazarous, but now that I know Geologic has some roots in Hawai’i Nei, then I know he’s being clever for the sake of being clever and also understanding what it’s about. In fact, the OOF! EP is all about the other side of Hawai’i that isn’t promoted by the tourist industry, the Hawai’i that I know very well. People on the outside may know Honolulu and Waikiki, and of course Maui. But how about Wahiawa, Kaliki, Makiki, Pauoa, Nu’uanu, Nanakuli, Kahuku, Waianae, Waipahu, and Ewa Beach? They may look like little dots on an Oahu map, but they are smell sections of the island that is my home, little areas that are like individual neighborhoods, each with its sense of quirks, tastes, and people. This is the Hawai’i that Blue Scholars take to heart, and it will be great to hear what they were able to do with it.

    Basically, it’s a Hawai’i that some don’t want you to see or hear about, to the point where some local people are embarrassed to say it’s the Hawai’i they live in. Ten years ago, I did an album called Without Breath where I talked about my hopes, fears, and dreams of returning home to the place I still hold dear. For Geologic, along with DJ/producer Sabzi, it’s the same thing.

    This EP, along with their Duck Duck deal, will no doubt bring them to the forefront not only as Seattle artists, but as hip-hop artists ready to make a bigger impact on the marketplace. Will this also help shine the light on Hawai’i’s vast hip-hop scene? Perhaps indirectly it will also show the brotherhood of Pacific Islanders and their love of music, creativity, and community. OOF! indeed, faka, you like beef? Shoots, we go t’row blows in da Tamashiro pahking lot.

    (Until the EP is released later this month, you can download a track from it for free by clicking to BlueScholars.com.)

    http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5717003&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

    OOF! from Blue Scholars on Vimeo.

    REVIEW: Natural Vibrations’ “Ultimate Vibes” (greatest hits compilation)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic If you are familiar with reggae from the Pacific Rim, you will have no doubt heard of the name Natural Vibrations. They have been conquering Hawai’i Nei and the rest of the islands of the Pacific with their brand of reggae and Jawaiian music, and they’ve made enough music to create The Best Of Natural Vibrations: Ultimate Vibes (self-released).

    What you have on their album are 15 classic Natural Vibrations jawns, including “Balls Rolling”, “Into Me”, “Mary Jane”, “Okana Road”, “One On One”, “Green Harvest”, and “Freedom Fighter”. Fans will want to buy this for the two previously unreleased tracks, “Man Down” and “Shawty”, both of which are sure to be fan favorites.

    Having a “best of” doesn’t mean the end of the group, but it will provide a chance for new fans to catch up (their discography is eleven albums strong) and old fans to impatiently await new music. Just inhale big kine and hol’ ’em.

    REVIEW: RJ Kaneao’s “Toru”

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Island style reggae lef a bingbung o salang!

    RJ Kaneao is a reggae artist who talks about “the roots of my soul” through a very passionate album called Toru (Motu), and he shows he could become the next Ziggy Marley if he puts his 10,000 hours into it.

    With tracks like “Warrior”, “Answer My Plea”, “Why Do You”, and Back In My Arms” he celebrates Hawaiian pride along with love and romance. In other words, he is not afraid to share his strength as a man and as a lover, so the ladies will dig this immediately. As a vocalist/guitarist you get to hear him go at it in songs that are well played, written, and arranged. The album is split between fantastic roots reggae and heavily formulaic Jawaiian songs, but he has to pay the bills, right? In the songs that are Jawaiian, he provides the same island stylee that Sean Na’auao has done over the years, and it feels good. Yeah, perhaps puppy love died 30 years ago but not in Hawai’i, where manners are still an issue and even though it may be asking for something more enticing, it’s still nice to hear.

    He definitely has the makings to become a star outside of Hawai’i and the Pacific Rim, although more at rock/jam band festivals than in the traditional reggae market. Then again, someone prove me wrong. While he doesn’t show it too much here, he could easily do pop and soul, and perhaps he’ll experiment with that in the future. As is, if this guy isn’t getting airplay throughout the islands, SHAME ON YOU!!!

    SOME STUFFS: KTUH 40th Anniversary documentary in the works

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    When I was a kid, my ambition was to be a radio DJ. People like Wiki Moku, Krash Kealoha, Honolulu Skylark and Kamasami Kong were the people looked forward to listening to. I was a child who loved music and loved to play records, and to be able to share that love of music and records to an island-wide audience? That’s all I ever wanted.
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    I was in an enrichment class called E’onipa’a (loosely translates as “one step forward”) and my teacher, Ms. Marilyn Kobata, actually brought me and a classmate to a radio instruction class around where Bob’s Big Boy was, near Moanalua Gardens. It seemed like a huge room with turntables, cassette decks, and a reel-to-reel music. I knew then that that is how I wanted to serve the community.

    When I lived in Hawai’i, I wanted to be a DJ on KKUA and KIKI, and maybe even KCCN. When I discovered the greatness of FM radio, then I had to be on 93FMQ or the almighty 98Rock. Then I found KTUH. At the time they were the only station that played music I had never heard of, including loads of new wave that MTV were playing but the mainstream stations weren’t. It was “college rock”, and why play Siouxsie & The Banshees when you can have it big with “99 Luftballoons”? KTUH’s transmission could not be heard everywhere, so when my parents drove to Manoa (where the University of Hawai’i is located) or in parts of Kaimuki, if it wasn’t too windy, I could catch glimpses of this station.

    Unfortunately I moved from Honolulu in 1984 after my dad passed away, but I was able to fulfill my radio dreams when I became a DJ, and later music director of KTCV 88.1 FM in the Tri-Cities in Washington State. This was part of the Radio/Television Production class in Kennewick, Washington, and I became a DJ for a station that only played hard rock and heavy metal. However, I was one of the few to have a specialty show called The Classic Cafe, where I played classic and trippy rock from the late 60’s and early 70’s. I also hosted a show called Digital Destruction, where I played full CD’s uninterrupted.

    But when I came back to Hawai’i to fill up on the reserves (a/k/a vacation), I would always go to my favorite stations and eventually turn on KTUH. Sometimes it would be some cool world music, other times it might have been a gay pride megamix or a few Hawaiian obscurities but you could guarantee on not hearing “the same old”. Over the years the station would become “Hawai’i’s only alternative”, especially as radio stations became increasingly generic. For a brief moment in the 1990’s, there was an incredible station called Radio Free Hawai’i, and it played anything and everything, at any time. No need for a specialty show, if you wanted to hear Metallica right next to Jay Larrin mixed with Grateful Dead followed by Charles Mingus, it was there. For me, this is what I always wanted to bring to the radio, a “chop suey” blend of anything and everything. If it sounded good, put it in the mix. It was very much in the spirit of KTUH, but you could hear it outside of Manoa and Kaimuki, so that station was on all the time. The station would go under by the end of the 1990’s, but it was an incredible experience to hear. My own Book’s Music podcast is very much in honor of the “anything goes” concept that Radio Free Hawai’i had.

    A former friend of mine was able to make a dream come true for me in October of 2000, when she brought me on as a special guest on her radio show on KTUH. I normally am not nervous when I do radio shows, but this was a “home show”. Even though most (if not all) of the people listening that night had no idea who I was, it was still me saying “I’m home, now I can play some music for you”, and for almost three hours (I had a hard time finding the station), I did. I entered a room that was a part of Hawaiian radio history, and it was an incredible honor to do that, since it was a childhood dream fulfilled. Had I gone to the University of Hawai’i, I would have become a part of the KTUH ohana.

    Now, everyone in Hawai’i and around the world will be able to see a documentary that highlights the lows but many high’s in KTUH’s 40 year history with a documentary being put together by Trav15, host of the KTUH show Re-Percussions and the station’s gurrent general manager. No word on when it will be complete or if it will be released in some form, but as soon as I know, I’ll let you know.

    Mahalo nui to Lauren @ Asita Recordings for the tip.

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    SOME STUFFS: Ellay Khule performs in Honolulu this Thursday night

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    If you are in Honolulu this week, or about to head there, you’ll want to go to this concert at The Loft (115 N. Hotel St. #2). It brings together Ellay Khule along with NoCanDo, Joe Dub, and DJ Jus Jones. Anticon‘s own Jel is scheduled to appear as well, so head to the show and celebrate the last weekend of May 2009 in style.

    The show is 21 and over, $10 at the door. For more information, head to Lightsleepers.

    Unfamiliar with Ellay Khule? Hui: