Tue, 28 October 2014
As you likely already know, at Ho`olohe Hou an “OOPs” is not a mistake. In fact, it is just the opposite (because we speak our own language here). An “OOPs” is a very important recording of high quality that may be culturally or historically important but which is inexplicably no longer commercially available. “OOPs” is our short-hand for “Out of Prints” – those recordings that cannot be obtained in any modern format. They are the musical equivalent of the tree in the old “tree falling in the woods” analogy: There are plenty of us in the great big forest of Hawaiian music forest waiting to hear, but there is no sound forthcoming.
Such is the case with the first (of what are regrettably many) Genoa Keawe “OOPs.” In 1974, Genoa Keawe went into the studio with her then current working group – Val Kepilino on bass, John Lino on piano, Herbert Hanawahine on steel guitar, and the voices and `ukulele of Pua Rogers and Peter Ahia – to produce a record some consider a classic. All Time Hula Favorites featured more of what Aunty Genoa specialized in – as the title implies (as did many of her titles previously), music for the hula. What is conspicuous about this LP, however, is that while Aunty Genoa had years earlier started her own record company, GK Records, she and her group recorded this album for rival Poki Records. Perhaps GK Records was dormant through this period. Or perhaps Aunty Genoa was so busy with performing and touring that she could not wear the many hats that GK Records required of her. But whatever the reason, All Time Hula Favorites appeared on Poki for a brief shining moment on vinyl LP and has not appeared since. (Forget about CDs and MP3s for the moment. I do not even recall this album ever being released on an 8-track or cassette tape!)
Whenever we discuss “OOPs” here, I carefully elucidate the criteria I have used when affixing the moniker. And there are four very good reasons (even though I only ever need one good reason) why All Time Hula Favorites qualifies:
The record is considered so essential by some collectors that as of this writing there is currently a copy on eBay listed for $95.
Ho`olohe Hou lovea a good mystery. So until we discover why Aunty Genoa temporarily abandoned her own label (she did not record for GK Records for another five years in 1979) for a competitor, enjoy two of my favorite selections from this forgotten out-of-print classic: “Panini Puakea” (composed by Genoa Keawe’s mentor of years earlier, Uncle Johnny Almeida) and “Paliakamoa” (from the pen of falsetto singer and hula master Bill Ali`iloa Lincoln).
Next time: Aunty Genoa – already more than 30 years into her music career – finally resolves to wax a live recording, but the occasion for which it was intended was a bittersweet one…