As far away as yesterday…In putting together the CD, I realized that songs so often are associated with memories. It is the time and place of the song – where I heard it – who I think of when I hear it – that imprints in my mind and becomes a link to a place I hold so dear to my heart.
On my mind of late is Hawaii. So many of my deepest and happiest moments have taken place here. From my first trip in 1950, when I sailed over on the Lurline with a group of friends, only to be surprised by my mother and little sister, who had flown over to meet me. Nonny, my grandmother, had given me the trip as a graduation present. It was such fun! I remember doing the Charleston on the Lurline in a strapless dress – Joanne was afraid my top was going to come down (it didn’t) and ever since then, she has said “I was ready to leap up and save you!” Which makes me think that the first time I ever got up on a wave in Waikiki my bathing suit top did fall down. I hesitated for a split second, but thought to hell with it, and rode the wave in anyway.
So many images come to mind when I think of Honolulu. I think of the small beach to the right of the Halekelani where even now, I can remember – as if yesterday – the moon reflecting on the black water in the dark. It was so spiritual. I remember going out on the water one day with Turkey Love – a then famous beach boy – and singing him a song my mother always sang. Na Alii. I sang the whole song in Hawaiian. He was astonished! His sister was Wynona Love, who was a famous hula dancer, like my Uncle Boy’s wife Aggie Auld, who is still known all over the islands. You can go to any of the Waikiki hotel bars and hear the orchestra play “Lovely Hula Hands”, which was written specifically for her. The story I’ve been told is that Uncle Boy (Norman Hendershot) wrote “Lovely Hula Hands”, but never received the credit. I can confirm, however, that Uncle Boy and Aggie did write “Hula lolo”, another Hawaiian classic.
Here it is, sung by Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs.
I remember dancing to Harry Owens’ orchestra at the Royal Hawaiian. Often, they would close the evening with “To You Sweetheart Aloha”, which the singer – whose name escapes me now, would often sing to me when I was in the audience. This song was later recorded by Ray Kinney, who was playing at the Hilton during the 70’s I think and I talked with him re George Kaainapau who said that GREAT Hawaiian entertainer was driving a taxi in Chicago. Can you imagine?
Here is Ray’s version of “To You Sweetheart Aloha”.
More to follow…