Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaii - OOP LP from mid-60s

brimmer

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
580
Reaction score
122
Location
Washington, DC
Hi, I recently ran across this hard-to-find album on YT and thought it would be worth sharing. Eddie Kamae did this album in the mid-1960s, when Gabby Pahinui was on his own, and the band had more or less broken up. Eddie got Atta Isaacs to fill in on slack key guitar, and did most of the lead singing himself. It is a low key album, with uke strumming throughout and uke solos scattered here and there. If you already have and enjoy the three great Sons albums - the first 2 albums from the early ’60s, both with Gabby Pahinui, and 'Five Faces' album that reunited them with Gabby in the early 1970s - then you will like This Is Eddie Kamae. There is some very refined uke playing on this album…. reminds me why he is my favorite player. By the mid-1960s, Eddie was not playing anything but Hawaiian music, and style had gone from virtuoso (like on the 50s solo album Heart of the Ukulele) to restrained and delicate. It was reissued on CD in Japan but cannot be bought anywhere for less than $75 now. I went ahead and made an MP3 of this album using ezmp3 so I could add it to my music library. It is all one track. I am sure there is a way to break it up into individual tracks but I haven’t bothered to figure out how. Enjoy!


 
Last edited:
Na Ai 'Ono (trk 5) is very cool!
Paliakamoa (trk 10) is dreamy...
 
I have an Eddie Kamae story I would like to share. In 1977, I was a second-year teacher and about to take my first solo vacation. I lived in the Philadelphia area, and I chose Hawaii and really only knew what I had seen on TV and movies, so I went about trying to study the culture before I traveled there. In 1977 there was no internet and no computers. I got an LP of Hawaiian music from National Geographic. I expected the touristy hapa-haole songs, but instead, it was an album of Eddie Kamae and The Sons of Hawaii, with Gabby Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi. I fell in love with the music and played that album until it wore out. I don't remember how I managed to find an address for Uncle Eddie Kamae but I wrote to him to tell him how profoundly the music affected me, especially the song HAWAII ALOHA. From that album and then many trips, I became a life-long learner of Hawaiian Culture and tradition, and the land. I never expected to hear from Uncle Eddie and was shocked when one day a box arrived at my house from Eddie. It was filled with albums, music books, a Hawaiian Language dictionary and a letter from Uncle Eddie.

I later had a chance to meet him and the Sons, Dennis Kamakahi, Atta and Barney Isaacs, Eddie Cummings, Sonny Chillingsworth, and Gabby Pahinui along with his sons Cyril and Martin. All wonderful people but Eddie was so open and welcoming. I loved his baritone ukulele strumming. Uncle Eddie Kamae was my introduction to Hawaii and ukulele. I once asked Jake Shimabukuro who the most influential ukulele player was to him and he said it was Eddie Kamae.
 
That’s a great story. I just read a book about Eddie called Hawaiian Son, written by James D Houston with Eddie Kamae. In the book, it describes how seriously Eddie took on the role of teacher and mentor, like he did with you.

Hawaiian Son is a beautiful book, full of color pictures. My copy came from a Goodwill via abes books, a nice clean hardback copy, with an inscription from Eddie “with much aloha” to Nancy and Pat. I hope they enjoyed the book, I sure did…
 
brimmer, thanks for posting the album; I'd never heard it before.

eficiella, that was an amazing story about Eddie and legendary Hawaiian musicians.

In mid December 2017, our ukulele group got a request to play some songs for Eddie and his wife Myrna, so we went over to visit. There were lots of friends when we got there. Eddie was wearing a red palaka shirt and was in good spirits and they were very appreciative. They even sang a duet for us! We went the following week and after we finished playing, Myrna gave each a copy of Eddie's book, Hawaiian Son. We were blown away by their generosity! Sadly, we learned that he passed away the following week.
 
Last edited:
Slight swerve: I was trying to figure out the "Song of The Island" (Daily Ukulele, pg. 214).
(Note: skip the 1st 10 seconds. They only momentarily show the Hawaiian guitar.)



It will take some finesse as I can't deliver falsetto, but might be able to do it with the respect it deserves.
/unswerve
 
Last edited:
I don’t know if anyone has really put together an accurate and detailed discography of Eddie's recordings as a soloist, member of the Sons, and sideman. Hawaiian Son has a discography but it is rather cursory and incomplete. I ran across this on Amazon music, supposedly from 1960 - 1964, but he is playing in his 50s style, much like the Heart of the Ukulele. According to the track info, he is playing with Yukihiku Haida, who was Hawaiian born but lived in Japan and promoted the uke there. I don’t know the name of the original album. Maybe it was recorded in Hawaii.


I wonder what other recordings Eddie made, especially Son albums without Gabby, the ones with Dennis Kamikahi. The discography gets confusing because the Then and Now albums mix old and new recordings, I think.

Does any know of a complete discography? I am interested in getting any of the OOP Sons albums from the late sixties onward. This Is Eddie Kamae was first on my list of albums to find, but there are more out there, I am sure. Then there are the albums by the Maile Serenaders, he was on some of them, just playing uke. Sometime it was Peter Moon, sometimes Eddie. They seemed to be a pickup band. Those albums are easy to find.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2851.jpeg
    IMG_2851.jpeg
    149.7 KB · Views: 0
Also Yukihiku Haida had a brother, Katsuhiku, who was quite famous as a singer and uke strummer (and an actor). His music is available for streaming. I like the early stuff, with the Moana Glee Club. There is a lot to learn about the history of the uke in Japan!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2849.jpeg
    IMG_2849.jpeg
    137.8 KB · Views: 0
  • IMG_2853.jpeg
    IMG_2853.jpeg
    163.4 KB · Views: 0
Thanks! that helps. I do think there’s some other stuff that’s not on that discography… that one that was reissued with the Ohta-San album, and his stuff as a sideman. And there seem to be some issued after the Discography, I assume: two volumes of Yesterday and Today, and Eddie and Friends. Those are on streaming services…

But I am most interested in albums on that discography that I haven’t seen on streaming or on CD. Then there are 4 albums from '76 to '80 that I haven’t seen, or at least I don’t think I’ve seen. There are 2 titled the Sons of Hawai’, from 1976 and 1977, and then the ones called Grassroots Music and Ho'omau. The Christmas album is available.

Unfortunately they named their albums with similar titles, like this one pictured, with Dennis Kamikahi, it looks like a best of compilation but it seems to be an album from 1981. And no Vol 2…. But Feets died in 1982, and the chronology says they stopped recording. Apparently they began recording again with Eddie and Friends and Yesterday and Today?

I will keep looking online for info. Supposed to rain tomorrow, it will give me something to do…
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2855.jpeg
    IMG_2855.jpeg
    199.3 KB · Views: 0
fyi - the YouTube channel "Hawaiian Music Archives" just posted 2 complete albums "The Sons Of Hawaii – Grassroots Music" (1980) and "Eddie Kamae Presents The Sons Of Hawaii" (1976). They also have a lot of other out-of-print Hawaiian Renaissance ukulele music like the Peter Moon Band and the Mākaha Sons Of Ni'ihau.
https://www.youtube.com/@HawaiianMusicArchives
 
Last edited:
Thank you, thank you! I love that mahogany Martin guitar on the cover of the Alice Namakeula album! I like the music on the album too…
 
Last edited:
I don’t know the details but Ry Cooder was an early aficionado of Gabby and played on one of his albums.

Great story about Eddie.

Yes, Eddie Kamae. Mark Nelson has a nice version of Kamae’s beautiful Morning Dew in his Fingerpicking Volume 1 book, a book I learned a lot from.

Gabby kept a pot of stew going for all who came to visit and jam at his house in Waimanalo on the Windward side of Oahu. Supposedly he detuned all the instruments before going to bed so that no one could steal his tunings. That may be a legend.

A rich haole friend lived out in Waimanalo and told me the locals were very friendly. It’s the real Hawaii out there. One needs to show respect and keep a subdued profile. A great Hawaiian song is Waimanalo Blues. It’s about keeping the country country, keeping hotels out of the Windward Side, where there are beautiful beaches frequented by locals.

BTW, a haole friend who has lived over 40 years on Oahu had a onetime short time job keeping track of the races going into some chain restaurant on the island. He noted how many whites, Asians, blacks and locals came into the restaurant. Whoever was in charge of the survey, an off islander who hired my friend, complained that there was no local race. My friend said come to the island and see for himself. Yes, locals is a real thing and should be respected.

The reality is that so many of those living on the island are part this and part that. People often have three or four racial backgrounds and that is what defines a local. Hawaiian or Samoan or Tongan or Filipino or German or Puerto Rican, Black or whatever might be part of the mix. That is modern Hawaii.

You ask someone what they had for Christmas dinner and that might include poi, turkey, kimchi, Puerto Rican pasteles stew, rice, mashed potatoes, lau lau, poke, fried chicken and beet borscht.

I never say I am just a haole. That’s kind of boring and non-descriptive. My father and his parents were Danish. My mother‘s mother was Quebecoise
and my mother’s father was Bohemian Czech. I, too, am chop suey, a poi dog. Variety is the spice of life. I believe the Sons of Hawaii had more than pure Hawaiian blood but nevertheless they were Hawaiian to the core.

Long story long.
 
Last edited:
I don’t know the details but Ry Cooder was an early aficionado of Gabby and played on one of his albums.
The Ry Cooder recordings are legendary and the best. I am lucky to have the LP's
Great story about Eddie.



Gabby kept a pot of stew going for all who came to visit and jam at his house in Waimanalo on the Windward side of Oahu. Supposedly he detuned all the instruments before going to bed so that no one could steal his tunings. That may be a legend.
Gabby's son, Cyril Pahinui told me that he dad (Gabby) would lock the guitars in the closet at night so that nobody would get the tunings. He said that his father would tell him to basically not ask questions but to shut up, "Watch and learn." This same thing was repeated to me by Ledward Kaapana when he was talking about learning guitar on the big Island from his uncle, Fred Punahoa. Don't know if Gabby detuned but it would make sense from what I heard.
Long story long.
 
A lot of excellent music on the Hawaiian Music Archives on YouTube. I did not know Peter Moon made so many albums. I am grateful to the person who makes these records available. The Sons' 1962 album with the red lava cover is their second, and my favorite.
 
A lot of excellent music on the Hawaiian Music Archives on YouTube. I did not know Peter Moon made so many albums. I am grateful to the person who makes these records available. The Sons' 1962 album with the red lava cover is their second, and my favorite.
If you ask younger ukulele players, like Aldrine, what inspired their ukulele careers, they will often say it was great ukulele performers like Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez (of the Ka'au Crater Boys). If you ask Jake and Troy who inspired them, they will usually Peter Moon, who recorded a huge range of very innovative ukulele original songs and cover arrangements over a 35+ year career beginning the in the late 1960s. Where would modern ukulele playing be if not for Peter Moon's Kawika, which Jake still performs to honor Peter Moon at all of his concerts (often as the first or last song of the night)? Most of Jake's early recordings were covers of songs recorded by Peter Moon or Troy or both.
 
I used to see Troy playing on Kalakaua Ave. with a hat out for money. Not easy to make a living as a musician.

I heard he moved to Las Vegas. Hawaiians call Las Vegas the ninth island. More Hawaiians live off the islands than in. Beautiful place but not easy to make or afford a living.
 
I used to see Troy playing on Kalakaua Ave. with a hat out for money. Not easy to make a living as a musician.

I heard he moved to Las Vegas. Hawaiians call Las Vegas the ninth island. More Hawaiians live off the islands than in. Beautiful place but not easy to make or afford a living.
Troy Fernandez currently performs around Southern California: https://www.thebash.com/ukulele/troyfernandez
 
Top Bottom