16 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s hard to think of lovelier sounds than the notes that emanate from Hawaiian steel guitars. This excellent album by the All Star Hawaiian Band presents 16 instrumentals that feature those impossibly sweet and mellow tones. Well-known steel guitarists Billy Hew Len and Barney Isaacs, Jr. lead a group that includes ukulele, guitar, vibraphone, bass, and drums. The music is relaxing, sensual, and down home, but it’s also otherworldly and even a touch melancholy. The disc opens with “Blue Hawaii” and it reminds you that you really do need to hear this classic again. “Pearly Shells” has a bounce that evokes Western swing, making the listener wonder if the sliding sound suits hot places, whether they be wet or dry, Honolulu or Fort Worth. Listening to “Hawaiian Paradise” is like slipping off into a pleasant daydream or being soothed by the Pacific’s warm waters. The album closes with “Aloha Oe,” a song written by Queen Lili‘uokalani that dates back to the late 19th century, just a couple of decades before this distinctive approach to slide guitar playing came into being. Put simply, Steel Guitar Magic is 40 minutes of pure pleasure.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s hard to think of lovelier sounds than the notes that emanate from Hawaiian steel guitars. This excellent album by the All Star Hawaiian Band presents 16 instrumentals that feature those impossibly sweet and mellow tones. Well-known steel guitarists Billy Hew Len and Barney Isaacs, Jr. lead a group that includes ukulele, guitar, vibraphone, bass, and drums. The music is relaxing, sensual, and down home, but it’s also otherworldly and even a touch melancholy. The disc opens with “Blue Hawaii” and it reminds you that you really do need to hear this classic again. “Pearly Shells” has a bounce that evokes Western swing, making the listener wonder if the sliding sound suits hot places, whether they be wet or dry, Honolulu or Fort Worth. Listening to “Hawaiian Paradise” is like slipping off into a pleasant daydream or being soothed by the Pacific’s warm waters. The album closes with “Aloha Oe,” a song written by Queen Lili‘uokalani that dates back to the late 19th century, just a couple of decades before this distinctive approach to slide guitar playing came into being. Put simply, Steel Guitar Magic is 40 minutes of pure pleasure.

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