8/22/09

Old HAWAIIAN RECORD LABELS


Yes, I still have all of my Hawaiian 45 records, all in one of those little boxes with the handle on top. I haven't listened to these in years. I'm going to have to find one of those little plastic thingies for the center and take a listen again.

So for your viewing pleasure I give you the 49th State Record labels from the early 60s. But first here's a little history of the company:
The Legacy of the 49th State Hawaii Record label

The time was the mid forties, the place was Honolulu, and the person was George Ching. He was a proprieter of a record store in Hawaii's main city and he had an idea. Because of the many requests he had gotten (largely from servicemen returning home to the mainland) for recordings of Hawaiian music as keepsakes and momentos, he knew that there was not a serious outlet for local talent. Seizing this opportunity, Ching decided to start his own modest recording service to provide such an outlet, and making sure that he dealt in the best of the local talent available he enlisted the help of perhaps the single most important musician of his time, John K. (Kameaaloha) Almeida. John K. would serve as musical director, arranger, and of course, as an important performer for the fledgling enterprise. Searching for a name for the new company, Ching came upon one that looked to the future of the islands. With the end of World War II, there had been much talk of Hawaii becoming part of the United States, ending its days as a U.S. territory. And so, owing to the impending status of Hawaii, the new record label proudly named itself "49th State Hawaii Records". (Of course we know that the change in status took much longer than expected, and Alaska beat Hawaii to the 49th designation - but the "49th State" label remained and has gained in historical significance from that time)

The recording company had modest beginnings, as to be expected, but as it grew and the technology expanded and advanced, so did Hawaii's hometown record label. They amassed quite a catalog throughout the years, featuring many musicians in their formative stages, who went on to great success (Gabby Pahinui and Genoa Keawe to name a couple of obvious examples). From the mid forties into the fifties and beyond, the breadth and scope of the little label that could is remarkable. Moving from the original 78 rpm shellacs to the 45 and LP formats, the label kept a stream of important musical performances available to the public. As late as 1980, 49th State had a numerous catalog of re-released material on 45 rpm records (cleverly beginning with #49 and numbering more than 300 releases issued) and a wealth of music was available on LPs. Into the new milennium, we find the mid and late 40s sounds still available as a new generation of listeners seek out these snippets of Hawaii's musical legacy. Cord International has preserved a number of these titles in all their re-mastered glory on a number of CDs. And so, more than a half century later, the music that was the nucleus of an idea of George Ching for his little "49th State Hawaii" record label resonates once again. Mahalo, George, and John K., and all the performers that we enjoy once again! (SOURCE: Jaymar41)

49th State Hawaii Record Co. labels_tatteredandlost

And here are a few other labels, including an Alfred Apaka from the Henry J. Kaiser Hawaiian Village label. For those people who have memories of old tv shows from the 50s and 60s, the show Hawaiian Eye was set at the Hawaiian Village hotel which eventually became the Hilton Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Village Records label_tatteredandlost

Waikiki Beach Parties label_tatteredandlost

Island Recording Studio label_tatteredandlost

The song above was actually written by a family friend and my hula teacher, Maddy Lam. Maddy was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2000. You can read more about Madeline Kaululehuaohaili Lam here. The last time I saw Maddy she was playing piano at the Halekulani. She was a beautiful woman and a kind soul.

Waikiki Records sleeve_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

Waikiki Records label_tatteredandlost

Sit back, imagine the warm breezes blowing through the palm trees as you sit at the Halekulani watching the sunset. Everything else just drifts away. The beautiful voice of Alfred Apaka.



UPDATE: A reader sent me the following information about some records he recently found. If anyone has any information, or is interested in purchasing them, contact him at the email address given below.

Here’s a list of the specific 78 rpm records:
“Papalina Lahilahi,” backed with “Alekoki,” John K. Almeida, record number: 49th State Hawaii Record Co. 54
“Hanohano Hanalei,” backed with “Nani Kaala,” John K. Almeida, 49th State Hawaii Record Co. 68
“Kekumu-Okalani,” John K. Ameida, backed with “Manuela Boy,” 
‘Hilo Hattie’ Clara Inter, 49th State Hawaii Record Co 158
“Ama Ama,” backed with “Marcelle Vahini,” George “Tautu” Archer, Bell Records
The records have certainly been played, but they appear to be in pretty good shape.

Bottom line:  a friend was cleaning house after her husband died, and these records were in the “stack.”  I thought they were kind of interesting, especially for the record label.  If they have some value, it would be good to know that.

Yes,  if you could post this as a comment, I’d be most appreciative.  I’m not sure what address to give you that would not be “private.”  My only alias is k6zh@arrl.net

8 comments:

  1. aw. you have 'No HuHu'! I had a 78 of Hilo Hattie singing that. I believe someone sat on it. It is no more.
    On the flip side was'Hilo Hattie does the Hilo Hop.'

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  2. Yes! And "No HuHu is also on the flipside of "10 Cent Perfume" by you know who.

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  3. Anonymous11/22/2010

    What year was the 49th State Records started? please does anyone know? i cant seem to find it anywhere.

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  4. Wish I could help, but I too can't find any date either other than after the war. Sorry.

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  5. Anonymous11/13/2014

    Aloha no! Mahalo for posting about Maddy Lam. I'm looking for a picture of her but can't find one. Would you happen to have one? I am also interested to know what hula she taught you and who her teacher was. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Give me some time and I will find the record album I have. I also have some slides, somewhere, of her doing a Pele dance on stage at the Kaiser Dome in the early '60s. Those will take me a long time to find and I don't know good they actually are. I'll make myself a post-it note to dig out her album. I have no information about who her teacher was or what dances I did. Long time ago. Last time I saw her she was performing at the Halekulani playing piano and singing. Thrilled someone else remembers her!

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  6. You mention that they began issuing 45 rpm records with the number 49. What was the title(s) and the artists please?

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    Replies
    1. No idea. The 49 is in reference to their belief Hawaii would be the 49th state.

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