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Hanapepe Dream

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Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Having lived on Kauai part-time for many years, Taj Mahal has absorbed the sounds of the Pacific islands and integrated them into his organic, multicultural blend of '50s R&B, acoustic blues, and Caribbean rhythms. On Hanapepe Dream he puts a reggae beat to the old folk tune “Black Jack Davy,” adding the high, sweet sounds of a piccolo and a fluid steel guitar. For the traditional Hawaiian “Moonlight Lady,” penned by slack-key guitarist Carlos Andrade and ukulele player Pat Cockett, Mahal shares the vocals with Cockett. The uke players in the band and saxophonist Rudy Costa take the traditional folk tune “King Edward’s Throne” into their Hawaiian homeland. Richie ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Having lived on Kauai part-time for many years, Taj Mahal has absorbed the sounds of the Pacific islands and integrated them into his organic, multicultural blend of '50s R&B, acoustic blues, and Caribbean rhythms. On Hanapepe Dream he puts a reggae beat to the old folk tune “Black Jack Davy,” adding the high, sweet sounds of a piccolo and a fluid steel guitar. For the traditional Hawaiian “Moonlight Lady,” penned by slack-key guitarist Carlos Andrade and ukulele player Pat Cockett, Mahal shares the vocals with Cockett. The uke players in the band and saxophonist Rudy Costa take the traditional folk tune “King Edward’s Throne” into their Hawaiian homeland. Richie Havens’s “African Herbsman” is just where it belongs, in reggae territory. The most alluring track is Mahal’s original “Baby, You’re My Destiny,” which sounds like the swinging Hawaiian dance bands of the '40s. For the traditional “Livin’ On Easy,” the accomplished tenor uke player Wayne Jacintho is featured on his instrument and vocals. The group also covers “My Creole Belle” and Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” But no matter what the Hula Blues Band plays, Hanapepe Dream is a tribute to the culture of Hawaii. Mahal should be applauded for doing it so well, and his longtime associate, drummer Kester Smith, is right up there with him for his lovely ukulele arrangements.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Recorded in the year 2000 in Bremen and in Hawaii, Hanapepe Dream is ethnomusicologist, guitarist, and composer Taj Mahal's own gumbo of Caribbean, Polynesian, African, and American folk roots styles done up in the glorious dress of "song," for anyone who has ears to hear, feet to shuffle, and an ass to shake. Featuring a large band replete with three ukuleles little, baritone, and tenor, Hawaiian steel guitars, slack key guitars, horns, steel drums, and standard bass, drums, and guitars, Mahal reveals why he's a master of combining traditions and musics from different histories and regions. In fact, Mahal can prove, via his very fine performance here, that all forms of soul and blues, reggae, jazz, and rock & roll music come from one source and that source lies in the African Diaspora. Mahal's own songs here are fine offerings: There's "Great Big Boat," the opener full of celebratory drums and choral singing and loping winds and horns, and "Baby You're My Destiny," a slippery swing tune that borders on Hawaiian folk music and could have been recorded by Django Reinhardt with Louis Prima, Gabby Pahinui, and Ike Quebec sitting in. But it is in the traditional folk tunes such as "Blackjack Davey," "King Edward's Throne," and the most unique and gorgeous reading of "Stagger Lee" ever that Mahal pulls out the stops and showcases his entire vision. The latter song becomes an expression of how community embraces story, movement, tragedy, celebration, and shared space and time. They come roiling from different musical approximations -- not appropriations -- as Mahal doesn't steal anything here; he offers the ancient sources of this music up as easily identified if not easily separated, and engages the song itself as the easiest and most memorable form of communication we have as human beings. Mahal offers further proof by using Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Richie Havens' "African Herbman" as current examples of cross miscegenation of course material. In the Dylan song, jazz entwines reggae and calypso as well as Hawaiian slack key, and the Havens track moves through the Nigerian and Malian folk legacies and brings them to the Caribbean for articulation. Any way you hear it, Hanapepe Dream is further evidence that Mahal has been on a hot streak these past six years, and it continues here with a vengeance.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/10/2003
  • Label: Tone Cool
  • UPC: 699675117320
  • Catalog Number: 51173

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Taj Mahal Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Epiphone
Rudy Costa Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Background Vocals, Kalimba, Sax (Curved Soprano), Piccolo Flute
Fred Lunt Hawaiian Guitar, Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar
Kester Smith Drums
Carey Williams Background Vocals
Patrick Cockett Vocals, Background Vocals, Liliu Ukulele
Pancho Graham Background Vocals, Acoustic Bass
Carlos Andrade Vocals, Slack Key Guitar
Wayne Jacintho Vocals, Background Vocals, Tenor Ukelele
Michael Barretto Ukulele, Background Vocals
Pat Cockett Ukulele, Vocals
Technical Credits
Taj Mahal Arranger, Adaptation
Kester Smith rhythm arrangement
Paul Stubblebine Remastering
Carey Williams Producer, Audio Production
Jorg Siemer Engineer
Petra Hanisch Producer
Ralf Wittke Cover Design
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Blend of blues, island and gulf-coast sounds

    Taj Mahal’s always been more of a roots musician than a dedicated bluesman. His early excursions into reggae (1974’s "Mo’ Roots"), and his earlier work with Hawaiian music (1998’s "Sacred Island") are only a few of the projects that anticipate this release. This time out he’s backed by an acoustic string band, with plenty of slack-key guitar, for a gumbo of blues, island sounds and flavors of the gulf coast. What’s particularly impressive is how smoothly Mahal and his band blend reggae ("Blackjack David," and Bob Marley’s "African Herbsman"), country blues (Mississippi John Hurt’s "My Creole Belle"), and folk-rock ("All Along the Watchtower"). At times they rework the songs to their milieu, but more to the point, Mahal brings all of this music under his own umbrella, exposing their common roots without defoliating their individuality. 3-3/4 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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