Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Blue Hula Stomp
Genres: Blues, World Music, Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Unique hybrid of Hawaiian guitar with old-time blues and jaz
Sanpete | in Utah | 07/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bob Brozman is a slide guitar wizard, musicologist, and world ambassador for a variety of musics linked by old guitars and related instruments. And he has also spread the gospel of some of the instruments themselves. This was his first official solo album, from 1981, when his interests were more tightly focused than they've since become. He begins his notes for the album this way:
"The music on this record is intended as a tribute to the manifold outpourings of the recording artists of the 1920s. I tend to overlap styles in a way that wasn't common back then, in order to get new music that still remains true to the old sounds. I use National resonator instruments because I have been fascinated and totally absorbed by their sound and response for over a decade; they are simply the most exciting acoustic instruments I've ever played."
As you might guess from the album title (and my review title), the recording artists of the '20s he refers to include chiefly blues, Hawaiian and jazz players. As he says, he mixes the styles, and for this album that means mostly mixing old Hawaiian style into blues and jazz from the '20s and '30s, or into originals written in those styles. There are also Hawaiian songs from that period and earlier, back as far as 1881.
The National resonator instruments he speaks of are, first, National brand steel-bodied guitars, one of which is pictured on the album's front cover (a couple years before Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms album featured a National on its cover) and a bunch of which are shown on the back, like the stars they are. The ones played here include both standard and Hawaiian models. When he speaks about them, Brozman likes to emphasize that the National resonators have a huge dynamic range (which gets larger each time he mentions it), meaning they can play very softly and very loudly, the latter thanks in part to specialized resonator cones similar to those used in wood-bodied Dobros (which were first designed by the first designer of the Nationals). The Nationals have a wonderfully bright, tangy sound that has the special flavor you'd expect from the steel body. Brozman also plays a National steel-bodied ukulele.
Brozman and other fans helped stir up enough interest that in 1989 the new National Reso-Phonic Guitars company started producing the steel-bodied resonators again, the first time since 1941. He later wrote (with a few others helping out) "the" book about the original National resonator instruments.
Brozman plays several other instruments on this album as well, including a Weissenborn wooden Hawaiian guitar, wooden ukuleles, mandocello, even a bit of saxophone.
And he sings, enthusiastically, with some of the manner of the artists from those early recordings he loves.
He's joined on about half the songs by Allan Dodge, playing a Taropatch ukulele, and Tony Marcus, on rhythm guitar, who (apparently) also offer some uncredited fine Hawaiian-style harmony vocals on a couple songs. Terry Zwigoff contributes some cello on two cuts. And on "You Call That a Buddy?" Rita Lackey does some distinctive harmonies.
This is self-recommending for fans of stunning and subtle acoustic guitar playing, Hawaiian guitar, and National resonators or steel slide guitar. All the songs are great fun, even if you pay no attention to the musical marvels involved."