The Aliis Live

The Aliis Live: A Finale to Make Me Smile

The Aliis Live, a double LP made desirable among music collectors after DJ Muro included the super-charged “Finale” as the final track to his Hawaiian Breaks mixtape.

But there’s something missing from the album, something I feel is very important—liner notes worth reading.

The Aliis Live

The Original Liner Notes

The album’s original liner notes, probably written by the band’s manager, Irv Pinensky, don’t convey the exciting music you hear on this record (which I found at the Friends of the Library of Hawaii Music Sale).

No, in my opinion the liner notes give you almost nothing worthwhile to consider while listening to The Aliis Live. Check it out:

The Aliis—a group for all ages—music from the 50s to our present day sounds are performed with equal feeling and musicianship. The album, recorded “live” at the main showroom of the Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki, showcases the versatility of The Aliis. Their combination of superior musicianship and great vocal ability have made The Aliis the most entertaining show group in the country today.”

What you do learn about The Aliis is: their music appeals to everyone, they can play tunes from almost any era with expertise, and their skills match the amount feeling they put into performing.

The Aliis “Make Me Smile”

While the liner notes say enough for most, I think The Aliis Live deserves more.

After all, just look at the musicians and the instruments they play!

The Aliis

Joe Mundo: piano, organ, brass
Al Akana: drums
Carlos Barboza: organ, brass
Rudy Aquino: vibes, marimba, brass
Benny Chong: guitar, bass
Bobby King: bass
Manny Lagod: bass (thanks to Manny and Renay for the update)

Listen closely to “Finale” and you’ll find out that Benny Chong is a multi-instrumentalist. But read the liner notes and you’ll realize that almost every member of The Aliis plays more than one instrument.

So that’s where all that brass comes from!

The Aliis “Finale”

New and improved liner notes

I propose that The Aliis Live needs new liner notes. Here’s my take, let me know what you think (feel free to add your own liner notes, too):

Explosive, unexpected, fresh—that’s The Aliis, a group whose musical talents know no limits. From early 50s pop to today’s jazz-funk grooves, these guys can dig it. 

If you missed their performances at the Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki, don’t worry because this live album captures their unique enthusiasm to entertain audiences with powerful versions of classic songs. 

The Aliis rule the entertainment world with presence and skill unmatched. With just one listen, you’ll find inspiration in the powerful music of The Aliis. 

The Aliis—meaning “royalty” or “kings” in Hawaiian—reign over Honolulu’s nightlife. After years as Don Ho’s backing band, The Aliis prove their sound can survive outside the shadow of a showroom superstar.

Besides, musicians who easily switch between heavy horns to blazing guitar and organ solos—and continue to amaze listeners night after night, year after year—were born to be kings. 

Here’s to new ideas

Have you ever wanted to rewrite lackluster liner notes of an outstanding album? 

4 thoughts on “The Aliis Live: A Finale to Make Me Smile

  1. Renay says:

    In this Ali’is album, as I was listening to the Finale, Jose Mundo mentions Manny Lagod as playing bass. There was no mention of Bobby King on this album in that live recording, so I assume Bobby was not with the group then.

  2. Linda says:

    Met the Aliis first in California at a club/restaurant I believe it was the Lighthouse. Saw them again in Hawaii several times. I hope that all are doing well. Whenever our gang entered the room, they would stop what they were playing and start in with “Sweet Caroline” We were the “bah bah bah” gang!!!! I love their music and they are all wonderful, down to earth, genuine people!

  3. Manny LaGod says:


    You are correct as I was the original bass player on this live album at the Outrigger hotel. This was my last performance with the Aliis. My picture was not on the album. I went on to open my own real estate company and restaurant at the old Biltmore hotel in Waikiki. I’m still entertaining in California, had my own show in Vegas and have a CD titled “Something.” and also won Male Singer/Song Writer of the Year with the Los Angeles Music Awards in 2006 for a song I wrote titled “Sunday Mornings.”

  4. Laurie says:

    When I was a kid my parents used to take us to see Don Ho and the Aliis in Hawaii and when they were in the LA area. I remember funny songs which we called “96815” “Going to Maui Tomorrow” and “on the Big Isle of Hawaii” but I can’t find any reference to these (other than going to Maui”. Can anyone help me? mahalo!

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