Shack’s Sunday Selections: Phase 7 “Sweet Love”

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon here in Honolulu, the perfect kind of day to sit down at my laptop and start a new series of posts on Aloha Got Soul. Welcome to the first installment of Shack’s Sunday Selections, where I’ll be featuring a fine 45 from the collection of one of the nicest guys I know. He goes by Shack.

Shack's Sunday Selections
This is Shack.

About Shack

I’ve known Shack for about two years now and we trade vinyl, stories and memorabilia every time we meet. Shack knows how passionate I am about Hawaiian records, he’ll go out of his way to show me his latest finds because he knows I’ll dig deeper to uncover information behind the music and the artists. I’m grateful for it, he’s got a big heart to be so willing to share his treasures with me.

Sunday Selection, Part 1: “Sweet Love”

Our first post in Shack’s Sunday Selections comes from one of the most popular club acts of the 1970s and early 80s, Phase 7. “Sweet Love” is a ripe Hawaiian modern soul track ready for the dance floor.

I blogged this song back in 2011—but it’s so good, it deserves another spin, especially as the inaugural cut for Shack’s Sunday Selection.

You’ll also find a post about Phase 7’s Windjammer LP in the Archives. This choice track comes from that album.

Also worth noting: “Sweet Love” is actually a cover of “I Just Wanna Make Sweet Love Tonight” by Sunrize. Which version do you prefer?

Thanks for the selections, Shack.
Thanks for the selections, Shack.

Watch for new installments on Sundays.

I can’t guarantee this will be weekly, but Shack’s Sunday Selections will definitely be Sundayly.

The FINAL 70s Nightclub Reunion!

Honolulu’s 70s Nightclub Reunion is having one last celebration before bowing gracefully off stage! Don’t miss this show! It’s the final reunion, and it’s gonna be a blast!

But get this: Phase VII and Aura will be performing that night! Never mind me being the youngest guy there—even if everyone will be twice my age*—this is my first and last chance to ever see these bands play live. (*Local baby boomers are lucky they lived through Hawaii’s nightclub era! I really missed out. Thanks to Robin Kimura for being the mastermind behind these reunions!)

Hawaii 70s Night Club Reunion IX poster

Grand Ballroom tickets are already sold out, but tickets for the Garden Lanai are still available. After that it’s standing room only. Call 808-944-4330 to order!

On with the Show: Vic Malo Live

Just as it did 30 years ago, Hawaii’s economy thrives largely on tourism, so it’s no surprise that many of the musicians I’ve mentioned were/are also entertainers. It’s hard work entertaining people 7 nights a week (see: Phase 7), because for vacationers in paradise every night’s a Friday night, right?

Vic Malo is no exception here. His handsome voice filled the now-closed Golden Dragon Lounge at the Hilton Hawaiian Village almost every night of the week (I’m guessing) for several years—during the mid/late 1970s through the mid 1980s. Those lucky enough to hear him in person were no doubt captivated by his performances. For those like me who weren’t around (or alive) back then, we have a live performance captured on cassette, circa 1985 (as evidenced by his cover of Lionel Richie’s “Hello”).

This cassette was probably distributed by Vic himself to the fans and friends he made at the Golden Dragon. I don’t think this was for sale in stores, though I could be wrong. Unlike his studio album, which was professionally recorded, this minimally designed, 25 year old cassette suffers from poor audio quality. But despite the setbacks, Vic’s gorgeous voice still shines with each song.

“Turtle Bay”

Beyond the standard fare targeted at visitors (“To You Sweetheart, Aloha”, “Little Grass Shack”, “Red Sails in the Sunset”) Vic’s humorous wit (“The Tourist”) and love for the islands (“Turtle Bay”) are his best. “The Tourist” is my favorite, with its clever lyrics that match the political sensibility of “Ode to Waiaihole & Waikane Valley“. I can’t verify whether these two are originals, although I know that “I Don’t Want to Leave the Islands”, a farewell for an unhappy departure, was his own.

“The Tourist”

“I Don’t Want to Leave the Islands”

You can hear glasses clinking during several songs, stirring images of a low-key night for lovers absorbed in Vic’s seductive voice. Without a doubt, he stole every woman’s attention away from her date and toward the stage. Below is an account by someone who knew Vic and had seen him perform many times.

Each night we would go out and do some tourist type thing and when we came back as we walked through the hotel we could hear this voice. My mom and her friend would stop and listen, looking through the slotted wall from the hallway. I can remember them saying, “Boy, I wish I could take him home in my suitcase”…

Vic’s singing drew folks to the door to listen and a lot would then come in…especially the women…

Vic was a very personable, nice guy and, as you can tell from his voice and picture, pretty sexy. Women of all ages were drawn to him and I think guys liked him too because of his charm. He would always talk to the people in the lounge, the typical “Where are you from?” He would tell stories about himself (one of 51 children, I believe), joke around, etc.

He used some kind of synthesizer/drum machine to accompany him during these performances, probably because he wanted to minimize distractions of live instruments and other musicians on set (plus it was more cost effective). Some songs feature the same drum beat, although I wonder whether he played a guitar live… I’m guessing he pre-recorded everything so that just he and his voice were the show.

This is just what I hoped for with the inception of Aloha Got Soul—the discovery of a rare recording which documents a time now past in Hawaii’s contemporary music history. This cassette offers a unique look into a world I know so little about. So consider this a relic rather than an must-have for audiophiles. I did my best to preserve optimal audio quality while removing as much noise as possible. I also created a CD/LP version of the cassette artwork for visuals’ sake. Looks pretty good, yeah?

Mahalo to those who helped bring this music to a wider audience. I don’t know all the exact details about Vic’s story at the Golden Dragon, so please send any corrections/additions via email or by leaving a comment here.

Phase VII & Dolly Parton

With two gigs nightly, 7 days a week aboard the Rella Mae cruise ship, Phase VII must have met many people during their tenure. So I was happy to find this photo in my inbox the other day, courtesy of saxophonist Edd English (far right):

Edd gave me a bit of background on Dolly Parton’s appearance aboard the Rella Mae:

That year she took her family to Hawaii for X-mas—I mean everyone because she was able to rent the top deck of the Rella Mae, the boat Phase Seven played on. This photo is on the Top deck, as after our show we got invited up to meet with her. We were told that she heard our show but did not come down to see it, as she didn’t [want] her stardom to upstage us or something like that. I do remember her showing up in a corvette driven by a really [muscly] body guard.

Edd, who performs nowadays in Portland, Oregon (see him rockin’ in this video), didn’t mention a date of when this was taken, but my guess is 1983. Below is a photo of Dolly in 1983 at the Kahala Hilton Hotel (now the Kahala Hotel & Resort) in Honolulu. Photo by Alan Light.

Speaking of country music, stay tuned for a very special interview with a Hawaii-bred musician now living just outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Thanks Edd!

More Phase 7

“Sweet Love” by Phase VII, from their Windjammer album.

From what I know, this song is part of a self-titled album by the band. Definitely released after Playtime. Maybe their 3rd album?
Here’s the tracklist:

1. Sweet Love
2. Girl, It’s Up To Me
3. Show Me Your Magic
4. Angels Around You
5. Live It Up, Love It Up
6. Itchy Fingers
7. This Time
8. Don’t Girls Get Lonely
9. Say The Word
10. Say It, Say It Again

Anyone wanna confirm this?
Anyone wanna share some audio clips with me?

Phase 7 (VII) – Windjammer

While surfing a few weeks ago, I came across another Phase VII album I hadn’t heard of, Windjammer. At first, I thought it read “Phase VIII”. Maybe it was a spin-off/new lineup of the original Phase 7? Hmm. The cover art wasn’t as intriguing Playtime either, so I gave it little attention and passed on.

Last night, I looked again and realized it really was Phase 7, not 8! (I must need glasses). Windjammer was their 2nd album, apparently. But what’s a “Windjammer”? Google hadn’t helped me a few weeks back… but as luck would have it, just last week YouTube user miken2av uploaded nearly 2+ hours of Phase VII performing in 1986 at where else? Aboard the Rella Mae cruiseship, operated by Windjammer Cruises Inc.! (The cruiseship operated up until the late 90s and I think is now out of service.)

(Video automatically jumps to 11min 40sec for the good stuff)

Phase VII playing on Windjammer Cruises Rella Mae. Sept 1986. Rella Mae was a 1000 passenger dinner cruise ship that used to leave from pier 7 Alaoha Tower. There was a sunset cruise and a moonlight cruise. I had the awesome experience of working there during my senior year in high school. –video description

I emailed Mike, asking for more info about Phase VII and Windjammer:

The band is the same one who released the album [Playtime]. They also had a record they sold on the ship. It had the picture of the ship on it. [Windjammer]

Obviously all those dinner cruise ships were targeted at tourists. Locals did go also but I would say mostly to either bring visiting relatives or to celebrate something special. Seems like it cost 40-50 dollars each if I remember right. They had an all you can eat buffet and all you can drink bar.

While I worked there they actually went out two times a night. Sunset cruise that featured the show “Ports of Paradise”. Then there was the moonlight cruise with “That’s Dancin”. The sunset cruise was most popular and during busy times would fill up regularly – 1000 people. The moonlight cruise was more of a Vegas scene. That one was more popular with locals looking to celebrate something special.

As expensive as it was I would say it wasn’t something that some locals went to over and over like going to a bar. The show was the same every night. The music for the dance set was pretty much the same.

The ship experimented with having a sit down dinner choice also that cost more money and had better food and a private bar.

The above music probably won’t impress you like Playtime does. After all, the Windjammer wasn’t a nightclub, but purely showbiz entertainment. The Phase 7 guys were great entertainers, so it doesn’t surprise me that they’d be doing a gig like this (Playtime is scattered with skits from the Kauai Resort Hotel). Regardless, these videos transport me to a time I never would’ve experienced!

Below is a 2-song telethon performance with “Show Me Your Magic” and “Angels Around Us”. I don’t think these songs are on Windjammer, but I could be wrong. There’s an introduction to the band members at 3min 35sec. Take a closer look, I think last guy they introduce was the shirtless braddah dance-fighting in the first video.

Thank you miken2av for showing us the magic!!

DJ Muro – Hawaiian Breaks

DJ Muro’s Hawaiian Breaks Tracklist now complete!

(I just need to add the little details, like release year, catalog number, record label)

ALOHA GOT SOUL is dedicated to the funky, soulful, jazzy sounds of Hawaii, so it’s only appropriate that I start with DJ Muro’s 1hr+ mix, “Hawaiian Breaks.”

Released in late 2009, the mp3 is available all over the internet by now. It’s got tons of great disco/funk tracks from the islands…But there’s no tracklist! So I’m sitting here, scratching my head, trying to figure out who sang what…

I’ve searched over and over and haven’t found a tracklist yet. So I thought, why not compile the list right here!? As ALOHA GOT SOUL progresses, I’ll continue adding to the tracklist as I discover more music. Feel free to contribute!

DJ Muro’s Hawaiian Breaks: Tracklist

(last updated 5 September 2011)

(00:01) “Nothin’ Like That Funky Music” by Mike Lundy [ The Rhythm of Life :: ]

(04:16) “The Rhythm of Life” by Mike Lundy [ The Rhythm of Life :: ]

(07:58) “Let Me Say Dis About Dat” by Aura [S/T :: Fusion Music, Inc. FMI :: ]

(10:14) “Magic Lover” by Aura [S/T :: Fusion Music, Inc. FMI :: ]

(14:01) “Your Love” by Mel Cabang [ For You Lady :: Double Banger Records]

(16:42) “A Million Stars” by Macky Feary Band [ S/T :: ]

(19:48) “My Last Disco Song” by Al Nobriga with Island Company [ :: ]

(24:21) “My Magical Paradise” by Audrey Meyers [ Fusion Music Inc FMI-1005 :: 1979 ]

(27:49) “Dreams” by Lemuria [S/T :: Heaven Records AL00001):: 1978]

(30:36) “Sweet Bye n’ Bye” by Loyal Garner [ :: ]

(31:33) “Honolulu City Lights” by Haleakala [S/T ::: Rainbow Records ::: ]

(32:25) “My Girl Friday” by Lil’ Albert [ Movin’ In :: Silvercloud :: ]

(34:50) “Kona Winds” by Marvin Franklin with Kimo & the Guys [Homegrown III :: KKUA :: ]

(38:37) “Reggae Music” by Mix Plate [S/T :: Hanaiia :: 1981]

(43:00) “Sparkle” by Greenwood [7″ single :: Forest in Leaf Records :: 1985]

(47:05) “Sun Goddess” by Legacy [ Sun Goddess (CD) :: Quiet Storm Records QSCD 944 :: 1994]

(51:33) “Hunk of Heaven” by Lemuria [S/T :: Heaven Records AL00001 :: 1978]

(54:23) “Ode to Waiaihole & Waikane Valley” by Vic Malo [ S/T :: Mataele Records ::]

(57:50) “You Win, I Lose” by Hal Bradbury [This is Love :: ]

(1:00:48) “Waiting For Your Love” by Henry Kapono [Piece a Cake :: ]

(1:03:05) “Blue Moon” by DJ & The Spice of Life [ :: ]

(1:06:40) “Finale” by the Aliis [Live! :: ]

Want another free mixtape?

Download the Pupu Mix, click here.