"The Sunday Manoa breathes new life into the music of the past, enhancing the flavor of old with the influences of today. Guava Jam means that true Hawaiian music is definitely a local product, and is disciplined and rich with feeling as any other folk music."
Too bold for its timeThe range of musicianship, choice of songs, and the way Sunday Manoa's harmonies blended so well was not exactly an instant hit. It was said that for its time, this was too bold of a step in how these songs were created. The old school didn't like these new "rock 'n' roll"-like arrangements, while the new school were simply incorporating everything from the California sound to folk rock from the East Coast, but done in a way that was not disruptive to the true meaning of the songs. The fans who did love it wanted more, but it would take Moon and the Cazimeros three years, and a new label, to finally enter the studio once more to record another album? Why the delay?
Sunday Manoa hits a strideIn the late 90s, I had intended on writing a book about my appreciation for Guava Jam and had written to Don McDiarmid Jr. in 2002 about receiving information about anything and everything that had to do with the recording and production of it. As someone who grew up with rock 'n' roll, soul, funk, jazz and other styles of music, and got into record collecting, if I became curious about a certain record and wanted to know more about it or why it may have moved me, I had the option of reading an article about it in a collector's magazine or hunting down a book on the creation of the album. In the last decade, one has the option to watch a documentary series like Classic Albums. My idea for the book was to treat Hawaiian music with the same level of respect and analysis as a rock or jazz album, and I knew which record I wanted to cover.
Talking with Don McDiarmid, Jr.While McDiarmid served as the album's executive producer, it was someone else whose name can be found in countless Hawaiian album credits. "The unknown star of that recording was my sound man, the great Bob Lang" said McDiarmid, who went on to talk about some of the things that went down in the studio during the recording sessions.
"As we edited Guava Jam from one end to another, I had forced Peter (Moon) into 'uke solos that he was not capable of playing at that time, and built endings that ran a minute or more, (we) left gaps for inserted voices, all flying from the seat of my pants. Roland tuned the instruments so at least we were in tune. I used every idea I had ever had to enforce the contemporary sound."Tape editing was literally just that: reel-to-reel tapes and a razor blade to make sure all edits were done properly. In fact you can hear a clear edit on "Kawika" after the percussion section jumps right into the group playing 'ukulele, guitar, and bass. All of these edits would consist of the finished master tape, done on "1/4 inch 2-track.
(Almost) digging through the Hula Records archivesI had expressed my desire to fly back home to Honolulu, get a chance to meet McDiarmid and visit the Hula archives for a chance to do some research not only about the label, but also to do some research for my planned Guava Jam book. The concept for the book started when I had bought the album when it was released on compact disc for the first time. While I welcomed it on CD, I had felt the sound was not as good, and had wanted the volume levels to be boosted and for some liner notes to be placed in the booklet. The 4-panel CD booklet didn't have any of the lyrics and translations found on the original record, nor the photo of the band in the gatefold.
Cut and paste: respect for the musicMcDiarmid then went into the process of recording:
"The very first things I did were on an old portable AMPEX 1/4 inch tape on 10 inch reels, and even some 7 inch (tapes). Cut and paste was the deal. Bob Lang was fearless, but for safety, we would dub the section off on another machine and work with that. He did a splice once about 15 inches long on 1/4 inch 2-track using a razor, a yard stick, and a piece of glass.
"I also did some things in monaural (mono) and later went back and faked the stereo. Bob also many times to correct a wrong word in Hawaiian, would take out a part like 'me' in the word 'pumehana' that had been sung wrong and insert from another cut
"Lots of times we just let the machines roll and would start a take and sometimes break and restart or let it roll, do three or four, if needed and then intercut stuff later. Remember with a one man company with no money we had to re-use the tape time and again and every one paid by the hour."
"I never worried about anything but the heart of the Hawaiian music. Without that forget it. I could live with a bum chord or goof but not the heart. The other thing was making sure that the whole project had class and not just organized noise by some tree thumpers, which incidentally is what i think of rock 'n' roll."