Please Do Not Insert Don Imus Joke Here
:: You'll Never Go Home ::
:: I Love The Simple Folk ::
Don Ho, who passed away this weekend at age 76, did more for the tourism industry in Hawaii than anything since Diamond Head. By popularizing Hawaiian music, and making it contemporary, while exuding laid back charm and sexuality that proved irresistible to women of a certain age, Ho was a one man chamber of commerce, and Hawaii was glad to have him.
No mere beach bum, Ho had a degree in sociology and became a fighter pilot in the US Air Force. A crash landing convinced him that life was meant to be enjoyed, so he hung up his wings and started working in his parents' night club, Honey's. His dad talked him into playing the organ, which he had picked up during his Air Force stint, and soon he formed a combo and began entertaining the locals. He moved on to the much larger Duke's nightclub in Honolulu and eventually attracted the attention of Reprise Records.
This album was one of his first studio efforts after a couple of live albums launched his recording career. Note the use of the ipu (a traditional Hawaiian percussion instrument made from a gourd) which starts off both of the tracks I selected. "You'll Never Go Home" is an upbeat little number reeking with 60s go-go wackiness, while "I Love The Simple Folk" is a more somber evocation that none the less makes you want to chuck it all for a grass skirt and a diet consisting of poi and Spam. The latter song also serves as a nice way to remember Don Ho himself: A simple guy who helped many people learn to enjoy the simple things in life. He will be missed.