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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cecilio & Kapono - S/T

Name: Cecilio & Kapono
Album: s/t
Year: 1974
Style: Lite-Pop, Beach-Lounge
Similar Bands: Jimmy Buffet, James Taylor, Ween (Bananas & Blow), Air Supply
"One-Word" Review: Jammy-Beach-Jams
Based Out Of: Hawaii
Label: Columbia, CBS
Cecilio & Kapono Cover
Cecilio & Kapono Back

Cecilio & Kapono (1974)
Feeling Just the Way I Do (Over You) 3:21 (Sample)
Lifetime Party 3:23 (Sample)
Sunflower 4:27 (Sample)
Lovin In Your Eyes 2:46 (Sample)
All In Love Is Fair 4:15 (Sample)/
Gotta Get Away 3:09 (Sample)
Song for Someone 4:08 (Sample)
Friends 2:51 (Sample)
Sunshine Love 5:41 (Sample)

Album Rating (1-10):

Members & Other Bands:
Michael Stewart - Producer, Arrangements
Bill Thompson - Executive Producer, Artist Development
Craig Doerge - Keyboards
David Paich - Keyboards
Russ Kunkle - Drums
Leland Skylar - Bass
Wilton Felder - Bass
Bobbye Hall - Percussion
Cecilio - Guitar, Sitar, Arrangements
Kapono - Guitar, Arrangements
Jim Horn - Sax, Flute
Larry McNeely - Banjo
Gary Coleman - Marimba
J.D. Maness - Steel Guitar
Sid & the Boys - Strings
Jimmie Haskell - String Arrangement
Tom Sellers - Arrangements
Ron Malo - Sound
Al Schmitt - Re-mixing
David Willardson - Illustration
Frederick Ivan Gilbert III - Photography
Ron Coro - Art Direction

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of these guys. But from the album cover alone, I am assuming the music is laid back, light 70's jam rock. The Hawaiian shirt with their names on it (as well as the picture of them on the back) could possibly make the music lean toward reggae.

Album Review: It is kinda funny: the idea that someone won't like something until you know what it is. This applies to this record. I was not able to get into it until I was able to equate it to something that I already like. And once I was able to compare this album to Banana's And Blow by Ween, I could then extract the parts of the record, enjoy them, and like it as a whole.

That said and Ween aside, the album is pretty good: A chilled, laid back relaxing rest in a shaded hammock. Of course with a glass of lemonade. Track one starts off with bongos, and a bouncy happy beat. It is very folky and there are even strings in the background. I don't know much about the Dead, but I imagine "Feeling Just the Way I Do" could be from their catalogue. "Lifetime Party" is more oceanic, and has a very deep, slow groove to it. It is a very pleasant song. The dual vocals echo eachother during the second verse, like when your voice bounces back to you from rocky cliffs across the beach. I could easily hear Ween covering this song. There is even a Mickey-ish electric guitar solo around 2 minutes into the song and the keyboards could be pulled directly from their Mollusk album. "Sunflower" is a slow and dreamy love ballad, sounding like Air Supply in both music and lyrical metaphor. Lines like "If this world were a flower garden, and your smiling face a flower..." (and others) remind me of lyrics from Air Supply: "The beating of my heart is a drum, and its lost, and its looking for a rhythm like you" (and many others). "Lovin' In Your Eyes" continues with the light musical tempo, but is a little faster. Knowing they are from Hawaii helps to define their musical imagery. Although the bongo and mood seem to be associated with Caribbean music, it also has a place in Hawaii, summarizing the genre as a whole as island music. There is a sadder, solemn mood on "All In Love Is Fair." Again, perfect for an Air Supply song, this has the sad expressive singing from dual vocals that many 'Supply songs have (not to mention, it passes the prerequisite of having 'Love' in the title). It ends with a loud burst of emotion before quieting to a fade. I should also add, that this song reminds me of the "Flight Of The Conchords" song "I'm Not Crying"

Side two, starting with "Gotta Get Away" is a quick-paced island groove, with a country steel, slide guitar coupled with a wha-wha echo guitar, and funky percussion in maracas, drums and bongos. The next song, "Song to Someone," is a quiet lament. You can almost see the composer sitting at his piano looking out his apartment window through a sheet of rain onto an empty New York City street. A sad sax boosts the confused, depressed mood of the singing. "Friends" is back to the upbeat, relaxed rhythmic islander style. Both vocalists play back and forth, as well as combined, mimicking how good friends work together. Finally, "Sunshine Love" plays with more urgency then the rest of the album; with an oldies rock and roll piano, and a quicker, bouncy beat. But it comes off as a more produced version of the themes, thus representing the entire album, as if it were a Cliff's Notes to the the album. The title summarizes the love and sunshine themes, and the music takes a turn from quickness and slows down to recall the quieter moments of lament and reflection. Not to hang there too long, the song picks back up to the quickened pace and repetitive hook "don't take my sunshine away." The vocal break at the end could only be imagined as the closing song of a live performance, beckoning the crowd to come in and sing along with the last lines of the evening. It is a great climactic ending to an easy-spirited night.

Although not reggae, the album seems to hold to the same "no worries, we are one" attitude. The care-free, yet naive nature of the music showcases a society, with no thoughts of problems or evils. This is how many of us think of the everlasting vacation which must be island life.

Stand Out Track:
Lifetime Party


  1. This is one of my all time favorite albums, and it celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

    Reggae was not big in the Hawaiian islands in 1974, these guys were probably more influenced by the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Grateful Dead, and Loggins & Messina more than anything.

    What you do hear on this album is a band who loved pop/rock, and some of the lyrics touch on the influx of new people moving into the islands and changing it, to where they're singing about longing for "the old days". Songs like "Lifetime Party", "Gotta Get Away", and "Friends" speaks of what it was like to be in Hawai'i in the late 60's and early 70's. Historically, this album came before the Hawaiian renaissance of the mid-70's, where many residents had taken pride in their culture and rock-oriented stuff was shunned to a degree.

    I would consider them the Hawaiian equivalent of Seals & Crofts. Many Hawaiians brought this and their other two albums on Columbia to the mainland, so you'll see a lot of copies of this in countless thrift stores across the West Coast, and across the country.

    As a fan of Ween myself, I can see why some might hear that, because that sound of the 70's was done many times over to where it has become a cliche, and Ween has never shied away from attacking the obvious. It's pop/rock with obvious folk influences.

    BTW - As someone who grew up in Hawai'i (I'm part Hawaiian as well), C&K was the soundtrack of my youth, in fact this album still gets airplay when I return home, it was Hawai'i's RUMOURS, and we all know how little that Fleetwood Mac gets airplay these days. I also grew up with the rumor that when these guys allegedly opened up for Frank Zappa in L.A., they commanded an encore. When FZ came on, the Hawaiian-dominant crowd booed. Perhaps "Sharleena" was a bit too much. Considering FZ's hardcore audience, I find it hard to believe.

    C&K recently reunited and have been celebrating the 35th anniversary of their first album with a number of shows in Hawai'i, Japan, and whatnot.

  2. there music amongst other artists such as Kalapana & Country Comfort were classics here in Hawaii...although just born when this came out...i grew up with the likes of Cecilio & Kapono and all the other hawaiian artists which mostly influenced by the 70's and early 80's music from mainland artists...this was and is you could say the evolution of the modern hawaiian folk & soul music...today alot of our artists are heavily influenced by mostly reggae & soul but one thing remains when great music is made by fellow Hawaiians...no matter what influences you hear in the music its undeniable that every song conveys the love for life and pure happiness that stimulates anyone from local to abroad & around the world...oh btw John i asked alot of my elders and reggae was big in Hawaii then and till today....Bob Marley is a big inspiration to alot of artists then till today