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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Honolulu - Jon Hall

Quiet Village
Famous Motion Picture Actor Jon Hall Directs Music From Honolulu
Mercury Records MG 20403

The engineering to me, at first, seemed "simple or unpolished". But when you read in the notes (see below), how the session was recorded, the tunes take on a more intimate and enjoyable "lounge" sound. Good variety of sound from traditional to the cover of Quiet Village.

From the back cover: Movie and TV Star Jon Hall provides a musical cocktail so different and refreshing with this original, authentic Hawaiian music that its intoxication will whisk you off to the Golden Islands of Hawaii almost literally

The unusual recording set-up for this album is best described by quoting portions of Movie Actor Jon Hall's account directly: "As I said, the equipment used was an Ampex portable recorder, using two Electro-voice 666 microphones which seemed to work out very satisfactorily. The recordings were made at the bar in the La Haina Hotel without the aid of any sound-proofing or acoustical advantages that we have here. To cut down vibrations noises we had to wedge papers in the windowsills, as the building was approximately 100 years old, plus wedging doors, etc., and seeking out a little varmint called a cricket, of which there were many, and carry them off to some other part of town to carry on their musical choruses.

"My mike setups were played in as close to the instruments and the voices as I could possibly get them. The piano and the female voice were picked up on one mike which was a chore in itself, as the piano was a small upright borrowed from a church and was constantly going out of tune, which resulted in my keeping a piano tuner on hand at all times to keep this instrument operating.

The bass fiddle had a tremendous split in it which also had to be wedged to avoid strange vibration noises, and part of the drummer's equipment had to be dismantled and put in another room as it seemed to fall apart every time the band started to play.

The other microphone picked up the drummer and the bass fiddle, plus their voices simultaneously, and I would say it was approximately two feet away from the voices and instruments. I believe you must realize the problems I had in trying to get any semblance of balance with only two microphones picking up three voices and three instruments all at the same time.

On a side note, Jon Hall directed the 1965 cult horror film The Beach Girls and The Monster. He committed suicide after bladder cancer caused his health declined to the point that the pain was unbearable.

Quite Village
Hawaiian Cowboy's Song
Pua Carnation
Tanga Tika
Rocking Chair Hula
Singing Bamboo
Nani Waimea
Nka Pueo
He Alii

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