Hot Steel & Cool Ukulele | Tropical Swing

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Tropical Swing

by Hot Steel & Cool Ukulele

Classic hapa haole Hawaiian swing songs from the era before WW2. Erich Sylvester sings the tunes and plays ukulele. Greg Sardinha adds the swingin' steel guitar. Duane Padilla plays violin, Sonny Silva plays guitar, & Steven Strauss plays string bass.
Genre: Jazz: Retro Swing
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tropical Swing
2:53 $0.99
2. The Hukilau Song
2:26 $0.99
3. Sunshine the Beach Boy
2:49 $0.99
4. Hula Breeze
2:50 $0.99
5. Aloha Means I Love You
3:23 $0.99
6. My Little Grass Shack
2:36 $0.99
7. That's the Hawaiian in Me
2:43 $0.99
8. On the Beach At Waikiki - My Own Iona
3:40 $0.99
9. I've Gone Native Now
2:37 $0.99
10. My Honolulu Tomboy
2:30 $0.99
11. Moloka'i Slide
3:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
New recordings of classic songs
featuring Hawaiian steel guitar and swing fiddle
Notes by Erich Sylvester

A hapa haole song is primarily in English with some words and phrases in Hawaiian. But many hapa haole songs are entirely in English, or entirely in Hawaiian. Wikipedia offers nice summaries under Music of Hawaii, Hapa, and Haole. Song lyrics can be found at and, which also offers songwriter biographies by clicking on their names on the song pages.
Sheet music covers can be viewed at arranged by year of publication. offers old and new recordings of some of these songs. The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association site provides histories of the classic steel guitar players and bands and their recordings. I also recommend Brad’s Page of Steel:

1. Tropical Swing (1936)
Words & music: William Gordon Beecher

The original recording was by Tappy’s Island Swingers, named for ukulele legend Bill Tapia, with Gordon Beecher singing. and Wikipedia provide lots of history of the Duke of Uke.

2. The Hukilau song (1948)
Words & music: Jack Owens.

Let’s catch fish and picnic at the beach. Hukilau means pulling the net. The first recording by Jack Owens was a local hit, but Bing Crosby made it an international hit. A favorite on the Hawaii Calls radio show. Don Ho also recorded it and sang it live at his shows. ‘Ama’ama are fish.

3. Sunshine the Beach Boy (1951)
Words & music: Andy Cummings, Alex Anderson & Francis Ah Chong

Hawaii is hometown of the beach boy.

4. Hula Breeze (1935)
Words & music: Bucky Henshaw & Harry Owens.

Harry Owens & His Royal Hawaiian Hotel Orchestra

5. Aloha Means I Love You (1923)
Words & Music: Johnny Noble & Bob Lukens

A hit for King Bennie Nawahi, and the Johnny Noble Orchestra. It’s on a 1988 LP by The Tau Moe Family with Bob Brozman.

6. My Little Grass Shack (1933)
Words: Bill Cogswell.
Music: Tommy Harrison & Johnny Noble

Steel guitarist Sol Ho’opi’i made one of the first recordings with his singing trio. Sol played steel with the Johnny Noble Orchestra. Later recordings by Bing Crosby, Don Ho, Arthur Godfrey, and many others made this song a standard.

“Komo mai, no kaua, I ka hale, welakahao” means “let’s you and I go in the house while the time is right.” There is a 1926 song whose full title is “I want to go back to my black little shack back in Hackensack New Jersey.”

7. That’s the Hawaiian in Me (1936)
Words: Margarita Lane & music: Johnny Noble

Featured in the 1938 film Hawaii Calls, sung by Bobby Breen. There are several charming videos on

8. On the Beach at Waikiki & My Own Iona (1915 and 1916)
Words: G. H. Stover. Music: Henry Kailimai
Words & Music: My Own Iona: Carey Morgan, Anatol Friedland, L. Wolfe Gilbert

“Honi ka ua wiki wiki” means “hurry up, kiss me!” One of the early hapa haole hits of the beach scene. A standard for the Johnny Noble Orchestra. Burl Ives sang it on his 1965 LP.

9. I’ve Gone Native Now (1936)
Words & music: Paul Page & Paul Summer

Annie Kerr & Her Trio had a hit with this song featuring steel guitar. The composer taught ukulele at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. One of the first songs to mention surfing.

10. My Honolulu Tomboy (1905)
Words & music: Albert Sonny Cunha

Introduced by the Moana Seranaders with Gene Earls.

11. Moloka’i Slide (1988)
Words & music: Tad Suckling

A modern beach classic. Won a Na Hoku Hanohano award in 1997.



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