Monday, July 03, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Webley Edwards

Artist:Webley Edwards
Album:Ultra-Lounge Vol. 1: Mondo Exotica

If you're a fan of Hawaiian music, you have probably heard of Webley Edwards. He was the host of the radio show Hawaii Calls and he also recorded albums of Hawaiian music in the 50s. He was born Nov. 11, 1902 in Corvallis, OR. He got into radio while attending Oregon State University. Then he moved to Hawaii in 1928 to become a car salesman. He was so fascinated by native music that he was able to begin broadcasting his radio show Hawaii Calls in 1935 from the Moana Hotel in Wakiki. His show was syndicated to 400 mainland stations. Edwards is also famous as the first radio broadcaster to report the Pearl Harbor attack. He was a correspondent for CBS News during WWII. After the war, Edwards continued his radio show. But he also released twenty albums for Capitol Records in the 50s and 60s. Edwards was not a musician. He used this platform to promote Hawaiian music to the world. Sometimes the musicians were identified but not always. Alika is from the 1960 album Hawaii Calls: Exotic Instrumentals: Favorites Of The Islands Vol. 4. Edwards wrote Alika under his John Kalapana pseudonym. The orchestra is credited as The Hawaii Calls Instrumenalists. I think this was Edwards' attempt to compete with the popular group The Hawaiian Islanders. And at the time, record companies recorded exotic instrumentals to help sell hi-fi to older music fans. Edwards continued to record for Capitol through the 60s. It doesn't look like any of Edwards' albums are available on CD or mp3. But some of his recordings turn up on Capitol's popular Ultra-Lounge series. This one is available as a digital download. I guess space age pop is the audience for Hawaiian music today. Edwards' radio show Hawaii Calls ended in 1972. But he was a senator until he died of a heart attack on Oct. 5, 1977 at age 74. Here's a video of Alika by Webley Edwards.

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