Friday, 12 April 2013

LANCE CURTIS & THE UNIQUES "LEAHI / SYMPATHY" (1960)

Aia Le'ahi, 'uhe'uhene
Kaimana Hila, 'uhe'uhene
Hoku kau 'ale kai a'o Mamala
'Uhe'uhene

Malama pono 'oe, uheuhene
I ka poe pele, 'uhe'uhene
'O ili kaua la ilaila
'O ili kaua i ka puko'a
'Uhe'uhene

'O ka po'e kaulana, 'uhe'uhene
Kau i ka nuku, 'uhe'uhene
Nana a'o ho'owale nei i ka moana
'Uhe'uhene

Ha'awi ke aloha, 'uhe'uhene
Lulu lima, 'uhe'uhene
Me na huapala maka onaona
'Uhe'uhene

Kau aku 'oe, 'uhe'uhene
I ke ka'api'o, 'uhe'uhene
Pa ana ka uwepa kiani
'Uhe'uhene

Kupaianaha, 'uhe'uhene
Kahi kalaiwa, 'uhe'uhene
Ka lawe no a kiki'i pau
'Uhe'uhene

Ha'ina 'ia, 'uhe'uhene
Mai ka puana, 'uhe'uhene
O ka poe kaulana kau i ka nuku
'Uhe'uhene

Ha'ina 'ia, 'uhe'uhene
Mai ka puana, 'uhe'uhene
Goodbye kaua e ke aloha
'Uhe'uhene


[From the lyrics of "Leahi"]



Dick Jensen was a live musical performer of the Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Gospel genres; a native Hawaiian athletic song stylist and a prime mover of nightclub shows. For a more detailed biography about him, I suggest that you have a look at this other post available here on Stereo Candies.

Born Richard Hiram Jensen in 1942, he first became interested in music through the numerous luaus his family would attend. When the family was back from the barbecue, his mother would often play the guitar and Dick, along with his five brothers and sisters, would sing, and play along on the ukulele, or a nearby spoon and ladle, or whatever might be handy. His first experience on stage was in the fourth grade when he put together a group for a teacher's show.

Dick continued to sing through his formative years and began to gain a local reputation. While he was at Honolulu's Farrington High School, he entered a local talent contest, winning first place, and adopted the stage name of Lance Curtis at the suggestion of Tom Moffatt and Earl Finch, both active as promoters in the local Hawaii scene; the name was choosen for its illusory Hollywoodian qualities.

The award gained Jensen a spot on one of Hawaii's major television shows and led to his first single recording Bye Bye Baby / Lover's Paradise published by Teen Records in 1959, which was the subject of a previous post.

Sympathy / Leahi, credited to Lance Curtis & The Uniques, was released on the same label the following year.



On side A we find "Leahi", which is reported to be the first Hawaiian song ever recorded with a rock beat. On the label the song is credited to a certain Owens, which I easily guess is Harry Owens, but other Internet sources credit the song to Johnny Noble and Mary Pula'a Robins... A version recorded in the early 70s by Gabby Pahinui was included in the soundtrack of "The Descendants" in 2011. Leahi is a 760-foot tuff crater and one of Hawaii's most famous landmarks. More information about the song and a translation of the lyrics are available here.

The flip side offers "Sympathy", a simple Doo-wop number which was penned by Jensen himself. The song features the usual vocal harmonies that this style implies and unobtrusive musical accompaniment.


The Uniques, exact date unknown, probably taken in 1959-1960


Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. Leahi (1:56)
02. Sympathy (2:07)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in April 2013 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include scans of the original item in PDF format. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

The following video offers a preview of the remastered single; the original vinyl was pretty worn, especially the flip side, it was a particularly difficult task this time so don't expect miracles... Anyway, I hope you will enjoy "Leahi"!




More information about Dick Jensen is available here:

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/06/22/news/story02.html

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jun/22/il/FP606220304.html

http://www.oahuislandnews.com/May05/Home.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Jensen

I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.

I'm also trying to compile a Dick Jensen exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Dick Jensen on this blog are available here.


I will post more Dick Jensen stuff in the next weeks, if you have any other useful information about him and his releases or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

2 comments:

  1. Lance Curtis & The Uniques - Leahi / Sympathy (7", 1960) [MP3]

    Please copy and paste the link below in your browser:

    http://textsnip.com/39b90a

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  2. Lance Curtis & The Uniques - Leahi / Sympathy (7", 1960) [FLAC]

    Please copy and paste the link below in your browser:

    http://textsnip.com/b3navw

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