There’s not to much that I could say about Gabby “Pops” Pahinui that can’t be said by his music. It’s once in a generation that an artist comes around and leaves such an impression that represents time and culture. After playing back-up for Charley ‘Tiny’ Brown – Gabby decided to do it on his own.
In 1946, Gabby made his first recording, “Hi`ilawe,” for the Bell Records label. This may be the first record of a Hawaiian song with slack-key guitar. The following year came “Hula Medley,” the first record of a slack-key guitar instrumental. During this period he made two other influential sides for Bell, the vocal “Wai O Ke Aniani” and the instrumental “Key Koalu” (a misspelling of “Kī Hō`alu,” the Hawaiian term for “slack key”), plus another version of “Hi`ilawe” for Aloha Records.
Years and years went by and “Pops” wrote his magic until his passing in 1980. For so long memorable songs were written by Pop’s that I recognize them from my step-father singing them when I was a kid. Gabby Pahinui has a special place in my heart that goes beyond a song; it was a era that will live for ever with the soundtrack that is GABBY “POPS” PAHINUI!