Named after the radio show celebrating vintage Hawaiian music, Territorial Airwaves collects recordings dating from the '30s to the early '60s -- the years prior to and just after Hawaii made the transition from territory to statehood. Arranged in roughly chronological order, the album's track listing reflects Hawaii's mix of indigenous culture and Americanized elements; tracks like Lena Machado's "Kauoha Mai" come the closest to pure Hawaiian music, while the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders' "I'll Wave a Lei of Stars for You" incorporates the harmonies of '40s vocal pop into the islands' traditional sound, and Billy Gonsalves & the Paradise Serenaders' "Silverswords" borrows from '60s easy listening. Even though some tracks downplay the most overt trappings of traditional Hawaiian music, there are enough languid melodies, slack key guitars, and ukuleles to keep the culture at the forefront. Liner notes and snippets of old radio broadcasts also ensure that this is an authentic, as well as entertaining, document of Hawaii's music and its early radio history.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares