As far as I'm concerned this is the best way to experience Don Ho. Live. Let's face it his schtick was his loungy persona performing in Hawaii. Sure he did studio recordings, but he also did TV appearances. That doesn't mean those things were great. In fact they were just average for the most part. But live, that is where it was at for Don. I wish I could have scene his live show. It sounds like it would have been a fun evening. Well you can catch a little of that here on this recording.
The title Suck 'Em Up comes not only from one of Don's songs, but this was kind of trademark of his. Each night in his show he would raise a glass and encourage the audience to drink with him, a toast if you will. He would say "suck 'em up". I'm sure that was nice in making is a festive occasion and I'm sure the nightclub loved him encouraging the drinking. Win win all around.
Here is what one biography page said about Ho's early career and Suck 'Em Up.
In 1962 Ho got the biggest gig of his career thus far: playing at Duke Kahanamoku's club in Waikiki. Ho played three shows a night to full capacity in the 700-seat club, backed by the Ali'is band, whose original members included Al Akana, Rudy Aquino, Benny Chong, Manny Lagodlagod, and Joe Mundo. Ho developed what would become his longstanding performance style, in which he held court behind his Hammond organ, one hand on the keys and the other holding up a glass of scotch (which in later years was replaced by pineapple juice), jovially inviting the crowd to "Suck 'em Up!." Ho became known for his laid-back style, and typically appeared bare-chested with a lei around his neck, in tight jeans and bare feet.
On a personal note I'd like to mention that my love of Don Ho began not from his music, but from his TV appearances in the 80's. Earlier this year I posted a scene he had on an episode of Charlie's Angels. Some other classic appearances were of course on The Brady Bunch. Who can forget that opus of an episode with Greg and the tiki god and the surfing and the cave and oh I could go on and on. But even better than that was the episode of Sanford and Son with Don Ho. That one was great because Fred and Lamont actually got out of the set and shot on location in Hawaii. I don't know if they ever did that on any other episode. I believe it might have also been a two parter. If I remember correctly the story involved some gangsters and there ends up being a shoot out at the harbor by some boats. Sanford and Son with a shoot out. Hard to beat that. I think in that episode Don doesn't just show up as himself in some club. I think he somehow gets wrangled into the plot. Anyways, good memories even if they are fading a bit. I'm going to have to see if I can find them and rewatch soon.
So enough rambling. Here's Hawaii's first and best ambassador.
01 For Every Grain Of Sand On Waikiki.m4a
02 Welcome Pretty Lady.m4a
03 Down By The Shack.m4a
05 Beyond The Reef.m4a
06 Didn't We.m4a
07 Here's To The Girls Of The Summer.m4a
08 The More I Know About You.m4a
09 Kanaka Pete.m4a
10 Sunny Days, Starry Nights (Ke La La).m4a
11 You're Gonna Hear From Me May want to redo..m4a
13 Aloha Means.m4a
The whole thing here.
Don Ho - Suck 'Em Up.zip
As an extra bonus here's some live footage of Don.