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Comment: Original cardstock tri-fold CD case, booklet, and disc all in very good condition. Case shows mild wear to surfaces, edges, and corners, which may include very light scratches and/or light imperfections. Booklet / front cover insert shows some mild wear from use which may include edge bending. Mild wear to disc surfaces which may include: top of disc mild wear / light imperfections. Readable surface may show some very light to light scratches and/or some mild smudging.
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Wonderful World

4.3 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 26, 2007
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Wonderful World
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  • Facing Future
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  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Best of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Total price: $43.95
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Israel, or "Iz," as he is known to his fans, was Hawaii's most popular singer until his death in 1997. His version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is still in demand. This album features his intimate vocals with a full orchestra.

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Even a decade after his death at age 38 in 1997, Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole remains Hawaii's best-known and most beloved singer. His career began when he and his older brother, Skippy, formed a group in their hometown near Honolulu. The two performed together until the latter died in 1982. The band continued on for some years but it was Iz's haunting voice, with its searing yet limpid falsetto, that captured the popular imagination. Indeed, his 'ukulele-laced version of "Over the Rainbow" is widely thought to be the only interpretation that could possibly stand up to Judy Garland's original. Now that the definitive retrospective, Alone in IZ World (2001), has been released, it is perhaps inevitable that new arrangements should be slipped in under Iz's inimitable, indelible vocal tracks. The good news is, however, that these particular lush orchestrations, while totally superfluous, are nonetheless respectful and in good taste, never overwhelming the singing (as if anything could!). There are no revelations, but, fortunately, no unpleasant shocks, either. Perhaps, had he lived, Iz might have decided to go this route anyway. As with Louis Armstrong's (the title of this album refers to Iz's own cover of "What A Wonderful World") and Buddy Holly's string-backed experiments, it's simply yet another way to celebrate the legacy of a departed genius. --Christina Roden
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mountain Apple Company HAWAII & Big Boy Record Company
  • ASIN: B000P1YM2G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,000 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David C. Bullard on June 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
If you are a fan of IZ, as I am, I don't recommend this CD. The syrupy orchestral arrangements here take his simple, beautiful music and turn it into something that is not IZ. I am just speaking for myself but I could not get through this CD. It made me feel sad which is something his music never does.

PS: This wonderful promo video has nothing to do with the music on this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Why ANYONE would feel the need to "remake" or add to the music of IZ is way beyond me (other than the obvious - $$$$). Skip this one and pick up any one of his previous albums - Trust me, they're all you'll ever need!
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Format: Audio CD
I just finished listening to the complete CD and did not notice it had ended. Over produced is one term that comes to mind. Orchestrated in bizarre parts throughout. The reviewer who called it "The Little Mermaid" type of music was correct. It just doesn't sound right. The simplicity of Iz and a ukulele on a white sandy beach was tied to the Disneyland Monorail and Goofy was the pilot. A disaster on the scale of Ishtar. Sometimes, shoes are not required.

Iz is beautiful, but nothing new here. Don't waste your money. The two stars are for Iz, otherwise zero stars.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The amazing thing is that Iz survives the cheezy obviously-computer-generated orchestrations dubbed incongruously onto his music. It adds nothing, yet is unable to destroy the soul of the music. That is almost a reason to buy the CD, just to witness this, but then the producer would get money, which he should not get. Like the first time I heard the White Album as elevator muzak, this is a truely distressing CD. And yet, unlike John, Paul, George, and Ringo, Israel Kamakawiwo`ole survives the humiliating debasement of his music. With all of your might, do not buy this CD. Instead get Facing Future if you are new to his music. Facing Future
Kurt
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Format: Audio CD
This is pure Muzak and is Brother Iz's classic songs re-released terribly as bad elevator music.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Iz's music - if you do too - skip this CD. The orchestral arrangements are formulaic, weak and hokey. I was hoping there would be some innovative takes on the music - but it left a lot to be desired.
If you like Yanni, John Tesh, or Muzak - by all means get this one.

Otherwise - stick to the original cuts of these songs.
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I adore Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's work, so it pains me to give this CD only three stars. HE gets five stars every time, but something bothered me right away and all through this CD. What's with the harps, violins, cymbals - and the rest of the orchestra booming around his lovely singing and playing? So I checked out the CD cover and discovered that the producer claims that IZ asked, "Put shoes on me." (Musically speaking) So I guess that's what they did here - but it was done long after he had passed, so we'll have to take their word for that. There was a snarky remark about how Iz only played in two keys. (But what he does with those four strings played in two keys is lovely!)

To me, this is like taking a rare, exquisite wild flower and spray painting it gold, then dipping it in glitter. IZ don't need no stinkin' shoes. If you don't mind a lot of orchestration added to his simple original tracks, you might love this. I have an older relative (70 something) that probably will adore it, unless he's already heard the un-glittered versions.
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By ahuihou on July 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I was anxious to purchase this CD, after reading about the technology, etc., used to produce this CD. I like the overall quality of the product, but did not appreciate the fact that the "Ahi wela" verse was left out of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!", the verse that all of us keiki Hawaiians heard from our mothers, and memorized as soon as we could sing. Also, leaving "Somewhere over the rainbow" out of "Wonderful World" in my opinion was a huge mistake. But I have the original versions of these songs, so I feel ok about the final product, notwithstanding the comments mentioned above.
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